531 for Beginners

Beginner - 531 PPS (push/pull/squat)

Day 1 Squat 531 1x5x55% 1x5x65% 3x5x75%
DB Rows 3 sets high reps
Close grip bench press 3x10

Day 2 Bench Press 531
Squat 3x8
Chin ups or Barbell Row 3 sets

Day 3 Deadlift 531
DB Bench Press 3 sets
Squat 3x8

  • %'s are based on actual 1RM, not the 90% thing. No point in making the math that much harder. Takes away the extra step.

  • Then go to the 3 rep days and then the 531 days. This will give the beginner enough volume to start with. Basically like a 5x5 with the first two worksets at a lower weight. I would take a month or so and figure out an estimated or actual 1RM before beginning this program.

  • I would also teach them to listen to their body for rest/recovery. I’m not a fan or advocate of setting aside certain days. Hit it when your body is ready to get the most out of it.

  • I personally use this program as Wendler designed it (3x5 3x3 531), but for beginners, the extra volume at the higher percentages will help.

  • I do not follow set days. Generally w/ this program, I can go 3 days on and 1 day off. It allows me to train more often (which I like) w/o burning out. If I need an extra day, I take it. It also hits my entire body.

  • The only other thing I will do is neck/rhomboids/trap stuff for a couple sets per session. But that’s me.

I would add the Military Press. Also, isn’t the original program designed for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced lifters?

I like the way you’ve set it up and the idea of training more frequently when your body is ready.

[quote]FX wrote:
I would add the Military Press. Also, isn’t the original program designed for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced lifters?[/quote]

Military press is a great movement. I personally would only use it as an assistance movement on the non-531 press day. But it’s great if someone wants it as a 531 movement.

The complaint for beginners has been “not enough volume”, even tho they could get it from assistance work. But most beginners want to begin putting mass and strength on quickly and compound movements trump anything in that department.

For intermediate lifters - I would do what I do above and mix up the non-531 movements for that day between a weighted exercise and bodyweight (squat or back raise / DB bench press or dips / Rows or Chin ups) each week to keep it interesting.

For advanced, I would switch up grips, stances, range of motion, etc. to continue making progress and setting PR’s in each type of lift (close grip bench, sumo DL, box squats, etc.) For example - stay w/ the sumo DL until you fail the cycle, then switch to conventional and then back again. I wouldn’t recommend the advanced stuff until a person has a good 2+ yrs of solid powerlifting under their belts.