T Nation

Confused on the Amount of Beginner Routines Floating About


Hi there Jim im john and ive just bought your book, the 2nd edition version. Im hoping you can help me with something. First off ill tell you right off the bat that im a complete newbie to lifting, im in my early 30s and my little daughter recently pointed out im getting fat, im about 200 pound male and 25% body fat, so its time for me to change.

However between your book and these forums and some other forums ive become overwhelmed, there seems to be so many beginner variations for your 5/3/1, theres ABA variations, theres a fixed variation which isnt ABA style, theres FSL variations, despite buying your book im confused at to which to do. My goal is to get strong and aesthetically pleasing to look at, naturally ill have to drop some body fat.

Could you please link for me a template i can follow religiously to change my body, i honestly could use your help and im sorry if this is another boring beginner post for you.

Ive not bought your beyond 5/3/1 yet, is it worth me buying that? are there beginner routines in there that could help me? thanks Jim.


If Jims unavailable to help me, is there anybody else experienced here who could point me in the right direction please?


Look at page 90, It’s titled 5/3/1 for beginners. :wink:


Google Jim Wendler beginners, the very first result will take you to the program.

Suggest you find someone to help teach you proper form(look for a powerlifting gym). Learning the lifts right from the beginning will go a long way as far as safety and ultimately progress is concerned.

Don’t fall into the, this program or that program trap(mental masturbation), 5/3/1 will take you as far as you willing to go.

Read the book, read it again.

You should clean up diet now.



Thanks for the info guys. Maybe im not explaining myself as best i can, English being a second language. I was trying to get jims attention due to the following.

  1. Im totally new to all this stuff so what might seem straight forward to you, is not to me.

  2. As one of you already pointed out, in jims first book there is a beginner routine, ive read that, and this is where i initially got confused and heres why. IN that book jim does put together a beginner routine. then on his Website ive read the help a friend get strong article, which is different advice than in his first book.

  3. after reading this thread, i went out and bought jims 2nd book, beyond 5/3/1 and in this book he references, 5s progression is now great for a beginner, does this mean he now recomends this for a begginer over what he wrote in his first book?

  4. On this forums, ive come across 2 posts where jim have given advice to beginners, 1 post he gave a routine thats a static squat 5/3/1 monday dead press 5/3/1 wed bench 5/3/1 friday and in another thread he states he uses a beginner routing of an ABA style of A bench 5/3/1 Squat 5/3/1 and B Dead 5/3/1 Press 5/3/1 Alternating.

Now im not trying to be a dick or anything, i mean ive just bought both his books trying my best to learn and i understand this forum is here as a resource for 5/3/1. But being new i want to make sure im starting off on the right path, this is daunting to me, ofc its not to you more experienced lads, hence why im here asking which beginner routine jim is currently recommending to beginners who are over weight and wanting to improve their physique and drop some weight.

I hope ive explained myself more clearly now.


There are dozens of different intermediate and advanced templates for 5/3/1. Thus there are also many beginner routines. So my advice is to pick the one YOU want to do - they are all based on the same basic principles and you can easily change the template every 6 weeks or so.

Principles are the ONLY thing that matter once you get the basics down. Hell, there are number of different templates that i’ve had beginners do in my weight room that were never published. So it’s not about the routine, per se, it’s about the principles that surround the routine. Follow that advice and you’ll be good to go. Stretch, Lift, Sprint.


I fell into the same trap as you did when I started lifting. People will tell you on is better than the other, but im learning that in reality any good program will get good results(And food, Tons of good food). You’ve started out reading Jim Wendlers Book, something I wish I did when I started…

There is many ways to skin a cat and that is what you are seeing here. what you have to realise is that all these methods are very very very similar. Pick one and stick with it for a few months. Do as Jim says and pick one and go with it. Maybe pick one in the book since you paid for it?


thanks for the replies guys AND jim thank you for taking the time out of your busy writing scheduled to shine some light on this subject for me, im almost certain what to do.

If you was starting over Jim which of these 2 would you pick, both of which you have posted. im happy to do either.

Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Bench – 50 total reps with FSL

Assistance work

push-ups or dips x 50-100
Chins/fat man rows - x 50-100
Back Raises x 50-100


Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 2x8 @ FSL

Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 2x8 @ FSL

Assistance work

push-ups or dips x 50-100
Chins/fat man rows - x 50-100
ab wheel x 50-100


Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Squat – 50 total reps @ FSL

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


A Workout:

Squat - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/push-ups
Bench - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/chins/pull-ups or inverted rows

B Workout:

Deadlift - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/push-ups
Press - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/chins/pull-ups or inverted rows

Alternate these workouts A/B/A/B, etc., done 3 days/week

This is very basic version of our beginning training phase done for 6 weeks.

As i said im happy to pick one of these and stick to but im just wondering which of the 2 you would recommend. thanks jim


I’d do one for 3 cycles, and the other for 3 cycles.

Same basic ideas so choose one to start, hammer it out - and then do the other for 3 cycles.