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Anyone Ran 5/3/1 as Beginner for Some Time?


#1

Haven't seen anything about testimonies from any beginner who have started woth 5/3/1. I have been running 5/3/1 for about 4 months now and it has been doing what it says. I have put on the 5lb to bench and 10 for deads and squats each month. I guess I technically am not a 100% beginner to lifting but am to strength training.

Has anyone actually started their training with 5/3/1? How long did you use it? Did you / when did you plateau? What kind of mass change did you see?

I think Im up only 6 or 7 lbs but strength is going up as said. I would like to put on size too at some point but am planning to stick with this as long as Im getting stronger still. Curious what people see with this long-term. Would like to hear from some people who have really put 5/3/1 to the test of time.


#2

Dude, this program is all about long term. Good call to do 5/3/1, it fits perfectly for lifters of all stages. It is commonly used by powerlifters, athletes, crossfitters, bodybuilders etc…

I have started 5/3/1 as a beginner. I did lot of stupid shit at first, and did not make really progress for the first 1,5 years after a certain point. I also did other programs while searching “the perfect thing”. I also thought I needed the volume the pro-guys were using, frequency of a weightlifter and a conditioning base I used to have in military. Combine that with poor recovery and program hopping and you’ll have a proper clusterfuck.

After having back/glute injury due to huge stress with no recovering in summer 2014, I decided to stay with the 5/3/1. It still took me couple months to drop all the shit which was holding my progress. But for a year I have made tremendous progress (unless in my squat, where the old injuries are still holding my back).

I started making my best progress when I started doing exactly what Jim says/writes. Listen to him and follow the principles.

PS. I deadlifted today easy 3x407. It is not anything elite, but considering that I could not pull 300lbs after my injury just a little over a year ago, I think it is quite amazing. I’m also in better condition, weight 15lbs more and feel that I have finally gained some needed perspective to training.

Sorry about typos, I’m in a rush and use english as a second language.


#3

English as a second language for me as well.

I hesitate to give my testimony, because in a certain point of view, I didn’t follow the programm at 100%. I practice 5/3/1 since 15 month now and I have made more progress than in the lasr 2 years before I discover the programm.
I’m not strong, but I’m better every day. My progress are slow, probably because I’m 43, I can only train 2 days / week. And I don’t respect the programm for two points: I don’t sleep enough for professional reasons and I don’t eat to growth, because becomming bigger is not what I’m looking for. But I’ve gained 3 Kilos those last 15 month, loosing my little belly.

That means for me that this programm is incredibly efficient. If you don’t eat enough and don’t sleep enough and only train two days a week, and even can make gain of muscles, I can’t imagine what would happen if I would follow the global plan correctly.

Thank you Jim for having written a programm that’s easy to understand and to follow.

I’ve lost many time in the gym before I’ve meet your 5/3/1. The iron god bless you.


#4

I also must make a statement:

a beginner can make progress with almost everything. But 5/3/1 will also teach important principles, and these principles will take you a long way.


#5

I ran Starting Strength for a few months before i switched over to 5/3/1. I don’t have my logs with me, but IIRC i went from approximately 145lbs to around 165lbs. My bench went from 185 to 215/220ish, squat 245 to 350, dead lift 315 to 430. I have no idea what my military press numbers were. I ran it for 9 straight months without stalling. I gained that weight without really any focus on gaining, granted i didn’t gain much weight. I heavily regret the day i stopped using 531 and used the Cube kingpin instead.

I’ve been back to using 531 and it’s pretty ridiculous how you can use it essentially for forever. There are so many templates laid out for you, it’s insane. If anyone ever gets bored, i recommend the Spinal Tap template. That shit was so fun. The longer you use 531, the better off you are. People that use it for 3 months and say it doesn’t work are just idiots. If anything, the principles alone will effectively guide your training forever.


#6

I’ll have been training for three years this January, using 5/3/1 from the start.

When I began training I didn’t know it but I was very weak: squat 100kg, bench 85kg, deadlift 135kg, and I can’t remember my press but it was around 50kg. My numbers now are not phenomenal but considering how I started I have made a lot of progress: squat 180kg, bench 130kg, deadlift 210kg, and my rep maxes are still progressing every week

I will say that I when I started I probably made all the mistakes jim mentions in his books and articles, I started too heavy, and kept altering the program even though I knew nothing about lifting (it’s pretty embarrassing really), But eventually learnt my lesson and fully embraced the philosophy of principles of patiently training with a bigger goal in mind. Ironically the better I have become at training the simpler my programming has been

These days the focus of my training is hitting rep maxes. 2.5kg or one more rep here and there don’t seem a lot but it adds up! I know I’ve read that somewhere before, and it’s perhaps even a direct quote from jim, but I have found it to be very true!

