531 For a Beginner on Website vs Book


I’ve recently purchased and read through the 2nd edition of Wendler’s book, and find myself a tad confused.

On his website, Jim’s 531 For A Beginner program has you doing a 5x5 at FSL(First Set Last) for each main lift.

But on his book, there’s no mention of the FSL. He also adds that the second of the main lifts should NOT be performed at the 531 rep scheme, aka no use of the last set AMRAP, except for the press. So none of the bench presses will go through the AMRAP set.

What should one do at this point? Has anyone got any experience over this?

If you had fully read that post by Jim you would have seen he said that he almost always recommends people just run the base program by itself.

Just do the base 5/3/1 program found in the second edition book. Pick an assistance template and get to work. If you are a true beginner you probably don’t need to worry about supplemental stuff like FSL for months or maybe even a couple years.

There are several beginner routines and they are all solid. The one on the website is a full body routine so you just hit the lifts more frequently.

You could do that one or just the base program. Whatever you choose to do, do it as written.

First and foremost, follow the core principles of the program and you will make progress.

Pick a winner, then attack with enthusiasm and vigor. If your attitude and effort are there, you’ll come out winning either way.

I have clearly stated that I have read the post and that I was still confused. Patronising is never the answer, friend.

I like the Beginner style as it fits across three days. And Jim wrote the program. If he didn’t think it was important, it wouldn’t be there in the first place. Key word is beginner. Not a novice. I’m still very much a beginner and Starting Strength is beginning to take it’s toll.

All I wondered was about the discrepancy between the two programs listed by the same author. FSL? No FSL? AMRAP on the second main lift? No AMRAP?

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Cheers bud. Pick one and attack. Sounds good. I’ll go with the one on his website. If it’s too much volume, I’ll switch to the one on his book.

I do not believe he was trying to be patronizing.
He was just being thorough and relating as much information as he can.
His advice is solid and included several options, including the ones you asked about.

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Well there are some years between the two programs… And I think Jim has altered a bit on the website. I don’t recall him doing the 3 categories i 2011.
Jim has evolved. These days his almost all in for FSL 5x5. And no Rep PR’s.
He likes to do 5’s pro on the main lift followed by FSL 5x5. Then assistance for the three categories. Doing it for two cycles then one cycle of Rep PR’s.
That is boring, I think.
The OG with Rep PR’s on the main lift is great and gives you a goal.
So if you ask wich one to choose or why the difference.
Then choose the one that you like.
The difference, well I think it’s because the program evolves all the time. Not the principles, they stay.
If you comes frem SS 3 days a week, try to fit in an extra day. I like to train mon-tue-thur-sat - press-squat-bench-DL.
If your daily life only permits 3 days then try this:

And read this:


Appreciate the links, brother!

Interesting variation. FSL for only ONE of the main lifts per day. I’ll see how I get on with the website version and if it turns out to be too taxing, will drop down the volume accordingly.

I can only train 3 days per week because LIFE so will have to make use of a 3-day template.

They both work. Jim hasn’t released a program that doesn’t work. Use whichever one you like the most.

Thank you.

Stupid question but any thoughts on the assistance work? For example doing FSL after 5/3/1 bench then some incline DB presses? Or rather just hit triceps/pushups instead?

Really inconsequential. As long as the main work and supplemental work is getting hit hard, you can do whatever you want for assistance.