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Critique My 5/3/1 Routine + Any Tips

I have a meet in October so I thought the jokers might be handy to get some higher % work in, should I do a cycle or two without them and then put them in for the last cycle?

So far I have

  1. Do BBB
  2. Do Hardgainer
  3. Do 5s PRO

Everyone seems to slightly disagree Lol

Do any of those. All will produce results.

Do HG if you want to add volume and mass, BBB if volume and mass, and 5’s PRO if you want to focus more on assistance/supplemental work and limit the main.

It’s simple really. I’m just happy as fuck you dropped the extras day to be honest

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Also, you really won’t profit much from jokers at this stage. Honestly, most people don’t at all until they have ran 531 for a bit and understand when they should train them. There are some people on different sites that have never faltered from the original programming. They just cycle between Triumvirate, BBB and FSL. Just doing those three programs over the course of the “long run” will produce great results. I would look over at Endurance Athlete Does 531 in the training log section as well. He made OUTSTANDING results just following basic 531 principals as well as staying in great running shape. It all just takes time brother, but if you follow the outline how you should, you will profit.

I like the look of both FSL and BBB so I’ll decide between those two, you would recommend to do the same movement as the 5/3/1 for that day and not do the opposite right? To be clear for BBB and FSL you still do a bit of assistance after your done those sets right? Such as a Pull and a Single-Leg/Core?

Should I run the assistance as if it was an upper lower? Or do 1 push 1 pull 1 leg every single workout?

From what I can gather from reading this forum, it seems the man himself recommends something like this lately:

Cycle 1-2: 5’s PRO + 5x5 x FSL (Leader)
Cycle 3: 5/3/1 + 3x5 x FSL (Anchor)

Deload on week 7 and 11.

A template based on this could look like this:

Day 1:
Press: 5’s PRO or 5/3/1
Press: FSL x 5x5 or 3x5
Lats/Upper back: 50-100 total reps

Day 2:
Squat: 5’s PRO or 5/3/1
Squat: FSL x 5x5 or 3x5
Back raises: 3x10

Day 3:
Bench: 5’s PRO or 5/3/1
Bench: FSL x 5x5 or 3x5
Lats/Upper back: 50-100 total reps

Day 4:
DL: 5’s PRO or 5/3/1
DL: FSL x 5x5 or 3x5
DB Lunges: 3x10 per leg

Mr Wendler is at the moment recommending a different assistance protocoll than what I have put up here, If you would rather follow that protocoll, it is simply:

After main lift do: 25-50 reps of pushing (push ups, dips etc), pulling (chins, rows etc) and single leg/core work (lunges, back raises, leg raises etc).

I may be wrong on some of this, so someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Ideally, push two lifts with BBB and use FSL for the other two lifts. That is, if you really feel the need to use BBB. Put the BBB lifts more towards the end of the week if possible, to have more rest since BBB is harder on recovery time, always keeping the upper/lower or lower/upper format.

Assistance, yes, you should do every category in each workout, but try to weigh what you do and scale it according to your overall strength/fitness level.
I.e. one thing is to do 100 band pull aparts for pulling, a whole other thing is to do 100 pullups. Crushing yourself with pullups and heavy rows the day before bench or deads is silly. In general, crushing yourself with assistance is silly, yes assistance may make you sweaty and increase heart rate if you superset stuff, but you shouldn’t come out heavily fatigued.
And try to cut back on assistance on BBB days.

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Yes, just do any of them. I think you can see above that folk have been recommending these as options, and not criticizing them (e.g., I indicated the 5’s PRO and FSL program is a good option, but did not say there is anything wrong with Hard Gainer). The key is that there are a number of core programs that Wendler has written that all work wonderfully. In fact, I think you will see that a lot of people, like myself, cycle the basic programs, like doing BBB periodically, but not all the time. It seems vastly better, at this stage of your training, to focus on doing those as written (no extra lifts, or extra days, or the like) rather than trying to write your own and going off the rails.

Yes, Wendler has most frequently recommended that people do the same lift. There are many good reasons for this, but mostly I would just count on Wendler knowing what he is talking about.

Yes. You can see specifically that for the FSL program I quoted from Wendler above: “Assistance - 25-50, all 3 categories” That is for each day.

One exercise for each category each workout. You can just note in your plan the categories and total rep range, then determine the details while workout out based on how you feel, or just pick a few you want to focus on for the next few months.[quote=“florelius, post:27, topic:230060”]
Mr Wendler is at the moment recommending a different assistance protocoll than what I have put up here, If you would rather follow that protocoll, it is simply:

After main lift do: 25-50 reps of pushing (push ups, dips etc), pulling (chins, rows etc) and single leg/core work (lunges, back raises, leg raises etc).

I may be wrong on some of this, so someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

That is my understanding as well. Quoted for emphasis.

Well said. Quoted for emphasis.

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For a whole host of reasons I tend to use bodyweight exercises for my assistance work for the most part (pushups/pullups/burpees/leg raises/situps etc…).

With that 50-100 reps of push/pull/leg and core I calculate the total number as between 100 to 200 total reps per week (I lift 2x/week due to a rather hectic work schedule) during a lead/anchor cycle and 50-100 reps per week during a 7th Week/deload week.

Another thought, and one that I use, is spreading my bodyweight work (aforementioned 100-200 reps/week) throughout 5-6 days of the week if I can’t fit sets of them through my normal gym work. It helps me sort out the main lifts at the gym within an hour or so and I can sort out my pushups at home/between sets.

