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5s Pro and 5/3/1 PR Sets


Hey Jim,

I would like to know what the appropriate application would be for the base 5/3/1+ sets versus the 5s pro set up for the main lifts.

It is my understanding with the 5/3/1+ sets that going for a PR set too often can wear you down, whereas the 5s pro is ideal for returning from time away from lifting, beginners, and atheletes seeking to maintain/gain strength.

If you have time, please correct me if I’m wrong so I can better understand how to use these two methods.

Thanks, Jim.



You are on the right track. However, PR’s do NOT wear you down. What wears people down is how they program everything else.

I’d say almost every single template I’ve been given to “see if you think this is good” fails because everyone is trying to do everything, every day, every week. So they will do BBB, PR sets, push the Prowler 4 days/week, do BJJ 3 times a week and do 5 different assistance lifts per workout. Also, they do an extra arm day.

There has to be a balance about it. You can do PR sets AND hard conditioning - but guess what needs to lessened a great deal? And guess how you MUST do your conditioning?

You can do PR sets and assistance work, but take a guess on what needs to be eliminated and replaced with other work?

You can do a lot of things but you can’t do a lot of things all at once. But I’d say everyone is trying to do that. And after the next book, no one will have a goddamn excuse for being ignorant about programming. I won’t even entertain other template ideas - these are them, this is what you do - do it. Simple. All conditioning principles, warm-ups, main lifts, supplemental and assistance is covered. All neatly packaged and easy to apply.

I don’t know if this is a generational thing or just part of learning about training. it baffles me though.

5’s PRO can be BOTH the base program AND a recovery program. It depends on the athlete/lifter and how they program. For example, if one does BBB for 2 cycles, you can do 5’s PRO/5x5 FSL for 3 cycles.

Obviously BBB is not ideal for many lifters, so they might do 5’s PRO/5x5 FSL for 3 cycles and do PR work for 2 cycles.

There are literally people doing FSL AND BBB work in the same training day. I never wrote that, never even alluded to it and there is no way anyone can decipher that from one thing I’ve ever read or wrote.

I thank you for being smart about this. Hopefully this answers your questions.


This is great. I really appreciate you taking the time, Jim. I’ve wanted to get onto your private forum for some time now to ask some of these questions, but I have a growing 12 year old boy and one still in diapers so they take monetary priority.

If there’s one thing that lifting has taught me, it’s the need for balance. There are a lot of programs/methods out there that try to push everything up all at once, so maybe that has something to do with everyone wanting to push so hard all the time. Also, everyone thinks they need to do something for everything these days. I think they forget that you program for performance and for strength in the four lifts. All killer, no filler. 5/3/1 is not a physique building program. People seem to miss that.

I like your approach to training economy. That’s why, as I’ve said before, I’ve only run your templates as written. I’d much rather take the advice from an experienced lifter who’s put in the work and knows what’s effective rather than someone who thinks they know a better way. As I’ve said before, you do this for a living. Not me.

Can’t wait for the book to be released. Hope you’re still laying it down in Locust Whip. Shit’s heavy.



Sorry for hijacking this, but i learned it the hard way in the past. Tried to get everything at once. Result was, i got way less i would have got if i just do things as written. But as i read this post from jim, there is one question.

In the original edited 531 Book there is no statement on (not) pushing the 5+/3+/1+ while using BBB. In the powerlifting book where the offseason for mass is explained (looks similar to BBB but with a drop set) is stated just to use prescribed reps. And with BBB challenge also. What is with the quite normal BBB? My suggestion was just to make it a game time decision. On a good day push the PR set and continue with BBB. One a bad day just hit prescribed reps and move on to (light) BBB.


It’s usually 5’s PRO.