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5/3/1 Variation Check

I am new to this forum but I have read Jim’s books a lot of times. I have been weight training for years but never really focused on it.

I have started 5/3/1 full body with changes that I did myself. I would like to ask for opinions.

I do 3times / week as it is recommended in Jim Wendler’s book and I have already ordered the 5/3/1 Forever.

First time: Bench Press 5/3/1
Second time: Squat 5/3/1
Third time: Deadlift 5/3/1 and Press 5/3/1

Every time I supplement the 5/3/1 with 4 sets of maximum pull-ups + the underlying megaset for 3-5 times:
Deadlift 6reps
Barbell rows 6 reps
Squat 6 reps
Press 6 reps
Goodmornings 6 reps
Bench Press 6 reps

FOR the megaset I user 60% of my estimated One Rep Max with the calculation provided in his books.

I wouldn’t do a complex post strength training. If anything, I’d do them as on off-day assistance circuit; you’re better off sticking with the 3 categories, push/pull/single-leg or core. Which full-body template are you doing and from what book?

Whatever your doing, it’s not 5/3/1 Full Body.

It looks to me like your just running a 3 day version of 5/3/1 with a barbell complex you made up. I am also wondering why you are using 60% of your 1 Rep Max for the complex? You should be using a Training Max.

In any case I am wondering how you run that complex? Do you have 4 or 5 different barbells loaded at once? Or else you wouldn’t be able to use 60% of any max for that unless you are loading, unloading, and moving the bar around. That sounds time consuming and inefficient.

My question to you is what are you goals? What is the purpose of doing this complex?

Yeah cut out that complex and push the prowler or so some swings or sprints or something.

Actually the Deadlift and the Bench Press Training Max are approximately the same. Also I lately I am doing front Squat which is near equal the Press. So I need only 2 barbells.

BTW I wrote it wrong. I meant to say Training Max instead of 1rep max

The purpose of doing it like this is because I want to bulk up and I believe that this would add a big workload quickly and easily

I use the 5/3/1 full body template from the powerlifting book but only for the strength part.

Hi Vispyros
Welcome to the forum.
First advice is to search this forum for full body workouts three days a week.
Next go search JIms old articles on T Nation


Then there is the template for the hard gainers.

If you want to do a full body routine and do 5/3/1. Then pick one of Jims programs.
Try it for 6 cycles, that’s 21 weeks.
Start with a TM for each lift at 85% or a weight you can lift for 5 strong reps and use that for TM.
Do some mobility, some jumps and throws, do Cardio wisely, to much and you might not grow that much, to little you might end up fat.
Eat a lot, rest, stay focused. Lift Weights. Repeat.

What the fuck?

maybe he’s like that guy that benches more than he squats (no offense to him, especially if I’m reading it wrong)

I don’t think that circuit will have the desired effect.There are more efficient and proven methods with 531 for adding mass and strength at the same time.

Try this instead:


If your press is that close to your front squat and bench press is that close to your deadlift, you either have a ridiculous amount of pressing power or your relative strength in the squat and deadlift is very sub-par. Either way its good that you have found 5/3/1 becuase all you need to do is pick a template like the one above or the ones that mortdk posted and get to work.

If you have read any of the 531 books you could just follow a template from there as well.

Remember, if you want to put on mass you gotta eat for it. Make sure to eats lots of good whole food. If you dirty bulk on junk food you will get fat and be miserable (trust me I know).

Like the guy above said, the young Jim Wendler template is boss

As I have already said, I never focused on strength and especially on the Squat and Deadlift. Also I never did front squats. I used to run half marathon so I didn’t want to further exhaust my legs

It will probably just make you tired and by cycle three, it will be too difficult to finish.

Why not do BBB so you’re not sailing blind. It seems weird to me to take Jim’s advice on the 5/3/1 rep scheme and then go down an untrodden path for the second half of it. Especially when thousands of people have gotten big by not taking your approach.

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I don’t think your setup or “variation” is a good one or at least an effective one. Might I ask how long you’ve been training and how old you are? Also, what are your goals?

am 27 years old. I’ve been training on and off for about 5 years. I just want to focus on getting stronger and get a bit more muscular. Unfortunately I do not enjoy doing the boring part of the weight for hypertrophy.

I do not remember where I read about the specific megaset with hypertrophy goals

Do you want to do what you want to do or what will actually give you results?

Well of course something that will offer me the best results

First - eat like you want to get big. The forever book and the 2nd edition and even beyond has enough information in them to learn how to eat - I don’t have the PL book, but I’m sure it’s in there too.

For lifting, it’s simple if you do it. You don’t need 5-10 sets after your main work to get big and strong. You just need to eat and be consistent with your training.

2 cycles of:

Main 5’s Pro
Supplemental - 2-3 sets of 10 reps @FSL
25-50 push
25-50 pull
25-50 single leg or core


1 cycle of
5/3/1 PR set, maybe a joker set
supp: 2-3x5@fsl
50-100 push
50-100 pull
50-100 single leg or core


repeat. Add 5 or 10 pounds to the lifts after each cycle.

You can super set the assistance with the main and supplemental work. Just be smart about it. If you do the 3 warm up sets, the 3 work sets and 3 sets of 10@FSL, that’s 9 total sets of “main work”.

Keep assistance choices simple.

push: dips/push-ups/rope push downs, db bench, db press
pull: chins, rows (barbell or db or cable or tbar), face pulls, band pull aparts
single leg: db squat, SLDL, split squats, bugarian split squats,
core: any ab movement you want, back raises or extensions

Pick 3 total exercises and do 2-5 sets of each to hit your rep targets.Just cycle through them in between your main and supplemental sets. I think this setup would be more effective in hitting your goals than the one you provided.

Let’s say you are doing squat day. Pick your assistance that day depending on how you feel and what you want to work on. Let’s say ab wheel, dips and chins. Just do your workout like this:

squat warm up sets x3 superset with ab wheel
squat work sets x3 superset with dips
squat supplemental sets x3 superset with chins

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Any way that this can be set up for 3 times per week?

over 4 weeks
Mon: Squat
wed: Bench
Fri: DL
Mon: Press

wed: squat
Fri: Bench
Mon: DL
Wed: Press

Fri: Squat
Mon: Bench
Wed: DL
Fri: Press

The order is not important.
So 1 cycle is 4 weeks not 3 weeks.