T Nation

Back Injury... Rehab... 1yr 5/3/1 Results. Now How to Add Oly Lifts?


Hi everyone,
First time poster here, but long time reader. I wanted to start by saying thanks for all the great threads and especially to Mr. Wendler for putting together 531. Long story which I’ll try to make short. I’m in my 40’s. I weigh 185ish. Bro lifted (chest/bis) with nearly zero leg work since I was 18 or so. Just goofing off mostly. Hurt my lower back doing endurance sports a few years ago. Was hard to walk, sleep, etc. Rehabbed that. Found Crossfit (yah, I know, but I enjoy the challenge). I made some strength gains there since I hadn’t really trained before. Stalled. I found 531 online. Studied it. Learned about strength training vs working out. Decided I should be able to squat/deadlift a lot more, but was scared of re-injuring my back. I went up a lot more then the usual on a few of the cycles. Keep in mind here I probably sandbagged my starting maxes because I didn’t know them and didn’t want to risk maxing out for fear. During the year I used 2 or so crossfit workouts /week to keep my engine going and that was fine as long as I stuck to my macros (caloric surplus)

12 months of 5 3 1 going very, very conservatively and following plan as laid out other than larger than normal jumps on a few cycles
Bench - 215
Squat - 95 (yah, I know)
deadlift - 135 it’s ok to laugh :slight_smile:

End maxes are what I was basing my meso cycle 531 numbers on. Hit the last cycle.
Bench - 235 I only did 17 weeks of this and ended up with surgery. Didn’t get hurt because of 531, but years of benching incorrectly gave me weightlifter shoulder which was an issue before 531.

squat - 295 on the cycle (maxed at 270, but didn’t push it)
deadlift - 385 (maxed at 335 for a triple)

Then I tried conjugate method for a bit because I wanted to train oly lifts as well and they don’t seem to fit into 531 very well. I’ve been hurt a lot since then and I’m going back to 531.

My question is, has anyone managed to train oly lifts while doing 531 and if so, how? I’m open to all suggestions even if the suggestion is “stupid idea” :smile:

Thanks in advance!


I see no one has replied yet so I thought I’d try to get things going. I’m not sure what you mean by Olympic lifts–clean & jerk and snatch or are you including power cleans, hang cleans, and other versions of Olympic lifts?

I do power cleans before squats. I follow the 5/3/1 reps. You could also do them before deadlifts. It’s personal preference.

Hope that gets you started and maybe this will bump your thread and get others to chime in.


I just answered a question about this and had a full Leader program with it. Please read the Forum as most of these questions have been answered.


Thanks for the responses. I have definitely fallen way behind the times in this area. I’ll admit I found 5/3/1, learned about it, and just started doing it. I didn’t read much after that (first book). I need to get the beyond 531 book I think to get my head around all the changes and even some of the terminology. I did find the thread I think you are referencing and though I don’t quite understand it, I think I will once I’ve purchased and read the new book. Thanks again for the comments. Since I’m dealing with a knee that’s unhappy anyway, I have plenty of time to read (no injury…I think, but soreness that isn’t normal so taking it easy).