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Advanced 5/3/1


I really like the layout of the advanced 5/3/1 template in the Beyond 5/3/1 book.

5x5 - 75%
5x3 - 85%
5x1 - 95%

Just not sure why it's called "Advanced", it seems to me this would work out just as well with newer lifters. I'd like to know if you think it's really only for advanced guys or not. The extra volume in the first 2 weeks seems like it'd be good for learning form etc, with more reps being done at submaximal weights.

I'm wondering if you think it's applicable for novices / intermediates. Thanks.


Anything can be used by any lifter provided he has a well qualified coach and someone that is 100% devoted to that person. The coach is always the X factor. But since no one has that option...

For beginners, I would not use this at all. I would use the 5's Beginner Progression combined with a heavy dose of training outside the weight room to gather skills, speed, strength, power, etc that cannot be achieved in the weight room.


I just started this template, the first couple of training sessions have went well.


This template has worked wonders for my upper body stuff. I cannot praise it enough. I have been using it since the release of "Beyond" for bench and military press and I just started using it for close grip press. I have always responded well to multiple sets of low reps for bench, so when I saw this I was excited. I NEVER fail, always feel like I have more in the tank, but just stay on course - and I keep getting stronger.

I have not had to reset my numbers in months and I am well past my max when I started. It has been the magic bullet for a severely lagging bench. I add NOTHING to it - no amrap, jokers, last/first, nothing. And it is awesome. Sometimes I will do some speed work using "Beyond" protocol before, but that is it. Great variation Jim - I also ONLY use it for bench and press. Squat and DL I do the PL version and throw the whole bag of tricks at them and they work great too - just for upper body this has been awesome.


I think it is advanced because when you get close to your true 1 rep max - the toll it takes on the body and nervous system all but insures you will not be cranking out obscene amounts of reps. You have to resort to multiple sets of low reps to progress. I know I cannot do much more than 5 reps with my true 85%. But I can muster out 5 sets of 5 reps with plenty of rest between sets.

Even if you start at the recommended 90%, or even 85%, you will eventually even out. The way to combat stalling is multiple sets of prescribed reps - not more reps because it is impossible until you get stronger on the top end.


Thanks for the feedback man! What'd your bench start and where is it now? My Deadlifts were in the shitter due to bad technique so I am using this for the next 3 cycles to fix it up, having no + sets should help my form stay together better I think.


No problem,
Bench was 310x1 for 2+ years. I kept resetting, went back to an old Ricky Dale Crain routine that worked wonders years ago, nothing. 2 weeks ago I got 325. 5x1 after using "Beyond Advanced for a few months. I knew it was going to happen when I got 290 at 5x3 no sweat. My gym also has a cambered bar that is pretty deep - so I generally began with dynamic effort, straight weight, with the camber at 8x3. Also, from the beginning, though I applied no exact formula to this, I made sure to get 25 reps by any means necessary with either 2 or 3 boards at a weight OVER my projected max, not my training max. So I felt like my nervous system and lock out were always ahead - just waiting for the bottom to catch up.

It sounds like a lot, but at the end of the day it amounted to no more than 3 exercises, roughly 75 reps. The reason i say this, is because on what I call my bench ass day, I do close grips and militaries (weaknesses for me also) added those reps together with those from my bench day, and made sure, via superset, deadlift day, bands at home, who cares, to get 1.5 times reps of lat work. It sounds like a lot, but once I was in a groove, because of the easy calculation of 5-3-1, it was pretty straight forward. Good Luck.


I have been contemplating using this for my deads too. They are my strongest lift, but I am just wondering if this progression will allow my squat to move up more. It doesn't beat you up as much, either physically or neurologically, and like I said before, 5x3 and 5x1 works really well for top end strength.


Thanks again for the posts, I appreciate it. One way that I think the advanced 5/3/1 template could be bastardized in a good way is as follows, so you still get to push yourself at the end of the cycle, and see where you're at while still building strength from doing reps. Like this.

Week 1 5x5 - 75
Week 2 5x3 - 85
Week 3 5/3/1+


This is what I have been doing lately and I like it. Curious what Jim thinks.


I'm guessing he will say if it's working for you then he likes it. I think it's fine, it's lifting weights with good volume / intensity and a solid built in progression. How long have you been doing it?


did it for about 5 cycles about 6 months ago, on my 5th cycle currently. Going to stick with it for the long haul this time.


