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Has Anybody Listed the Forever Programs from Easy to Hard?

Would pics to see them ordered in categories. Two/three/four dats a week. How much time each would take. How much effort is required etc.

It would be nice to know what template/program to run and in what order. What would be ideal from the beginner to advanced.

Any ideas? Anybody put the programs in their best order?

I think there may be some general tiers, but really this would be an impossible list/question to answer. Also, any template can be adjusted by choosing a lower/higher TM. However:

In general, using lower TM’s, 5’s PRO, and 5x5 FSL will be easier. For a beginner, this might be too easy but for a strong, experienced lifter this might be the sweet spot.

In general, higher TM’s, 531 with AMRAP on the final set, and 5x10 (BBB) or widowmaker (20+ reps at FSL) will be harder. These are great for younger lifters, weaker/beginners (if they at least have their form down), or for short term challenges for stronger/more experienced lifters.

Because assistance can be personalized, this can really change how hard a template is. Consider the two assistance choices below:

Option 1: 50 weighted pull ups, 50 weighted dips, 50 goblet squats with 85 lbs dumb bell.
Option 2: 50 DB curls, 50 push ups, and 50 sit ups.

Obviously Option 1 would make that a very challenging workout, and would likely require that person to adjust the main lift and supplement options. Option 2 would be much easier, and could be a good choice for someone really pushing their main/supplemental work.

This is really the beauty of 531. Once you get a hang of the principles, you can adjust programs, and even individual workouts, to suite your level and your current goals. Also, there are “challenges” that are more prescriptive in the exact TM, assistance, etc… that tend to be, well, challenging. I just did Building the Monolith, with had me doing 100 pull ups and 100 dips (in addition to tough barbell work). This would not be doable for everyone, and I’d say in general the challenges would be better suited for someone with a reasonable strength level.

Plenty of others on the forum have lots of experience and knowledge about running 531, and they may have more to add (or different opinions entirely).


Great response. I agree that some templates can be changed to suit the lifters level. I was just being lazy and had hoped somebody would have a simple list.

I was looking at the programs in Forever. I wanted to run all the four day programs in the book from ‘easiest’ to ‘hardest’

Probably not a good idea anyways, it would be better to alternate so you have an ‘easy’ program after a few ‘hard’ ones or else you risk running yourself into the ground for the last few programs you run.

Just run them in any order instead, it’ll probably work just as well or better. Do it in the order they’re in the book, or alphabetical or something that you can keep track of and tick off.

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This would likely work just fine if you’re just looking to “run all” of the 4x wk programs, but I agree with what’s been posted above. If you’re looking for something more sustainable in terms of building up the big 4 (S/B/D/P) or conditioning (mile time or prowler goals) without the constant headaches and setbacks that come from a haphazardly planned training/recovery regimen then following a template based more on the principles from the Forever book would work.

  • Be sure to up your training maxes every 4th week,
  • deload roughly every 7th week (heavy/low volume deload)
  • Throw or Jump before strength stuff
  • Do the Agile 8 anywhere from one to ELEVENDY BILLION times per day
  • Prowler work probably 2-4x per week if assistance volume is low
  • easy conditioning 3-7x per week
  • do a lot of upper back accessory work, along with lots of bodyweight stuff. Forever doesn’t emphasize a ton of lower body assistance aside from bulgarian split squats, lunges, goblet squats, a few KB moves, plus the stock meathead “Oh yeah, also do a bunch of reverse hypers and GHR’s, because…you know…Loui- I mean, I said, posterior chain activation is uh… good” answer you’ll hear from any former westside guy.
  • Periodization should be 2 “Leader” cycles (which are basically lighter main lifts and heavier/more volume on the supplemental) followed by 1 “Anchor” cycle (which is heavier main lifts, and lighter on the supplemental volume).

I mean, there’s only a few different options for the “main” work (5’s PRO, 5/3/1, 5x5/3/1, Beyond) then a few standard options for the “supplemental” stuff (BBB, BBS, FSL, SSL, etc) and assistance is pretty open with a few suggestions (mostly do a ton of upper back work). The rest is pretty much just slight variations on the same idea, for example, Leviathan and Beyond are the same exact thing, save for a few minor details here and there. BOTH Leviathan and Beyond are similar to the 7th week Deload, save for the supplemental work.

Black Army Jacket is just Spinal Tap work with different reps, and God is a Beast is a slightly more succinct version of both, but it follows it’s own weekly protocol (which is actually incorporates Boring But Strong that is elsewhere in the book). Coffinworm is another “Spinal Tap”-esque loading structure with 5x5/3/1 used as a deload.
Speaking of 5x5/3/1, it is just a variation of the First Set Last concept. Instead of doing 5x5 at FSL, you’re doing a 3x5 at Third Set Last, if that makes sense… So the whole books is really a series of minor tweaks to the same overarching concepts (5’s between 55%-85% of 1RM for 15-50 reps).

In the grand scheme of things, if you just do lots of 5’s (along with a few 1’s in Leviathan or Beyond) in the 50%-85% range (of your real 1RM) for anywhere from 3-12 sets, you’re covering the vast majority of what you’re going to find in any program from the FOREVER book

There I saved you $40.


I could say the same thing about most program. You clearly didn’t understand the most important thing about 5/3/1. Once you really understand Jim’s work, you realize that he actually gave you a framework on which you could train all your life and keep on making progress. It’s made such that the average joe like me, who just likes lifting and staying in shape can do it at his home gym, without breaking his head every 8-12 week trying to find the next silver bullet program or having to pay for personalized training, and keep making progress year after year.

What you don’t explain is the periodization brought by the 5/3/1 scheme, the leader/anchor concept and variable % of TM you use at each cycle. Combined with the autoregulation of the 7th week protocol (all variations). You have all the ingredient to train smart for the rest of your life for 40$.

Go back and read the book and stop focusing on the exact % or number. It took me a few years of lifting on my own and educating myself before I was able to grasp how much knowledge and experience was behind his program especially in the forever book.

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Thanks prussia and bparr, slightly different perspectives but both helpful informative posts.

Where can I find the 5x5/3/1 explanation? I don’t remembered seeing it in the book.

5x531 means do 5 sets of 5 at the heaviest set of that day. Essentially, it’s a 5x5 workout for one of the big lifts each workout. Typically these would be run with an 80% TM.

Page 87


Of what Internet forum?



This was clever, I got a good chuckle