T Nation

5/3/1 Scheduling


I haven't posted in the beginner section in awhile, so its good to be back. Anyways my question is this, how important is the weekly scheduling for 5/3/1. For example I normally do 2 days on, 1 off, 2 on, then 2 off. So I train monday, tuesday, thursday, friday. Is their a significant difference if you train say on Monday, take tuedsay wednesday off, and then train thursday, friday, saturday? I'm curious cause stuff keeps coming up that I have to work around. I guess my question is this, are you receiving the same training effect as sticking to a schedule as you are just making sure you get all 4 sessions in?

So last week I ended up going monday, tuesday, friday, saturday. And now this week its gonna be monday, thursday, friday, saturday. Is that any different from if I did the ideal schedule?


I think that for me personally the big issue is how well you recover. E.g. if I do the military press, deadlift then bench press sessions right after each other in week 1 of the cycle then I'm fine, but if I do deadlift, bench press, squat on week 3 then I feel completely dead afterwards.

I have the same issue you do with things coming up, and personally I do a combination of what you've suggested or just doing 3 days in one week then compressing the deload week as required.


It's not catastrophic, by any means, especially if it's just a once in a while change.

To maximize whatever recovery you can, try to make sure the Thurs-Fri-Sat sessions are "upper-lower-upper" (like bench-DL-press) or vice versa, but either way it's nothing that can't be dealt with with a slightly bigger lunch or dinner those days, and maybe some deeper sleep by whatever means necessary.

I'm actually in a similar boat this week myself. I was sick yesterday and Monday, so I'm getting back to the gym today and decided to "combine" my missed Monday session with my Wednesday workout. So today I'm squatting, deadlifting, and benching (Squats and deads are usual on Wed, bench/back is usually Mondays), then tomorrow is shoulders and arms as normal. Again, in the long run, it's no biggie whatsoever.


Come on Chris don't you know you can't squat and Deadlift in the same training session :wink: haha all kidding aside thanks for the help. Things are gonna get tricky when I start working on a farm this summer but well see, gonna be hard as hell to keep my weight up. Hope your training is going well besides being sick


Technically, it's squat, deadlift, leg press, front squat, and GHR in the same session (to be fair though, I do sub in SHELC instead of the GHR). Tim Henriques is insane. But brilliant. But insane.

I'm almost positive there have been a few threads about how to train/eat while working construction. Give it a search. You might see some carryover advice that you could make work for your situation.

Ha, it is, man. Thanks. I'm just bummed because I tried to give blood Monday but they said I had a slight fever and couldn't donate. Turns out I was fighting something. Hope all's good by you too.


I've been dealing with a lower back injury for the past 5 months but things are starting to look up. Once I start dead lifting again ill be happy. I've learned a ton through this injury though so there's the bright spot


Oh just another question if you get around to it. Is it a big deal if it is a continuous thing. Three days in a row should be pretty rare but its gonna be hard to stick to the ideal days with my work schedule. So like a monday wednesday, friday, saturday, is possible quite often. Is there any difference between this and the ideal? I'm actually pretty curious if theres other factors besides recovery. I cant think of any and the previous I just said would allow for just as much recovery.


What's "the ideal" schedule, exactly? I'm not clear on that.

Anyhow, if there is any difference, it's still minimal at best. With seven days in a week, you're pretty much always going to train two days back to back so it's almost a non-issue at some point. It's just the way we have to arrange our training. Though, some people do "stretch" their training split out over more than a week and focus on just training "once every X days".

So one week could be Mon - Squat, Wed - Bench, Fri - Deadlift; Next week it's Mon - Press, Wed - Squat, Fri - Bench; Next week it's Mon - Deadlift, Wed - Press, Fri - Squat, etc. That's really thinking for the long-term because it'll be slightly slower progress in the short-term, but over months and years, it "balances out" so to speak. Personally, I find it more convenient to just fit everything into the plain old seven day week and have that be that.

Bottom line - As long as you're getting your training done, don't sweat it. Steve Reeves once wrote about training Monday morning, Wednesday night, and Saturday morning to squeeze and extra half-day's rest between sessions. As great as Reeves was, that's sweating it.

There's always going to be some cumulative fatigue (both "total body" and for smaller support muscles like the low back) when training on successive days, but in very short time, you should adapt to the point where it's barely a noticeable factor.

Depending on your nutrition, it could also be a potential variable to consider. For example, for people who carb cycle, having to hard training days back to back likely means having two higher carb days back to back, which influences how their low and medium carb days fall through the week.