T Nation

531 Questions for Vets and Possibly Mr Wendler


#1

Hello all. I am a new member and aspiring powerlifter from New Zealand. I am about to begin my 531 journey. The info in this thread and in the books (which I own) is awesome.
Some questions/discussion topics for the 531 vets and Jim if he has the time…

  1. My main goal is using the 531 and variations for powerlifting purposes. With this in mind I have decided on the Simplest Strength template to begin my 5 cycle plan.
    How do the vets recommend balancing the conditioning work when the goal is strength and mass?
  2. Do you plan 5 cycles in advance or plan them according to the results and feel of the current cycle? My thoughts are:
    SST, 531 pyramid, FSL+jokers, BBB, SVR.
  3. What decisions are the 531 flavours chosen upon? For someone who has a goal of raw strength and size be wise to alternate a strength based variation like SVR with BBB ect for each cycle or two?
  4. When fat loss/conditioning is a priority, how should the training week be modified to accomodate the increase in conditioning work?

I am still making my way through the threads for the 531 and am hoping these questions will spark some good discussion among the community of lifters here. Thanks all, train hard and have a great day.


#2

Hey mate im not jim but i have been having good success with just keeping it simple and picking 2 531 variations for my 1-5 cycles. Stick with 351 for the 5 cycles, start with something high volume for 2-3 cycles (bbb) if you are a beginner or in need of more mass do 3 cycles otherwise just the 2 cycles and pick a close variation for the bbb sets. Fsl 5x5 for 2-3 cycles. 5th cycle fsl 3x5 and joker singles on 3 and 1 weeks. I go for pr’s all 351 weeks cycles 1-3 then cycles 4-5 just 1 and 3 weeks. Condition hard but not killing myself for cycles 1-3. Condition easy cycles 4-5.


#3

[quote]Shaun87 wrote:
Hey mate im not jim but i have been having good success with just keeping it simple and picking 2 531 variations for my 1-5 cycles. Stick with 351 for the 5 cycles, start with something high volume for 2-3 cycles (bbb) if you are a beginner or in need of more mass do 3 cycles otherwise just the 2 cycles and pick a close variation for the bbb sets. Fsl 5x5 for 2-3 cycles. 5th cycle fsl 3x5 and joker singles on 3 and 1 weeks. I go for pr’s all 351 weeks cycles 1-3 then cycles 4-5 just 1 and 3 weeks. Condition hard but not killing myself for cycles 1-3. Condition easy cycles 4-5.[/quote]

Hi mate, thanks very much for the reply. I am thinking along the same lines of what you outlined. Looking to get my squat to 440 and deadlift to 500+ as my 5 cycle goal. Thinking of the SVR template for the last cycle so I can test those lifts. Your conditioning suggestion sounds good too. Carrying bit of bodyfat so will program hard conditioning on the first 2 cycles.
Just to clarify, is a cycle of 531 considered 6 weeks as per the beyond book or is it still considered 3 weeks but with a deload after 2 cycles?
Thanks again for the reply. How long have you been using the 531 methods?


#4

Not Jim but here goes…

When I started with 5-3-1 in 2007-8, I really cannot remember which - Jokers, FSL, SSL, up/down ladder, etc…had not been invented yet - or at least published.

And…I am so glad - All we did was rep maxes and break our own p.r.'s and then plug in assistance templates. And there were not near as many as them either. There wasn’t even 5-3-1 for PL.

NOR was the idea of 5 forward/ 3 back out yet - if it was I missed it.

I went for years using “triumvirate” and slamming the p.r. set and made phenomenal progress.
Every 3/4 cycles I switched exercises but stuck with “Triumvirate.”

Then 5-3-1 for PL came out and I started on 3-5-1 with bands on the first set (if I remember correctly - Jim…correct me if I am wrong as I do not have the books in front of me - I have the first ones in hard copy and not digital)

I still - to this day almost 8 years later - use 3-5-1 - attempt to slam it out on the last set - and use a form of the dynamic effort template - i.e. 8x3 or 5x5 dynamic on the first set - 5x1 for deads- etc.

I have run virtually every challenge multiple times - and they all work well (with varying degrees depending on your goals)

The point of all this:

  1. I would not advocate switching assistance templates every cycle -
  2. Jim may correct me but I would not use Jokers with FSL or BBB assistance. Go ahead and try it if you insist and let me know how it goes.
  3. In general - serving two masters means you serve none - pick one and stick with it awhile. I am referring to hard conditioning v building your powerlifting numbers. If you put prowler/sled/ sprinting in and commit to it - understand you may not be able to hit the volume required of BBB with success. You’ll find this out real quick.
    BUT…you can progress if you play your cards right and read Jim’s shit.

I have lost over 30 pounds, lowered my bp, body fat, all that shit - pushing my prowler/ dragging my sled/ and running up every hill I see. Sometimes I condition 5 days a week. I like it in a sick sort of way. But when I go ape shit like that - no way could I run BBB, etc. More than not it’s the “Jack Shit” template +abs/low back while in the gym and then my daily dose of prowling.

If you run BBB - you will get in shape - trust me.

Best of luck to ya and keep it simple for awhile - read posts on this forum, etc.


#5

[quote]Rave2.0 wrote:
Not Jim but here goes…

When I started with 5-3-1 in 2007-8, I really cannot remember which - Jokers, FSL, SSL, up/down ladder, etc…had not been invented yet - or at least published.

And…I am so glad - All we did was rep maxes and break our own p.r.'s and then plug in assistance templates. And there were not near as many as them either. There wasn’t even 5-3-1 for PL.

NOR was the idea of 5 forward/ 3 back out yet - if it was I missed it.

I went for years using “triumvirate” and slamming the p.r. set and made phenomenal progress.
Every 3/4 cycles I switched exercises but stuck with “Triumvirate.”

