About to Begin 5/3/1 for First Time

Hi guys,
As stated in the title I’m about to start 531 and would just like to ask a couple of questions

  1. Would you advise a guy like me (relatively a beginner to this style of training) to do anything more than BBB for assistance?

  2. Thinking of doing supersetting my BBB with some pulling on the upper body days, but not sure if supersetting would be a good idea on the lower body days? Would it be too taxing?

  3. Are front squats (squat day) and RDL (deadlift day) ok for BBB or should I just stick to the main exercises for BBB?


BBB isn’t a beginner template. Try the triumvirate or bodyweight templates for a few cycles until you can find an accurate training max and understand the program better. Once assimilated, BBB is a good one to run for 3-4 cycles.

I’m not a beginner to lifting, just new to wendler 5/3/1. Would your answer still be the same knowing this?


What did you understand the book to say on the topic?

Haven’t read Jim’s book yet, just done a lot of Internet research. I haven’t been able to find the book in any stores here in the UK but have ordered a copy from Amazon. Would it be best to read Jim’s book before starting the program?


yep - get acquainted with the program and finding the right training max, then do BBB. Another option would be to do 5/3/1 for beginners. Don’t let the title of the article confuse you - do that program as written and you will certainly not be disappointed. If you don’t like the title, just tell yourself you’re doing 5/3/1 for intermediates lol… Just google 5/3/1 for a beginner and you’ll find Jim’s blog. That template kicks ass for someone starting the program. What’s your training age btw? How are you defining yourself as “not a beginner”?


It will help. Remember that the programs are designed that way for a reason. I tend to err on the side of not making changes.

BBB is a very popular supplement. Personally, I would ease into it. You might not need to, but there is no need to hurry. It is important to understand the principles of your entire program. If you understand the purpose of BBB, and it fits with your goals, good.

Supersetting pulls/rows is fine. I had no problems supersetting pull-ups between all main lifts when I went 4x a week.

As far as replacing them with similar lifts, I don’t think it is the best idea, but I’m admittedly pretty ignorant on BBB variations without any books in front of me. It was never my favorite choice for supplemental work.

That is not a knock on it. It’s awesome for a lot of people. I’m just explaining why I didn’t answer that question.

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I’ve been training for about 2 years now, I suppose to a lot of people that does make me a beginner. Been doing various different lineal programs for 2 years and they all result in plateaus so wanted to try 5/3/1 as I’ve not come across a single person on any forum who doesn’t think it’s awesome.
Thanks for your feedback I’ll Google the beginner program.

Two years is decent - what programs did you do? a 5x5 type program? if so, this is certainly your next step; but do the original program as written or 5/3/1 for beginners; if you’re comfortable with your current strength and understand the assistance templates, BBB could work for you - but I’d do BBB as written. At the very least, you could do v2 (deadlift 5x10 on squat day, press 5x10 on bench day, etc…).

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I started with stronglifts but only stuck with it for about 4-6 months, I didn’t like it. After that I tried a push pull legs plan that I have found online that was based on 5x5 and enjoyed it but again plateaued. I tried some of the stuff in a book called bigger leaner stronger, which I think didn’t work for me because it has you constantly training at your max and I was left feeling burnt out on a regular basis.

I will probably do v2 of BBB as this seems more appealing to me.

In between replying to this feed I have been reading Jim’s blog and he states that 5x10 deadlift may be too taxing for some and recommends either starting really light or just doing 3x10 deadlifts for the first few cycles. I think I’ll go with that.

Thanks again for your advice.

I agree the DL is a bit much and have had good progress on that without doing anything but the main 5/3/1 lift. You could do GM or RDL though, with lighter weight BBB is a good choice. I also do the 5 sets with 2 ramping up weight so only the last 3 sets are the top weight, essentially its 3x10 with 2 warmup sets.

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Always man. No amount of research will build your knowledge of the program like the book will. Also, it’ll help Jim out for writing the book.

And with nothing to do with this particularly, if I were you, I’d buy a kindle. Its a great investment just for books in general because books on there are about 75% cheaper and the battery life is long af

Dude seriously? Where the fuck have I been? Wasting all this damn money on hard copies