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Getting Hate for Doing 5/3/1

Not related to the actual lifting part of 5/3/1, but over the last month or so, I’ve been perusing YouTube just watching lifting videos, as per the usual.

My title is somewhat clickbait. I am not personally getting hate for doing 5/3/1, but I’ve noticed that in the videos I watch on 5/3/1, it’s been about a 50/50 split in terms of positive reviews and negative reviews. I won’t name names because I still enjoy watching the people who don’t enjoy/use/approve of 5/3/1, but this is my question for you guys:

Why do some people hate 5/3/1? What is so bad about it? I’ve been doing it for almost 3 months now and I’m already miles ahead of my old PRs. The only somewhat viable complaint I’ve heard about 5/3/1 is that there isn’t enough volume (which is easily remedied by adding assistance work however you feel you need to).

A lot of what I’ve been seeing is offhand remarks like, “as long as you aren’t doing Texas Method or 5/3/1, we’re good,” or “Lead us not into 5/3/1, and deliver us from evil. Amen.” I can’t really tell if these guys are being serious, or if 5/3/1 is to the weight lifting world what Coldplay and Nickelback are to the music world (not a Coldplay or Nickelback fan, but there’s nothing wrong with them).

I feel like I’m missing something. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but it’s working so well for me, I can’t really imagine that it doesn’t work for everyone as long as their diet is right. Thanks guys

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Lots of people want to get video views or clicks or whatever else (who cares). Or they desperately need to win their dick swinging contests online, argue about who’s doing the coolest and hardest workout that day, blah blah blah.

It’s the same for a ton of things online and you’ll find it everywhere for just about anything if you look. Internet posting brings out the worst in a lot of ‘hardcore’ online lifters who need to share how much they killed themselves this one specific day.

Eventually you’ll get to a point where you can hopefully filter out anything like that, it’s not worth the brainpower and you sure aren’t going to change any minds.

The people who are smart and consistent, working out for YEARS (5-10+) are the ones NOT posting about it online, and not jumping from fad to fad every month.

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This is all that matters.


This is a business move, nothing more.

I know how many books I sell and can guarantee that these clowns aren’t fit to shave my pubes. Either in sales or knowledge - so in order to drive traffic, they use my name/creation to get people to read.

It’s both a blessing and a curse - but I continue to evolve while the rest of the turds feed off my scraps.


There are different reasons.

They have limited knowledge conserning the method. This is up to them. Since you can find information pretty easily/with little effort/money.

They do it on purpose. For bussiness/klickbaits, or just to annoye people.

They have reductive/limited view to training, and dont get the 5/3/1 and its principles. (Ties to the point 1)

I personally think that judging other guys program is retarted, unless the subject is 100% crap. It also fades away the crucial point: determination and consistency are more important than programs.

The 5/3/1 is not the only good method out there, but its a great one. There is a lot of evidence behind this.


Let me guess, you just saw the Alan Thrall video from a few days ago.


Learned this year this to be the case. Made a ton a progress not following a program but busting my ass day in and day out. Learned that was my missing ingredient over the past few years.

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I find most criticisms of 5/3/1 (that dont come from a financial motive as mentioned above) are from people who utterly dont understand it. This is the “it progresses too slowly” and the “not enough volume” crowd.

The base of the program (the 5/3/1 sets) are simply a prescription for 3 sets of one lift each workout. After that you tailor the program to the athlete depending on their needs and tolerances (of which now 4-5 books have been written)

Its basically “Work up to a top set on the main lift and then use the rest of the session to work on what you need” … It literally doesn’t get more basic than that.


Pretty obvious that’s where he got this quote, yes.

While Jim has pretty clearly taken exception to this, judging by his response, I don’t think the comment in question was all that controversial or offensive. The guys were both laughing as they said it (admittedly, one of them has written an article criticizing 5/3/1, which is a separate issue), and by actually watching the video and listening to the comment in context, I thought it was a playful comment to one of their audience that asked about a different programming option than what they typically recommend - especially when you consider that these guys are both from the Rippetoe camp and that they mentioned “Texas Method” in the same “as long as you aren’t doing…:” quote it’s pretty clear that comment wasn’t an especially serious one.