I now follow the program as closely as possible. I train in 6 week cycles starting with hypertrophy then increasing the intensity while decreasing the volume over several cycles.

The templates I find most effective for this (for me) are

*Boring but big or triumvirate
*First set last for multiple sets
*Joker sets and first set last for one set.

As strange as it may sound the difference that this training has made to my life is invaluable, and somewhat beyond the scope of this post. I will just say that training hard, with purpose and intensity, carries over to every aspect of life


#7

Not a beginner, but if I had to start all over again, knowing what I know now, I would’ve just done 5/3/1 and never worried about “beginner routines”.

5/3/1 is just a collection of great principles that, when applied to training, gets results. The folks that worry about it progressing “too slow” just miss this.

You’re definitely making the right move.


#8

I’ve ran 5/3/1 for 11 cycles now and have yet to stall. I’ve made several jumps for 2olbs a month on lower body lifts as well. I know Jim doesn’t advise this, but doing pr sets on deadlifts for 15+ reps is pretty fucking ridiculous. Anyways, I love the program and can’t ever see switching. I can’t see why anyone would.

It’s simple and programmable for any goal. I like using an antagnostic style approach the best out of everything I’ve tried. My gains are Squat:225-345, OHP:215-250, Deadlift:205-475 and Bench Press:265-325. I do however think I would have been better off using the program “Starting Strength” and upping the weight everytime you’re able to complete your 5x5’s.


#9

Thank you to all of you that posted. It’s great to read and to see people embracing the principles of the program and seeing that it goes way beyond just getting stronger.

We don’t chase numbers, we strengthen people. There is a huge difference and why the program will evolve more and more to help make better/stronger people, not just in mind but in body. I’m happy when people increase their squat but when they start stripping away the bullshit from their lives, things become clear. And you become free.

You can choose to be Mr. Joshua or Mr Bean.


#10

Bad idea to use 5/3/1 as a beginner. Just get on one of the linear 5’s programs. That is how strong people have gotten strong for generations. No need to mess with what’s proven.


#11

[quote]DanProsser wrote:
Bad idea to use 5/3/1 as a beginner. Just get on one of the linear 5’s programs. That is how strong people have gotten strong for generations. No need to mess with what’s proven.[/quote]

Whats bad about it? I think it is far better approach to lifting (and to everything) than linear programs.


#12

I’m 46 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 11 years ago. Had been a competitive swimmer in my younger days and lifted weights to train for swimming. Over the years I weight trained on and off but nothing too serious.

I had been taking an oral medication to help control my diabetes along with two separate daily injectables. My diet and exercise had been slipping to non-existent during the latter part of 2014 through the early part of 2015 and my A1C climbed to a whopping 12.1. Went to the doctor where he prescribed another injectable (in addition to what I already had been using). This was going to cost me approximately $800/month, a huge shock to say the least. I told him this is ridiculous, what else can I do? “Get your diet and exercise in check!” he said. At that point I made a decision to quit the injectable meds cold turkey.

I converted part of my garage into a weight room, bought a rack, bar and plates and found Jim’s 531 program. I dropped 20 pounds in 6 weeks, cleaned up my diet, dropped my A1C from 12.1 to 6.1 (Doc was blown away). I spend approximately $50 every 3 months for my oral medication and I feel great.

Doc did tell me that I should abandon the 531 program for something more suited to my age. He felt that the low reps would be too stressful on my joints and I would be more susceptible to injury. (I’ve had a nagging shoulder injury from my competitive swimming days…I just work through it) He then suggested something in the 15-20 rep range. I laughed when he said this then I realized he was serious. I said no f***ing way and proceeded to change doctors!

Jim, your program is great! I’m on my 7th cycle and have consistently added the 5/10 lbs per month as described. I do sprints and farmer’s walks along with jump roping for the conditioning aspect and haven’t felt this great in years. I look forward to working out. I call my 12x14 weight room my happy place.


#13

[quote]DanProsser wrote:
Bad idea to use 5/3/1 as a beginner. Just get on one of the linear 5’s programs. That is how strong people have gotten strong for generations. No need to mess with what’s proven.[/quote]

I feel strong people have gotten strong for generation by following principles of training that make up 5/3/1 rather than by following any sort of set program. If you analyze the training styles of many strong athletes of the past, the programs were all incredibly different, but the principles are all the same.

Meanwhile, in the modern era, we seem to witness a lot of beginner trainees screwing up these “beginner programs” because they don’t have the principles figured out.


#14

[quote]coe wrote:
I’m 46 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 11 years ago. Had been a competitive swimmer in my younger days and lifted weights to train for swimming. Over the years I weight trained on and off but nothing too serious.

