T Nation

6 Month, 50lb Improvement

I have never wanted to help someone less after reading through this thread. @ActivitiesGuy and @flipcollar , you guys are saints.

Just to make this comment productive, I’ll include that both of you and @isdatnutty totally understand how the progression of 5/3/1 actually works and every argument provided was correct. This is usually the analogy I use to explain how increases in TMs aren’t relevant to increases in total strength.

Let’s say, on my 5s week of 5/3/1, I deadlift 800lbs for 8 reps. Next week, on my 3s week, I end up deadlifting 820lbs for 11 reps. Even though my TM never increased, we’d agree I got stronger between week 1 and week 2, no?

Whenever beginners and untrained folks use 5/3/1, the growth from week to week is astounding, let alone from cycle to cycle.


This is worth repeating. Better to do a shit program with enthusiasm than a top program poorly.

Incidentally, the program was written by a former Division I football player that went on to become a record-holding powerlifter. Between him and yourself, which do you think knows more about how to get strong?

Funny, asked if I was retarded several times above, so I didn’t get much of a “respect” vibe from you.

There is so much wrong here that I can’t really do anything but say “No, that’s pretty much all incorrect.”

This shows that you still don’t understand how 5/3/1 works.

There’s no need to find the full PDF. Jim’s original article from 2009, which Chris Colucci already posted, has everything that you would need.

Re: “not doing the upper/lower one” - you seem married to certain ideas (again, very common in beginner lifters who are anxious to attach themselves to certain beliefs). I would encourage you to disengage from the idea that “full body routines are better than upper/lower splits for beginners” - that is not gospel. Not saying you can’t do a full-body routine, but you should open your mind a little bit.

Ugh. If that’s all you’ve taken away from this conversation…please go back and read some of the previous replies where I explained some specific aspects of why 5/3/1 would be a nice choice for you, specifically the replies where I discuss things you’ve brought up in other threads (the idea that the “constant intensity” of an LP is leading to poor recovery being the most important one).

Most of your argument boils down to “5/3/1 says I can only increase the weight 5-10 pounds per month while LP’s let me increase every workout/week.” This has a number of flaws, namely, that LP’s written on paper do not actually guarantee that you will be able to make the prescribed increases. Most know that you won’t, and have built-in plans to deload and reset. 5/3/1 is programmed a little differently and, if run correctly, you should avoid stalling for some time.

The problem with saying that his posts are an “appeal to authority” is that we’re making the point that we (and a few others posting in this thread, by now) have actually gotten strong, and that our arguments about what will work / not work for you stem not from numbers added on a spreadsheet but from actual, real-life experience in the process of getting strong. I added 300 pounds to my deadlift in about 22 months. Would you like to add 300 pounds to your deadlift over the next two years?

Don’t worry, based on your conduct thus far, you’re in no danger of anyone liking you.

You can change that, but perhaps you should start by apologizing for using the word “retard” half a dozen times to disparage people that were trying to help you.

He’s doing just fine, but thanks for your concern about his well-being.

1 Like

As a complete newb, I put 100 pounds on my deadlift, 85 on my squat and 25 on my ohp in just over six months, from running 531 for hardgainers and BBB. I have only trained bench for three months but I put 30 lbs on that. So 531 clearly doesn’t limit your gains

Uhm, wow. Just got through this thread.

To the OP. You have literally had some of the most knowledgeable people on this forum pop in here and give you their advice. 5/3/1 is a fantastic program. Is it the best program? Is it right for your specific goals? Who knows. But at this point in your training career, if you adopt 5/3/1 as your bible, you will be a strong ass dude a year from now. If you’re program hopping and “majoring in the minors” you will still be small and weak and worrying about the circumference of your neck.

A good friend of mine wanted to pick up training and get strong. I had him follow “Help a Friend Get Stronger- By Jim Wendler” (Google it, and yes it includes 5/3/1). Guess what? The boy lost his pear shape, grew shoulders and has gotten significantly stronger. Now I have lots of friends wanting me to “program” for them. The big trick is…WENDLER HAS DONE THE PROGRAMMING FOR YOU. My friend has been working out now for 8 months and he still can’t believe how ‘simple and straightforward’ it is to make great, steady progress.

It is evident your understanding of the program isn’t there, so your argument really has no meat behind it. Nobody here will be butthurt if you don’t do 5/3/1 and disappear back to BB . com, but we are trying to help you lose your childish figure.


[Checking to see what’s new in this thread since my last post yesterday… … …]

I have, like, almost no words.

I did catch this bit somewhere along the way. So, to be clear, you’re basing your opinion on 5/3/1 from your experience following the plan as-written for 4-8 weeks and you feel that’s sufficient time to judge its effectiveness, correct? Can you share the numbers you were hitting (weight and reps, before and after) or the program layout you used?

