T Nation

5,3,1 Program Help/Questions


#1

Hello, this thread is to help me figure out certain questions I have about starting a 5,3,1 program for myself.

A little about myself: I'm on a diet at the moment, I was a bit to husky for my liking and decided to have someone from my gym help me on my cut. My strength hasn't dropped but its not going up either. I'm not a powerlifter, mainly train in bodybuilding, yet I still like to have strength with my physique. So this brings me to my questions.

Question: My split is per body part. Mon: Chest/Tri Tue: Legs/Shoulders Wed: Back/Bi Thur: Chest/Shoulders Fri: Arms Sat: Legs/Back. With this split I do have a heavy bench day on Mon. Tues day is my Squat day. Thursday is my Heavy shoulder (light chest day). And Saturday is my deadlift day. As you can see these are the days I do powerlifting movements usually heavy and the rest of my workout is higher volume for bodybuilding. My question to this is can I keep this split and still do the 5,3,1 program? It says don't do more than 2 days in a row, but as you can see there are days in between where I don't do any powerlifting movements.

So would I still be able to do this program while keeping this split? Keep in mind strength isn't my biggest priority just something I'd like to have to. After my heavy exercises I do a lot more after, for example after my heavy benching I go do incline bench (mix between light and heavy) then to both flat and dumbbell presses. Then on to tricep which I usually do a heavy close grip or jm press and then onto bodybuilding exercises. Is this too much volume and accessory work for this program?

Sorry if this seems confusing or anything, this would be my first real program I'd be on and I'm not too knowledgable about it. I did do research to see how the weeks are planned out and the percentages. If theres any questions anyone would like to ask, please do and I will do my best to answer them.


#2

If this is your first real program, why then are you married to the split you outlined above?

There are a plethora of ways to mix a bb split and 531.

Jim outlined a way on his site. Personally i love:

Back:
Deadlift 351
Back & posterior work

Chest & tris:
Bench 351
Pressing work

Legs:
Squat 351
Leg work

Shoulders & arms:
Press 5s pro
Shoulders (front, middle, rear), triceps, & curl work


#3

[quote]TX iron wrote:
If this is your first real program, why then are you married to the split you outlined above?

There are a plethora of ways to mix a bb split and 531.

Jim outlined a way on his site. Personally i love:

Back:
Deadlift 351
Back & posterior work

Chest & tris:
Bench 351
Pressing work

Legs:
Squat 351
Leg work

Shoulders & arms:
Press 5s pro
Shoulders (front, middle, rear), triceps, & curl work[/quote]

What I meant by program was powerlifting program. My main focus in lifting isn’t strength but my physique. But my main questions is can I do the 5,3,1 program with the bb split I have already. Ex. On Mondays I would do my 5,3,1 bench and do the rest of my exercises I usually do. Tuesday I do my 5,3,1 for squats and so on. The reason I ask this is because I’m not sure if the way my bb split is will work efficiently with the 5,3,1.


#4

To be clear with this post, I’m looking for more of a straight forward answer. Can I use this program with the split I already have for bb? Do I have enough days in between the program to run it efficiently?


#5

It seems like you’d just be using your old program, but replacing the four main lifts with the 5/3/1 scheme. So you’d use Jim’s progression numbers for the four lifts, then do your own bodybuilding template for assistance work? Is that right?


#6

[quote]JoshRutherford wrote:
It seems like you’d just be using your old program, but replacing the four main lifts with the 5/3/1 scheme. So you’d use Jim’s progression numbers for the four lifts, then do your own bodybuilding template for assistance work? Is that right?[/quote]

X2


#7

It’d just be
351/531 bench mon, squat Tuesday, press thurs, dead sat


#8

[quote]TX iron wrote:
It’d just be
351/531 bench mon, squat Tuesday, press thurs, dead sat[/quote]

I’d have to defer to someone with more expertise about that. I don’t combine programs or mess around with them.

I’d feel like I was doing too much volume for not enough reward. When I’ve been worried about physique (wanting to drop some fat before the beach, for instance), I just did the basic 531 plan with one of the Wendler 6 four days per week. On workout days, I did walk/jog intervals for 30 minutes. Two other days, I did hill sprints or sprint intervals. I had one rest day during which I did something active and fun with the family (hike, bike ride, etc)

I was faster and leaner, didn’t lose strength, and my balls didn’t shrink. :smiley: I don’t know, maybe I’m all wrong, though.


#9

[quote]JoshRutherford wrote:
It seems like you’d just be using your old program, but replacing the four main lifts with the 5/3/1 scheme. So you’d use Jim’s progression numbers for the four lifts, then do your own bodybuilding template for assistance work? Is that right?[/quote]

Yes this is exactly what I was asking about. My bb split has been working very well for me especially while on this cut.


#10

[quote]TX iron wrote:
It’d just be
351/531 bench mon, squat Tuesday, press thurs, dead sat[/quote]

Yes I would just do the 5,3,1 on those exact days and after doing the 5,3,1 exercises I would just go straight into my bb routine. To make clear I don’t plan to compete in powerlifting just want some good strength gains to go with the physique. BTW not to sure on what the 3,5,1.


