T Nation

Beginner Template Recommendation


#1

21
6’1
165 lbs. (on calorie surplus, 3,500+/day)
Athletic build, long arms, legs, torso. Look like a golfer or tennis player.

1RM
Squat- 235
Deadlift- 205
Bench- 135
Press- 105

Goal: 1) Get stronger 2) Build Mass

I’m overwhelmed to what I should start on. Starting Strength, 531, 5x5, Greyskull, etc… All have a 3 day full body split, just different set/rep schemes. Which one would give me the best opportunity to progress, and take advantage of this period to make my biggest gains, workout to workout?

I have no doubt 531 is something I’ll go to once my newbie gains come to a halt. And the beginner 531 template is something I’m still considering starting. I just don’t know if it’s better at this time versus SS or a 5x5 model.

Suggestions? Thanks.


#2

Pick the routine that looks like the one you will be more willing to give the most effort toward. The routines aren’t some sort of magical combination of reps and sets that somehow unlock your body’s biological secrets and create some sort of specific response, they’re simply a codified means of approaching training. They’re all based around the premise of lifting weights to get stronger, and they’ll all work as long as the effort and consistency are present.

Also, eat incredibly well. I should also tell you to sleep well, but since I don’t do that, it would make me a hypocrite.

EDIT: Wait, holy cow, Jim Wendler personally gave you advice on what program to do. Why don’t you want to follow his advice?


#3

I would never even have entertained the thought of questioning the words of someone who has had 1,000lbs on his back when I was a noob.

I think you should just do what you want. You are likely to fail.

Failure is a great teacher.

Your call.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
EDIT: Wait, holy cow, Jim Wendler personally gave you advice on what program to do. Why don’t you want to follow his advice?[/quote]
I’m not trying to sound like a cranky old man, but… kids today. Seriously.


#5

Of course Jim is going to recommend me to his templates. And rightly so, 531 to me looks like the most sound program because I can run it with steady progress, sub-max.

I’m simply covering my bases, and seeing if I could get more out of Starting Strength or a 5x5 model in my first 6 months to a year. 531 is a slower progression, that may be more useful when my strength is at least near standard.

I’m just trying to take advantage of my first year of lifting where my biggest progress will be made. When that stalls out, 531 is undoubtedly where I’ll go.

What I am basically asking is, am I more apt to make quicker gains as a basic beginner on SS or a 5x5 versus 531, which really makes sense for long term/having decent numbers under your belt?

Also, if someone was to ask me would I rather increase my squat from 235 to 285 in 2 months or gain 10 pounds, I would probably want the mass. I understand strength + eating = mass, but I definitely need the volume (which 531 has), SS and 5x5, don’t.

This is where I’m stuck.


#6

I’ve addressed this a few times, but I will do it again.

5/3/1 does not make you progress slower than any other program. The last set has you shoot for a PR. This means it’s up to YOU to make the progress, not the program.

For example, let’s say, for your 5s week, you’re supposed to bench 135lbs. You bench it for 8 reps.

Next week, on your 3s week, you’re supposed to bench 150lbs. You bench it for 10 reps.

Wouldn’t that be even FASTER progress than only increasing the weight 5lbs a session?

Yes, the training max only increases every month, but it has no bearing on how strong YOU are getting. It’s simply a number used for the sake of programming.

In all honesty, were I Jim, I would take offense to the notion you presented that he intentionally would give you less than perfect information for the sake of promoting his own program over what would be best suited for you. It is FAR more likely that Jim has developed a program that he feels is best suited for your unique situation based upon both his years of being strong along with his decades spent training others to be strong.

In the end, none of this matters. If you did Starting Strength for the first year of your lifting life and then 5/3/1 vs starting at 5/3/1, the difference would be incredibly minimal 10 years down the road. Do what you want to do,


#7

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
Of course Jim is going to recommend me to his templates. And rightly so, 531 to me looks like the most sound program because I can run it with steady progress, sub-max.

I’m simply covering my bases, and seeing if I could get more out of Starting Strength or a 5x5 model in my first 6 months to a year. 531 is a slower progression, that may be more useful when my strength is at least near standard.

