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531 Beefcake Questions

Hi all,

I’ve been looking at 531 BBB Beefcake and I’m really buzzing to get cracking with it but I have a couple of questions to make sure I’m understanding things correctly (sorry if these have been asked before):

  1. For once JW is very specific on accessories with 531 Beefcake but doesn’t seem to specifically list any pulling between the main lift sets. I know historically he’s promoted pulls between ALL pushing sets, including the main lift, but I was wondering if this was still the case with the beefcake program as it doesn’t say?

  2. The article doesn’t mention it, but I assume by the design of the supplementary and accessory work that main lifts are better done as 5s PRO rather than 5/3/1 with AMRAP?

  3. Given that the BBB lifts are being done at FSL weights, I’m assuming this would be better run with a slightly lower TM of around 80-85%?

If I’ve got it right, it’ll look something like this…


  • Squat 5s PRO
  • Squat 5x10 @ FSL
  • Dips x50
  • Chins x50


  • Press 5s PRO (ss with Chins 5x10??)
  • Press 5x10 @ FSL / ss with Rows 5x10
  • Ab work x50
  • Single leg work x25 per side


  • Rest


  • Deadlift 5s PRO
  • Deadlift 5x10 @ FSL
  • Dips x50
  • Facepulls x100


  • Bench 5s PRO (ss with Chins 5x10??)
  • Bench press 5x10 @ FSL / ss with Rows 5x10
  • Ab work x50
  • Single leg work x25 per side


  • Rest


  • Rest

You superset rows with your 5 x 10 pushing sets. You might want to reread Jim’s artcile

Thanks, but I was asking about adding pulls between sets of the main 531 lift, not the 5x10 BBB lifts. For example:

Press (Warmup) x5 @ 40%
Chins x10
Press (Warmup) x5 @ 50%
Chins x10
Press (Warmup) x3 @ 60%
Chins x10
Press x5 @ 65%
Chins x10
Press x5 @ 75%
Chins x10
Press x5+ @ 85%

The article makes no specific mention of this this, that I can see but I know JW has encouraged this in the past. However, with BBB beefcake already being high volume I wanted to check that this was still the case.

  1. Don’t do chins on press day, you do those on squat day.
  2. I did 5/3/1 my first cycle and 3/5/1 the latter. I preferred the latter.
  3. Good idea

You can do it FSL or taper down. I’d only recommend the latter if you are having a really good day and want to push/challenge yourself a little extra.

FWIW, to make the time limit of 20m I had to superset everything except the main lift.

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Thanks Allberg. Should I be doing some sort of pull inbetween the 531 sets though?

Maybe not chins but what about cable rows? DB rows? Pullups/downs? Even some band pull aparts or more facepulls?

No .


Personally, I might do a corrective exercise but since you are considering adding in DB rows etc. it’d probably be unwise for you to add in anything since you appear predisposed to overdoing stuff.

So no.

And, just so we are clear what I mean about no, I mean:

Allberg, I’m “predisposed to overdoing stuff?” Quite the assumption you’ve drawn there given that you know nothing about me (I’ve been a member of these forums less than 24hrs!)

I’m “predisposed” to making sure I follow the plans as JW intends. Unfortunately the way in which he lays them out can sometimes be unclear.

I’m not asking “Should I add them in”, I’m asking “Am I supposed to be doing them already bu default”.

If he intends for pulls to be supersetted inbetween the 531 sets (as he often does) then I’ll do them. If he doesn’t then I wont.

No need for the attitude.

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In Beyond 531 JW mentions on numerous occasions the idea of doing some kind of pull between 531 pushing sets and specifically lists as examples:

Rows (gasp!)
T Bar rows
Face pulls

…and he openly acknowledges that he doesn’t always specifically write this in his templates.

Do not do them.


I didn’t claim that you are. It was my subjective interpretation, given the questions you were asking, that it appeared as if you were.

No attitude intended. Sorry.

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No harm mate. Takes a big man to apologise. All the best


Sorry to resurrect this but has anyone run this programme and if so, did you use with traditional 531 or 5s pro?

Given the look of the accessory work i’m leaning more towards 5s pro as it could be more manageable than 531 with AMRAP.

Ive only ever used “traditional” 531 for my main lifts but by my understanding 5s pro uses the same percentages as 531 but with sets of 5 across the board and no AMRAP on the final set.

The only week it would theoretically be a struggle would be week 3 which is 5 reps at 95% of TM, but with a sensible TM of around 80-85% that should still be reasonable.

Direct quote from the article:

“Your main work must be proportional to your supplemental work. In the case of BBB, the supplemental work is hard (as in a lot of volume is done with a “big” movement.) Because of this, the main work (main sets of the program) must be done in a limited manner”

Given that the guidelines are generally that you should be able to do 5 solid reps with 100% of your TM, I don’t imagine 95% should pose many problems.

Hi Dagill2,

Thanks for the reply mate. Yeah I took that quote as JW hinting at something like 5s pro or at least 531 without the AMRAP sets. Never can be 100% sure when reading his stuff though and the beefcake article is pretty vague so thought it best to check.

Ref your second comment, what sort of TM are you basing that on though mate? 5 reps at 100% of a 90% TM is a big jump from an 5 reps at 100% of an 80% TM.

For example, if you had a theoretical 1RM of 100kg for the press then pressing 90kg for 5 clean reps would be much more difficult than pressing 80kg for 5. Although in reality that won’t matter as the heaviest you’ll ever go is 95% of TM in week 3 (unless that’s changed as well since I last did 531!!) :slight_smile:

Either way, still depends on getting the TM right to start with. I’ve always done 90% in the past, but looking at this I’m leaning more towards 85%, maybe even 80%.

Your instinct seems to match mine on both of those.

I base my TM on something I can do 5 clean reps on, rather than as a % of 1RM because I think 1RMs are too fickle to base a TM on. Just my 2c. I think many people use 85% with Beefcake.

Thanks mate, that’s reassuring to hear. Got another 3.5 weeks to finish up what I’m doing then it’s beefcake time!

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Good lifting man.

I think Jim has gravitated to not supersetting between the 531 sets of the main lift so you can really put your focus and emphasis on them. In the original Krypteia, he had you supersetting through the warm ups and 531 sets and supplemental, but in the recent variation he only has the supersetting start with the supplemental lifts. I’ve done it both ways, here are my thoughts:

  1. If your overall goal is more conditioning/overall performance you might like the supersetting through the entire sequence. Many can’t do weighted pull ups between sets BBB sets of squats, so you need a pretty good level of conditioning and relative strength.

  2. If your goal is more strength oriented and focusing on improving your big lifts, don’t superset through your 531 sets. Focus entirely on strong, clean reps here.

In the more recent krypteia version, he has you supersetting two movements between each supplemental set. So: something like 10 squats, 10 dips, 10 pull ups, and repeat 5 times. That way you still finish all your assistance when you finish your main lift.