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5/3/1 With Strongman

Recently I decided to switch things up a bit. So I took traditional 5/3/1 (3 days a week) and put the deadlift and overhead press together on the same day. This spilled over into more ideas. This is an experiment and so far it looks like this:

Day 1
Squat 5/3/1 5’s pro
Squat slightly less boring but big 3x10 @ 50-60%
Farmers Walk 4-5 trips of 50 yds

Day 2
Bench 5/3/1 5’s pro
Boring but big Bench 5x10 at 50-60%
Pull-ups between each set of bench 50-60 total reps
skull crusher 2-3 x 20
Face pull 120 reps

Day 3
Deadlift 5/3/1 5’s pro
Log press 5/3/1 5’s pro
first set last of deadlift 3x5
boring but big Log press 3x10 @63%

I may add some stones or tire flip on an off day or add a bit more accessory work on 5/3/1 days. Again this is a work in progress. Conditioning is hills 2-3 times a week and some walking.

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I like it. 531 training principles are sound and can be used to make anyone on any lift stronger.

My only comments (which are purely preference):
Strong man training typically focuses on front squat over back squat. However this is not like a golden rule.
Try 531 front squat - then take the same weight and do a 20 rep widow maker set.
I done this for a few months. It blew my front squat up from 100kg x 6 to 130 kg x 6 in almost no time.

I’d swap the bench or BBB bench for incline. Not both - but one. Incline will help your log.


Just to clarify - is this a 20 rep back squat with the same weight as your front squat top set?

Yeah sorry. Front squat 531 then back squat 20 reps same weight.

Its not pretty, its not nice, but its effective. Honestly its my favourite work out. Its just so simple and so brutal. You could call leg day off after just those two exercises.

I done this (along with other bits) over lock down because I had limited weight and could not do heavy back squats.
I went back to heavy back squats recently and shock - they have increased as well.
On March 15th my back squat was 155kg for 6, last week I was doing 5x5 at 160kg and was smoking it. So for the last set I went for 165kg and still had a bit more in the tank. I felt I could manage 170kg for a single set of 5.

15kg on my back squat in 5 months whilst never back squatting more than 85% of my TM. I’ll be honest as well. I still feel like I’m not hitting my stride with the squat. There I’ve only had 2 heavy squat session in 5 months. Once I get “into” again - I honestly think I’ll get 3-4 out at 180kg. That will be AMAZING. I think I could have added a good 20 / 25kg to my squat over lock down.


I saw one of your sets of 20, amazing work mate.

Is that 20 reps with FSL weight?

Use the weight from your top set of front squats for your 20 rep back squat

As @dagill2 says. Just take your top set front squat and 20 rep back squat.

For example if you were doing:
Front squat
75x5, 85x3, 95x1+
Then back squat

You will need to eat to maintain this. As in lots.

You’ll make me blush.
But thanks. I just wanna be bigger better stronger. And squatting heavy things for high reps seems to work.


I do this, too! I was reading Dan John and he prescribes lifting heavier sets of 5 on front squat (although I often use Zercher) and back squats for reps of 10 or more. It works great for 531, where you do your 531 sets with zercher/front and BBB (or widowmaker) with back squat.

Another thing I have done that works well is also combining DL with OHP day, but I do it a bit different. I do 5x2 of deadlifts, with big jumps each time (135, 225, 275, 315, 355 or along these lines adjusted for strength), then move on to the OHP workout, using straight leg deads as an assistance.

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This is honestly the holy grail of workouts for me. It’s there is no one walking away from that wanting more. I stick single leg work on the end. But its SO light as I’m totally blown out.

Ohp and dead lifts work in the same day as well.

Have a look at Kentucky Strong and Aaron Moody for examples of 5/3/1 applied to strongman. Particularly for how to handle squats and bench.

The supplemental work in those programs can be substituted for any 5/3/1 supplemental scheme.