T Nation

How My 5/3/1 Training Has Evolved


Longtime lurker...decided to post.

I started getting serious about my training when 5/3/1 was first introduced. I used it as my off season template and then used various peaking programs (Cube, linear periodization, etc.) leading up to my meets. Whenever I switched to these other routines I still adhered to the 5/3/1 principles of working off a training max, focusing on the big movements, starting light, and warming up in "true" 10% increments. I've also been doing joker and first set last.

Last year, I really started struggling on my 1 rep weeks. I would kill it early in the week but die out by the end of the week. I switched up the days and found the pattern applied to all my lifts. I just couldn't go all out all week. I'm pretty sure it has to do with my age (45) and ability to recover.

So here's what I did. I combined my 5/3/1/and deload days into one training week.

Wk1: Squat (5's) Bench (3's) Deadlift (1's) OHP (deload)
Wk2: Squat (3's) Bench (1's) Deadlift (deload) OHP (5's)
Wk3: Squat (1's) Bench (D's) Deadlift (5's) OHP (3's)
Wk4: Squat (D's) Bench (5's) Deadlift (3's) OHP (1's)

This gave me training weeks that had built in light and killer days. The only "easy" days are the deload days. I'm doing my conditioning on off days. I started this with an 80% training max and have been making steady progress for the last 6 months. I just creep the training max up 5-10 lbs every 4 weeks.

I just wanted to share this and thank you for the 5/3/1 road map to success.


This looks like an interesting mix of the cube and 531 methods. How long have you been doing it and how have your results been?


6 months and I’ve hit 5 and 3 rep PRs across all lifts. I plan on running this right up to a December meet.