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Hypem's log: 5/3/1

Hi !

Just wanted to thanks people on this forum as their answers on my previous thread were really helpful !

I was previously on SL5x5 for 8 weeks, which worked great. The only thing is I couldn’t run and swim in the best conditions possible so I decided to scale it down to two days and use a slower progression.

I am 22, 183cm (6") and 74kg (163lbs) , I was 71.5kg(157lb) 8 weeks ago, before starting SL5x5.
I was advised here to use 531 and I will use the Young Wendler version on two days a week (or for athletes in season).

Squat 531
Bench 531

DL 531
Press 531

You can find it here https://www.t-nation.com/training/531-and-athletes

My current stats are
SQ : 92.5kg x5 (I got 5/4/5/5/5 in my last SL session)
DL : 102.5kgx5
Bench : 65kgx6
Press : 50kgx5 (I got 4/5/4/4/3 in my last SL session)

I based the calculation of my training maxes based on 90% of Jim’s 1RM formula found around here.

TM for first cycle:

SQ : 97kg - 213 lbs
DL : 108kg - 237 lbs
Bench : 70kg - 154 lbs I actually lowered that to 68kg :slight_smile:
Press : 52.5kg - 115.5lbs

My first two sessions this week (in kg)

Working sets
65x5, 75x5, 85x9
I felt good so I went for two jokers

and then FSL, 3x5x65.

Working sets
40x5, 50x5, 60x8


For accessory I did 5x15 dumbell rows with a 20kg dumbell.

My second workout

Working sets
70x5, 80x5, 92.5x10
FSL 3x5x70

It was hard to DL for reps, it’s quite different from the heavy 1x5 I used to do but I like it !

Working sets
35x5, 40x5, 45x7
FSL 3x5x35

Dumbell rows 3x10x24kg
Lat pull down

The small gym I go to for Christmas didn’t have dip bars so I did close grip bench press for 5x5 at 50kg. Also it doesn’t have small plates but I try to be as close as possible to the exact weight I should be using.

I understand that Jokers are not supposed to be done all the time, especially on each exercice but I felt good and wanted to try it out. I will not do that again next week.
I will also stick to 3x5 for FSL, and do chin/pull up in one of the days instead of dumbell rows.

My goals are to keep and increase my strength while being able to do well at running and swimming. My first goal when I started 5x5 was to bench my bodyweight and squat 100kg. I’ve never done either but I’m probably closer than ever !

I’d like to bench 100kg but I’ll need patience for that…

I think i’m going to enjoy the extra recovery from lifting twice a week.

If you have any tips/advice please let me know !


I was a bit sick this week but went for an easy swim, a brick session bike trainer/treadmill and yesterday was 100 push ups + 100 pull ups.

Today’s workout (3s week)

Cycle 1 Week 2 Workout 1

Main sets in kg
2x97.5 (That’s my TM, I had one more left but saved it)
FSL : 3x5x67.5

supersetted with 3 sets of chin ups 7/7/5

A bit disapointed with only 6 reps at 87.5 kg, I was aiming for 7. I probably could have grinded one more but I felt tired. I’m happy with 2x97.5 though, it felt lighter than expected after the 3+ set of 87.5.

Main sets

FSL 3x50
supersetted with Dumbell rows 24kg

I felt good on the Bench. Just a note that those reps were paused and that when I did 65x6 they were touch and go… so I am satisfied !

1x20 hyperextension

I should do my second workout either on tuesday or wednesday depending if I’m still sick or not !

Merry Christmas to everybody !

Still sick so no run/swim, I rested yesterday.

Cycle 1 Week 2 Workout 2

Main sets
107.5x3 (training max)

3x5 FSL

I felt great when I started pulling so I went for it !

Main sets
45x3 ( I messed up with the plates… was supposed to be 42.5)

3x5 FSL

5x10 dumbell rows
5x10 lat pull dows
2x20 hyperextension

Great workout ! Really happy with the deadlift which felt really light even on the heavier set.

I am starting my first 1’s week !

Recovering slowly from being sick. I went to the doctor who put me under antibiotics. I’ve been feeling much better for the last two days.

I went to the gym twice this week where I just did assistance exercices to keep me moving : abs, hyperextensions, chins etc. The only barbell ex I did was 3x5 Bench with 60kg on thursday.

Today : Squat and Bench
I did 3x5 box jumps (no too high) in my warm up and I think it did help me.
Main sets
7x92.5 (PR) I was hoping to get 5, because I stoppped SL5x5 at this weight in my last workout where I did 5/4/5/5/5, and getting 5 reps was my absolute max. Really happy with 7 reps !

