T Nation

Critique My 5/3/1 Routine + Any Tips

strength
performance

#1

My goal is to be as strong and aesthetic as possible (I know that is very cliche and everyone says that) I can upload my progress so far if someone would like to help further, I have been training for about 2 years and I feel that my lifts and physique are pretty pathetic for that amount of time in the gym so I decided to start 5/3/1.

Stats:
6’ 2"
162 lbs
11ish% bf
My goals are a 405 Deadlift, 315 Squat and I want the 225 Bench SO BAD!

Squat (5/3/1)
Romanian Deadlift (3x8-10)
Alternating Leg Extension (3x8-10)
Lying Leg Curl (3x10-12)
Rack Pull (above the knee) (3x6-8)
Seated Calf Raise (4x10-12)

Bench (5/3/1)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3x6-8)
Incline Dumbbell Bench (3x8-10)
Dumbbell Lateral Raise (4x8-10)
High-Low Cable Fly (2x10-12)
Low-High Cable Fly (2x10-12)
Skullcrusher (4x8-10)
Cable Pushdown (4x10-12)

Deadlift (5/3/1)
Weighted Wide-Grip Pull-Ups (3x4-6)
Bent Over Unilateral DB Row (3x8-10)
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown (3x8-10)
Face Pull (3x10-12)
Machine Preacher Curl (3x8-10)
Alternating Hammer Curls (3x8-10)

OHP (5/3/1)
Incline Bench (3x6-8)
Machine Shoulder Press (3x8-10)
Flat DB Bench (3x8-10)
Cable Lateral Raises (4x8-10)
Landmine Press (3x8-10)
Overhead Cable Extensions (4x10-12)
Weighted Dips (3x6-8)

Accessory Day
Squat (3x8-10)
Pull-Ups (3x4-6)
Leg Press (3x8-10)
Barbell Row (3x8-10)
Alternating Lying Hamstring Curls (3x10-12)
Close-Grip Lat Pulldown (3x8-10)
Standing Calf Raise (3x10-12)
Barbell Curls (3x8-10)
Alternating DB Curls (3x8-10)

My estimated 1RMs in pounds according to my most recent training sessions are D/S/B/O | 325/280/185/120


#2

Follow the original 531, read the books, follow as written for awhile, yadda yadda ya


#3

Out of the dozens of 531 options, this resembles precisely none of them. Specifically, your set up has way too much volume, and a whole bunch of redundant movements. Your lineup looks like something a self-coached budding bodybuilder might conjure up…
Keep it simple and do something like 531 with the Triumvirate assistance option, or with the BBB option (you’ll need to eat to support this- you could use some more size). Both these are listed on the T-Nation articles.
After a year using basic 531 and Triumvirate I added 100lb to my deadlift, 75lb to my squat, and 45lb to each of my already-decent bench and OH press. It works.
And I’ll be the second of many who will advise you to buy his books. As you’re new to 531, I recommend
5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training Method for Raw Strength (Second Edition).

I sincerely wish you the best.


#4

I would second the advice above. There is no reason to be doing that many different lifts at this point. I think running Triumvirate straight is fine, though I personally made a lot of progress some years back (getting to 495 deadlift, 355 squat, and 255 bench, which is not world record setting or anything, but was major progress for me) using just Boring But Big (BBB) and Triumvirate. Generally I would do BBB for 2-3 months, then Triumvirate for 1-2 months, then back to BBB, etc.

Just about the only other lifts I used for any of that were pushups, chin-ups, dumbbell rows, farmers walks, hanging leg raises, glute-ham raises, and back raises, though occasionally I included some curls, pushdowns, or whatever. Note that I did not do all of those all of the time, but would instead just do use 3-4 of them for each month and change which ones I was doing every so often.

A year of BBB and Triumvirate with just some basic assistance for a year resulted in consistent progress in strength and muscle building.

In summary: get the books, follow the basic programs like BBB and Triumvirate (or comparable programming).


#5

To reinterate what everyone else has said, seems like too much volume for a relative beginner in training terms! You weigh the same as me and have 5 inches of height on me! Big frame to fill out

On another point what is your current nutrition? List of foods? Are you following a plan?


