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5/3/1 with Only Trap Bar and Dip/Pull-Up Station?

All I have to strength train with is a trap bar, dip and pull up station.

I’ll probably train 2x a week for about 45 minutes, as I’m also fitting in work, running, cycling, surfing, kayaking, climbing, hiking etc. so would like to be as efficient as possible with my time.

Planning to do 531 for trap bar (maybe with FSL 5x5) and just do a lot of reps of dips/chins lots of different grips as supersets. Every now and then test my dips and chins with an all out set.

How would you go about programming these exercises 2x a week?

If you live in a place that allows you to do all of these activities, that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, training related, I think you can make progress training your deadlift once a week. Twice a week is fine, but normally you’d probably only deadlift once a week and if you’re doing all of those other activities, your legs are probably already getting worked plenty.

I can’t link it but look up “Limited Training Time; Maximum Results” on Jim Wendler’s blog. I think it’ll be really helpful.

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I’d go for that busy man template referenced above, and make an upper body day using 531 for Trap Bar Press, or at least press it/row it/bench it for reps if getting it into position is an issue


@paskimmat - he made another great point - you can use the trap bar for more than just deadlifting - he mentioned a few movements, and the only other one I can think of would be RDL’s. If you don’t have a rack you may not be able to bench or press but if you can deadlift, RDL, and row it, then you’ll be able to find a few movements like dips and pushups for your upper body.

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Of I were you - I’d do:
531 trap bar deadlift - with a drop set
Dips double progression model adding weight where you can
Pull ups double progression model adding weight where you can.
I would suggest 531 for the dips/pull ups. But I’m not sure the numbers apply. So just follow the principles. Start with a weight you can move easily, use compound moves, ad weight slowly and set PRs.

And then do lunges, press ups and curls to finish off.

I’d run this 2x a week. But to stop you from running a 3 week cycle in 1.5 weeks, I’d keep both of week 1s work out the same, both of week 2s works out the same, both of week 3s work outs the same.
You’ll get bigger and stronger like this.

You can really get a great workout with that set up.

Dips, pull ups, and TB DL’s are awesome moves that will cover all your bases. I would do the following:

Day 1:
531 TB DL, then

5 round circuit of:
10 pull ups
15 dips
(adjust numbers as needed for dips/chins).

Day 2:

Dips 531-style: either add weight, or simply work up to a near all-out set.

Circuit: 5x

15 push ups (dips may be too much here, so do push ups)
10 pull ups.

Day three
531 pull ups (weighted or just work up to near all out set)

5x circuit

FSL TB DL (5 reps)
15 dips
10 rows (inverted from the dips handles)


I am very fortunate to live somewhere that does allow me to do all of those activities, I’m by the coast but not far from a selection of mountains and large hills.

Some interesting ideas in here, but some I can’t really use as I’ll only strength train about 2x a week.

Using deficit trap bar as well as regular trap bar deadlift is a great idea to hit more quads, one which I’ll definitely take on.

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I do like all the responses given so far (especially @antiquity) , but here’s my suggestion:

DAY 1 (e.g. Monday): Lifting

  1. TBDL: 531 +/- Joker Sets
  2. Dips: 3-5 sets to failure, sufficient rest (>2 min) between sets
  3. Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups: As above
  4. Choice of 2-4 isolation type hypertrophy exercises (listed below)

DAY 2 (e.g. Wednesday): Speed / power work

I like to do hill sprints, but whatever floats your boat.