4x97.5 (my TM) I tried 97.5 last week and got two reps, glad I got 4
1x102.5 I felt good so added another 5kg. I got the first rep, went down for the second one and failed… I should have rested a bit more I was too excited ! I’ve never lifted that much so still really happy.

FSL 3x5 supersetted with pulls ups 7/7/7

Main sets
4x65 touch and go

I am disappointed with my bench, I was aiming for at least 5 reps, I needed help to complete the 5th rep… when I have done it before ! (3weeks ago in my last SL5x5 workout). I am not too worried though as I know I have been sick.

Not sure if I should increase my TM in that case ? I think yes as I got the required reps (at least one).

FSL 5x5 supersetted with Dumbells rows 5x20 with heaviest set at 26kg and some body English.

Done ! Good workout overall.

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I would say this early into 5/3/1 you should easily be getting 5 reps on your 1+ set. If I was you I’d keep your training max the same or even decrease it 5kg or so next cycle.

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Thanks Caesium ! I’ll increase it next cycle and see what happens… I think the fact I was sick really matters, I feel much better now !

Today was DL and Press.

Main sets

107.5x1 ™

3x5 FSL SS with chins ups 7/7/6

Main sets
52.5x3 (training max)

FSL 3x5 SS with dumbells rows 3x15

3x20 hyperextensions

I felt great on both lift, the FSL 3x5 on the DL was tough after the 120 but glad I got it, it’s a PR ! Also getting 102.5x8 is great, in my last SL5x5 workout I got 102.5x5 and I was dead after that.

The press went well too : 50 for 5 and the training max for 3.

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Back to training last week with some runs on the treadmill as I felt better but not enough to go outside.

Went for a 3K swim yesterday and it felt great.

Today is the start of the second cycle, I increase the TM’s by 2.5kg for the upper and 5kg for lower.

New TM’s
Bench 70kg
OHP 55kh
DL 113kg
SQ 102kg


Main sets

3x5 FSL supersetted with chins 7/6/6

Main sets, all paused
1x73.5 which is my bodyweight !! First time I have benched my bodyweight ever.

5x5 FSL supersetted with dumbells rows building up to 15 reps at 26kg.

Great workout overall

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Easy 20 run tuesday and run intervals wednesday :

Felt slow which makes sense after being sick and not run !

Today : C2W1D2

3x5 box jumps

10x96.5 I was aiming for 10 and got it, probably could have got 1 more but I had enough !

FSL 3x5 SS with chins 7/6/6

DL is the lift that is going the best so far !

5x47 A bit disappointed there, I did 7x47.5 2 weeks ago ! A bit tired from the DL too.
5x49.5 I changed my grip here to a bit wider, just a bit more than shoulder width apart and it felt easier than 47 ! The bar is different from what I used for the last 3 weeks so might be a reason.

FSL 3x5 SS dumbell rows

2x20 Hyperextensions

Good workout !

Short hill sprints on Saturday, 3K swim on Sunday, rest yesterday.

I’m back into uni meaning that I need to cycle 10K (6 miles) everyday. I felt it on my squat today…


Main sets
4x92… so today the gym was busy cause I worked out late after uni, I was using a different squat rack. The bar hit the pins as I was going for the 5th rep and I had to put it down… DAMN

Still felt good so I went for jokers

2x102 (training max) Happy about this cause I failed it a few weeks ago and just got one rep !
FSL 3x5 SS w/ chins 10/7/6

Main sets
7x63 Feeling good !


2x73.5 I just got this for one rep last week and got it for two this time ! Also the other jokers felt good and fast.

5x5 FSL SS w/ chins 7/6/5/4/4

2x20 hyperextensions

For once bench felt better than squats but I’ll keep at it, I make progress every week which is nice.

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Today was DL and OHP, both felt good. I am considering going back to three days for my next cycle. I like going to the gym and want to spend more time on each lift instead of rushing through the workout because of lectures/homework etc. This means 3 gym sessions + 3 endurance sessions a week (mix of running and swimming). My priority is to get stronger so I’ll take the endurance a bit easier.

Thinking of
Saturday Squat
Tuesday Bench
Thursday DL/OHP
(from Beyond)

I have a hard swim session on sundays and a hard run session on wednesday so that seems to be the best option. Any opinions ?

I’ll continue with Jokers + FSL on the next cycle, unless I take another supplemental exercices template… not sure yet.

Main sets
10x102 which is a PR, I have done it 8 times on my 1+ week of my first cycle.

Jokers and FSL SS with pull ups 5x5

FSL 3x5

Main sets
6x49.5 It felt much better than last week !

2x55 (training max)

5x5 FSL SS with chins 5x5

3x10 Dumbell rows with 20kg
3x10 dumbell bench 20kg
3x10 hyperextensions


Squat and Bench day ! I had to go early in the morning because of lectures but I did ok anyways.

