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5/3/1 Split Advice

I have been doing 5/3/1 for 8 months now with great results overall. I have used both the BBB template and also the Triumvirate. While I continue to make somewhat steady gains on lower body lifts, my pressing has come to a creeping halt over the past several months.

My current best sets for the lifts are as follows:

OH Press: 160 X 5
Deadlift: 385 X 8 and 460 X 1
Bench: 215 X 8 and 245 X 2
Squat: 265 X 10

I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to pressing technique so that is one factor at play, but I also find that after deadlifts and goodmornings my low back is still sore when bench day rolls around which poses a problem holding a decent arch. Another example is that although today I am supposed to Squat, my hamstrings are also still sore from Goodmornings as well.

I have been kicking around the idea of making either my squat or deadlift day a speed day and alternating them from week to week so one week I would squat my 5/3/1 sets and reps and on deadlift day do speed pulls etc. Either that or possibly switch to pulling Sumo for a while and see if that may somehow improve my pressing by allowing me to create more upper back tension and also not have my low back fatigue as quickly while working up.

Like I said, technique and creating tension are probably a good part of the problem to begin with. For the past few months I’ve had to lift off from a bench that doesn’t have adjustable posts whereas back home I have access to a Forza bench or power rack setup. I’m doing 1/4 rep to unrack instead of pulling the bar out and over with my lats and sometimes I feel like I’ve pressed out of my arch after a few reps.

Or maybe I should go by the philosophy of “There’s no such thing as overtraining, just undereating.” Haha.

Sorry if this post is all over the place. Just trying to figure out whether or not to tweak the 5/3/1 setup or try a new approach for a while.

What are your goals?

It sounds like you are using your accessory exercise as main!?

My goals for a while now have been purely strength based. I would like to do a BW Press, 2.5 x BW Deadlift, 1.5 x BW Bench, and a 2 x BW Squat.

I have done 5/3/1 pretty much as written since March of 2011. I started lifting with purpose in 2010 and was 159lbs at my lightest at 6’ 0". I’m currently right at 200lbs and around 15% BF measurement taken with digital calipers (3 site).

The past few months I’ve been doing my 5/3/1 sets and reps for Squats followed by 5 sets of 10 and it usually looks something like this: 225 x 10, 205 x 10, 195 x 10, 185 x 10, 185 x 10. Then I do 5 x 10 of lying hamstring curls.

On Deadlift day I’ll do the 5/3/1 sets and reps followed by straight sets of 10-12 of Goodmornings with 135. This past week I used 155 for 5 sets. Then I do hanging leg raises.

When I bench I do 5/3/1 sets and reps, then 5 x 10 DB bench. This past week I did 75’s then 80’s on the last four sets. Then I do DB rows 5 x 10 with a 110lb DB.

I read in another post and have heard Louie Simmons talk about Accommodation so maybe it’s as simple as I just need to change my assistance exercises more often?

[quote]Badmo wrote:
My goals for a while now have been purely strength based. I would like to do a BW Press, 2.5 x BW Deadlift, 1.5 x BW Bench, and a 2 x BW Squat.

I have done 5/3/1 pretty much as written since March of 2011. I started lifting with purpose in 2010 and was 159lbs at my lightest at 6’ 0". I’m currently right at 200lbs and around 15% BF measurement taken with digital calipers (3 site).

The past few months I’ve been doing my 5/3/1 sets and reps for Squats followed by 5 sets of 10 and it usually looks something like this: 225 x 10, 205 x 10, 195 x 10, 185 x 10, 185 x 10. Then I do 5 x 10 of lying hamstring curls.

On Deadlift day I’ll do the 5/3/1 sets and reps followed by straight sets of 10-12 of Goodmornings with 135. This past week I used 155 for 5 sets. Then I do hanging leg raises.

When I bench I do 5/3/1 sets and reps, then 5 x 10 DB bench. This past week I did 75’s then 80’s on the last four sets. Then I do DB rows 5 x 10 with a 110lb DB.

I read in another post and have heard Louie Simmons talk about Accommodation so maybe it’s as simple as I just need to change my assistance exercises more often?[/quote]

You’re using a LOT of volume and intensity in your assistance work for someone who mainly tries getting stronger. Maybe try 3x10 and lower the weights a bit?

I agree that you have tons of volume (probably too much). Try doing fewer sets of assistance. Also, I don’t think you should do squats for assistance right after doing squats for a main exercise.

There are multiple different 5/3/1 variations offered in the book. So if one isn’t working for you, just try another. If you feel like you’re overtraining, drop the assistance work altogher for a cycle or two and do his Jack Shit variation. You will be able to continue with the 5/3/1 rep and weight scheme without burning out on accessory work.

I lowered the volume yesterday on squats. I did 220 x 3, 250 x 3, and 280 x 8 for a new rep record with that weight. Then I just did 3 x 10 Front Squats with 135, then hamstring curls and called it a day.

I’ll admit that I love putting the work in and I probably chase rep records more than I should on a regular basis. I’m going to read the 5/3/1 book again and see if I find anything new to apply and go from there.

[quote]Badmo wrote:
I’ll admit that I love putting the work in and I probably chase rep records[/quote]

If you just want to get stronger, focus on quality. Do the 5/3/1 sets, some assistance (preferably working muscles that might be left out by the four lifts… Hamstrings, lats&upper back, curls maybe) and that’s it. Right now you’re training like you want to get a lot bigger - You’ll need calories to cope with it and - surprise - you will get bigger, something you don’T necessarily want.

Well, I pretty much do the program as written. The assistance work is built in for each template. So with the BBB template it works out to 13 total work sets, 3 sets of 5/3/1 sets and reps, 5 sets of the main movement at around 50-65% 1RM and 5 sets of an assistance movement.

A little confused here.

If you are using 5/3/1 with BBB template, why are you changing the weight for the accessory work (descending weight)?

There is a spreadsheet in Internet land. Download and use. Your accessory is 50-65% of your max load for the the month. For you, it looks like around 160lbs (+/- 15). Do 5x10 of the same weight, less rest between. If you are doing front squat, use less weight.

I personally do no accessory work on the fourth week. It’s de-load for a reason.

I am changing the weight for my assistance work because the program specifically says you may pyramid down. It also states: “You can stay with the same weight for all the sets, but that?s boring as hell. Boring, but big.” I don’t need a spreadsheet, I purchased the program and can do simple math.

And as for the front squats, yes, I know to use less weight, it’s readily apparent the first time you unrack the bar for a front squat with a clean grip that you need to use much less weight than a back squat. Thanks for your advice though.