T Nation

Brainstorming 5/3/1


Is it fair to assume that the program goes like this
5s week accumulation
3s transmutation
1s realization?

And if so is it safe to asume that when you cannot increase your estimated 1rm using the 3 week cycle you could you add an extra volume week of 5s so it goes 5/5/3/1? And then add an extra 1s week and 3 and so forth as you advance? Or is this just a bad idea all the way around?


I did not get the idea, how this should be applied to TM and amrap-sets?

I approach the method with much simpler way:

3's week: go for heavy set, optional PR.
5's week: take it easy, no amraps, almost like "Mini deload"
5/3/1's week: go for PR.
Repeat or deload.

Add some FSL work for needed volume and hit assistance for balance.

Why complicate?


Systems have their own internal logic. The terms you used are Issurin's terms, I've never once seen those used in reference to 5/3/1 based plans, in any of Jim's books, articles, on his website, or in any Q&A.

You are free to train as you wish, but just because an idea might have value in one context doesn't mean it will in another. If you think it's a good idea you should give it an honest try for a few months.


No, the progression model is not to add more volume by adding another 5s week. It's to drop the weight and do more work in the + set in the next cycle (or use 5s progression). You may also vary the supplemental and assistance work.


I was little hasty last night when I wrote that post, so I jumped in just to say what guys above have said:

You can use whatever terms you like, but 5/3/1 has quite simple logic in it, which includes 3 different weeks with different intensities (and some auto regulation, if regular amraps are used). If you want to put it in terms of stress or accumulation etc. you should know that 3/5/1 is more commonly used week order nowadays. With this order the idea should be easy to grasp.

For extra volume 5/3/1 uses submaximal weights (FSL), use them so you don't need to fuck up the program.


  1. It is fair as I don't care what anyone assumes.
  2. It is not safe. Didn't you cave to Christian Szell's torture? I just went with "it's not safe." I hate dentists as much as Babe.