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Adding 1 Day of 5-3-1 to Crossfit?


After years of getting fat and weak, I joined a Crossfit gym this past April for general better conditioning, weight loss, and fun. Yes, I enjoy the rah-rah and fist bumping. I've dropped 20 lbs and gonna loads stronger. No complains at all.

At the beginning, I had no strength goals, but that has changed. Every class has a strength or skill portion in addition to the WOD. I'm lucky in that my gym puts a pretty strong emphasis on barbell training and we don't do a lot of oly lifts for time. We are just coming out of 6 week strength cycle of doing only 5x5 and 5x3 Deadlifts, Back Squat, and Shoulder Press, building up to a total. During this period, I've really started to enjoy the strength training and I would like to keep it up after the focus in the gym shifts to oly lifts and gymnastics.

Normally, I do the WOD's Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and I plan to continue this. Luckily we have an open gym time on Saturdays that works well for me. I'm thinking about making Saturday my strength day and do heavy squats, deads, and shouder press using some kind of regular program. If those lifts come up again during the week, I can go light to moderate. Some kind of a 5-3-1 would seem to make sense to me, but I'm not sure how I would modify it for once-a-week.

Yes, I know I could get stronger faster with SS or doing exclusively strength, but I like my gym. I like WODs, and one of my motivations is to improve performance/be able to do some of the benchmark workout. Don't judge :slight_smile:

Possible relevant stats:

Best 3x lifts - 205 Backsquat (lowbar), 305 deadlift, 115 shoulder press.
Age: 40

My specific goals, timeframe unimportant, are to get my DL over 400, my BSquat to 325, and my press to 145. I'm looking for feedback whether or not this seems like a good plan. Are these realistic goals? How I might structure it get the most benefit? Is 3 WODs plus one heavy day too much for a 4 year old dude?


Why dont you talk to your coaches/mentors at your gym? Im sure you arent the only one who wishes to maintain a focus on strength.

I'm not qualified to give you real advice, so I wont.


don't call it 5/3/1 if it isn't 5/3/1.

do what you want to do. if you aren't happy with your progress then there are programs (like 5/3/1) that have established themselves as effective (if you do the program as written).


have recently come to the conclusion that I enjoy my time in the gym. i'm not doing the most effective programming for improving my strength (even though i would say that strength is one of my top priorities). i'm doing some messed up version of 'starting strength' that i don't dare call 'starting strength' because i've changed it. i like to squat more than 3x per week and so my progress isn't as good as it would be if i rested properly. but... i ENJOY squats. so...

crossfit isn't the best fit with proper strength training for a similar reason. i like spin sometimes, too, but when i pick up spin classes i can watch my squat go down... CNS can only do so much (especially since I can't eat and sleep all day).


Me neither.

Like Alexus said, doing 5/3/1 one day a week isn't really doing 5/3/1, so it's a total guessing game and a disservice to Wendler. He's laid out a plan to do 5/3/1 in only two days a week, but that doesn't really work with your WOD stuff.

If the Crossfit lifting is so sporadic/random, then your best bet is probably to use Saturday as a "make-up" day to address a movement that wasn't worked during the week. The 3-5 routine is a decent general template for strength work like that (3-5 exercises each done for 3-5x3-5). Or you could use it an a kind of accessory day and do some "bodybuilding"-type work to complement the rest of the work, taking a break from the heavier work for the week.

Timeframes are very important when it comes to setting goals. It keeps you focused and on track, and leads to accountability.

It would be seriously negligent of you to put a 4 year old through that kind of workout. It's just asking for serious, long-lasting physical problems. WTF is the matter with you?

But yeah, you should be fine. Eat right and recover well.


I guess I should have been clearer. I know you can't do 5-3-1 in one day week. I mean more of general template, like was mentioned. Thanks for the feedback on timeframe. I don't have a good idea of what would be realistic, but I'll give it some thought.


If the guys in charge of the programming at your gym put an emphasis on strength, I would suggest you talk to them about it. They should be able to put together a plan for you


There is no rhyme or reason to the WOD's. None. Not a single one. They are total random. This training does not follow SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands). In the process of performing your WOD's you are draining your body of the ability to train specifically. Doing medium to high weight olympic lifts to time is dangerous. I would join a different gym if you want to get strong. But if you like working out stay with crossfit.


last thing. I have only met two kinds of people who do crossfit. People who are out of shape that are trying to get in shape, and pretentious exercising snobs. I think it is awesome that people are trying to get in shape and if that is your goal crossfit is awesome. If you want to get really strong I dont think there is anything wrong with peeling off and getting more into strength training. Peel off and go to the strength side of the force.


Thanks for the feedback. Coach set me up with a spreadsheet and a plan.


Can you share it here? Curious what they set you up with.


It's the Wendler percentages, doing the each core lifts once per week, in two or three strength days. Which days will vary slightly depending on the programed lifting schedule. Saturday open gym will be my day to fill in the blanks. For example, if deadlifts are programed on Monday and shoulder press is scheduled, I will squat on Saturday in open gym. Also, I will follow my own rep program independently of programing. Example, if those Monday deadlifts are programed 5x3 for the class but it's 5-3-1+ day in my schedule, I will do my own 5-3-1+.

We are having an in-house competition on 10/19 and I'm trying to ramp up my cardio a little in the next week. I'm starting on 10/21. If anybody is interested, I can update the thread next month.


Im in the same boat as everyone else, probably not qualified to give advice only my experience with Crossfit and 5//3/1

I drank the Koolaid a couple of years ago, and did Crossfit solely, and nothing else. Got me in shape, and I honestly knew nothing about training in general until then sadly. I can thank CF for opening my eyes, but also blinding a me a lil to. WOD's were random, and had no rhyme or reason except the couple of random strength days here and there. At some point in late 2011 I realized that I had no specific set of goals except I always wanted to get stronger. I knew that I wouldnt get stronger wasting myself on certain high rep workouts over a long time setting.

That is when I made the switch to 5/3/1 close to 18 months ago, and have never looked back.

I currently do 5/3/1 4-5 days a week, and squat twice a week combined with CF style workouts on the backside. I condition with rower, and or prowler, and combine some assistance work in with that days required lift. With that being said, you can combine 5/3/1 whenever you step into the box. Just be prepared to pay the price moreso on certain days when the WOD doesnt fall into your scheme of things.

I have found that when I attempt most Crossfit workouts that I did when I was fulltime CF I can usually PR them. Not saying CF is a bad thing in general. However, if you have goals train them. If being good at Crossfit is your goal strength will always win, and make you a better Crossfitter. As for me, being a good Crossfitter is not my concern hince the switch.

If your not happy with your approach, adjust. Any Crossfit Gym/Box that your paying $100+ month should have an open gym, and SHOULD have no issue at anytime with you using a rack for a dedicated approach to your strength goals.

Good Luck