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5/3/1 Variations with Barbell Rows?

I’m a big fan of compound barbell movements. I love that 5/3/1 has programs involving bench/squat/deadlift/press, but I wanted to see if there are any good variations out there with rows as well. I’ve been running 5/3/1 BBB for several months now and am looking to change it up with a 5 day type split.

Ideally what I’m looking for is something like this:

Monday- 5/3/1 Deadlift + Deadlift accessories
Tuesday- 5/3/1 Bench + Bench accessories
Wednesday- 5/3/1 Rows + Rows accessories
Thursday- Off/Cardio
Friday- 5/3/1 Squats + Squat accessories
Saturday- 5/3/1 Press + Press accessories
Sunday- Off/Cardio

Basically hitting the Big 4 lifts + Rows hard each week for a total of 5 lifting days then two rest/cardio days mixed in. The lifts would all follow the normal 4 week 5/3/1 meso cycles.


Here’s a program I threw together as an example of what I’m looking for. Progression follows standard 5/3/1 for the main lifts then on all the accessories progression would be based on linear progression of the smallest increments (Once you hit all the reps for all the sets, increase by the smallest amount next time). It’s basically a higher volume/frequency version of the 5/3/1 Bodybuilder Template laid out in Mens Fitness http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/531-variations?page=2

5/3/1 Deadlift
4x10 Stiff Leg Deadlift
3x10 Leg Curls
4x15 Calves
3x10 Shrugs
3x10 Hammer Curls

5/3/1 Bench Press
4x10 Incline Bench Press
3x10 Dumbbell Bench Press
3x10 Dumbbell Flyes
3x10 Dips
3x10 Dumbbell Shoulder Press
4x15 Tricepts Pushdown

5/3/1 Barbell Rows
4x10 Dumbbell Rows
3x10 Lat Pulldown
3xFailure Chin Ups
3x10 Face Pulls
4x15 Curls

Thursday: Off/Cardio

5/3/1 Squats
4x10 Leg Press
3x10 Hack Squats
3x12 Leg Extensions
3x12 Leg Curls
4x15 Calves

5/3/1 Overhead Press
4x10 Dumbbell Shoulder Press
4x10 Dumbbell Incline Press
3x10 Front Raises
3x10 Lateral Raises
3x10 Face Pulls
4x15 Tricepts Pushdown


So essentially you don’t want to do 5/3/1 any more. Got it.

Or you could do barbell rows as assistance and keep doing 5/3/1. Your call.

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Where would barbell rows fit in as assistance on the 5/3/1 BBB program? I could swap them for dumbbell rows but it’s still the same overall volume. Chest gets < 70 reps a week. Shoulders get < 70 reps per week. Legs and Back get < 120 reps per week and that’s only because of the carry over between squats and deadlifts. I"m really looking for something with a bit more volume overall and I’ve enjoyed 5/3/1 so far. If there aren’t any alternatives I like then I’ll look elsewhere

Just my opinion but this is a terrible idea, you could just train like an athlete and get big as a byproduct of getting strong.

I’d suggest using Triumvirate or Periodisation Bible instead of BBB. All in the book, should fit the bill.

This is in the book… and in the BBB challenge article on this website, I believe.

It is assistance work and can be done on any training day. The total reps is dependent on your current program.

I have written, many times, about this very subject and the downfalls of using BB rows as a main movement. But do whatever you want.


Personally I think you have too much volume in the template/example you provided

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Rows are not really a good fit for 5/3/1 reps/sets as they tend to degrade into “hump the bar rows” with fatigue (Wendlers words). Ultimately, however, you need to customize the program to your own personal needs and goals, as long as it’s logical.

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Whats the main objective behind this? Like what are your goals for this program? If you’re hitting deads, pullups and db rows hard I have no doubt in my mind your bb rows will go up. I used to bb row every week and I got okay results with them, but once I stopped doing them.and focused on those three things my bb row working sets went up almost 40 pounds. Doing more isn’t always doing better

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