Help me choose the right 531 one program

Hello everybody,

I have been using my home gym 3 times a weeks following a 3x10 program for about 12yrs now. I have a basic setup i.e., a barbell, weights, bench, a power rack and some kettlebells.

For the past few months I have been training with 531. Jim Wendlers books seem to be filled with templates/programs but I’m struggling to choose the right one.

I have done 531 Trimuvurate - I found this a bit easy.
531 building the monolith - this was excellent. The program suited me to the bone, it was hard but manageable.

Post this I have switched into using 531 boring but big with 50% 5x10. But I have to say, I am finding this boring and struggling to complete the 5x10 deadlifts/squats. I kind of lose motivation after my second set. I try to do squats/deadlifts of 15-20reps, but its a real grind. This program is just not my cup of tea.

I am currently entering my 4th week of cycle 1 of BBB. But I don’t want to carry onto the next cycle.

My main aim is to get stronger and faster. I’m not actually worried about mass gain - i guess you get bigger with strength anyways. In view of this should I:

  1. Complete 531 boring but big
  2. Switch back to repeat BtM
  3. Consider another program - if so any advice would be much appreciated.


Whats your age?
Whats your height?
Whats your body weight?
What training maxes are you using?


Age: 40
Height: 6ft
Body weight: 97Kg
Squat: 140Kg 5Reps
Deadlift: 160Kg 5Reps - Double hand over
Deadlift: 220Kg 5Reps - One hand under and one over
Bench: 110Kg 5Reps
Shoulder Press: 90Kg 5Reps

I need to buy these books so when someone posts about the 531 program(s) I will know what is going on.

So, if 531Building the Monolith “suited you to the bone”, is there a particularly reason you switched to 531 Boring but Big? If it is boring, why not go back to the Monolith?

If I may ask, do you want to be faster for sport? I get stronger, we all want to be stronger.

Anyway, thanks for the post, I look forward to reading more.

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The difficulty with 531 BtM is that its quite an intense program. I could potentially run a couple of cycles of this, but after 12-18weeks it would be pushing it. I don’t even think with the weight increases after each 3 week cycle it would be feasible to run after 12 weeks.

My training isn’t very sports specific. I’m a blackbelt in BJJ and a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Judo. I have always trained to be stronger, faster is a bonus. Though I must be honest I don’t think I have got faster being under the barbell. So its not a big deal if I don’t get faster. I will settle for stronger.

The difficulty with the book (forever 531) is that there is a lot of programs and in all honesty to many programs for newbs. I’m fond of the idea of 531 and it seems to work for me. But I am unable to figure what program to use for the long term or which ones to alternate between.

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There IS no program to use long term: that’s the thing. Training is periodized. You DON’T run BtM for 18 weeks: the article itself says that. It’s a 6 week program that you MAY be able to run for 12, but most likely not.

I feel like you’re overthinking 5/3/1. You have 5/3/1 Forever: outstanding. Pick A program in it. Run it for as long as Jim says to run it (he typically prescribes 2 leaders and one anchor). Then, pick a different 5/3/1 program and run THAT. This way, you periodize your training and develop multiple physical abilities over time.


I agree about the BtM. It was hard. But rewarding. And I don’t want to push things to much by doing back to back cycles of it.

I am trying to make a plan for the next 6 months. This gives me a target. It is long-term and intuitively makes me go slower. I stuck to 3 x 10 for like 12yrs.

  1. Finish cycle 1 of 531 BBB (4 weeks)
  2. Volume & strength part 1, page 85 (7 weeks)
  3. Volume & strength part 2, page 86 (11 weeks)
  4. BtM (17 weeks).
  5. 531 Trimuvurate (20 weeks)
  6. Beach body challenge (26 weeks).

If the above is stupid. Please let me know. If not I will start a log!

With “Chaos is the plan” being my motto, I’m the wrong guy to talk to about this. I like to consider that we are different people at different times. The “you” after 1 cycle of BBB is an entirely different human than the you today, and that human may not NEED to do Volume and Strength next.

I don’t drink, but it’s a lot like what I’ve been told when it comes to getting home after a night of drinking: come up with a plan that a drunk person can follow.

That said, I like an approach based on opposites. If, for example, I was doing BBS, which is 10x5 for supplemental work, an opposite approach to that would be widowmakers. Instead of lots of sets of lower reps, I do ONE set of a LOT of reps.

Also a question for T3hPwnisher. I have read your blogs/write ups. It seems you follow 531 with EMOMs/strongman/kettlebells integrated. Are these your own personal additions or do you follow one of the 531 templates?

Anything that isn’t in a program is going to be my own addition. But Jim says on many occasions to do the things that work for you.


Thank you for response.

I must say I am the opposite. I am simplicity with organised schedule type of person. But I am happy to follow chaos in an organised manner. :grinning:

Me too. It’s WHY Chaos is the plan. It’s finally a plan I can keep.

I HATE having my plans interrupted. It really, genuinely upsets me. When I take the time to plan out a 6 month training block and tear my hamstring on workout 2, I get REALLY upset. So I took a page from Camus. I embrace the absurdity and face it.

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Dan John had a great quote on this subject. He said (minor paraphrase) “If you life is highly structured, your training needs to be chaotic. If your life is chaotic, your training needs to be structured”

That’s one reason I really like 5/3/1. My life is pretty chaotic, so I use scheduling and processes to control the madness. If I didn’t I’d be a gibbering heap. 5/3/1 lets me know what I need to do in the gym ahead of time.


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