T Nation

5/3/1 Volume


I started this training program. My question is volume. This is considerably less volume than I am used to. I'm only through week 2 of it, so I'm sure as the weight goes up it will get harder. For those of you who have completed this training, did you feel like you still had a lot of energy left when you finished the workouts? I'm doing it completely as directed, no extra stuff or altering it.



No extra stuff? That is not 'as directed', or recommended.



5/3/1 I just use as the protocol for my main lifts. That is where it stops I feel. The remainder of my workout, the 'assistance' exercises, I use to manipulate the overall volume. I need more volume than just 2 or 3 assistance exercises, so I use anywhere from 4 to 8 depending on what the days focus is. I.e. bench = chest, deads = back, military press = shoulders, etc.

I tried one of Wendler's sample programs. I liked it a lot, but I didn't feel it was enough volume on the assistance work to get what I want out of it.

Basically if you feel like you aren't getting the most out of the sample workout, then make adjustments where you feel there need to be adjustments. If it's right or wrong, that doesn't matter. It is a learning experience and you'll determine what works better.


Andy - I have been doing the assistance work as outlined in the T-Nation article with Jim.

I wasn't adding any extra assistance lifts with it, as he preaches against this. However, I was wondering how many do. I feel like I would benefit from 1 to 2 extra lifts for each group.


Most lifters feel the 5/3/1 volume is low. Jim addresses this on any number of occasions, and advises against adding extra exercises. I believe this is because (with the possible exception of lifters with a powerlifting background) most lifters take several months to adapt to true low rep training.

After a couple of times through the progression the extra volume will interfere with improvement on the â??Moneyâ?? lifts. Jim would call this â??Majoring in the Minorsâ??. If you are adding exercises for volumes sake, you are not following 5/3/1 protocol; you are creating an alternative percentage based program. You may get results from this approach, but it is not 5/3/1.


Just add assistance work...

For example....

On my Military day....I do my presses 5/3/1 style with chins in between each pressing set. I then do the back off sets of military 3x10 with chins in between each set.

Followed by 3 sets of light laterals with chins in between each set.

This is done North of Vag style...


I really don't see the problem here. Maybe I misread his book but it seems to me that 5 STRAIGHT sets of 10 for assistance work is enough volume.
Nevertheless, since you're posting here I will assume your goals are more boybuilding oriented. No biggie.

After your 531 bench do incline DB presses, flies, peck deck, chest dips, whatever float your boat. Throw in some curls too.
After 531 Deadlift do a bunch of pulldowns and rows and shit.
531 OH Press day? Lateral raises, face pulls, front raises (if you must), those will hit those tiny shoulders of you plenty. Maybe you could do your tricep work on this day, for example. Just design a standard BB split where you use the 531 protocol for the main lifts like someone above mentioned.

So what are you gonna do after 531 squat now?


After years of doing heavy volume training sessions and wrecking my shoulders in the process I have begun to use Wendler's 5/3/1 protocol. I am only on the end of my third week but I am feeling better physically already, I follow (not eactly) the 531 Dave Tate periodization style, to me the volume is just right. 15 sets of assistance work of the 10 - 12 rep range. I do however tend to add one extra exercise (i.e. curl movement, extra tri movement)at times

Wendler says its tough getting used espescially when many of us are used to training in quantity rather than quality (not speaking for everyone) and it is. The shorter weight training session has allowed me to concentrate on my conditioning more, which, in 10 years of weight lifting I never did. Conditioning is also vital to the 5/3/1 program.

All in all, its an adjustment, but like another poster said if you add or change too much your not doing 531 anymore, a little tinker here in there may be ok.


Periodisation bible or Boring But Big template


I will give an example of how I increase my overall volume while still using the 531.
I'll give an example of bench day and deadlift day.

Do 5/3/1 reps for bench

incline bench
3 sets

DB Bench
3 sets

incline flies
2-3 sets

cg bench
2-3 sets

tricep extension
2-3 sets

now for deadlifts

531 reps for deadlift

bb rows
3-4 sets

kroc rows
3-4 sets

2-3 sets

then various bicep curls.

Just get in the gym, do work, and enjoy yourself.