T Nation

531 Better Done 3 or 4 Days Per Week?


Hi Jim/everybody. As a beginner... could you tell me if I would be best served doing 531 four days per week.... or could I do it over three days without any cost to the results of my training? Thank you


Our general beginner prep program in our gym is three days/week - a combination of lifting, running, jumping and calisthenics.


Thanks Jim. How long would you recommend I stay on one of your begginer programs for?


As long as you need. You dont need a fancy program, no matter what your level. When I was at my strongest, I did a basic program. Effort, belief and motivation.


@Jim_Wendler, for hardgainers- I am on the 4x right now. It's tough w my work travel I end up having to make up days sometimes. if I wanted to go 3x a week in my next cycle what's best approach?

Was thinking the
1)Squat Day stays as is,
2)Bench day stays the same besides I add in another piece of assistance work for the 1leg work/hams/abs/low back that isn't there now
3) Combine Deadlift and Press day but don't do any assistance work for pushing that day w/ the volume I am already getting from the Press?


Thanks again jim....


I do 4x week, Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri. At 40/yo the 3 days a week of rest is good. I did 3x week a couple years ago, Mon-Wed-Fri, and it was good as well. It just depends on schedule, sounds like yours is complicated with travel. For me my work week is easier to stay on schedule and use sat/sun as overflow if I miss a day during the week. For example this week I can't lift on Friday so i'll do it Sunday. Monday a new week starts all over again, week after week, pr after pr, i love it.

Good luck.


Im in a similar boat with travel.... I have to rely on public transport (absolutely shit and takes a long time to get anywhere). Need to work on getting a proper mode of travel!!


I do this on nearly every 531 template as just dont recover well on a 4 x wk schedule.

Just go mon-wed-fri-mon for the four workouts;


so you essentialy take the fourth day and do it on the following monday?


I do the same thing. One week will have two lower body and the next will have two upper body days.
Mon Sq
Weds BP
Fri DL
Weds Sq
Fri BP
Mon DL


This is how the original 5/3/1 program was written. Please read the books!


Searching the threads but haven’t found my answer…

Would it be better to do the total body program or switch to traditional 5/3/1 3 days/week as discussed above? Or is it just personal preference?




Forest for the trees.


You can hit full body workouts 3x a week while still following the 3 main lifts a week principle.

Squats/Deadlifts supersetted with push-ups/dips.
Presses supersetted with single-leg/core.
Chins/Rows every workout.

Bingo Bango Bongo.