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How Does this Look? 61 Y/O Moving from SS to 5/3/1 2 Days a Week

Several months back I have a friend who started following a 2 day a novice program for those 60+from Andy Baker’s; The Barbell Prescription. He has started to dropping his jumps in weight to 5 lbs for squats and deads and and 2 lbs for bench and press and still feels beat up.

He is 61 years old, no prior weight training, and looks around175lbs

His current set up and lifts looks like this:

Squat 160x5x3
Bench 126x5x3
Pulldowns 3x8-10

Light Squat 3x3 at 80% of Mondays weight
Press 88x5x3
Deadlift 190x5

I talked to him about trying 5/3/1. He would like to the same routine so I suggested something like this:

Drop 80% of current weight

Squat 5 Pros
Bench 5 Pros
Pulldowns 3x8-10

Light Squat 40%,50%, 60% x 5(borrowed these from 5/3/1 2nd edition)
Press 5 Pros
Deadlift 5 Pros

I thought he could run this 2 to 3 cycles then replace the 5 Pros with 5/3/1 for a couple of cycles and go from there?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcomed.


To keep things as much “the same” as your original program, try this out:


Squat - 5’s PRO, 2x5-8 FSL
Bench - Same as squat


Deadlift - 3’s PRO, 3x5 FSL
Press - same as squat/bench

Keep your assistance, ASSISTANCE. In other words, you are 61 and you realize that not every person is the same, right? Either is every lift, so make sure you hone in on the main lifts and treat the assistance with much less fervor.


Thanks Jim.

I’m in the same situation as you, “only” 44 but feeling 70 after the 5.th child came a long.
Did 531 2 day/Week prior to last lay off.
Have been using Stronglifts 5x5 to her back to the level I had before taking a break.

My plan is to ease Into 531 again doing the a/b/a 2 day a Week setup using 5’s progression and adding jokers to the main lifts if/when I feel spunky.

And adding 2 days of condition/strongman training on non training days ( sled pulls, farmer walks, loaded carries, bear crawls and light hill sprints because it is taxing, very fun, and can be done partially with the family).

Any constructive feedback of my easing into 531plan is highly appreciated.

58 year old here. Doing 531 exclusively last 2 years. Lots of information in the new book. well worth the price .
As Jim pointed out seems like great advice. If you go to a 4 day program, squat ,BP,DL press, add a body weight or simple exercise etween sets. I do push-ups on squat and DL day and chins or pull-ups or sit ups on BP ,press day. It keeps me moving and has added strength and overall fitness. Nothing stressful,but the volume adds up.
Good luck