#6

I’m close to the numbers you want to reach and I began the basic 5/3/1 template 6 months ago.
Started out that I was 176lbs, somehow dropped to 170lbs in the first few months and now I’m back at 176lbs with some body recomp (that wasn’t planned at all but not gonna complain about it).
If you’re 6’2’’, I’d look to put on a couple pounds first without stressing too much about “aesthetics”. Commit to gain some weight AND focus on getting stronger, your aesthetic will improve too even if you gain a few points of %bf.

With that said, there’s too much stuff in your layout. Leg curls, leg extensions, different cable flys, you’ll just wear yourself down with all that stuff - and it will be useless.
Be much more conservative at the start.
Do PR sets or 5’s Pro as your main work, then follow 5x5 FSL with the same lift (using the % of the first main work set), then pick just a few sure-bet exercises for assistance - rows, chins, dips/pushups, leg raises, lunges depending on what main lift you’re doing.
Get used to superset the assistance work with the supplemental (or even main) work, i.e. doing leg raises between sets of deads or rows between sets of bench.

The goal is to do the best you can with maximum effort on the main work, focus on bar speed and technique on the supplemental work and increase work capacity with assistance work - you don’t want to kill yourself with assistance stuff, you don’t want to reach muscular failure and you don’t even want to end your workout completely drained. That’s not the point of strength training but you can bet you WILL pack on mass/size anyway.

Do the basics for a few months, get a grasp on how the TM works, how you need to focus on bar speed and technique, then you can move to a more specific template - for your goal, Boring But Big sounds good (but you have to be honest with your TM and bar speed, it’s not a template you can grind away). Like, 3 cycles of BBB, then follow up with either the BBB Challenge or the Beach Body Challenge, a few people here did them and can probably give you more feedback.

So take into account that if you want to reach a certain strength level, you have to focus on that for some time. Once your strength is up to par, you can push more towards aesthetics by reducing the strength work and increasing the bodybuilding work.


#7

Yeah dude the goals associated with 531 are performance related, not aesthetics. But most people look better when focusing on performance anyway. If you want to look like you lift, you need to lift some weight. I’ve never seen anyone with a 200 pound bench press have good “aesthetics.” A lot of your exercises are pointless and will only hold you back from getting stronger on the main lifts. Like others have said, read the books.


#8

Thank you to everyone that replied, I really appreciate it.
How much weight would you recommend I aim to gain a week based on my level on experience etc. I would set my macros accordingly. I use a spreadsheet to track weekly average weigh ins and I would use it for the bulk as well. I am hoping to compete in October bringing an 800lb total.

How does this new setup look?

I do HIIT on the elliptical a few times a week just to keep cardiovascular health.

Squat 5/3/1
Deadlift or RDL 5x10
Bulgarian Squat 3x10
Calves 3x10

Bench 5/3/1
Overhead Press 5x10
DB Bench Variation 3x10
Lateral Raise 3x10
Dips 3x6, Overhead Tricep Extensions3x10

Deadlift 5/3/1
Squat 5x10
Pull-up 3x6
Barbell Row/DB Row/Supported Row 3x10
Ez Bar Curl 3x6, Alternating DB Curl 3x10

Overhead Press 5/3/1
Bench 5x10
Machine Shoulder Press 3x10
DB Bench Variation
Close-Grip Bench or Dips 3x6, Tricep Pushdowns 3x10

Accessory Day
ATK Rack Pull 3x6
Leg Press or Lunge 3x10
Glute-Ham Raise or Single Leg RDL 3x10
Pulldowns 3x10
Face-Pull 3x12
Biceps 3x10
Calves 3x10


#9

Just do this as is for 8-12 weeks and see what happens.


#10

Your set up is somewhat close to the 531 BBB program, but with different assistance exercises and an extra accessory day. I think it’s too much work in a week, and even though you don’t think so on paper it will hinder your strength gains. I think you should drop the extra “accessory” day, and lose some of the pushing accessory in favor pulling. For example, on the OHP day, after your OHP and 5x10 bench, do 1 pull accessory (rows, chins, curls,etc…), 1 push (dips, pull downs - not more BP), and a core/lower (HLR, goblet squat, roll out, etc…). That’s more the typical template for 531 programs.


#11

This must be a troll thread.

Anyone who has read at least one 5/3/1 book or even this forum is not so retarded to write a program like this. Extra accessory day! common man sort it out and follow a proper program.


