T Nation

Deadlift Advice on 5 PROs + FSL

Hi Jim and all,

Very quick background: My deadlifting over the years has always been low reps (usually sets of 3), and anything higher I did with the trap bar or as RDL. I’m 170 lbs, with a DL max of 385. In terms of my 531 history it is using the Beyond template, where your supplement lift is different than your main lift (531 OHP + 5x3 FSL DL’s, for example).

I’m doing a program in the 531 Forever book that calls from 5 PRO’s + 5x5 FSL on the main lifts. With the warm ups, that’s 11 sets of 5 on the main lift. No problem except for the DL’s. I am very sore and achy and stiff in my lower back for days. I like to play sports and do yoga, and the stiffness and aches are making these activities more difficult. Also, I am 43 if that matters.


  1. Should I stick with the prescribed rep scheme, and perhaps drop my TM on DL until I adjust to the volume?
  2. Should I do sets of 3 with the DL like I am used to, instead of the 5 PRO’s and 5x5 FSL like the other lifts?
  3. Should I take a break from the DL, and substitute rack pulls or TB DL’s?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

That is probably fine for DL, I do FSL on all lifts except that one. I wouldn’t drop too much, just the minimum to fix the issue. Try doing a Pyramid with the 5’s Pro weight so you at least get 5 sets of 5, slightly less volume overall. Also make sure you are using the 85% training max, if its 90 then just drop that and keep doing 5x5 FSL. If this was any other lift I would say change training max, less than 85% if it was necessary. Not all lifts are equal so it does not always make sense to do the exact set/rep scheme for all the lifts. There is even a template in the new book where it says to do a different template for each major lift so if you want to follow the book do 5’s pro FSL on 3 lifts and whatever template is least volume for DL.


This seems like good advice. I have DL day coming up on Thursday, and I’m considering my options. I think I may change to the original 531 scheme and do 5x3 FSL for the DL only and see how I respond to that. It will be the same number of total sets, but with fewer reps. For the other lifts, the 5 PRO’s + 5x5 FSL volume has been fine.