T Nation

5, 3, 1


So I'm thinking of taking the plunge and shifting to the much loved 5,3,1.

Am I correct that (other than the book) these are the two primary sources:



Which "modifications" are you folks using, if any?

What do you think about applying the 5,3,1 scheme to weighted chins and dips?


I just started it and its great. When i was doing starrs advanced 5x5 i could hardly train martial arts as the toll was so high . Now, im getting back the same amounts of strenght with much less time in and able to do 2 or so hours of other training each day.

I am assuming that you posted this in combat because its for fighting. I keep the assistance work to a MINIMUM. In fact i do pretty much the main lift, and one assistance excercise and thats IT. I would suggest the same if you compete in fighting.


buy the Ebook from Wendler-

5.3.1 is great- and it promotes the longevity of the lifter
it does not promote fast gains - but long term gains.
You wont see the fast jumps in numbers that you can see with other methods

It really lays it all out in great detail

things like

accessory work
the description of the lifts
are all well done

its worth the 20 bucks.

I found for me- the 5x10 approach for accessory work was too much.

that of all the templates he lays out called trinity worked best.

that is one main lift- squat dead OH press, bench- and two accessory lifts -
you just do two , that have the most benefit to those lifts.

I found the high rep all out or money sets to be too much.
that pulling or squatting anything over 85% for 15+ reps to be to hard to recover from
instead I would do the prescribed set of reps-
maybe do another set of 5 or pull/squat big doubles.

as for weighted pullups- or dips

I would aim for total reps per training session-

if its just body weight- aim for 75 reps total per session.
weighted aim for 50 and do enough sets to hit the numbers.

if you are doing it try looking at the two day a week template.

and no discussion of 'in season' training without mentioning
DeFrenco's WSFSB III It is designed for in season athletes.


Thanks guys.

Yes, 666Rich, that's why I posted it here.

I feel like my current volume is too high, and my lifts are now stagnating from what I think is a combination of lack of recovery and no longer eating at caloric excess (I'm trying to bring my weight down to where I can cut water to compete @ 185, maybe even 170, I'm around 13% body fat I'm guessing, so I still got some fat I can lose, and then see where I am).


from the book

"Dont mess with the program"

he's said to me in a thread "dont fuck with it, just do it as written"

I took it as gospel and have added some pretty good weight to my lifts. It works, trust it.


Speaking of WS4SB, DeFranco mentioned that some of his athletes were using the 5-3-1 loading scheme for their primary lifts on Max effort day. I gave that a try and it worked pretty well for me. Wendler's also said that breaking the workout into 2 weeks works well. So you could do max effort deadlift/military press one week and squat/bench the next week.

As far as athletic strength training templates, I feel like WS4SB is king.


Interesting idea. So you'd use squats/bench one week and deads/press the other on ME days. I might just try it in the future.


I train some form of MMA 12-15 hours a week and lift 4 doing 5/3/1, it works great, do not fuck with it. leave it as is. Wendler knows more than us. Just remember accessory is accessory, when fighting you will want to not put on size and rest and recover, so dont put a ton of effect into the accessory stuff, the main lift is what matters. .


So what do you guys think about using the Powerlifting version of 5/3/1 if one is also doing Martial Arts? I'm old(43)and I'm slightly worried that doing Singles will burn me out when I'm also doing Thai Boxing and Kali(and soon BJJ)as well the same week. But I have to admit, I like the idea of working some heavy Singles into my training as well.


Stick with the standard version, the Triumvirate would be best, you still do heavy singles on 5/3/1 day, just less of them.


In the 5/3/1 book, it states that the '1' is NOT a true Single. Because you are supposed to be using 90% of your true 1RM, you should be going for Reps on the last Set.

Having said all that, I may stick with the original 5/3/1 simply because I think true Singles might just be too much for me when combined with MA training.