T Nation

Experiences Substituting the Big Lifts?

After a year of trying to customize too much and getting nowhere. I decided to follow the 28 week plan with abs/low back on LB days and chins/rows/curls on UB days. 3/5/1 order of the weeks without rep maxes or jokers on the 5 week.
After 28 weeks I plan to change the 531 lifts to front squat, incline, cgbp and sldl for again 28 weeks. Then repeat. Thoughts?

Why would you change the lifts?

Change of pace, overall strength and development, different focus, hypertrophy, balance, … also why not?

I think that’s a great idea. If you do the same main lifts month in and month out, you’re going to stagnate no matter how much you over-complicate the 5/3/1 numbers. For myself I find this is especially true with pressing movements. I can get away with squat and deadlift for longer periods of time.

What is your goal? If your goal has anything to do with the squat, bench, DL, or OHP, than not doing them for 28 weeks doesn’t seem like a great idea. All the lifts you listed a great movements and would probably work with the 5/3/1 progression, but why not just use them as assistance work? And if you are going to change the main lifts, don’t use the RDL. It’s kinda like the barbell row…you can progress like crazy mostly because you let your form slip farther and farther. Do the RDL to crush your hamstrings, not to max out.

[quote]Willem85 wrote:
Change of pace, overall strength and development, different focus, hypertrophy, balance, … also why not?[/quote]

As for the why not, squatting, benching and pulling are skills that you need to practice. Variations don’t build the skill like doing the lifts.

“Change of pace,” not sure what you mean by that, not sure how that confers an advantage. Hammering away at a narrowly focused goal is good, doing things for a “change of pace” doesn’t sound helpful. Maybe psychologically if you get bored easily, but then you have bigger problems to fix.

“Overall strength and development,” not sure what that means either. The powerlifts and presses cover “overall strength” pretty well, and you mention “hypertrophy” as another reason, which I assume means the same as “development”. Either way, the SQ, BP, and DL can be loaded heavier than the variations you listed (maybe not the MP,) so unless you’re hurt they’re probably better for “development” or “hypertrophy”.

Not sure what you mean by “balance” either. If you can pull 600, your SLDL should be pretty good too if you ever test it, (not sure why you would). Not sure what gaps you’re filling in with those variations.

Like the guy above said, do them as accessory work if you want to. If making a wholesale change in your training like this is what it will take to keep you in the weightroom though, I guess go ahead.

Good luck either way man.

You learned nothing from the last year.

@Willem,
There is an entire philosophy built upon changing the main lifts frequently - it is called Westside. I say that not to badger you like others but to suggest you may be on to something for yourself.
However, if your goal is ultimately better performance in the power lifts, I would re-evaluate those choices for exercises. Reasons being, I am not sure how much carryover they will have to the main lifts.

I want carryover, so I would move towards an exercise that provided that - i.e. perhaps an extended range of motion movement like pulling from a deficit for the dead lift - or maybe 2 board presses (so you can handle heavier weight) on the bench. If getting stronger in those exercises you chose contribute to that end - have at it. I just can’t see going for broke on stiff-legged deads, it just sounds dangerous.

@ Ramo,
Change of pace every once in awhile does wonders for avoiding over training, etc… Like doing a cycle of sumo pulls instead of conventional dead lifts, manipulating the grip on the bench, etc. It allows you to keep training, stay fresh, and provide a focus for a weak spot without drastically changing the movement pattern. The fact that he is using the 28 week program indicates he is thinking and not just changing for change’s sake.

[quote]Rave2.0 wrote:
@ Ramo,
Change of pace every once in awhile does wonders for avoiding over training, etc… Like doing a cycle of sumo pulls instead of conventional dead lifts, manipulating the grip on the bench, etc. It allows you to keep training, stay fresh, and provide a focus for a weak spot without drastically changing the movement pattern. The fact that he is using the 28 week program indicates he is thinking and not just changing for change’s sake.[/quote]

Yeah, definitely aware this philosophy exists and at least at one time was pretty widely held. I just disagree with it completely. I think the more quality reps you rack up in the powerlifts, the better you get at them. “Weak spots” in lifts don’t seem to change much, i.e. if you’re missing a 315 bench off the chest, in a couple years you’ll probably miss 405 in the same spot. Which is fine. If you think a muscle group is weak or underdeveloped, you can do targeted assistance for that.

