531 2-day Split with BJJ: FSL and Reset Doubts

Hi all,

My first post so I hope I won’t get eaten or burnt.

To give you some background, I am 34 and I have overall around 3 years of gym experience split over the years but my main sport is bjj which I do from 2 to 4 times a week. I also do stretching in the mornings. I do not compete in bjj often (once, twice a year) so I do not care that much about the weight. That being said, I have been looking for a gym program where my main goal is strength and the secondary is size (upper parts especially).

After reading the main “5/3/1” book and also “5/3/1 for powerlifters”, I have started the following 5/3/1 2 day split in September:

    1st day: OHP and DL 531s + some kettlebells swings, Turkish get 
                  ups and pull ups

    2nd day: S and BP 531s + chest dips and kettlebells as above

I was doing a deload week after each of the 3 cycles which I managed to complete (missed one week). Now, I am in my 4th cycle. My initial plan was to complete 6 of them but last Saturday, doing the 3x3 BP I have not managed to complete the last reps. So far, I have found BP the most difficult exercise, even more than OHP.

Here come my questions

  • shall I reset already or still try to accomplish the cycle (531 days) and reset with the next cycle?
  • is “5 forward, 3 back” still valid approach? I saw some posts here on the forum where Jim and others advise to simply remove 10% from TMs?

Moreover, I would like to consult with you my next steps.

After the intended 6 cycles I was planning to switch to BBB, however some doubts popped up in my head once I bought “Beyond 531” last week. I have also seen here that BBB is not the best for the strength gains.

Therefore, my plan now is to:

  1. remove 10% or move back to the 2nd cycle TMs (depending on the feedback here)

  2. start the program from “beyond 531”, page 13 called “FSL: Multiple Sets” which would look like:

        1st day: OHP + FSL, DL + FSL and kettlebell swings 
        2nd day S + FSL, BP + FSL and Turkish get ups, chest dips

This will be done in 6 weeks cycles so I will do deload after 6 weeks, reset TMs (no matter with which approach) and start over again.

Here are my questions:

  • Do you think this program suits my needs (strength and size)?
  • kettles are not necessary so I will try to add them only if I feel strong enough but maybe it is already too much and you would advise to do only main lifts with FSL?

My RMs are (initial → current):

  Bench: 194 lbs -> 214,9 lbs
  Over Head Press: 88,2 lbs -> 104,7 lbs
  Squat: 194 lbs ->227 lbs
  Deadlift: 198,4 lbs -> 231,5 lbs
  Weight/ height: 176.36 lbs (80 kg)/ 5,74" (175 cm)

P.S. I also think that I overestimated my upper body RMs and underestimated the S and DL ones at the beginning of my 531 journey.

Hi Macko

Welcome to the forum.

There are several different templates or programs you could use, and a whole lot of approaches.

Your TM is probably to high. Jim recommends that you should be able to get 5 good strong reps with your TM. Wich is about 85% of your 1 RM.

I guess you are in the 3’s week and next week it’s the 1’s week.
Finish the cycle then you could take a deload week.

OR go right into the next cycle.

Look at your log, find the last weight you did 5 good strong reps with on all the lifts.

Use that weigt to calculate all your lifts.

You have 2 options in my view either do 5’s pro: 5 reps on all lifts all days no more no less. Follow with FSL 5x5 or 3 sets of 5.

OR what I like do + sets every workout on the top set.
Follow that with two cycles of FSL 3x5, Deload, new cycles.
Maybe 1 set FSL rest pause upper lift and 1 set FSL AMRAP lower.
Look ind beyond for 28 weeks of training, there are some good templates there, in my opinion.

Assistance well it’s assistance, I would keep the pull ups one day and some DB rows the other, keep the KB stuff, thats great.

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5 forward, 3 back is no longer part of Jim’s programs.

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I got really sick last days and ended up doing a full deload week in bed.
Anyway, I would like to still check on the amounts I am going to deload.

What I have discovered after looking at my log is that for BP and S, I have not been really able to do 5 reps on the last 1+ day.

Having said that, I need to adjust my weights. Can I simply:

  • deload my TMs by 10% for DL and OHP,

  • deload by 20% for BP and S?

I am understand that there has to be a consistency but 10% does not seem to be enough for the two problematic lifts (or simply remove 20% from all my lifts to make it simple?).

Thanks for the support here. I appreciate it.

If you can do 3 fast, high quality reps at your Training Max it is 90%.

If you can do 5 fast, high quality reps at your Training Max it is 85%.

Take a week and work up to your Training Maxes for 3-5 reps. If you know you can’t currently do your TM for 5 reps, take 10% (or 20% etc.) off and try hit that for 5 reps. You should have a rough idea of what this is. Don’t worry about taking too much off. Remember that a core principle of 531 is to start light.

Take it from a person who used to training with too high a TM, you will never be hurt by knocking too much of your TM.

As a person who also used to do a lot of martial arts and did a lot of lifting with 531 as well, I recommend you purchase Forever. I know if I had it when I did kickboxing it would have made a big difference in how I organized my training.

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