5/3/1, Joker, First Set Last - DL and Power Cleans


I love the 5/3/1 program and its variations. I’m beginning 5/3/1 with joker sets and first set last (3-5 sets) because it looks like fun.

In one variation within your Beyond 5/3/1 book that included power cleans you wrote that we can switch one of the clean 5/3/1 sessions with deadlifts. Does it make sense in the normal 5/3/1 routine (OH press, bench, squat, deadlift) to switch from deadlifts to cleans for some time period and then back to deadlifts? I’m thinking of switching to cleans until progress slows or stalls but no less than a few months, and then switching back to deadlifts.


Not really - unless you have been deadlifting for 20+ years and feel burnt out. You still need to pick something heavy off the ground and very few people are strong that their clean qualifies as “heavy off the ground”. Keep the basics in your training, maniuplate the TM as you see fit and make slow, steady progress.

The basic lifts I always recommend:

Bench Press
Power Clean


Back Raise
Row (barbell/db/tbar)
Sit-ups (weighted)