T Nation

Forever 5/3/1 and Opposite Lifts


Love 531, its been a program I’ve always come back to after trying other things.

One thing I’ve noticed in the new book however is that the idea of using opposite lifts has, from what I can see, gone.

I’ve always doing my 5/3/1 sets with a lift, then used the opposite lift for things like my BBB kinda stuff. So Squat 531 then Deadlift BBB.

It doubles the frequency of each lift and I felt I could give more on the second lift that way.

The only place I see this mentioned so far is at the very start with the original BBB program. From what I can tell its not mentioned elsewhere. But I have seen it mentioned that you shouldn’t do it. And with a lot of the program layouts being fullbody, it obviously doesn’t apply there.

Does Jim now advocate against doing this? Its not made clear in the book whether you should just keep all your squatting to squat day, all your benching to bench day etc.


As for most of the programs in the book, they are written with a purpose in mind - and that’s total programming. Most of the program prefaces talk about assistance selection and how they relate to the program and recovery. I have a feeling that recovery is the reason instead of frequency. 1000% awesome, and several other programs have different lifts on the same day, but as full body, and not ‘opposite’ lifts. I think if you want to train the opposite lift, chose a program that suggests doing so, like the one you mentioned about BBB; otherwise stick to the program as written.

One thing about training is finding what works best for you - trial and error so to speak. That doesn’t mean that you should or shouldn’t train the lifts more frequently; you have to simply test to see what works best for you in the long run.


I think it is 10000% pointless. We have never done it. EVERYONE here gets very strong without it.

You are free to change any part of the program; I hope everyone finds his/her way. But once you do that, it is no longer the program. I’m not trying to be a dick, but this I recently wrote a large post on my forum addressing the attitude and success of the kids I work with and how “common questions” don’t really matter. While I understand the questions; doing “the opposite lift” will make zero difference in your success.

Think “big picture” and you will realize that debating/caring about things like low bar/high bar, opposite lift (etc.) and all these questions become pointless. Strive to get to that point and the entire world opens up.


Guess what I’m asking is, have you programme s that way because you found a specific advantage in doing it? Or is it just a way of keeping it simple?

If there is a serious benefit you’ve found keeping it to just one lift on those programs for the main and supplements I’d do that.

But if there’s not much difference either way I wouldn’t mind having the option to switch it up,knowing it won’t
Negatively effect my training and progress and it just a novelty to keep things interesting. I don’t mind just squatting on a workout, but I hate just sitting on the bench on my bench days for 7-10 sets


Because it takes much less time and it gives a “focus” to the workout. I believe this is a HUGE advantage. Also, we don’t just “sit on the bench” on bench day - we are doing a lot of stuff between benches.

When we squat on Monday, the kids know to “sell out” on the squat, so to speak. The goal is fast, strong and explosive. Singular focus.

We we bench on Wednesday, the kids know we are building “armor”.

We we pull on Friday, it’s about being strong, stable and taut.

I’m a huge fan of this as it keeps each day with ONE goal, one idea.

Each day - one focus.