I had been taking an oral medication to help control my diabetes along with two separate daily injectables. My diet and exercise had been slipping to non-existent during the latter part of 2014 through the early part of 2015 and my A1C climbed to a whopping 12.1. Went to the doctor where he prescribed another injectable (in addition to what I already had been using). This was going to cost me approximately $800/month, a huge shock to say the least. I told him this is ridiculous, what else can I do? “Get your diet and exercise in check!” he said. At that point I made a decision to quit the injectable meds cold turkey.

I converted part of my garage into a weight room, bought a rack, bar and plates and found Jim’s 531 program. I dropped 20 pounds in 6 weeks, cleaned up my diet, dropped my A1C from 12.1 to 6.1 (Doc was blown away). I spend approximately $50 every 3 months for my oral medication and I feel great.

Doc did tell me that I should abandon the 531 program for something more suited to my age. He felt that the low reps would be too stressful on my joints and I would be more susceptible to injury. (I’ve had a nagging shoulder injury from my competitive swimming days…I just work through it) He then suggested something in the 15-20 rep range. I laughed when he said this then I realized he was serious. I said no f***ing way and proceeded to change doctors!

Jim, your program is great! I’m on my 7th cycle and have consistently added the 5/10 lbs per month as described. I do sprints and farmer’s walks along with jump roping for the conditioning aspect and haven’t felt this great in years. I look forward to working out. I call my 12x14 weight room my happy place.
[/quote]

First - congrats on conquering, at least mostly, diabetes. You are a man of action which is the best thing a man can be. Second, congrats on kicking ass in the weight room. Finally, good for you for finding your own way with training and not listening to your doctor. He may be good at certain health issues but expecting good training advice from a doctor is like trusting a trainer to do open heart surgery.

In other words, it’s best to stick with what you know.

This is an inspiring story and I will share this. You deserve all the credit.


#15

[quote]Rattus wrote:

[quote]DanProsser wrote:
Bad idea to use 5/3/1 as a beginner. Just get on one of the linear 5’s programs. That is how strong people have gotten strong for generations. No need to mess with what’s proven.[/quote]

Whats bad about it? I think it is far better approach to lifting (and to everything) than linear programs.

[/quote]

I can’t tell whether he’s a troll or serious- lots of comments in other threads that go against the advice of the guy whose name is on the forum. I feel like Jim would say “This is not a program for beginners” if he felt that way. He hasn’t had a problem saying “This is not a program for losing body fat or getting ripped” in the past, and that’s a huge market he’s cutting himself off from. That lends a lot of credibility, in my opinion.

I don’t see why following a basic 5/3/1 program would be bad for a beginner. Beginners tend to mess up whatever program they’re on, anyway, and this one is a lot simpler to put together. If you follow the principles and are honest about what you’re doing, you’ll make progress.


#16

[quote]
I don’t see why following a basic 5/3/1 program would be bad for a beginner. Beginners tend to mess up whatever program they’re on, anyway, and this one is a lot simpler to put together. If you follow the principles and are honest about what you’re doing, you’ll make progress.[/quote]
I totally agree with you.
In my opinion, the problem for most beginner is to find a programm and stick with it. I tried to find the best programm and I lost many time reading comments on the net about this new trend and this lost old school technique and I spent more time reading instrad of training.
I like 5/3/1 because for somebody like my, easy lost person, there is a way well designed and easy to follow. By following the principles, you can never be lost.


#17

“How about it Jack? Would you like a shot at the title?
Don’t mind if I do.”


#18

A lot of people don’t recommend 531 for beginners because they feel the training frequency per lift is too low, the training volume is too low, and the progression is too infrequent. I think the majority of these people have never used the program for an appreciable amount of time and don’t fully grasp the purpose of the TM and other aspects of the program. Is this the best program for a beginner? Who knows?

As mentioned previously, the best program for an individual is the one they believe in and the one they will stick too. Also, there are enough templates that have been designed that alter the training frequency, volume, and progression. Some people will just never get it.


#19

“Some people will just never get it.”

yup. Its a pretty radical departure from what seems intuitive and from what has gotten them to where they are. The Training Max drama alone is enough to drive some people away. Many others feel that unless they are crapping a kidney each rep of each session then they cant make progress.

What surprises me is the amount of educated trainers who dismiss the system without understanding the nuances of it AT ALL… or people that read the book and decide to “try it for a month” and see what happens…


#20

I think that many people who advice that 5/3/1 is bad for beginners know only the original 5/3/1 set/rep template. But there is also planned template “for beginners” and other full-body approaches. Jim also recommends in beyond-book, that beginners should use 5’s PRO - for a good reason.

I agree also that the TM-thing probably scares away people.