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5/3/1 Programming with a Newborn?

Hey Jim,

What would you suggest for programming with a newborn here. I train during week at 4:30AM 3 days week and 1 day on weekend. What would you suggest for programming? I’m focusing on eating 80-90% good, sleeping when I can, walking 3-4 days week.
Here is what I was thinking, what changes would you suggest?

Monday-5/3/1 Bench, 2 assistance
Wednesday-5/3/1 Squat, 2 assistance,
Friday-5/3/1 Press, 2 assistance
Saturday-5/3/1 Deadlift, 2 assistance.

Train twice a week, sleep more is my 2c.

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Let me get this out of the way first: I don’t think 531 is appropriate for a newborn. I would go with Starting Strength until the child is 2-3 years old.

Couldn’t help myself, now the serious answer:

Are you not planning on any supplemental work? Just the 531 and move on to assistance? That’s fine, but just wondering. You just list “assistance”, which can either be quite hard (weighted pull ups, weighted dips) or quite easy (push ups, sit ups, curls). So it’s hard to tell without more specifics.

I think @dagill2 has good advice. You can train BP/Squat and OHP/DL doing 531 for the main lifts. If you have the time/energy, you can do assistance on separate days. I think a circuit works well here, especially if you have a weight vest and can do WALRUS-style training.


I absolutely typed this joke out as well and just couldn’t press reply.


Maybe that’s where SS got linked up with the milk thing? It was intended for infants all along…

Anyways, my second is coming in April, planning on 2 days, 5’s pro/fsl with training maxes dialed way back. Don’t get crazy, just try to keep things going in any capacity possible and survive.


Beat me to it!

This is what I was thinking,

Bench 5/3/1, OH Press supplemental, chins, facepulls
Squat 5/3/1, RDL, ab wheel,
Press 5/3/1, Bench, Row, Bicep/tricep
Deadlift 5/3/1, Single Leg work, Leg Raises,
Conditioning 3-4 days week of WT VEST WALKS

My honest opinion is that you should lift less and either sleep more or help your wife more.


I have 3 kids. It’s been 7 years since first. Since she was born, I switched to predominantly 2 days a week. And whatever 531 template I did, I made super progress. My fave was prob BBB 2 days a week. Sometimes weekend only.

2 days a week training meant I had more time to get the sleeping/ recovery/eating right. And also more time for family.

I sometimes do 3x/wk now, but prefer 2, even though I’m all settled. I prefer short / abbreviated sessions too - just hit main lift or few exercises and get out.

Also, doing just the basics provides an even more laser like focus on what matters in the weight room, thus saving you time.

Another vote for 531 two days a week. I am doing this now with a two year old and 5 month old, wish I dropped the 3rd/ 4th day sooner. And yes, sleep more and help your wife.

Two options that have worked with me.

An ABA format where I aimed for 2 sessions every 7 days but took up to 4 every 8 days if it worked. Normally FSL supplemental.

Or 2 days a week. With or without assistance at home. I got kbs and a chin up bar so I did more volume for squats and bench in the gym and used the kbs to add volume for overhead pressing and hip hinges. Can be in the same day as main lifts or another day.

All these suggestions above can and have worked but you’ll notice two themes. Training has to be flexible and newborns grow so fast with new mums needing a lot of support.

Walking the pram is good conditioning but start light with the weighted vest otherwise you may stunt the baby’s growth :wink:

Do you train at home?

I would suggest doing a 2 or 3 day template and utilize something fast. for example, my wife hates when I workout but if I can stick to 3 days and an hour its doable. I have 2 small kids and this works well. I would try something like, day 1-squat bench, day 2-deadlift, ohp, day 3 - bench, squat. Maybe add in 5x5 FSL for assistance.

Yes I train at home. Garage gym. So it works out well as I don’t have to leave the house.

My idea would be to reduce the amount of time each work out takes. That way - you’re much more flexible for if / when you can exercise.

“I aint doing Jack” is a great one for this. Just do your 531 movement and duck out. If you want you can add in a drop set. Or bit of assistance.
Option 1:
531 sets
2 x drop set

Option 2
531 sets
2 x assistance
For example press 531, bench or pull ups for 2 sets.

As for structure - when ever.

If you hit these hard you can get away with 2xweek. That’s 2 x 15-20min work outs a week. You’ll not see much progress. but at 20min long I’d aim to get 3-4 in a week.

I’d do 2 days a week, with either 2 lifts and assistance per day or just one main lift and assistance per day. Whatever works for you, don’t stress about that.

For the main lifts, 5’s pro fsl. Assistance? Anything bang dor your buck. Probably if I’d be in your situation; lots of dips, pushups, rows, chins, back extensions and ab work (plan whenever).

Or you could do 2 days a week in the way I just wrote and do a third ‘assistance’ day, aa you have a home gym. Just get in a set number of push, pull and single leg/core for some extra volume.

I didn’t find the new born period so bad. The kid sleeps and eats so much (although some kids don’t sleep lol).

You can take the kid with you into your garage and let your partner catch up on sleep…

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