With that said, this isn’t the Ramo 5/3/1 Coaching Forum, so I’ll just leave it at that. People need to do the kind of training they believe in.

Why not keep the 5/3/1 main lifts the same and rotate other variations through a 5’s Pro every 4 cycles or so?

[quote]littlebones wrote:
Why not keep the 5/3/1 main lifts the same and rotate other variations through a 5’s Pro every 4 cycles or so?[/quote]

And we have a winner!

Here’s a question I’d like answered:

Person A asks a question asking if its “ok” to do something.
Person B gives opinion, many times contradictory.
Person A gets super-Internet mad at Person B for not validating his thoughts.

My question is this: why would Person A ask a question if his mind is already made up? It is so far beyond my level of comprehension. Please enlighten me with tales of needed validation by people you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Everyone with common sense.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:

[quote]littlebones wrote:
Why not keep the 5/3/1 main lifts the same and rotate other variations through a 5’s Pro every 4 cycles or so?[/quote]

And we have a winner!

Here’s a question I’d like answered:

Person A asks a question asking if its “ok” to do something.
Person B gives opinion, many times contradictory.
Person A gets super-Internet mad at Person B for not validating his thoughts.

My question is this: why would Person A ask a question if his mind is already made up? It is so far beyond my level of comprehension. Please enlighten me with tales of needed validation by people you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Everyone with common sense. [/quote]

You need to get out more. :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:

[quote]littlebones wrote:
Why not keep the 5/3/1 main lifts the same and rotate other variations through a 5’s Pro every 4 cycles or so?[/quote]

And we have a winner!

Here’s a question I’d like answered:

Person A asks a question asking if its “ok” to do something.
Person B gives opinion, many times contradictory.
Person A gets super-Internet mad at Person B for not validating his thoughts.

My question is this: why would Person A ask a question if his mind is already made up? It is so far beyond my level of comprehension. Please enlighten me with tales of needed validation by people you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Everyone with common sense. [/quote]

Thanks for the nod, Jim.

I just don’t understand why we’re trying to complicate something that has already been addressed in more than one the 5/3/1 books. Re: cycling of supplementary strength movements using SST or 5’s Pro.

Got it from this articlehttp://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/52-most-common-531-questions/
question 52. Remembered it from montgs ago and had the lower body lifts wrong.

Thanks everybody for your input. Path has been cleared.

Who is “super internet mad?” I must have missed that. I am not very bright though. Law school took it out of me:)
@Ramo,
I am impatient with doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Perfecting technique through greasing the groove is fine and necessary; a lifetime’s work - believe me I get that. But eventually most have to inquire “why” can I get 315 but not 325? Failing off the chest when attempting a small increase in weight reveals a lot - why not use the information? Having said all this - I should admit I have been using 5-3-1 since around 2007 with very little change to the main lifts - which is why I agree with you for the most part. I do however switch assistance as I see fit - sometimes every workout. The reason I replied to his post is because when I see someone going nowhere for a year - well, I tend to reply.

SLDL is not deserving of main lift status. Why? “Was that a legit SLDL or did it turn into a regular deadlift?” It’s just too fuzzy.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:

[quote]littlebones wrote:
Why not keep the 5/3/1 main lifts the same and rotate other variations through a 5’s Pro every 4 cycles or so?[/quote]

And we have a winner!

Here’s a question I’d like answered:

Person A asks a question asking if its “ok” to do something.
Person B gives opinion, many times contradictory.
Person A gets super-Internet mad at Person B for not validating his thoughts.

My question is this: why would Person A ask a question if his mind is already made up? It is so far beyond my level of comprehension. Please enlighten me with tales of needed validation by people you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Everyone with common sense. [/quote]
Person C is probably squatting