Wendler has made his own case, based on his experience with clients, for why 5/3/1 is fine for beginners:

You’re free to disagree with him as much as you disagree with everyone here. At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s been having problems not hitting his goals and we’re the ones offering a solution.

1 Like

I love it when Activities guy slaps his massive internet dick down and schools people.


I know you’re joshing around, but to be serious for a moment, it has nothing to do with the size of my Internet dick (which is, like, hyuuuuuge).

It’s truly about getting someone to realize that they have come to a forum to ask for advice, and that when they are receiving that advice from people who have actually achieved what they are seeking to achieve, it’s probably a good idea to listen and try to understand instead of asking if they’re retarded.

1 Like

That is such a fantastic article and I am SO pissed it didn’t exist when I started lifting.

I am just envious of this generation. You could just take that article, then by 5/3/1 Forever and be set for life. No more thinking or reading.


To add some details to the comments about neck growth, an 18 inch neck has about 56% more volume compared to a 15.5 inch neck. If we assume that half of the volume of your neck is muscle (just a guess, but probably not unrealistic), your goal is to more than double the muscle mass on your neck.

That reality gets lost when you look at 15.5 vs. 18 and think it’s just a little bit more.

The thinking or reading part is kind of why I hate that I grew up in this generation. When I first started, there were wayyy too many options and I didn’t start making progress until wayyy later on. It’s funny though because the OP is talking about programs and studying them and such like training and getting stronger at a basic level is that hard to where you have to manipulate variables to achieve them.

To the OP, the best progress I have ever made (and am making right now) is by adding one rep a week ala Doug Hepburn. If you don’t want to do 531 or any other proven method, just start at a 5x1 and build to a 8x1 over two weeks training your OHP and Bench together and your Squat and Dead together twice a week. Day one will be 5x1, day two will be 6x1, etc. when you finish the 8x1 day, add 5 to upper, 10 to lower and start back at 5x1. Basic shit WILL get you strong regardless of what you believe.

I fell into the same trap! Paralysis by over-analysis.

The OP could even do double progression (same sorta concept).

Pick an exercise and do 4x6-8. Once you can get to all 8 reps for 4 sets then you increase by 10 or 5lbs and work your way back. Any range you want.

I do a bit of this and it definitely works. Lets say you are working with 225lbs for a lift. Your progression whether week to week or day to day might go like this.

8, 7, 6, 6
8, 8, 6, 5
8, 8, 8, 4
8, 8, 8, 6
8, 8, 8, 7
8, 8, 8, 8 (Now you can add 5-10lbs and start over).
*This can be 6 weeks or 6 workouts. The goal is to get to the high end of your rep range. Doesn’t matter if you do 5x3-5, or 4x6-8, or 3x10-12, or you could even do it with sets and go from 5-8x5, or 6-10x3, etc.

This way you really own a weight before moving up. Then you don’t need to even to worry about percentages or anything. This would take you quite far.

This is probably the SIMPLEST way to program.

Just realized how much I’ve learned since being on these forums. Never knew any of this shit 1 year ago lol.

would have been nice if the OP had processed this when I mentioned it about 50 posts above.

I don’t know, I enjoyed the geometry lesson.

After I wrote that, I realized I assumed the OP’s neck was going to get proportionally longer, which is unlikely. So it isn’t as extreme as I thought. But the general point is the same.

Not hard to hit 18 inches on neck. ill prove it with a tape measure in a few months, I’ll bet $100 bitcoin on it and ill keep my word even if u don’t agree. I’m that confident. 18 inches is nothing, my dad has a ~19-inch neck doesn’t even lift and has less bodyfat than i do. 5’7 for him. doesn’t even look big, looks normal.

No man should have my 16-inch pencil neck. I’m 5’8 and at angles it looks small.

I had a 14-inch neck when I was ~100lbs, got an actually 16-inch neck from doing NOTHING to it. I had someone else measure it today, 16 inches. that’s from doing absolutely nothing to it but my light ass deadlifts. it’s probably bigger if I go down lower near my traps.

ur telling me direct work I cant get 18 in 6 months? ill prove it to you in a few months, and it will not look big.

Btw square cube law you’re dealing with adding length to every side of the cube. My neck will only be getting thicker, not taller, therefore it’s not going to be that hard. yes, the concept applies to any shape, but increasing width vs width + height makes a pretty huge difference. it’s also not hard to make my neck strong as hell if it’s untrained, I’ll be getting noob gains on my neck. My insertions are good to make it extra easy (joke).

Damn. At 6’3", my 16 1/2" neck must look like a toothpick. An unmanly toothpick.

as long as that inol score is right


Can we go back to the part about front to back and side to side?

1 Like

Happy to do a charity bet. $100 to a charity of your choice paid by me if you get there and $100 to a charity of my choice paid by you if you dont.

Measurement has to be as a youtube video where you use a tape measure against something standard and you show the taughtness of the tape right around.

Post a measurement of your current neck measurement so we can all agree that is a valid way to measure so no arguments later…