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.