#12

New setup still looks like shit. Run the original for a few cycles and then decide what to do. Don’t write up your own shit at this point in your life. Run it as written


#13

Bad. As others have said, you should probably just do the program Wendler wrote as he wrote it, no added assistance day, keep the supplemental work (second lift) the same as the main lift, and adjust the assistance work.

Regarding 5x10 work, though Wendler has noted somewhere that you can switch the lift (e.g., 5/3/1 Squat then 5x10 Deadlift), he very clearly usually recommends sticking to the same lift (e.g., 5/3/1 Squat then 5x10 Squat). In fact, here is what Wendler wrote yesterday on a different thread of this forum for someone (and this seems to be his go-to recommendation):

“FSL” is first set last (i.e., using the first work set’s weight). The 3 categories are push (pushups, dips, db press, or tricep pressdowns, etc.), pull (chin-ups, facepulls, curls, etc.), and single leg or core (ab work, lower back work, lunges, etc.). In general, pick one exercise for each category to do 25-50 reps (number of sets for that will vary).

That is a good program and you will get stronger doing it. There is not really reason to go more complicated than that at this point in your training. Since you are new to the program, I would suggest just doing that for the next 3 cycles, then you can try a higher volume variation like Boring But Big, Hardgainer, or whatever (again, just doing it as written).


#14

Hey bro

I second this whole heartedly. Just run it exactly as it is written. Don’t change Jack shit. He gives some freedom for certain things, stay within the given boundaries. I myself am currently at the end of 6 weeks of this. It’s a great program. It’s tough, not boring, and I feel like I am doing quality work whole at the same time not killing myself. Give it a go


#15

Hey man thanks for the reply, what does PRO mean?


#16

Alright after reading beyond 531 and 531, and including some of the feedback this is what I got

5/3/1 Joker Sets + FSL

Squat 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
25 to 50 reps light Assistance

Bench 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
25-50 reps light Assistance

Deadlift 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
25-50 reps light Assistance

OHP 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
25-50 reps light Assitance

NO EXTRA DAY! lol


#17

Not sure about the Joker increases.
In Forever, where Jokers are addressed better than Beyond, the recommendation is +5-10% load, max 1-2 sets of max 1-3 reps and you DON’T have to miss - so there is no “until the set cannot be completed”.
The one you posted I think is from Beyond, but Beyond is intended for more advanced lifters, I wouldn’t use that progression until you have a lot more experience, sticking with the Forever recommendations.

It’s 5’s Progression for the main work instead of PR sets - basically, all your sets have 5 reps. 65/75/85% x5 lightest week; 70/80/90% x5 medium week; 75/85/95% x5 heaviest week. No PR sets, focus on technique and keeping a solid bar speed.
This should allow you to do 2 sets of 3 reps on Jokers without missing and without grinding, especially if you pick an 85%-ish TM.


#18

What does PRO mean?

I just read beyond 5/3/1 and this seems to be what he recommends:

Sorry for aggravating everyone here I know to you all these are very dumb questions and responses.

5/3/1 Joker Sets + FSL

Squat 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
Assistance

Bench 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
Assistance

Deadlift 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
Assistance

OHP 5/3/1
Jokers increase of 5-10% each set until set cannot be completed (5 reps on 5 week, 3 reps on 3 week, 1 rep on 1 week)
FSL for 3-5 sets of 5-8
Assistance

NO ACCESORY DAY!

Better?


#19

PRO is short for progression. 5’s PRO means doing all of the work sets for sets of 5, no matter the particular week, and no extra reps. As atlashrugged said: [quote=“atlashrugged, post:17, topic:230060”]
It’s 5’s Progression for the main work instead of PR sets - basically, all your sets have 5 reps. 65/75/85% x5 lightest week; 70/80/90% x5 medium week; 75/85/95% x5 heaviest week. No PR sets, focus on technique and keeping a solid bar speed.
[/quote]

Regarding:

Follow atlashrugged on this.

Yes, it is better, though I still don’t know why you don’t just try the actual program exactly as Wendler usually recommends (no jokers, FSL 5x5, etc.), then with that as a base adjust in the future (e.g., increasing FSL reps, adding jokers). In any case, as Aleister Crowley says, do what thou wilt.


#20

Drop the jokers. You are not ready for them.