Then 5-3-1 for PL came out and I started on 3-5-1 with bands on the first set (if I remember correctly - Jim…correct me if I am wrong as I do not have the books in front of me - I have the first ones in hard copy and not digital)

I still - to this day almost 8 years later - use 3-5-1 - attempt to slam it out on the last set - and use a form of the dynamic effort template - i.e. 8x3 or 5x5 dynamic on the first set - 5x1 for deads- etc.

I have run virtually every challenge multiple times - and they all work well (with varying degrees depending on your goals)

The point of all this:

  1. I would not advocate switching assistance templates every cycle -
  2. Jim may correct me but I would not use Jokers with FSL or BBB assistance. Go ahead and try it if you insist and let me know how it goes.
  3. In general - serving two masters means you serve none - pick one and stick with it awhile. I am referring to hard conditioning v building your powerlifting numbers. If you put prowler/sled/ sprinting in and commit to it - understand you may not be able to hit the volume required of BBB with success. You’ll find this out real quick.
    BUT…you can progress if you play your cards right and read Jim’s shit.

I have lost over 30 pounds, lowered my bp, body fat, all that shit - pushing my prowler/ dragging my sled/ and running up every hill I see. Sometimes I condition 5 days a week. I like it in a sick sort of way. But when I go ape shit like that - no way could I run BBB, etc. More than not it’s the “Jack Shit” template +abs/low back while in the gym and then my daily dose of prowling.

If you run BBB - you will get in shape - trust me.

Best of luck to ya and keep it simple for awhile - read posts on this forum, etc.[/quote]

Hi mate thanks very much for the informative reply. Really helps reading real world experience. I’ve chosen triumvirate for assistance template in the spirit of keeping it simple . I’m intrigued about your comment about serving 2 masters. This is the part I’m stuck on . I’m not fully sure how to program conditioning when trying to build up mass via Bbb or strength via 351 or the strength challenge ect. I know it should be kept in the program but just doing more reading into how you vets have successfully programmed so it does not interfere with the main goal. Is there ever a time when there should be no conditioning done when chasing a mass gain or strength goal… Thoughts?
Thanks again for the reply mate much appreciated .


#6
  1. My main goal is using the 531 and variations for powerlifting purposes. With this in mind I have decided on the Simplest Strength template to begin my 5 cycle plan.
    How do the vets recommend balancing the conditioning work when the goal is strength and mass?

This makes no sense - you say you want to do one thing, then do the other.

  1. Do you plan 5 cycles in advance or plan them according to the results and feel of the current cycle? My thoughts are:
    SST, 531 pyramid, FSL+jokers, BBB, SVR.

I just, JUST, wrote an answer detailing this very thing. It was on this forum so all you have to do is read what I already wrote yesterday.

  1. What decisions are the 531 flavours chosen upon? For someone who has a goal of raw strength and size be wise to alternate a strength based variation like SVR with BBB ect for each cycle or two?

No, we program 5 cycles at a time. Again, this was presented just a few days ago on this forum and the past 2 years.

  1. When fat loss/conditioning is a priority, how should the training week be modified to accomodate the increase in conditioning work?

When FAT LOSS is a priority, the first thing we do is make sure the person has GREAT eating habits. We do not believe in diet since only fucking morons, literally idiots of the highest caliber, believe in diet. It has VERY LITTLE DO WITH TRAINING.

When CONDITIONING is a priority, the training is always returned to the individual’s BASE PROGRAM, which I have discussed many, many times. The only thing that might change is assistance work and the TM. Cutting your calories when conditioning is not always a good thing so I’m not sure when this myth started.

At some point, common sense is going to take over in training. Anyone with me?


#7

You need to give BBB a shot and be ready to adjust based on your individual response. Do not overthink this anymore - there are no program police that hand out citations if you burn out and tweak whatever your on. By tweaking, I mean cutting down on the conditioning so you can move forward with BBB.

When I have done the BBB challenge - I have lost SOME weight and gotten damn solid with virtually no change to my diet. But I burn out doing BBB much more than 3 months - I also ran myself into the ground trying to push my prowler 3-4 days a week with that challenge.

Thus what I am saying is if I choose the strength and mass route via BBB, I might do hard conditioning 1-2 times per week. You are getting significant conditioning work in doing BBB. The 5x10 taxes people.

But while I am doing “Jack Shit” or “Triumvirate,” I like to push the conditioning harder. In fact, that’s really the only reason I would ever plan to do “Jack shit,” other than time constraints - to leave some in the tank for the prowler/ hills.

Listen to Jim and do a search - how to work this in is in virtually all of his books and in articles here: the “Viking” article is a great example of how one might set up something.


#8

"Is there ever a time when there should be no conditioning done when chasing a mass gain or strength goal… Thoughts? "

No.

Unless you are contending for Olympic gold or chasing a world record.

BTW: That is just my opinion

I wanna be a strong, fast, and in general a badass 48 year old. I do not know much - but not doing any conditioning does not seem wise at this point in my life:)


#9

Thanks for the reply Jim . I will go through the forum and find what you wrote about the topics I asked about. Much appreciated .


#10

Rave, Thanks for the reply mate. I hear what your saying. I will check out the Viking article. Thanks again.


#11

Thanks for the helpful replies from everyone. For my first cycle I have settled on the 'Im not doing jack shit" template as I am coming back to training on a schedule after a lay off. Focusing on the main lifts and assistance if I feel good that day to break in the first cycle
After this first cycle is over I will be planning my 5 forward. The goal for the end will be to PR in the main lifts so im thinking something along the lines of SVR.
For the guys whose goal is maximal strength, how have you been successful in setting up your 5 forwards?
Cheers fellas