Great Results, but What Template for my Squat?

I didn’t get 5 reps in the 531 week at the end of my first 5 month cycle, and asked Jim for advice. His suggestion was to work harder on recovery. So I sleep more now, probably 30-45 minutes more nightly on average, and also switched from four days a week in the weight room to three. Everything is coming along nicely, I set PR’s all the time now and am very happy! Thanks, Jim!

The exception is my squat. I really have some issues with it, and I am sure it’s technical. I’ve been falling forward coming out of the hole above certain weights. I’ve increased the mobility and ab work much and have found some cues that’s been helping me, I believe I’m moving in the right direction now. However I reset my TM so it is low, and while working on the technique I also feel I have had very little muscular development in my lower body compared to my upper body, which my girlfriend claims has gotten significantly bigger since starting 531. This lack of muscle is of course due to my bad squatting. I eat plenty.

I just did 3 cycles of BBB with all lifts and am now going to do the to last cycles with 5x5 FSL.
However, how should I do with the squat?? Another template?
I feel I should do loads of squatting to nail the technique and get stronger through a high volume, but I don’t trust my instincts regarding training one bit. In this, I am a total amateur. Advice?

Do the full body template?
Just keep doing squats once every 10 days with 531, or maybe 5’s PRO, and FSL, and lots of patience?
Loads of single leg squats and abs and lower back assistance; good mornings??
I’m at loss, hope for some advice.

Age soon 45, 6.2 tall. Started “working out” a few years ago, not done much sports before in my life. Trained 531 since August. As mentioned before, every other lift feels good and is developing and I’m hoping for some good results now that two months of PR work is coming up!

I haven’t got enough experience with 531 to have any set idea which template would be better to work on your leg size - at a guess, one of the BBB variations probably. For assistance, I’ve always found lunges to pack size on my quads. Hammies and glutes I’d say the GHR - but obviously with a BBB variation you’d be doing fewer assistance exercises.

If you’re falling forward out of the hole I doubt it would hurt to make your whole back stronger. Good mornings are a pretty staple remedy for the issue as far as I understand. Also, if you have access to any kind of cambered bar that would probably help a lot. My favourite is the safety squat bar.

In addition to possibly being too weak:

Press your back into the bar the entire squat - like you’re doing a back extension - especially coming out of the hole. If it’s really bad, also push your elbows forward as you come out of the hole.

If may also be an ankle mobility issue or not bracing hard enough.

If you’re asking for advice from personal experience, Chris Duffin’s squat and warm up videos helped me a lot with form. And when I ran the 1000% awesome template for three cycles my legs got big enough that friends and family commented. It also corresponded with my fastest squat increase.

Thanks for the helpful advices, all of you! Appreciate it!

First, the important stuff:
“my upper body, which my girlfriend claims has gotten significantly bigger.”

They can claim working out is about something bigger, like goal setting, overcoming obstacles, being healthy for life, and even performance, but at the end of the day…

I have found standing banded abs, good mornings, and front squats fix this.
Falling forward on the squat is like testicular cancer - we all get to it eventually - just a matter of time - because eventually the weight gets too heavy.

  1. Do you wear a belt? Taking a full belly of air and pushing your gut into it helps me.

  2. Where are you looking with your eyes?I know some gurus advocate looking at the floor while other weirdos insist on looking up to heaven.

Me? I use a piece of chalk and make mark on the wall in front of me - nose high. (if no wall then I pick something about nose level. Then keep your eyes on the mark the entire lift.

***VIP: Eyes fixated, not head/neck - they should be packed in and clamped down.
As you go down, your eyes should go up to keep the mark in sight (***VIP: Eyes fixated, not head/neck) So when you are in the hole, your eyes should be looking up to locate the mark - neck still neutral.

I took the time to go through this because this technique did more to fix falling forward than anything else other than just getting stronger.

If you keep your eyes up and neck packed, you shouldn’t fall forward - unless as previously stated, the weight is too heavy.

1: I don’t wear a belt. Good idea, I’ll get one and try it out.
2: I wish I had a better answer for this one; I know my eyes should be fixed somewhere. However, at my gym one squats in front of a mirror, and I believe I’ve more and more started to examine my form while performing the lift. I’ll do what you suggest, maybe stick some tape on the mirror and focus on that.

Thank you for your advice; I hope I can get my squat moving up before that testicular cancer gets the very best of me!

How does this look? This is cycle 4 and 5, after three cycles of BBB. In addition Agile8 every day and easy conditioning all weekdays (commute with bicycle) and incline sprints after lower body sessions.
Tried to incorporate exercises that was recommended above. TM is medium/high for press/bench and deadlift, low for squat.


Press 351
Bench 5x5 FSL
100 Band pull aparts
100 Chins


Deadlift 351
Deadlift 5x5 FSL
Squat 5x5 FSL
100 Leg raises/Standing banded abs

Bench 351
Press 5x5 FSL
100 Rows
50 Curls


Squat 351
Squat 5x5 FSL
Good mornings 5x10
100 Ab wheel

Pause squats after or on another day help some people tremendously.

If you can tolerate it and recover, fine. Looks hard though.

Yes, maybe too much. Perhaps FSL 3x5 on the deadlift instead on cycle 4, and 3x5 for all FSL on cycle 5, except for the squat that has a low TM.