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Different strokes for different folks - I think that’s the best way of looking at it.

One program will not work for everyone every time. If it did then we wouldn’t have training options because we would not need them.

From my own experience: I ran 5/3/1 after a number of weeks of preparing a version of the SST and being really excited about it. I completed a cycle and came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me and what I had been doing prior to it (Jonnie Candito’s 6 week program) was working just fine for me. So I’ve gone back to it.

The fact is 5/3/1 ia a great program with a large following. Whenever you are at the top of your game - much like Jim Wendler is with his approaches to programming - you’re going to be the basis of comparison. I think the fact that we are having this discussion speaks to how great of a program Jim has put together.

As for me, I have shelved 5/3/1 training for many of the same reasons other have: a lack of volume and, in my own words, to fulfill a desire for training variety on a daily and weekly basis (admission of guilt: I train for powerlifting but I am a closet bodybuilder). Do I hate 5/3/1? Not at all - my current run of it just didn’t work for me. I’m sure I’ll try the program again with a different assistance template at some point in the future. For now though I’ll following the number 1 rule in barbell training: stay with what works.



I imagine anyone complaining about a lack of volume in 5/3/1 has never run Building the Monolith or Spinal Tap.



These are two arguments that I saw a lot of. I agree, they just don’t understand the program. As for the progression, well, that’s part of the plan. For the volume, they must not have actually read any of Jim’s stuff where he talks about assistance work.

You’re right. It literally does not get any more simple than 5/3/1, and that’s what makes it so frighteningly effective

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Since you guessed it, yes. Alan also has a video up (I have no idea when he posted it) comparing 5/3/1 to his current routine and his main problem was that there isn’t enough volume in 5/3/1.

Alan is a smart guy, so it’s beyond me why he didn’t add volume through assistance work. Whatever his reason for stopping 5/3/1 was, that’s fine. I know it works for me and that’s all I need

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There was a topic on reddit on the fitness sub the other day about this, pretty much everyone agreed Alan ignored the supplemental/assistance and was literally just comparing the 3 5/3/1 sets as if that’s all your supposed to do.

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I found myself shaking my head constantly whilst speeding(watch x2 speed) through the video. If anything, I’m questioning Alan Thrall’s coaching abilities now. Maybe it’s just me but too many of them fitness youtubers just annoy the shit out of me.

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Pretty much, what others already said.
I like Alan Thrall and found his videos useful/funny many times, but really found it odd how he reviewed 5/3/1, basically just taking the main work sets and making a case for “not enough volume” argument.
When I began 5/3/1, before buying the book, I already knew what BBB, FSL and Jokers were just by reading here on the forum or the article on T Nation. Monolith, Beach Body Challenge, BBB Challenge and a few other templates could be found online for free already, still on Jim’s Website or here.

I honestly don’t believe Alan Thrall is so dumb to seriously think the program only has three work sets, so I’ll just go with “he did it intentionally because he’s now hanging from SS nuts” opinion + hitting 5/3/1 it’s a sure way to gain visibility.
To double the lulz, the latest videos by Rippetoe (barbell row and “new” press) are atrocious and hilarious at the same time.

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FWIW Alan did compare the extra sets of BBB as that is the most common add on on his Instagram and said that the % you use is very low and the overall volume is still worse than his program with Baraki.

Another problem with his comparison is the only conclusion was more volume is better. What if you did a program that was x2, x3 or x4 the volume than the one he was doing? Maybe his program doesn’t work great if you run it for too long, smolov is high volume but your not supposed to run it all year long. If someone kept getting injured they might blame their lack of progress on the injuries, not the program that lead to the injuries in the first place.

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Speaking from experience(not that I’ve much of it), it’s not so much about percentages and weights lifted but more of how you lift the weight. The intensity you bring during the actual lifting. I once thought BBB would be easy, decided I would do my best to make it count and it sure as hell ended up being pretty damn tough. 5 sets of 10 at 50% of 90% of your max with 1 minute rest and pull ups between sets(done during rest times) ain’t nearly as easy as it sounds.


I’ve only used BBB with FSL percentages. It is not a cake walk, but I got really good size/strength from it.