T Nation

Best Damn Program 2 - Heavy Lifting with 5/3/1?



Hello Coach, greetings from germany.
I’m a natural lifter for about 10 years now (before I was a marathon runner and soccer player) and turned 51 this January. As I got my trainer’s and nutritionist’s licences a few years ago I’ve always tried to design workout routines which could help me getting stronger, gaining some lean muscle and also don’t harm my aging body.
That’s how I remarked Your “best damn” routines, and I must admit that I like them very much and it seems to fit perfectly to my needs. I used to workout with a lot more volume and load before, neglecting that my joints (elbow, shoulders, wrists) developed more and more inflamation pain with time. For two months now I work with Your “best damn” plan no. 2, and I’ve never felt better after workout - challenged, but not destroyed, growing but not eroding.
Another principle which has worked great for me in the past has been Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 scheme.
Could it be a good idea to substitute the heavy lifting sets from BDPFNL2 with the 5-3-1 scheduled main lifts?
I know most of the great coaches don’t like their programs to be altered, and it’s a widespread bad habit of impatient clients to leave a fixed routine in an early stage, but I think about it behalf of my age and my experience that the slow progress of 5-3-1 in those heavy compound lifts does a very appropriate job on my joints.
What Do You think about it?

Greetings from Cologne / Germany,


I think it’s doable. I have no problem with you trying it. But if you do the routine 6x a week it would mean that 2 of those workouts would not have a heavy lift. In that case you might use a loaded carry or prowler pushing instead of a heavy lift.

BTW love Kohln I was there last year for a seminar (during Carnival on top of it!).


I do the 5-3-1s on the big 4 lifts and on the two other days I lift as heavy as You prescribed it, one day with pull-ups plus clusters and one day with chest supported rows and rest/pause sets. I think it’s crucial for the plan that every day has it’s heavy component (it simply feels like that), and I like the composition very much, even with 6 days of 7 at the gym I never feel exhausted. I use to go immediately after work, it doesn’t take much time, and when I’m home my family doesn’t even get it that I’ve been working out because I still have energy for them and it’s not that late in the day.
Thank You for Your efforts in making and explaining those plans! Hence I am asked often how I keep myself that fit at my age of 51, I guess I will recommend Your articles.

And btw - If You ever come again to Koeln please feel free to announce it to me, I would be honoured to invite You to a drink or two :wink: