T Nation

Conditioning Work & 5-3-1?


Im currentley trying to get ready for a big 4 mile 27 obstacle event in Nov. I've been doing 5-3-1 for about 3 months.
I've recently added in a fullbody crossfit style workout 3 times a week with lots of running. I feel fine so I dont feel over trained. Im just wondering if I should concentrate more on cardio and stuff and ditch the 5-3-1 program while getting ready for the event.

On a side note can 5-3-1 have a arms day if so what would it look like?


Wow, so many odd questions I don't know even know where to start.

1.) You need to train for whatever is most important to you. If I ever did something like that I would probably train very hard for it for about a month, maybe two in terms of cardio and conditioning. There is a chance you will need to take a few extra days off here and there if you're doing intense conditioning work, though. Do NOT stop the program or stop lifting, that makes no sense at all.

2.) It would look like an arm day with any other program, or you can just add tris after your benching or biceps after your back work. There are a lot of threads about arm training and you can find those yourself here or in the T-Cell.


Cut back on how far you push your last sets, cut back/eliminate assistance stuff. Keep doing 5/3/1 and hit conditioning hard. No reason to completely stop lifting.

And, no, I don't think arm day really goes with 5/3/1. You can should definitely incorporate arm work, but it should be assistance. And it doesn't sound like an arm day would help you in an obstacle course anyway.


First your questions:

I compete in similar events and basically use 531 to maintain strength while adding in cardio of some kind.
Arms are assistance in 531 usually, but I suppose if you were doing a spec phase you could use the numbers for some big bang arm exercises like CG bench, barbell curls, dipps, etc. Haven't tried this myself.

Now my question, which race are you doing? It sounds like something I'd like to know more about.

Good luck




wendler had a live spill or article about this. but basically what he said is if you want to focus on conditioning, do NOT ditch the 5/3/1 program. in the article he does suggest having balance though so if you want to push the conditioning and really get in great shape for this race I would suggest doing 5/3/1 just 2 days a week and then do conditioning 4 or 5 days a week when you don't hit the weights, you can either do deadlift/pess on one day and squat/bench on the other day or you could do deadlift and press on their own days with some basic assistance stuff and do the squat and bench the following week and just switch on and off with the main lifts each week.

or if you wanted to hit the weights more than twice a week still you could do 5/3/1 the normal 4 days a week but just do the prescribed reps(no max reps on last set) and very low volume on assistance exercises, and then do your conditioning whenever you want. Oh and i would drop the crossfit stuff and just focus on running hills, or on an incline on a treadmill, or even with a weighted vest. crossfit workouts definitely will move you further south toward vag.


^ this sounds like a good call. The two days a week template he gives here should work well - I've been doing it whilst training for rugby and it's going well so far - still seeing strength gains whilst getting in better condition from all the running. Heres the article;



personally i've cut down on the assistance work for deads/squats because of all the running, but i've kept the bench/press day as it's written. also i don't know about doing a 5/3/1 day purely for arms, but the volume of the assistance exercises on upper body days on this program will hit your arms pretty hard anyway


avenger, glad to hear you are also a fan of 5/3/1 and thank you for backing up my advice with the article that i was too lazy to find haha. thats awesome that you play rugby i played like 2 years ago for a month or so. I am transferring back to my old college this spring and am thinking about playing rugby again if so i will definitely be moving to the 5/3/1 two a day template bc rugby just beats the shit outta your body.


yeah tell me about it. just had my first game of the season on saturday. keepin up 5/3/1 even for just 2 days a week is gona be tough enough!


Yeah I think if you read the ebook you can read about staying well north of vag... I've been pushing the prowler for 30 35yrd trips after my deadlift, overhead press, and squat sessions and walking after my bench session and I am progressing fine on 5/3/1 as well as adding in conditioning.