There’s been some good advice in this thread. Also, don’t aim to gain a specific amount of weight a week and don’t use “macros”. That’s a useless bodybuilding way of doing things. Do a legit 531 program, do your mobility work and conditioning, and eat to recover. Don’t count macros just eat a ton of quality food. If you’re doing this and lifting and conditioning right, your body will respond wonderfully. But don’t do “HIIT on the elliptical.” That’s less than useless. Do sprints, prowler pushing, weight vest walking or things like that that compliment your training.

Correct me if I’m wrong but is not only so much muscle that can be built over a period of time? Wouldn’t the excess just be stored as fat? And then as I would get accumulate all that excess body weight that wouldn’t actually be if any use to me, rather than doing it progressively through macro manipulation and gaining a more optimal or minimal amount of fat to muscle gained ratio? Increasing as my bodies metabolism adjusts to each calorie set point? Thank you for all your replies so far everyone!

I can guarantee you that if you’re worried about macros and storing a little extra fat, that you won’t build as much muscle as you could if you eat to recover and grow. You’re not going to build much muscle if you’re worried about a little fat gain. If you program and perform the right kind of conditioning you won’t get fat. I’m 33 years old and eat an absolute shit ton but since I’ve been running 531 the right way with performance, not aesthetic goals, and eating plenty, I’m not only stronger but look better than I did when I used to mess around with bodybuilding protocols.

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This x100.

The best strength AND aesthetic gains have come from when I put an emphasis on eating a fuckton of good food. I’ve run a few different programs and I got good results from all of them, the common factor being diet. In recent times I haven’t been eating as much (still pretty good, just not the same quantity) and things have leveled off. I need to go grocery shopping.

It’s not that I’m worried about gaining “a little fat” but I am not that great at determining when I have eaten enough and when it is excessive etc. I understand that fat will be gained, but limiting that amount of fat to only be the necessary amount would be more optimal wouldn’t it? Autoregulation when it comes to food is not one of my strong suits, I would love to just eat and not care how many cals it is, but I feel like I would become a bear pretty quickly haha

Also, the two weight classes I could compete in are 74kg and 83kg, and currently I am 72 kg. What would I do then? Would my lifts increase enough to justify competing in a higher class?

It seems worth emphasizing that food quality matters here. While the OP might not need to worry about precise macros at this point, it would be wise to focus on building solid habits of eating proper food. As Wendler generally recommends, every meal should include a good protein source (generally beef, dark chicken meat, eggs, etc.), vegetables or fruit, and a good carb source (e.g., rice, potatoes, etc.). Autoregulation is much easier when you are only eating nutritious foods. Eating for growth and recovery means eating real, nutritious food, and when people train hard while eating healthy food they tend to get good results. If you find your results are not what you want them to be, then you might adjust portions (e.g., more vegetables and less carbs, or more protein sources).

For reference, 2 lbs of ground beef (90% lean), 2 lbs of broccoli, and 3 cups of rice would give you something like 2500 calories, 220 grams of protein, and 200 grams of carbs, along with a ton of vitamins and minerals, which would be a great way to provide a lot of nutrients to support growth and recovery while being very unlikely to make you get fat, but you could always adjust as needed.

Anything more specific than generally to eat good food to support growth and recovery probably requires knowing much more about you, your training and current nutrition, how you are responding to it over time, and so on. But, if you start by focusing on eating healthy foods you should do fine.

I would not worry at all about what weight class you compete in at this stage. Just get stronger and do the meet at whatever weight you happen to be at while focusing more on the longer term progress.


Okay, thanks a lot, man, I hit 155lbs (at 6’ 1" I have realised and been told that I’m way too fucking light lol) today so I’m gonna use that as my starting point and begin this phase of intuitive eating for recovery and strength progression and see how it goes, hopefully, it is a lot less mentally stressful. I won’t be going that extreme with the exclusion of foods such as only eating veggie meat and a carb every single meal every day, as I will moderately include some other things like shawarma or burritos or other regular foods on occasion, but I understand the premise of what you meant.

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Seconded. I’ve done 1 year with mostly generic bodybuilding programs when I began lifting and the progress I did is nowhere close to the improvements I’ve got in the last 6 months of 5/3/1 - under every aspect, performance, body comp, badassery (lol).

[quote=“kieranfromcanada, post:35, topic:230060”]
Autoregulation when it comes to food is not one of my strong suits[/quote]

This is why it’s important to start light and progress slowly. There’s a lot of autoregulation needed when doing 5/3/1, in all aspects - some of it comes from basic common sense, some comes from experience.
I eat as much as I need to have good energy levels to work out with max effort, sometimes this means eating some more than I’m used to, and see above for how it worked on my body - this is based on experience, I’ve always eaten this way since I began training and got a good understanding of what I need.
Eating clean and nutritive stuff balancing the nutrients is a sure bet way - this is basic common sense.

Getting used to autoregulate and feeling your own feedback is worth it.
It’s just too useful as a tool, i.e. with rest times, there’s a lot of people who think they need to fuck around 15 minutes between each set and a lot of people who count the time at the clock because some complete stranger wrote “30/60/90 seconds rest” on their paper.
One of the best adjustments I made to my workouts was stopping to look at the clock between sets and focus on how I felt.
If I feel like I need 5 minutes I take 5 minutes, if I feel like I need 1 minute I take 1 minute - fun fact, my workouts became shorter, more intensive but without killing me at all and my lifts have been progressing.

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