T Nation

How Out Of Date is The Original 5/3/1?


I want to preface this by stating I’m not saying the original 5/3/1 is bad in anyway, quite the opposite, I’m using it and setting PRs daily. Also I’m not asking for any content, such as that on Jim’s forum, for free. I’m simply curious as to how he does things now.
I’ve seen a few things, particularly from Jim himself, that imply he trains slightly differently to the original 5/3/1 now. For example if I interpreted what he said correctly he recently said he only does full body workouts.
I appreciate I could probably find this out by buying beyond 5/3/1 and subscribing to his private forum but for now I’m happy with the original 5/3/1 and I’ll probably do that in a few months.
Thanks for any replies.


Look at it like this, you own a 2004 Chevy Silverado, it works flawlessly and has proven its worth, there are newer edition Silverados that have been enhanced along with added features but your current truck continues to get the job done and gets you from point A to B. Your truck works, the newer truck would work too but perhaps has an easier time doing all of what you want it to do. Just a matter of preference and if you feel the added features is worth the change.


I’ve been reading a lot about 5/3/1 this week. I’ve never run the program so I’ve been researching. I’ve also wondered about the original. What I’ve gathered is that Jim has expanded the assistance work to meet different needs/preferences. People probably asked him about assistance work after the first book so he just started giving them what they wanted: a written program telling them exactly what to do (some of this is even in the book).

I think I’m going to join the movement and begin 5/3/1. I’d consider myself experienced but I’m going to start with the basic program…one from his first book. I think I’d be putting the cart in front of the horse if I jumped into one of the newer, bigger versions. It’s probably best to start with the basics and build upon that as needed.


That’s a great way to look at it, I suppose it’s similar to if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Thank you, I think I’ll work my way through the programs/books in the order they were written and eventually pick what’s best for me


That’s what I’m doing and so far it couldn’t be going better, all the best.


I’m not sure its out of date at all, the beyond one just has more variations and honestly it would take years to give them all a good try (otherwise your changing too often). Having all the information from the new book I would recommend the original template to anyone starting out for at least 2-6 months.


The underlying principles - which make 5/3/1 what it is - haven’t changed as far as I understand. How they are put into practice seems to have evolved over time based on Jim’s experience applying them.

I definitely think starting with a simple, original iteration is a good way to get a feel for the program. After a couple of cycles you’ll get a feel of which direction to follow in terms of how you apply the core principles.


Jim does everything. But alot of his personal training has changed due to a motorcycle accident and multiple surgeries. The original 531 is fine and is still the foundation on which everything is laid. The percentages are all still used. The main two differences currently are that he almost always recommends supplemental work (FSL, SSL, Pyramid) and uses 5’s PRO alot


Yeah starting with basic 5/3/1 definitely seems the best way to start and it’s exactly what I’m doing at the minute. I have noticed Jim seems to recommend FSL and 5s pro quite a lot. I suppose a lot of this will be covered in his new book.


Still to this day some of the most impressive results being reported back are from those running ‘Triumvirate’


I’ve been running the original first edition 5/3/1 for about 11 months now, and I still love it. I bought the Beyond 5/3/1 book recently, and I’m getting ready to switch to that for my programming. After doing the original for almost a year, while I’ve seen amazing results, I’m excited to use the new stuff from Beyond. Beyond has a lot of extra assistance templates and quite a few challenges, but (for me) the biggest difference program-wise between the two books is the deload frequency. In the original, you deloaded after every cycle, or every 4th week. In the Beyond programs you run two full 5/3/1 cycles without a deload in between, and then you deload every 7th week. I don’t own the 2nd edition book, so I don’t know what the deloads in that were. The philosophy behind the training max is also a little different.
Personally, I wish I had gotten the Beyond book about 5 months ago, but it’s really not a big deal. All the underlying principles are the same. The original program still works really well, but Beyond seems to be tweaked to be better. If a new book is coming soon, I will also get that one.