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How Long is 5/3/1 Sustainable For? Is it Time for Me to Move On?


With 5/3/1 I’ve managed to get my Bench Press to 305lbs, my deadlift to 600lbs (lots of years) and a 500 squat.

I’m now finding that it’s impossible to deadlift and squat heavy 3 weeks in a row, so I’ve decided to deadlift according to the 5/3/1 scheme everyother week and do some dynamic work (10 x 1 @ 60% or try out band work) the other

How long can this last though? What do raw lifters do after 5/3/1? I love the simplicity and the easy tweaks that can be made to keep the gains coming. Even with resetting and restarting it seems I keep hitting the same wall or it takes a lot more to break through.

What are the biggest lifts you’ve seen from 5/3/1? How long is it feasible to run? Does anyone here alternate the heavy squats and deads every week and do something in between such as dynamic? I’ve considered doing a 3/ week workout where I hit lower body just once, but blast the squat and deadlift alternatively. I’m starting to think I ‘need’ to add bands and chains, not for any other reason than all the pro’s utilize them in some way so won’t I have to at some point to keep progressing?

Regardless, through Jim’s program I’m able to have the burden of trying to configure volume and longevity to my lifting and for that I thank him


Am fairly new on the 531 journey. But check out a powerlifter named Ben Seath.
He is one of my lifting idols and used 531 and 351 to get to a raw squat in the 800’s, bench in the 500’s and deadlift in the 700’s I believe. Hopefully some of the guys in here share their successes.

To make 531 more sustainable at your level maybe you could try training squat and deadlift on alternate weeks, using 85% training max instead of 90%. Again im sure the more experienced lifters with 531 on here will help out. Look forward to the content in this thread.


Well welcome brother, you’ll make amazing gains if you follow the program and just have fun with it. Those are some beast numbers to get! Wonder what else his training looked like, after all 5/3/1 is just three working sets for the main lifts, I’m considering staggering the two lower body lifts. the “5/3/1 week” being my ME week

Don’t know if I want to run it 3 times a week, something like;

Monday - Upper A

Bench Press 5/3/1
Incline DB Press 5 x 10
Overhead DB Extension 5 x 10
Pulldowns 5 x 10
Lateral Raises 3 x 10

Wednesday - Lower 1 (weeks 1, 3, 5)

Squat 5/3/1
Squat 5 x 5
Speed Deadlifts 10 x 1

Friday - Upper B

OHP 5/3/1
Bench Press 5 x 5
Rows 5 x 10
Face Pulls 3 x 10
Barbell Curls 5 x 10

Wednesday - Lower 2 (Weeks 2, 4, 6)

Deadlift 5/3/1
Squats 3 x 5
SLDL 4 x 10


Or run something along the times of this

Monday - Upper A

Bench 5/3/1
Incline DB Press 5 x 10
Pulldowns 5 x 10
Lateral Raises 3 x 10
Overhead DB Extensions 5 x 10

Tuesday - Lower A

Squat 5/3/1
Squat 3 x 5
Leg Curls 3 x 10

Thursday - Upper B

OHP 5/3/1
Bench Press 5 x 5
Rows 5 x 10
Face Pulls 3 x 10
Barbell Curls 5 x 10

Friday - Lower B

Deadlift 5/3/1 | 10 x 1 (Alternate)
SLDL 3 x 10
Hyperextensions 3 x 10

Where I keep squatting heavy every week (Or change it to staggered but keep two lower body days)


From what I have read, Ben Seaths training is fairly simple. A few assistance lifts after the main lifts, lots of abs and lower back. Very inspiring lifter.
Your plan looks like you have thought it out well.
Out of interest, What did your training split look like when you were chasing your current lifts?


Here is one of Bens old logs from this forum. You might find something useful there maybe?


To be honest, I would do the main lift; then maybe 3 sets of a variation or back off, something small to get a pump and something of the opposite movement. One thing I always do however is a simple 3 x 5 of bench press on OHP day and add 5 pounds every cycle or just work up reps. Not too much but I feel the extra volume helps my bench

So on Squat day I would squat 5/3/1 then do front squats for 3 sets, few sets of leg curls then core. I just can’t imagine that little volume can still make you grow stronger. That guy is huuuuge and is very minimalistic. Does he ever use bands or chains?


I just know a lot of prominent lifters won’t squat heavy and deadlift heavy in the same week, it’s frustrating because I love lifting heavy and I always take full advantage of my deload week (even if I’m cycling any gear) not sure if it’s under conditioning or too much

Sometimes I think I doubt myself too much though, when I was deployed in Afghanistan I had just gotten back into lifting and I would pull and squat heavy whenever I could workout between patrols and I made pretty good gains for my situation and I was 19


I am unsure of him using bands and chains ect.
His other logs on other sites he just uses straight weight and sticks to the standard 531 with AMAP last set.

Did you do the 6 week cycles?


No the 6 week cycles is a new idea. I pulled 600 on my last 1+ day (Hit 510 and it flew up so instead of repping I wanted to max out)

I realize you can’t add 10lbs a month forever or it all would be a lot simpler


Nice. I have started a thread about how to test lifts when using 531. some good ideas on there from the other members.
I hope Jim can stop by your thread and give you some examples of other lifters that have gone to high levels with 531.
Do you have the books?


and have you used the 5 up 3 back method?