T Nation

For Hypertrophy: Beyond 5/3/1 or First Book?

I am about to buy one of the 5/3/1 books, my main goal is hypertrophy.
Should I go straight to Beyond 5/3/1, or do I “need” the initial info from the first 5/3/1 book?

Beyond 531 is an excellent stand-alone and my first recommendation


I would buy Forever


Thanks to both of you. I’m leaning against Forever (for now) because the description says that you need a 531 base, and because it’s not available on kindle so it’s $40.

I think the Forever book will give you the most bang for your buck if you are looking at only buying one of his books.


Forever is in my top 5 training books of all time. It’s worth WAY more than $40.


Pretty strong endorsements for Forever… will buy it. Thanks!

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Just want to reinforce that 5/3/1 Forever is the right book and you don’t need any of the previous ones to get a lot out of it. It’s much more comprehensive and has way more programs.

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Agreed 100%

Forever and probably 15mins finding and reading the original 531 article on this site for the basics of the program cover pretty much everything you would need.

Remember that this article is probably a decade older than Forever, and is just there to give you the basics of 531 programming.


Thanks! I have read the T nation articles, you all have convinced me to buy Forever. My main “doubt” was that 531 is more geared towards strength than hypertrophy, but I am sure that the books will have the modifications needed for tilting it towards size. Only thing I know I am not doing is the hardgainer 531 template - the widowmaker sets are a deal breaker. I love training hard but high rep squats make me fear training instead of getting excited about it :sweat_smile:.

I saw great results from the Hardgainer template. High rep, heavy squats are very difficult and have been very effective for me.

I often fear workouts, but those are the ones that seem to provide the best results. I’m currently running the BBB template which will be followed by Building the Monolith (hooray for Widowmakers).

Just some food for thought :+1:.

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Will see if there is low hanging fruit with more basic 531 before I go that route! But will take it into account. Book ordered, should arrive tomorrow!

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I don’t think you will see much hypertrophy by excluding high rep squats. They have been part of a vast majority of hypertrophy programs.

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I am hoping that Thib is right and significant hypertrophy can be achieved without high rep squats (he avoids them too from what I’ve read), but you may be right! Let’s see how this goes starting in April.

Yeah forever could be the only training book you buy and you would be fine. Reading the free articles on this website by Jim himself will give you plenty of 531 base for forever to work. You could probably get by on just the book, it’s the only one I have and it was plenty. Even if you have zero experience with programming, after a while with Forever, you’ll have the principles to do your own programming later should you want.

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* coughs *

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Can we post links to articles outside T nation?

The Thibaudeau article “10 Things I learned from master Poliquin” is the one where he said he learned you can do low reps for hypertrophy as long as the time under tension is in the 30-60 second range, and that it can be done by slowing down the tempo. Example, 4 seconds down and 2 seconds up, only need 8 reps to get to 48 seconds of TUT.

I remember one of the first books I read on lifting was Super Squats, a solid 20 years ago. I am not disputing the effectiveness of high rep leg work, just hoping that some people will give testimony to drug free hypertrophy without going that route because it is truly miserable.

Got the book!

Will do BBB 4 x per week.

My main questions are:
How hard to push on the accessory exercises. Leave 2 reps in the tank, or get to max amount without “failing” on the last rep?

On squat day, is the accessory exercise abs; on bench day, it’s a triceps exercise; etc? Or should it be mixed up?

I will clarify my question:
Do the three type of accessories (push, pull, leg/core) have to be done every single training day, or, …
pull accessories get done on push days, core accessories on lower body days, and no idea where to fit push accessories?

If each category of accessory gets 25-50 reps, are we talking about 75-150 reps of total accessory every training day, or just 25-50 total because we only choose one category per training day?

Accessory thread

Seeing that article gives me mild PTSD. The last week was utter hell.