A quick write up of 531 Hard gainers.
After some productive periods in 2019 and some unproductive periods I put myself to 531 Hard gainers to make some progress. Below is a quick lessons learnt for others that might want to run the programme. Please bear in mind that I’m in week 3 of Month 2. And I run 531 in 3 month blocks.
It works. My lifts have gone:
Press 54x12 – 67.5x5
Bench 82.5x12 – 97.5 5x5
Squat 130x14 – 145x11
Trap bar dead lift 135x17 – 165x16
My 1rm estimate for my squat has gone up 10kg, my dead lift 1rm estimate has exploded by 40kg. In less than 8 weeks. My upper body lifts are not progressing as fast. But I’m not complaining. It’s only been like 7 weeks. They will progress. And to be honest without out a “+” set there are no PR’s to judge myself against.
Work up to your assistance volume. There is a hell of a lot of volume on this programme. It will tax you. Make sure you work up to the volume. There is no shame in taking a month or two to make sure you can do 5x5 bench press, then 100 more presses, and 100 rows. And then prowler or sled work and still make the gym in the next day or two. I’m not saying go easy. I’m saying be honest with yourself.
Recovery. So kinds linked with above. You will need plenty of food and sleep whist running this programme. Plenty.
Again linked with the above, Hard gainers is not a programme than can be done as a secondary part of your exercise life. You will have a hard time fitting this programme around another serious athletic pursuit. I’m not saying you can’t. But I would consider this an off season programme.
I’m never doing a squat work out without a widow maker set again. These things are beautiful.
So there you have it.
It works – no doubt. If you’re not used to this sort of volume make sure you ease yourself into it. You’ll need to sleep and eat loads and make sure you’re ready to give this your all. It’s not a part time plan. Its will require serious dedication.
I think I’m going to do another 3 months of Hard gainers after this stint. Then who knows. There are a few more 531 templates I like the look of (the rep pause looks cool).