DAY 3 (e.g. Friday): Lifting

  1. TBDL: 10 x 5 FSL or 5 x 10 FSL (I’d recommend the former)
  2. Dips: Set a rep goal for time (50, 75, 100 etc)
  3. Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups: As above
  4. Choice of 2-4 isolation type hypertrophy exercises (listed below)

DAY 4 (e.g. Saturday): Speed / Power stuff

As for day 2

I would also do some kind of low-level aerobic exercise on the 2-3 remaining days of the week, because y’know health and stuff

ISOLATION Exercises:


  • Nordics
  • Reverse Nordics
  • Slider leg curls
  • Sissy Squats
  • Calf raises


  • Not isolation, but you can do like infinite push-ups without a huge deficit (as long as they look good)
  • Flyes with plates
  • Sandwich squeeze press with plates

Shoulders / Traps

  • Any kind of raise with plates
  • Halos with plates
  • Bus drivers with plates
  • Trap bar shrugs

Grip / Forearms

  • Trap bar holds
  • Pinch holds
  • Trap bar march in place


  • Curls / tricep extensions with plates

Neck training


I recently did a very similar workout of TB DL’s, presses, and pull ups. I did TB DL as the 531 lift (using 5’s PRO), and then did the circuit of presses and pull ups and 5 reps of TB DL at FSL. Really liked it. It’s similar to Krypteia Redux on jimwendler.com. Just swap presses for dips.

I’m a big believer in pull ups and dips, and if I could pick an upper push and pull these would be them. And the TB DL allows you to get some lower body work regularly without beating you up like barbell DL’s or back squats. Mix in some pull ups and rows and you’re good.


100% agreed mate.

I’d also say for OP that performing trap bar deadlifts from a large deficit (>4-5 inches) will basically turn the deadlift a squat. As such, you could almost treat TBDL and large-deficit TBDL as a hinge and squat pattern, respectively, and use each as separate 531 lifts

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Hi all, just started 5/3/1 and I’m in pretty much the same situation as the OP. I have a trap bar which i can clean and press and deadlift. I’d have to fill in everything else as assistance, but what i was wondering was about frequency. I’d like to do 4 days for example…

Mon & Thu: Press and assistance
Tue & Sat: Deadlift and assistance

Would that work or would less days be better?

All expertise is greatly appreciated.

You could pull that schedule off in the following: I would suggest doing one of the days using 531 main lift percentages - and even a PR if you’re wanting to - and the second day do the supplemental work. FSL or BB for example.

Something like:
TB DL 531
Assistance 50-100 in each category

Next time that week for DL:
BBB TB DL using FSL weight or lighter
Assistance 25-50 each category


Of course! that makes a lot of sense!

Thanks Antiquity, sound advice! :facepunch:t4:

Really? Is it open or am I missing something? lol

No it’s not open but if you can clean it to your hips (like a stone load) and then do a hip thrust, you will end up inside the bar so you can press. and then to lower it you just squat it down on a tilt. Obviously there’s gonna be a time when you can’t clean the weight but I’m not quite there yet.

I’ve just got a barbell, with some kbs, rings and chin up bar. So I’ve been programming around a similar issue since the spring.

I’ve done two main programmes that worked and lots of faffing around with wods etc that didn’t. I normally do 3 days a week and add power cleans and rows as main work.

1st; ABA style programme with A being 531 power clean and press, press with fsl widowmaker added. And B being 531 row & deadlift, deadlift with fsl widowmaker added

2; A BBS style programme where I did a leader/anchor set up.

Leader 6 weeks, 3 days a week.
5 pros row and clean. With SSL (slowly built up total reps for this)
5 pros press and deadlift
Weekend session BBS sets (10x5) of press and deadlift. Super setted with accessory. Slowly built up to FSL weights for deadlift, started at 50% and added 2.5% each week.

531 PRs row and clean
531 PRs press and deadlift
Weekend session, 5x5 FSL press and deadlift.

This second programme is similar to what @antiquity stated and has worked excellently for me. Hit PRs in the anchor but didn’t feel broken, especially midweek. The big leader session at the weekend meant I could take my time and eat loads.

As I’m now in winter and workout outside. I’ll probably do something similar but 2 days of barbell and two days of walrus.
1 day will be 5 pros and 1 day BBS sets.

It was my first attempt at a leader/anchor set up and waiting 7 weeks to see if it worked is a little hard. But I think Im going to be doing this style for some time now.

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