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Critique My New 531 Choices



I have been running 531 for about 6 weeks now and i am really enjoying it.
I have been using the 531 pyramid with reverse bbb accessory i.e. 531 Squat with bbb deadlift.

Have been doing some tweeks and changes for my next run of 531 and was looking for some input on what i have come up with :slightly_smiling:

I am going to keep doing the 531 pyramid style, but incorporate amrap sets on all the pyramid sets as Wendler wrote in the book as an example.

I will then add reverse bbb as i have been doing, but periodize them in cycles of 8,5 and 3 reps.

Using this the first bench session for week one would look like this:

***Bench Press
5 x 65%
5 x 75%
5 x 85% amrap (top set)
5 x 75% amrap (pyramid down)
5 x 65% amrap (pyramid down)

Overhead press 5x8 70%***

I will run the 5x8@70% for 3 weeks, and next 3 weeks i will switch to 5x5@80% and 3 weeks later 5x3@90%.

I have been toying with the idea to run this as a 9 week cycle, and deload on week 10.

Thoughts? :smiley:
I am by far no expert on 531 but i think it looks really solid.
Accessory will be kept to a minimum, just rows and pull-ups.


So you've been running 531 for 6 weeks and came to the conclusion that you should modify it with no actual goal in mind rather than follow one of 802 templates provided by Jim Wendler in his many books.
Is it just me or is it the new in thing to screw with 531 in hopes of finding some magical template.
Don't want to sound like a dick but as soon as I stopped messing around changing shit I started making progress again. Just pick a variation written by Jim that aligns with your goals and get after it.


Point taken :slightly_smiling:

Everything i mentioned however i did find in the book, but maybe it's not meant to be mixed and matched.

Thing i did change was the cycle lasting 9 week, but maybe i could just do the deload from the books.


Might be a good choice. I really like working in the 6 week blocks and not changing shit. I view each block as a step toward my goals. If you try to change feet mid step you'lI probably fall. I also realize it will take many steps to reach my ultimate goal/destination and I'm OK with that.


I would personally stick to one of the templates in the book. He gives out a ton of options that covers just about anything and everything a person would want to do while running his program. Even though this is a well thought out plan, you have only been running 5/3/1 for 6 weeks, that isn't a long time at all. Set up some long term goals, pick a template that you enjoy and grind away for a few years. Then after that you will no what works for you and what doesn't. Then you will be able to make the right adjustments.


I think AMRAP sets with BBB assistance is a bad idea, but hey its your training.
Also, 6 weeks is a VERY short amount of time, personally I tend to stay with a template for 6 months at a time, then switch only if I'm bored.


Six weeks isn't enough experience with these programs to start toying around, IMO. If you're easily bored you can change templates every 6 weeks and/or change assistance exercises. I usually do the latter to target specific muscle groups that I think will help me where I'm weakest in my main lifts.

Basically, as I see it, the objective is 5/3/1 on the main lifts, everything else has to serve that. What is your program serving?


The genius of 531 (if you do it properly) is that you do just enough to get stronger. The problem with most people is that they do a little more then necessary and go nowhere.


I thought this over during the night, and you guys are correct.... :slightly_smiling:

I am just really enjoying this program and with all the possibilities i just nerd out with different programming options haha.

Points taken and i will stick with what i have been doing for a couple of months more to get some more experience.

So i will keep on rocking the 5/3/1 Variation called Pyramid together with the Boring But Big assistance template.
But with 5x5@80% for a little more strength focus.

At lest that worked really well the first 6 weeks (and was fun!) :slightly_smiling:


you said this was all in the book, tell me specifically where you found BBB listed as 5x8 @ 70%, 5x5 @ 80%, 5x3 @ 90%, etc.

you're apparently missing the point.

I think you'd be better served with First Set Last, aka FSL. 5 sets of 5-8 reps at the first work set.

so on the 65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5 day, you'd go back to 65% after the 85% and do 5 sets of 5-8. this is with the same exercise, not that "reverse BBB". if you're set on BBB do it correctly- which means NOT what you wrote above.


He's talking about the BBB variations. It's all in there. The only thing he's doing differently is combining BBB with a main lift variation(in this case Pyramid) which isn't normally recommended.


which book? apparently I need to brush up.


IMO, it's too much. I think you should work on doing better, not more. This is something Jim has stated, and I've been working on lately myself. You're adding in too much of what I consider "extra". He has stated many times not even to compliment FSL with BBB, let alone the heavier pyramid version. I would say to pick ONE extra, meaning pick one of the following for each main lift:
supplemental lift (stuff like close grip bench, front squat, stiff leg deads, etc. that are variations of the main lift)

if training intensity, consistency, food, sleep, form, etc. are in order, there's no reason you should need both extra all-out sets of the pyramid AND heavy BBB work. And as always, be patient. More training does not equal faster results. Stick with one of the extras for at least a six week cycle, then switch if you wanna try the others.


This is a lot of work - which is admirable. But it's like you are pulling an all-nighter but studying the wrong subject. Please PLEASE understand that the programs I write, the templates and challenges, etc - they are written for a reason. There is purpose.

If you don't wanna follow them, that's fine. But you may want to give them a shot.


I never thought about it that much to, to be honest there really was not much of a purpose other than me wanting more volume (used to training like that) and having a really good time with the program and wanting to try everything at once haha :slightly_smiling:

I have heeded everyone's advice and will stick with the basic 531 and go for the reverse bbb for a while, i guess i also will have to give the book another read since i must have misunderstood some things.

But just to be clear, i thought that the 531 pyramid was just a variation of 531, and you was still supposed to use it with one of the templates like bbb, fsl.

But that's not the case?

Either 531 Pyramid with no extras, or 531 (basic) with say bbb or fsl?
So no 531 pyramid with say fsl or bbb?


I believe it is one or the other:
531 with FSL


531 with pyramid


531 with BBB

The FSL, pyramid, and BBB are all ways to get more volume with the core lifts. If you notice, there is an inverse relationship, meaning with FSL, the %'s are higher so the actual # of reps are lower. With BBB the % is lower so the reps are higher.

Actually, in the Beyond book Jim has a BBB version that uses the FSL %. I don't remember all the details, just that he mentioned that it is a tough version to try. Sounds like it might be right up your alley though.

Good luck!