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Help Planning 5/3/1 Hardgainers

I am starting 5/3/1 for Hardgainers this week; I am having a little trouble placing the assistance workouts so they don’t interfere with the following day workouts like doing Presses & Shrugs on Thursday and then doing Main Lift presses Friday (I am sure shoulders will be sore) So can someone look for this and guild me in the correct direction? Thank you!

Main Lift: Squat

  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5+ (PR set)
  • 65% x 20 reps (widowmaker set)


  • Dip (50 reps) 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Bicep curls (50 reps) 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Kettlebell swing (50 reps) 5 sets of 10 reps

Main Lift: Bench Press

  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 5 sets of 5 reps @ 85%


  • Dumbbell Incline Bench (50 reps) 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Inverted row (50 reps) 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Prowler or Sled – 20-30 minutes

Main Lift: Deadlift

  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 58
  • 5% x 5+ (PR set)
  • 5 sets of 5 reps @ 65%

Assistance: (Having trouble deciding here without doing the same assistance workouts two times a week or doing press/shrugs with Press Main Lift on Friday)

  • Dip, push-up, or dumbbell bench/incline/press (choose one) – 50-100 total reps,
  • Pull-up, row, lat pulldown, inverted row, curl, shrug (choose one) – 50-100 total reps
  • Any abdominal, low back, single-leg movement, kettlebell swing, kettlebell snatch (choose one) – 50-100 total reps

Main Lift: Press

  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5 (no extra reps)
  • 10 sets of 5 reps @ 65%


  • Overhead press (50 reps) 5 sets of 10
  • Shrug (50 reps) 5 sets of 10
  • Prowler or Sled – 20-30 minutes

Thank you to whomever replies/helps out. Just want to make sure I am planning right to be most effective.

Personally, I wouldn’t do anything in your assistance that could possibly hinder your lift the next day (ie: if doing 50 dips on Monday has the chance of negatively affecting your bench on Tuesday, do pushups instead. As you progress, you could add in dips in future cycles.). Also, don’t worry about setting set/rep schemes for the assistance; just get the reps in (ie: if you think doing sets of 10 dips might negatively affect your bench the next day, but you feel confident that sets of five will not, simply do sets of five spread over the session.)

Basically, the main lift/supplemental work should take up a vast majority of your training effort for any given session. The assistance should not leave you beaten up and sore.

And, of course, don’t forget to warm up/stretch/throw/jump and all that fun stuff. It’s of equal importance as the main lift, and for most, should probably be more important than the assistance work. I train at a powerlifting gym and there are some incredibly strong dudes that couldn’t bend over and tie their shoe to save their life.

I hope this helps to some degree. I didn’t mean to ignore the template you gave, but I don’t feel qualified to give specific advice on someone else’s work. I’m sure there are much more qualified individuals on this forum that can give you a better template critique than I.


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You don’t need to stick only certain assistance movements. Just do 50-100 reps each like descripted. And like Fox said, assistance should not have negative effect to your next workout.

Hi guys,

I’m planning too to start 5/3/1 for Hardgainers but like @dalima I’m having a little trouble about the rep/set schemes on the assistance workouts so they don’t interfere with the following day workouts so your advices would be grantly appreciated :slight_smile:

@NCFox @Rattus With bodyweight exercices (push ups, dips, pull ups…) It seems good to me to stick on total reps schemes (for exemple 20/18/17/15/15/15 = 100)

But for iron exercices like dumbell press, barbell rowing, curl, shrug… don’t you think 5x20 is different for hypertrophy than 10x10 (like GVT) or 5x10 ?

By the way, for bodyweight exercises what about adding overweight ?

Last question but not least, what about 100-200 reps on lat exercises on Monday/ Thursday (so dont interfere with tuesday/ friday press) and press assistances exercises on tuesday/friday ?

Cheers guyz

  1. I use total reps with all small assistance, even the db/kb. 10-25 is normal rep amount per set for me.

  2. Cannot comment about the overweight thing. Lose fat and avoid excessive joint stress.

  3. Do the program as descripted.

I can tell only about what I do, I dont feel qualified enough to say another else.

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Your body will adjust. If you can’t do the program, do another program until you are ready. Not everyone can do everything.

Thanks for answering, juste about the rep/set schemes with Iron stuff what do you recommand ? 100 reps in a row is far different from 8 wave of 12 reps…
Thanks :slight_smile:

Just get 100 total reps - no one cares how you get it.

I care, i mean i feel ready for the program BUT I don’t want to waste my time and health doing it wrong.

What’s your opinion ? should i switch set/reps for the same exercise from a session to the another ?

Use your common sense.

  1. If muscle fiber activation is dependent on rep range alone, sprinters would be using all slow twitch fibers.

  2. Everything is neurological for fucks sake. Learning the piano requires neurological adaptation. Lifting heavy weights at lower reps just requires a greater degree of neuromuscular coordination than lighter weights. That’s all. The muscles are still the ones moving the weight. You don’t suddenly turn into Magneto just because you’re doing lower reps.

  3. If you getting more and more neurally efficient(fuck, let’s just call it SKILLED) at using heavy weights at lower reps, how can you possibly not build muscle when you are making increasing demands on the body/muscles? Likewise, how can you not build muscle when you are increasing the load on higher reps?

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Do whatever you want. This is getting ridiculous.


Doesn’t seem like a waste of time or health if you’re making yourself better.

The whole idea of a “hardgainer” routine is to hit full body frequently. Back in the day you’d squat 3 times per week and mix assistance. True hardgainers are the way the are because they have a hard time “gaining” shit; i.e. they don’t get sore/ fatigued (sore/fatigued=breakdown=need for recovery=growth) to the extent that they cannot lift the next day. Thus- in general- upper body assistance won’t hurt their pressing the next day. Because of this - they have a hard time gaining because their is little breakdown in their muscles. For the rest of us- for example- those of us that can’t stand up for a week after a 20 rep squat session- we can’t train like that.
Long story short- if recovery due to frequency of training is an issue, you might not be a hardgainer and should use a different template.

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