#11

[quote]ChrisM15 wrote:

[quote]TX iron wrote:
It’d just be
351/531 bench mon, squat Tuesday, press thurs, dead sat[/quote]

Yes I would just do the 5,3,1 on those exact days and after doing the 5,3,1 exercises I would just go straight into my bb routine. To make clear I don’t plan to compete in powerlifting just want some good strength gains to go with the physique. BTW not to sure on what the 3,5,1.[/quote]

3/5/1 is Medium, Light, Heavy.

So it’s 3’s week, 5’s week, 5/3/1’s week.

Just a way to stagger the program and get some extra recovery.


#12

[quote]TX iron wrote:

[quote]ChrisM15 wrote:

[quote]TX iron wrote:
It’d just be
351/531 bench mon, squat Tuesday, press thurs, dead sat[/quote]

Yes I would just do the 5,3,1 on those exact days and after doing the 5,3,1 exercises I would just go straight into my bb routine. To make clear I don’t plan to compete in powerlifting just want some good strength gains to go with the physique. BTW not to sure on what the 3,5,1.[/quote]

3/5/1 is Medium, Light, Heavy.

So it’s 3’s week, 5’s week, 5/3/1’s week.

Just a way to stagger the program and get some extra recovery.
[/quote]

Ahhh ok. Idk maybe I’m just not knowledgeable enough but to me the 5,3,1 seems to fit well into my split already while not straight focusing on strength.


#13

So, I just finished up setting up my spreadsheet and will be starting it Monday. My next question to this is, after the 4th week (the deload week) Do I start over again with a different spread sheet or do I stop the program and wait a while to do it again? Also, what do I do if say I don’t hit the rep range for a certain weight?


#14

So, I just got finished making my spreadsheet for my program and it starts Monday. But my question is after week 4, what do I do from there? Do I continue on with the program and say start over again or do i take a break off of the program and come back to it a bit later? Also what should I do if I don’t hit my mark on one of the weights?


#15

You run 5/3/1 for more than 1 cycle. There’d be little point to going for 4 weeks then going to a new program.

If you don’t hit the reps in the first cycle, you’ve done something horribly, horribly wrong. As you ask the question, I’d recommend you knock off more weight than you think you need for the first cycle.


#16

We work in 3-4 week cycles, just like the book says. Everything is outlined in the book.


#17

[quote]ChrisM15 wrote:

[quote]JoshRutherford wrote:
It seems like you’d just be using your old program, but replacing the four main lifts with the 5/3/1 scheme. So you’d use Jim’s progression numbers for the four lifts, then do your own bodybuilding template for assistance work? Is that right?[/quote]

Yes this is exactly what I was asking about. My bb split has been working very well for me especially while on this cut.[/quote]

so stick with what you’re doing if it’s working?


#18

[quote]tsantos wrote:
You run 5/3/1 for more than 1 cycle. There’d be little point to going for 4 weeks then going to a new program.

If you don’t hit the reps in the first cycle, you’ve done something horribly, horribly wrong. As you ask the question, I’d recommend you knock off more weight than you think you need for the first cycle.[/quote]

Ok, I get what you’re saying. After week 4 do it again and say I hit my 1+ for more reps the second time then I bump up what my max would be. And to the question of not hitting reps, I ask this because of the fact that these numbers I have for my max are calculated not actually done except for a couple. Obviously this is my first cycle so it’ll show me where I’m at. I don’t plan on competing in powerlifting so if I miss a rep by one then I know next cycle to drop it a bit.


#19

[quote]tokon wrote:

[quote]ChrisM15 wrote:

[quote]JoshRutherford wrote:
It seems like you’d just be using your old program, but replacing the four main lifts with the 5/3/1 scheme. So you’d use Jim’s progression numbers for the four lifts, then do your own bodybuilding template for assistance work? Is that right?[/quote]

Yes this is exactly what I was asking about. My bb split has been working very well for me especially while on this cut.[/quote]

so stick with what you’re doing if it’s working?[/quote]

I am. The only reason I asked this is because my bb routine is super high volume and I didn’t know if that much volume would throw off the cycle.


#20

[quote]ChrisM15 wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
You run 5/3/1 for more than 1 cycle. There’d be little point to going for 4 weeks then going to a new program.

If you don’t hit the reps in the first cycle, you’ve done something horribly, horribly wrong. As you ask the question, I’d recommend you knock off more weight than you think you need for the first cycle.[/quote]

Ok, I get what you’re saying. After week 4 do it again and say I hit my 1+ for more reps the second time then I bump up what my max would be. And to the question of not hitting reps, I ask this because of the fact that these numbers I have for my max are calculated not actually done except for a couple. Obviously this is my first cycle so it’ll show me where I’m at. I don’t plan on competing in powerlifting so if I miss a rep by one then I know next cycle to drop it a bit.[/quote]

Not sure if I completely understand your approach but after a cycle you add 5lbs to your upper body TM and 10lbs to your lower body TMs. There is no calculating your max again.

I’d aim for a weight you think you can hit 5 reps on in the 1+ set in your last week for your first cycle.