Beginner 5/3/1 Advice?

Jim and Others

Long story short, I am looking to get back into lifting after a year and a bit off from injuries/life. I am looking to get back into the swing of things and am just trying to get a good base of strength/conditioning/being in shape back. Used to play baseball in college so not being able to do some of the things I used to do has been a kick in the ass to get back into shape. Have been looking around the forum and Jim’s website and have tried to piece together a pretty basic program. Any thoughts on what this program looks like or if any changes should be made to start out??


Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

push-ups or dips x 50-100
Chins - x 50-100
Back Raises x 50-100


Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

push-ups or dips x 50-100
Chins - x 50-100
ab wheel/weighted sit ups x 50-100


Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

push-ups or dips x 50-100
Chins - x 50-100
sit-ups/leg raises x 50-100

You obviously want a full body template but after Monday and Wednesday this one doesn’t make much sense.

You say you’ve been looking online, have you got the books? If not get them. The 5/3/1 2nd edition ebook explains the principles of the program, why it is the way it is, why you progress the way you do, how to progress, blah blah blah read it. You’ll only get so far looking at articles that assume you’ve read it already. More importantly the beyond 531 book has full body templates that are completely programmed, tried and true and work. So get that, all your answers are there written for you.

In regards to why I say Friday doesn’t make sense. Because you can’t just hit Squat and Bench 531 twice in one week. Like what are you going to do? Week two’s sets/reps? Week ones set/reps again? Either way your progression between those two lifts and your deadlift/press will be fucked. Unless you altered the next week but I have a feeling you don’t properly understand the difference in the weeks if you’ve written it like this. Also chins every day is ifne, but you’d want some horizontal pu;;ong (rows) too.

Not trying to have a go, I just worry you don’t actually understand the program.

Triumvirate would be a better start.

Welcome to the board. Lots of great advice/programs for beginners have been posted on this very forum. Here’s a recent one:

For someone in your situation - this template you wrote out is perfect. Let me know if you have any othet questions. You listened!! I’m so damn happy right now.


Jim appreciate the quick response. Just a quick question. Obviously week 1 I’ll be squating and benching twice. Do I just keep the same reps and sets as Monday? In regards to week 2 would I then switch over and deadlift/press Monday and Friday and squat/bench Wednesday?

Also I plan on conditioning as well but my gym has the prowler away for the winter. Would you recommend sprints and running few times a week instead? Again thanks for the quick response!

You can do either - it doesn’t really matter at all.

I would recommend some kind of “easy” aerobic work done in the appropriate “cardio zone”. Until you have this under control, I wouldn’t recommend any sprints or whatever. A good aerobic base is like having a good knife - not flashy but it is incredibly useful and every man must have one.

“A knifeless man is a lifeless man.”

Is 5/3/1 good place to start for a novice

@jovan84 if it’s in line with your goals and you follow a program, no questions asked, nothing added or subtracted, then, yes. Look at one of the beginner programs.