T Nation

Advanced 531 Back Off Sets (FSL/SSL)


Hey all!

I’m about to start running the advanced 531 cycle to give it a shot after doing regular 531 for a long time. I have a plan for extra volume simply using the principles of FSL or SSL which in turn work out to be a drop of 20% or 10% respectively from your top set in the normal program. I am planning to run like this with a modification to the final week on the 6 week cycle approach

Would look like this:
Week 1:
5 x 5 @ 75%
AMRAP @ 55%

Week 2:
5 x 3 @ 85%
AMRAP @ 65%

Week 3:
5 x 1 @ 95%
AMRAP @ 75%


Week 4:
5 x 5 @ 75%
AMRAP @ 55%

Week 5:
5 x 3 @ 85%
AMRAP @ 65%

Week 6:
1 x 1+ @ 95%
1 x 3 @ 85%
AMRAP @ 75%

This illustrates the aproach I would use with the FSL last method (20%) drop, with the change of the second 5x1 to a rep test so I can still abide by the principle of setting personal records and have a guage at the end of each cycle.

My question is does anyone have any experience running this program in this manner? My only thoughts are using a SSL aproach instead of FSL so the AMRAP’s would be 65, 75 and 85% respectively instead of 55, 65 and 75% however I just wonder weather this weight may be a bit taxing so anyone who’s experienced running it with these slightly heavier back off sets your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


Not that taxing, should work well


I am currently running the Advanced 5/3/1 Template and feel it is one of the most under-rated templates in the Beyond 5/3/1 book. What you have above I think would work and shouldn’t wear you down unless your 55% weight for Deadlifts or Squats is 500+ pounds. To me, the way the advanced template is setup I feel it provides plenty of volume as it’s written. Mainly because say you do your Squats at 5x5, then you move on to Deadlifts for 3x5 and on Deadlift Day its 5x5 and then 3x5 on Squats. Seems to me that’s plenty of volume and practice for those main lifts. I’ve been running SST on my lower body days for the supplemental lift after my main lift on Advanced 5/3/1 and that hasn’t been taxing at all. Of course I’ve gone a bit “rogue” with the Advanced Template but I have a decent feel for what my body can and can’t handle. Right now my main lifts are Front Squat, Oh Press, Deadlift and Incline Bench Press with supplemental work being Stiff Leg Deads (SST), Close Grip Bench Press (3x5 - 75% twice a week) and High Bar Squat (SST). The way I have this setup has done wonders for my Overhead Press and Deadlift strength. Probably not recommended in the new way of 5/3/1 programming but I have certain goals I want to hit in the Press and Deadlift and I’m incing ever closer to those goals using the Advanced setup.


Yea i’ve done a thing for a few years now to promote that crossover where I always follow my main movement with a variation of the corresponding movement, e.g. Squats always follow with deadlift variation and vice-versa, same with upper body and it has worked wonders.

I ran the first couple sessions of this advanced program with the FSL back off’s as written above and worked fantastically. Running all the warmups and work sets and strict competition form and the AMRAP’s just as touch n go to just fatigue the movement before moving on. Highly recommend.