I've used the Advanced template for 2 full cycles now and am half way through the third.
I used the original 5/3/1 for a year straight (BBB and Triumbrant) and the Advanced is a good change up.
I'll be 45 next month...As he says in the book the rep PRs can wear you down.
If you do the optional work the Squat and Deadlift days can be brutal (like BBB).
I'm lifting 3 days a week alternating the 4 workouts for more recovery.
So far I so good. I plan on sticking to this template.


Never tried it - hard for me to say. I got about a dozen things I need to refine and try personally before I write about them. As long as you eat like a hog of Satan, you'll be fine.


I actually did this very thing right after reading the original 5/3/1 when it first came out. I liked the premise and simplicity of 5/3/1, and used it as written for a while, but more sets of lower reps have always worked better for me than one higher rep set so that's what I did. I liked it a lot and it worked very well. I got my reps in doing 3-4 sets of 10-15 with a secondary assistance movement.

What's kinda funny is that when I mentioned doing it that way back then, everyone said, "You're not doing 5/3/1!" and now here it is as a 5/3/1 variation. Possibly the only time in my life I've not been the last person on earth to know something, lol!


This is my first post ever. I was doing BBB for a year on the original 5/3/1 and eventually got burned out due to my inability to self regulate on AMRAP sets, particularly bench.

I switched up to training just MWF instead of SMWF. I do the workouts in the original order - press, deadlift, bench, squat.

I absolutely love this routine. I do the same kind of assistance work and ALWAYS do the "optional" three sets of five @75% of the corresponding lifts as my first assistance exercises. Bench on press days, squats on deadlift day, etc. I do pullups on press day, along with tricep rope pushdowns. I do hanging leg raises and leg extensions on deadlift day. I do dips and dumbbell rows on bench day. Finally I do leg curls on squat days.

I have yet to miss any reps and recover nicely and always feel great after lifting. Eating around 3250 calories a day. Best lifts (I haven't maxed out in a while) deadlift 500, squat 400, bench 300, press 180.

I'm 35 and teach at a university. Very dedicated and motivated, but nothing special about my genetics.

Thank you so very much Jim for such a great program. When I started your routines my gym life and lifting completely did a 180. I highly highly recommend this routine.


I'm so thankful for buying the Beyond 5/3/1 book. This training routine was exactly what I was looking for and needed. Before switching to this routine I had been on the traditional 5/3/1 Boring But Big routine for roughly a year. I finally got burned out on four days per week training and due to my inability to self regulate on AMRAP sets, particularly benching. I was just too stupid and tried for rep PRs each week. I did make a ton of progress on it though. It just seemed to level off a bit near the end, before switching.

Since switching, I have yet to fail a rep at all. I always feel very fresh, even when I finish a workout. That doesn't mean I don't bust my ass, both in and out of the gym. I think the freshness factor also has to due with the fact that I switched to training just three times per week, MWF, from working out SMWF. I'm 35 years old, have a wife and daughter, and work seven days a week. Four days of training plus all that was just way too much for me.

I train in the same order as the original book, press, deadlift, bench, squat. I always do the "optional" three sets of five @ 75% of the corresponding lifts - bench press on press days, squats on deadlift days, etc. I think benching, pressing, and squatting every four to five days has really helped me, especially the benching. I long pause the last bench rep of all my sets, as I've seen Ben Rice do in his YouTube videos, and think this has helped me tremendously with my bench as well. I have never missed any reps on those either. This routine is definitely hard. I always am very conscious of my sleep as well as diet. I've been eating 3250 calories a day for a long while, always counting calories. I get around 270g of protein per day. I'm 5'8".

For assistance I do the same kinds of things Jim Wendler suggests in the 5/3/1 book. I do pullups and tricep pushdowns on press day. I do hanging leg raises and leg extensions on deadlift days. I do dumbbell rows and dips on bench days. Finally, I do leg curls on squat days. Unfortunately I lift at a commercial gym so I don't have anything fancy or special to throw in. (Those are after the three sets of five @ 75%)

I haven't maxed in a very long time, but on days I feel awesome I always push the sets a little bit higher than the 75, 85, and 95% slate. Jim Wendler says it's always better to build strength than test it, so I do keep that in mind when I'm pushing it. When a set or rep feels like a real nutbuster, I won't go beyond that, or too much beyond it. My best lifts have been a 500 deadlift, 400 squat, a 300 bench, and 180 press. What makes me more excited is that I feel like I've only scratched the surface of my potential. I haven't missed a workout in the past 18 months. My deloads have just been taking one MWF or two off, every so often.

I highly, highly recommend this routine to people who are considering it. A big thank you to Jim Wendler for writing this book for our use.