Main sets
4x97 The most I did with this weight was 3 I think. I might drop my TM for the next cycle, I get 10 reps on the DL and cannot get anywhere near it with the squat.

2x102 with better form than last time !

FSL 3x5 and Joker SS with chins 4x5

Main sets

and I failed 80 kg !

This is still a PR though and I feel much better than at the start of the cycle.

FSL 5x5 SS with chins 5x5

3x10 dumbell bench press with 18kg
3x15 back raises

I am really enjoying the program so far. The squat is probably suffering from the drop in frequency compared to 5x5 but that is ok.

Running session yesterday : 5x1k, about 10k run overall

DL/OHP day !

Main sets
8x107.5 (rep PR for this weight, used to be 5) I had at least one more in me but I was aiming for 8 so stopped there

3x5 FSL SS with chins 3x5

Main sets

Funny thing happened there… I picked up 52.5 and it barely moved from my shoulders, about 5cm ahah

So I took a break and did it for 3 reps on the next set, I think my grip was off on the first one.

I’m going to lower my TM for OHP to 50 (-5kg) for the next cycle.

5x5 FSL SS with chins 5x5

5x5 dips my shoulders were hurting a bit when doing them so I started with sets of 5’s and then did a final set of 10
1x10 dips

5x10 DB rows with 22kg

This is the end of my second cycle, the lift that is progressing the better is definitely the DL. I hit 119 for 3 when I did 120 for 1 a few weeks ago.
My squat took a hit from a lower frequency compared to 5x5 but that’s ok. I think I will lower my TM next cycle, it is currently 102 and I hit 4 reps on my 1’s week. Any ideas ?

My OHP is in a similar situation, I’ll lower it of 5kg.
The Bench is feeling better than I expected in this cycle and I hit 7 reps on the 1’s week so I’ll add 2.5 kg for next cycle.

If you feel like you’re beginning to stall on certain lifts I believe taking your training max back 3 cycles is recommended. There’s nothing wrong with blasting out 10-20 reps on your plus sets for a few weeks.

I think you’re right, I’ll step back on all the lifts but the deadlift, thanks!

I decided to try out 5’s pro + FSL 5x5 paused Bench and Squat. The lower TM allows for more volume which is the point of 5’s pro too. Have you tried it @caesium32 ?

TM for this cycle (3rd)

SQ : 92
DL : 118
Bench 67.5
Press 50

Also I am switching to three days as Bench/DL+Press/SQ

C3W1D1 (Sunday)

Main sets


My original plan was to try to nail 5x97 but I had a fever all week end so stopped there.

FSL 5x5x60 paused SS with 5x5 chins

100 reps of DB Bench with 16kg dumbells in 7 sets I think
5x5 chins

I was supposed to do abs but the headaches and fever were coming back so called it a day.

Tomorrow is Bench !

Seems like a good idea what are you doing for deadlift and press?
I used 5s pro on supplemental lifts awhile ago instead of SST from book 1 and I liked it but would probably prefer to do something like FSL instead. As for on the main lifts I’m currently doing 5/3/1 for hardgainers which is basically 5s pro with back off sets of 5 and I’m enjoying it a lot. I think it makes a nice change to 5/3/1 reps but I wouldn’t particularly say I prefer one to the other. I will say though I miss having a PR set in bench, I used to love pushing that for high reps.

I’m not that experienced with 5/3/1 to be honest I’ve just read a fair bit on here and the books. Other than Jim himself, @MarkKO is my go to man for any 5/3/1 queries, he may be able to help you more than me.

Keep up the good work.

Sorry that wasn’t clear, it will be FSL 5x5 too for the two other lifts
I have read here Jim saying that 5’s pro is advised for 2-3 cyles then PR sets again, which is my plan for now.

And I was also advised to do it in another topic of mine. I’ll see how it goes ! I agree that I might miss the PR sets but what is waiting 3-6 weeks ? Then you can go smash more PR’s!

Thanks for the input !

Yeah I believe it’s something called leader and anchor from what I’ve read however I don’t really know how it works, I’m not sure if it’s from his private forum.
I bet it’ll feel great getting stronger over a few cycles then suddenly smashing all your old PRs when you go back.

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I think as long as you’re following the 531 principles, you’ll be fine. What I see is that people often try to do too much at the same time, or misinterpret what Jim intended. If you want to know exactly how to run 531 according to Jim (which is the gold standard, let’s be clear about that), sign up to his private forum and pay the very reasonable fee. I definitely get the impression that 531 as it is now is a very different beast to what it was when Beyond came out - and the fact that it is a constantly evolving system based on Jim’s experience implementing it is one of the things that puts it so far above many other systems. It is always underpinned by the same principles, but it looks very different to when it started out.

