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How Does 5/3/1 Work?


work??? I mean I love it and have made great gains so far.

In 2 cycles:
Bench 30 lbs
Squat 40 lbs
Deadlift 50 lbs
Military 30 lbs or so don't remember off the top of my head.

I don't understand how 5/3/1 should work with submaximal weights.
Can some one explain this to me or give me a link to a thread or article explaining it.
I would think that 5/3/1 would be inefficient for building strength but so far, other than newby gains/linear progression, it seems like the most efficient program I have followed.


I don't mean to sound like a naysayer but I'm wondering if those are actual tested maxes or "projected maxes" based off of a chart or something? Assuming those are actual gains, who is to say that another methodology wouldn't work just as well?

From what little I understand of the 5/3/1 system, it seems like a liberal adaptation of prilepin's chart
Wave 1: 65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5 or more
Wave 2: 70%x3, 80%x3, 90%x3 or more
Wave 3: 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1 or more
Wave 4: 40%x5, 50%x5, 60%x5

Prilepin's chart has been tweaked for powerlifting, it was originally created by observing olympic lifters, but the powerlifting adaptation looks like this:

week/percentage/sets&reps/total reps/prilepin's recommendations
5 65% 6/3 18 18â??30
6 75% 6/2 12 12â??24
7 85% 6/1 6 4â??10
8 75% 5/3 15 12â??24
9 85% 5/2 10 10â??20
10 95% 4/1 4 4â??10

So one could argue or question whether doing Wendler's 65% & 75% lifts in week 1 are really beneficial. The 85% x 5 falls within prilepin's recommendations. In week 2 the 90%x3 is damn close to meeting prilepin's recommendations of 4 reps...and I can say from experience that I have made good gains not getting in 4 lifts at 90% or higher each week...and in week 3 we're shooting for 1 rep at 95% which is how I've always kind of tackled ME work...get in a solid 1-3 reps at 90%+ and things look good for the most part.

I don't know if this really answers your question. I see alot of people jumping on the 5/3/1 bandwagon and I wonder if it's just because it's something simple that people can stick with or if there really is something magical happening (I tend to think it's the former).

At the end of the day, if it works, it doesn't matter. Just SMASH FUCKING WEIGHTS and don't worry about the details.



^ This. I am very early into my 5/3/1 program, but I am really enjoying it so far. I like how the workout is flexible based on my schedule in real life. I am interested to see how my maxing out goes after 3 cycles of the program.


I have almost ran my first two cycles of 5/3/1. I have good starting 1 rep maxes to go off of. My rep maxes have gone up considerably but I am mainly concerned about the carry over to my one rep max. I am going to test this after my third cycle and will post my results. Like I said I have gotten good results on my rep maxes and am very curious as to whether this will translate to a better one rep max. As for myself, the formula for my projected max puts it a little high. I hope to set some raw PR's in the future.



Magents? How they work?





Three cycles is nothing, dont get too caught up in testing your 1RM all the time. The beauty of 531 is slow, consistent gains. Think long term progress, give it the requisite time and chances are you will be repping your old maxes within a year.

Think of it this way; if your bench 1RM today is , say, 300lbs. That makes your training max 270. After 12 cycles your training max will be 330. That means on you will then rep out with 315lbs on your 5/3/1 week. This is an idealised representation, of course, and assuming you wont have to reset your training max. But if you start out with your true 1RMs, this is not far fetched.
Now, imagine doing this for another year, and then another and so on. You get the picture.


Um...maybe you guys should study some power lifting history, I introduce you to one Captain Kirk the greatest squatter of all time, broke the record by 100 (from 903 to 1003).


If you read what he does, 5/3/1 follows it.

This is an old school workout that people such as Ed Coan, Kaz, Walter Thomas, &c. used. You guys want to get strong and you ask Dave Tate and Jim Wendler how to do it, but you don't listen. You say you want the science behind it, you want the best, you want the fanciest, &c. Well, why not use what produced the giants that your hero look to as a hero. Stop worrying about the damn science, it works. Want science, open your eyes, what have the giants used from the ground up? This. 5/3/1 is one program within this method of training. Stop asking for the science, just do it.

If you are not sure who Kirk is, you might have seen him, he's the guy that gives people five minutes to get off his squat rack and if he comes back and their shit is still on his squat rack he'll toss it behind the squat rack over the bench.


Excactly. This is how most of the old timers trained. Consistensy and hard work is the name of the game. However, most people dont want to hear that. They want that magical routine and supplement that allows for them to bypass years of hard work and dedication.

A good book on the lifters from that era is "Purposeful Primitive" by Marty Gallagher. There is a little bullshit and hyperbole in the book, but if you see past that its an informative and entertaining read.


I wouldn't call it consistency, I'd actually called it the opposite inconsistent.


lol, they are not fans of the "mono-lift" on that website




I don't know, I haven't really read it but the article seemed to just say that all the equipment break through that the sport has seen has been mistaken for a strength break through.


Fair enough, I prob mis-read it


Although Kirk does hate on gear (says he'll use what he's got to use to win, but likes the belt better) in another article. I'll try and find it.