5/3/1 Routine Critique

How is this routine? I want to gain strength as well as muscle.

Day 1
OHP 5/3/1
Pullups 3x8-10
Bench 5x5 |FSL|
DB Row 3x8-10
Lateral Raises 3x8-10
Tricep Extension SS Hamer Curl 3x8-10

Day 2
Squat 5/3/1
Deadlift 5x5 |FSL|
Single SLDL 2x8-10
Cable Crunches 2x8-10
Leg Curl 2x8-10

Day 3
Bench 5/3/1
OHP 5x5 |FSL|
Cable Row 3x8-10
Cable Lateral Raise 3x8-10
Single Lat Pulldown 3x8-10
Tricep Pushdown SS Bicep Curl 3x8-10

Day 4
Deadlift 5/3/1
Squat 5x5 |FSL|
DB Split Squats 2x8-10
Cable Crunches 2x8-10
Leg Extensions 2x8-10

It’s fine if you’re able to recover. I know I couldn’t manage squats and deads on the same day - I can barely manage them in the same week on 531, but that would have been more do-able when my weights were much lighter.

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It will probably be difficult. Do you think it would be better to group the squats and deads together rather than of different days?

Same. If @GOBLIN1 is younger and novice or less in weights this could definitely happen. It will probably even be beneficial if close to a beginner levels.

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Ya’ll can’t squat and deadlift on the same day?


No, I think it would be better to follow 531 reps and sets for strength purposes and then perform your bodybuilding accessory lifts afterwards. I don’t consider any of the big 4 to be ‘bodybuilding’ type exercises.

At ~400lbs and ~500lbs respectively, no I cannot. My lower back won’t tolerate it and it would be impressive for me to continue onward to any accessory work at all after that.

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It worked for this dude


I’ve always been a fan of it for reasons similar to what Derek wrote. Trying to come into heavy deads after I totally blew my legs away a few days beforehand was a nightmare. I actually prefer to stack my 5/3/1 days as Squats/press/bench/dead so that I have as long as possible between squats and deads.


Sorry if I misunderstand but are you pretty much saying to keep my routine how it is but skip out on the FSL sets?

Well, I’m not exactly a Derek Poundstone either, but there are people like you (because you’re a prime example) who manage to recover from an absurd training volume, and then there’s the rest of us.

There’s an argument to be made about under-recovery (we all know the one) but for a lot of us, that just isn’t feasible. I believe @hankthetank89 is on the train of separating squats and deadlifts due to recovery as well.

For me, it’s not a matter of “well this is going to suck”, it’s quite seriously that my lower back is in agony following any heavy deadlifting, and it isn’t very happy after squats either. Doing them on the same day for weight, is going to end with some seriously regressed lifts.

It’s fine if we disagree here, and I’m not saying my method is better by any means - just what I do and why I do it. Perhaps when I have the ability to devote more time/effort to lifting (like when I’m done working 12 hour days on 5 hours sleep, while keeping up with school and a young family), I can do it more like Derek. Until then, my method has worked out pretty well, considering my obligations.

Yes. Look, if you’re able to recover from that - go for it. I just know I don’t have that level of recovery and could tell you I can’t swing that workload before ever trying it. Just from my personal experience.

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I am VERY much nothing special, haha. I find recovery a trainable quality honestly.

No disagreement at all dude. I’m not saying one approach is better than the other: just asking questions about approaches and sharing my own experience.

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I’ll absolutely agree to this. I think seeing how crossfitters train pre-competition is a prime example of this as well… IDK how it’s humanly possible to train for 6+ hours daily, but that is not uncommon for those on the elite tiers of XFit.

If it weren’t for the lower back situation (which is probably caused by hamstring/abductor tightness), I’d be much more inclined to lump all my powerlifts together into the same day. I’d be running PPL+Strength as a weekly template for sure.

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Heavy squats and deadlifts on the same day? Not for me. I feel that I want a “peaking” day before I do either Squats or Deadlifts because I really want to focus on them individually. By that I mean what C.Thib has spoken about several times before; eat more the day before those big lifts, get as much glycogen storage and water retention as you can. Something about passive stability. Hit them so hard that you need a rest day afterward.

I feel that RDLs after squats can be gotten away with though, just not in unnecessarily high volumes.

The great thing is none of us are wrong. Learning our minds and bodies and then being able to alter how we do things tailored to ourselves is a wonderful thing.

I can absolutely see how peaking for training would result in recovery issues.

As others have said, I think this is largely fine depending on your strength levels and ability to recover from the squat/dead workouts. One thing you may consider is, as Jim recommends, “extending” the week to 9 days. So you’re doing 531 strength workouts 3 times a week, but using a template with 4 different training days. Rather than finishing the cycle in three weeks, you’d finish it in 4 weeks. This also leaves more room for conditioning, sports, or any other active hobbies you may have.


FSL isn’t really heavy, unless you are extremely advanced. I presume that the OP is not in that category.

JW doesn’t recommend switching from Squats > DL for FSL or BBB in the same workout. He has his reasons. But if this lifter wants to try it and see how it goes, the world isn’t going to come to an end.


This isn’t peaking for one rep maxes, this is a mentality of relieving yourself of as much systemic fatigue before maximizing every set in your next workout. It has been the best way to train for me, my body feels better than it ever has.

Thibaudeau believes it is the most efficient way to train for most people. Yeah I haven’t ran as many different programs or splits as a lot of people but right now the proof is in the pudding for me.

Oh yeah, I totally understood.

I try to NOT be at my best when I train. Giving my all in training is VERY taxing on my recovery. I save that for competition. I train pretty far behind the 8-ball so that I don’t tap too hard into my recovery.

To be fair, much of this is more similar to “practice” than training. Not that I’m an elite crossfitter, but those that compete will spend a lot of time in the gym but focus on technique work like OLY lifting and gymnastics-style movements. It’s not like they’re doing WOD-level intensity work for hours on end. That said, it still is an impressive amount of workload that’s going on.

For example, today’s prescribed workload for a competitive Crossfitter using our third party’s programming is:


5x2 high hang squat snatch, rest as needed. Use the same weight across all sets.

6x2 front squats @ 80% 1RM, rest as needed

Gymnastics work, 6 rounds for time:
15 Echo bike calories
5 ring muscle ups

(9-7-5-5-7-9 reps of power snatches, thrusters, bar-facing burpees, 95 lbs)

Post-WOD work:

3 rounds of 1 arm DB Bench
3 rounds of side plank rows

A mobility sequence.

This would be spread across hours in the gym, for sure. There is also a ton of warm up and “drills” done prior to the work, especially for the OLY lifts and gymnastics work.

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You also do a hellova lot more work than me. I train 3-4 days a week with next to no extras.

" * The main benefit of EOD training is to be able to work brutally hard while significantly lowering your risk of training burnout * " - C.Thib.

There’s a reason I can :slight_smile: Haha.