The thing is, I run 531 as it works for me while trying to adhere to the principles - but I have been training for a while and coming into 531 had a fair idea of what did and didn’t work for me. I’m sure I do some stuff Jim wouldn’t see as optimal so while @caesium32 is very kind and I’ll help as much as I can I can only speak of what has or has not worked for me.

Anyway, all that being said I should probably tell you something that may actual be helpful. I had a quick scan of your log so far to get up to speed.

  1. Your TMs are too high. This is a very, very common mistake so don’t worry. I’d suggest squat at 85 kg, bench at 60 kg, DL at 100 kg and press at 45 kg. I know they’re low, but that’s the point. TMs are a tool, plain and simple. THE TM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR MAX. Now repeat that to yourself a few times. If you’re in doubt, a TM should be something you can get for a clean five on a bad day.

  2. What template you pick should be based on your goals. If you’re not completely sure what those goals are, getting better overall is a good place to start even though it is very unspecific. To me, better overall means stronger, bigger, leaner, more mobile and better conditioned. Stronger and bigger is easy: volume with a sensible TM; leaner is diet related; more mobile is also easy enough, do the Agile 8 and some shoulder work at the start of each training session as a minimum; and better conditioned just takes effort and doesn’t take a lot of time or thought - some sprints of some kind once or twice a week are a decent start, my preferred option is on a stationary bike. How does this relate to template? Well, at a pinch 531 for Powerlifting is probably too strength specific, while BBB can isn’t something to do while trying to get leaner although I think it is a great starting point for a few cycles. Something like 5s Pro with FSL is good because it lets you do pretty much all of the things listed, but it misses PR sets which I think are kind of essential if you’re starting out, and I also think it needs a good grasp of how the TM works. Doing PR sets with FSL worked a treat for me, and I think that’s a good pick, but see below.

  3. This is just me, but I think you’re over-using joker sets. My experience has been that you can use them in two ways (and bear in mind this is MY interpretation and quite possibly something Jim would disagree with): when you feel amazing on the day so you can benefit from this by working up; or when you need a break from PR sets and volume but want to go beyond the basic three work sets, although you need to be damn sure you’ve picked an appropriate TM and do your jokers sensibly - for example one extra set for the week’s reps five to 10 per cent above the top set.

  4. PR sets are a hallmark of 531 to me, so are a must at some point (see below). You need to record rep PRs for each weight and aim to set a new one each time your plus set is at a weight for which you have a rep PR.

  5. I may be overlooking something but it seems to me like your assistance work is sort of haphazard. At your height, you are small, and apart from eating enough you need stimulus to grow. If you aren’t doing BBB and you aren’t yet strong enough to use enough weight on your main lift to get that stimulus your best bet is using assistance work to provide it. Hell, I do that and I’m almost 20 kg heavier than you at the same height. This one is an EASY fix: pick two assistance exercises per day and do each for 50 or 100 reps (basically the Triumvirate assistance template but without sets). I’ll suggest some that I have found to be the most bang for buck. Squat day: back raise 100 reps and lunge or split squat 50 reps per leg. Bench day dips 50 reps and heavy DB rows 50 reps per arm. DL day squat or front squat 50 total reps, ab wheel or hanging leg raise 50 total reps. Press day bench or incline press 50 total reps, T-bar or DB chest supported row 100 total reps.

  6. Do not overlook how important it is to plan in the medium and long term. Ideally you should have at least a fair idea of what you’ll be doing for the next three months as a bare minimum - preferably the next six to nine.

  7. Remember that not all templates work for all lifts - for example I find FSL for DL too taxing unless I use a DL variation for FSL sets, and there’s no way I can do any FSL for DL if I do PR sets. I can do FSL with PR sets for all the other lifts though.

So, tying all that together you need to have a plan for what you will do to get better and when you will do it. I think Jim’s concept of the leader/anchor (as I understand it) is brilliant: you spend a couple of cycles at lower intensity with higher volume and then a cycle at lower volume but higher intensity, starting with a very conservative TM to make sure you don’t need to reset halfway through. At its most basic, you can do two cycles of 5s Pro with FSL (3x5, 5x5, 3-5x5-8, really up to you, and you can do one for one lift and one for another if necessary), no jokers and high assistance volume (50 and 100 total reps) and slightly harder conditioning and a cycle of PR sets and joker sets with lower assistance volume (25 to 50 reps) with slightly easier conditioning. Then you go back and start again, with an adjusted TM.


That’s a brilliant post. It’s helped consolidate what I know and I think a lot of other beginners could do with reading it too.


Great post.

x2 on the jokers especially