[/quote]

If Jim gives you a detailed outline of the program he has beginners do, what makes you think that there’s something wrong with it?
I honestly think the internet is a bit problematic in this regard as you would never ever start training at a gym, get the big bad SOB of an owner to write you a program and then say to his face, “cheers, but I’d rather spend some time shopping around”. You know when I really made amazing progress for the first time (about six months in)? It was when I stuck to the same program for months on end and believed in it.

Of course, you can also do starting strength instead. The point where I seriously take offense is that you expect people to give you free information and then you completely disregard it. Do whatever you want but stop asking for advice if you just don’t care.


#8

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
I’m simply covering my bases[/quote]
You’re not covering your bases. You’re thinking instead of doing.

Nov 13: What program should I do?

Nov 13, 10 hours later: What program should I do?

Nov 15: Which 5/3/1 template should I do? (Got two replies from Wendler)

Nov 17: Should I do this 5/3/1 template? (Got a reply from Wendler)

Nov 17, 15 hours later: Which 5/3/1 template should I do? (Thankfully, Wendler did not reply)

Nov 17, 6 hours later: How should I eat? Somehow morphed into how should I train?

Dec 13: How should I do 5/3/1? (Thankfully no reply from Wendler)

Dec 13, 6 hours later: Can I combine 5/3/1 and another program? (Got two replies from Wendler)

Dec 15: What program should I do?

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

I almost want to ask how many workouts you’ve had and what you’ve been doing in the gym since November 13th, but I’m 94% sure the answers are “none” and “just planning”.


#9

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I almost want to ask how many workouts you’ve had and what you’ve been doing in the gym since November 13th, but I’m 94% sure the answers are “none” and “just planning”.[/quote]

It’s funny how many people will tell you that the gym is a great place to learn things like work ethic, patience, consistency… From what I’ve seen, very few people actually learn these things at the gym. They either have them and succeed or they don’t and fail.


#10

I think back to 2007, when I first discovered elitefts and literally read every single article on the site and poured over the FAQ, and how you’d submit a question and wait and hope that someone from the site would pick it up and answer it and how amazing it was to get insights from guys like Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Matt Kroc, etc etc. It makes me wonder if now that they’re more approachable, the magic is gone and it makes people feel they are less credible.

I got the elitefts basic training manual for $40, and it was basically just all the articles I already read re-packaged in a spiral bound form, and I still read it all over again and followed it to the letter because Dave and Jim said it was good (and hell, it had Matt Kroc on the cover). I also got pretty damn big and strong during that time.

I actually don’t really know where I hoped to go with this. I guess my mind is just blown.


#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I’ve addressed this a few times, but I will do it again.

5/3/1 does not make you progress slower than any other program. The last set has you shoot for a PR. This means it’s up to YOU to make the progress, not the program.

For example, let’s say, for your 5s week, you’re supposed to bench 135lbs. You bench it for 8 reps.

Next week, on your 3s week, you’re supposed to bench 150lbs. You bench it for 10 reps.

Wouldn’t that be even FASTER progress than only increasing the weight 5lbs a session?

Yes, the training max only increases every month, but it has no bearing on how strong YOU are getting. It’s simply a number used for the sake of programming.

In all honesty, were I Jim, I would take offense to the notion you presented that he intentionally would give you less than perfect information for the sake of promoting his own program over what would be best suited for you. It is FAR more likely that Jim has developed a program that he feels is best suited for your unique situation based upon both his years of being strong along with his decades spent training others to be strong.

In the end, none of this matters. If you did Starting Strength for the first year of your lifting life and then 5/3/1 vs starting at 5/3/1, the difference would be incredibly minimal 10 years down the road. Do what you want to do,[/quote]

This post is pure gold and should be a sticky for every time this exact same issue comes up. Progress is down to the lifter, not the program.

OP, I’m starting to get the impression you’re a lost cause. I would love you to follow all the advice given to you on these forums and prove me wrong.


#12

Actually over the last month I ran 531 with 5’s PRO and FSL. I went all 4 weeks, the fourth being the reload and reset my TM and started over at “week 1”.

You’re right I do a lot of think, obviously too much. I’m a pretty analytical person, so I overthink everything and I understand I just need to stick to one program.

I’m pretty much just asking the question for opinions on different programs. Because I’m interested. Because I like learning.

Will I ever be a good lifter because of these character qualities I have? Probably not. Probably not better than the guy that just goes to the gym and adds 5 pounds or sets PR for reps every workout. But I like the debates, I like comparing, I like breaking things down.

I’m sorry that’s not what you’re about, I won’t ask questions anymore.


#13

I literally said 531 is the best overall program. His 531 didn’t just come out of nowhere. There were many programs before his, with similar schemes. Especially, for novice lifters.

I was asking for a comparison. That’s it.


#14

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
I literally said 531 is the best overall program. His 531 didn’t just come out of nowhere. There were many programs before his, with similar schemes. Especially, for novice lifters.

I was asking for a comparison. That’s it.

[/quote]

Well, if 5/3/1 is the best, I think you have your comparison already figured out.

You’ve got a great program. Stick with it, hit it hard, and you will make progress.


#15

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
Actually over the last month I ran 531 with 5’s PRO and FSL. I went all 4 weeks, the fourth being the reload and reset my TM and started over at “week 1”.

You’re right I do a lot of think, obviously too much. I’m a pretty analytical person, so I overthink everything and I understand I just need to stick to one program.

I’m pretty much just asking the question for opinions on different programs. Because I’m interested. Because I like learning.

Will I ever be a good lifter because of these character qualities I have? Probably not. Probably not better than the guy that just goes to the gym and adds 5 pounds or sets PR for reps every workout. But I like the debates, I like comparing, I like breaking things down.

I’m sorry that’s not what you’re about, I won’t ask questions anymore. [/quote]
The objective of debating, comparing, breaking things down etc is to get the best possible results. By doing these with the knowledge it will, in fact, be detrimental to your results, you have knowingly turned the objective into holding yourself back. Do you see the silliness in your thought process?


Beginner Bodybuilder
#16

Oh absolutely. So, I decided to one last stupid thing and planned out what I hope to do. I mapped out 3 months (24 workouts) of my squats, 531 beginner and Greyskull LP.

My current 1RM for Squats is 235. Both templates would have me shooting a PR set for about 250. I would gradually get to 235 with 531, with Greyskull I would just hope to get their at that time.

The difference in the two programs is with Greyskull, I would call it a day. With the 531 + FSL I would also be trying for about 185 (my current 5RM) for a 5x5.

More Volume. Gradual Progression. I’ll shoot the 531 beginner with FSL for 16 weeks and hopefully, I’ll be breaking PR’s, setting new maxes and be 15 pounds heavier.

Thanks for your guys’ help.


#17

I’m no longer a fan of mapping out anything that I plan on doing as far as lifting is concerned.

Some days squatting near max (currently 275lbish) feels incredibly easy. Other days 245lb feels like it’s going to break my back. There are no discernible difference in how I ate and slept between those days. In fact, some times I do considerably better on days where I got shit for food and sleep.

I think 5/3/1 works because of the AMRAP set at the end, and Wendler places all those other things into his program simply because people expect to see a program have something other than “Kill yourself every session” (which is really what the AMRAP amounts to if you actually do it).


#18

This is a… Uhh… interesting thought process but nevertheless, you came to a decision.

It’s now time to drop this childishness and become accountable to yourself to deliver on this plan. Pushing through will give you good practice in delivering. In a society full of people who know what’s best, know everything that is wrong and are masters of telling others what to do but is lacking in people who can actually get shot done, this will hold you in good stead.

I recommend a hiatus from fitness knowledge for 6 weeks while you crush this. It will help.


#19

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
Actually over the last month I ran 531 with 5’s PRO and FSL. I went all 4 weeks, the fourth being the reload and reset my TM and started over at “week 1”. [/quote]
If that’s true, it’s surprising, but good to hear. Stay with the plan, build consistency, and don’t get tripped up by the mental masturbation of discovering the holy grail of training plans.

Also, you still haven’t put on a single pound of bodyweight in over a month. You were 165 pounds and “shooting for 4,000 calories a day” in your first thread in November, and you’re 165 pounds having “3500+ calories/day” yesterday.

So you’re under-eating just as much as you’re overthinking. That’s something that you can and should fix starting today. Literally today, it’s still early and you have the whole rest of the day to start eating for size.


#20

[quote]tsantos wrote:
I recommend a hiatus from fitness knowledge until you squat 245x10 or weigh 180, whichever comes first. It will help.[/quote]
Fixed.