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Is 5/3/1 the Best for Me or Should I Switch?

I’m 16 and I’d put my lifting experience at Intermediate, I’m 195lbs and 6’3 and my 1RM are as follows:
Squat: 475lbs
Bench: 255lbs
Deadlift: 435lbs
Overhead Press: 185lbs

The reason I’m here is because I’ve been doing a 5/3/1 regimen 4 days a week (each day correlating to 1 workout alternating arms and legs) for a few months now but feel as though I’m not progressing as quickly as I should be. I started 5/3/1 8 months ago and my 1RM then were these:

Squat: 405lbs (This one is odd I know, I think I wasn’t doing as much as I should’ve been)
Bench: 235lbs
Deadlift: 405lbs
Overhead Press: 160lbs

For reference, I have had some periods between now and 8 months ago where my schedule was interrupted leading to some pretty big losses in strength so that may have a bit to do with this, but I’d like to know if you guys thing 5x5 or 531 would be better for continued growth at my age. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with my deadlift as others have seen it and haven’t commented on it as having bad form, do I need to be training heavier sets with it like in 5x5?

My diet has also fluctuated a bit, I prefer to stay the weight I am now whilst increasing my muscle mass, I try to eat about 1.5-1.8g of protein per Kg and try to keep my fat intake a little lower just to help a bit with definition and I recently purchased Creatine that I will start taking as well.

For my supplemental workout for 531 I mainly do BBB and will do my main lift and then follow it with 50%1RM x 10, 60%1RM x 10, 70%1RM, 50%1RM and then 60%1RM. For deadlift I only do the first three BBB sets as 5 more sets of deadlift on top of the 3 main is too much for me and I feel I could injure myself.

So to put it all together, is 5/3/1 the workout I should be using to build strength at my age? Is my deadlift problems purely a hidden form mistake? Any help is appreciated and I’ll provide any more info needed. Thanks.

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My man.

You’ve added:

70 lbs to your squat,

20 lbs to your bench,

30 lbs to your deadlift,

and 25 lbs to your overhead press,

in 8 months…

…and you’re asking if the program you’re on is “the best”?

You’re 16. You’re doing awesome. The program is working. Buy Forever, run through some different templates, don’t be afraid to drop your TM for a program if need be, and enjoy better and longer gains than most people, myself included, will ever see.

Don’t second guess a program that gets you results like this.

P.S. You’re strong, but unless you started lifting at 6 years old, your lifting experience isn’t “intermediate”. Forget labels like that.


Thanks! I guess I don’t have a great idea of what amount of gains in what time frame is really that good. But it’s good to here I’m doing well in other’s opinion. I had gotten a tip from another source that I could improve my deadlift by doing less squat and focusing mainly on deadlift for a month or two until it improves to where I want it to be. I guess my goals are to have all my other lifts be in the same league as my squat.

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They will be, I’m sure. You can switch up how you’re doing your programs, like switching PR sets in your main work to 5’s pro or switching the 3x10 you’re doing as assistance to 5x5, or even trying to plow through with the full 5x10 on deadlift.

I’ll leave the door open to anyone else’s suggestions, but I think you’re in an awesome place at the moment, and I wish you the best of luck.

Start a training log here if you want, too,


Just wanna second everything @flappinit said. I am SO envious that you found 5/3/1 at age 16 @Lemon2004


Also thank my dad, he had heard good things about it from professional lifters and guided me to it.

Thanks so much! I’ll definitely look into the training log.

I don’t think I’d try to do anything different man. You can’t force something to improve at the pace you want. All your lifts are blowing up - there’s far more risk in trying to “optimize” whatever you’re doing than potential reward.

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I can’t add too much more that anyone else - but to say:
At 16 you decade to sort out any perceived weaker lifts
To be fair I don’t see a weaker lift. Everything is fairly proportional.

I would just keep doing what you are doing.

Alright. I have realized that I don’t think I have an assistance workout for my lifts though as it says you gave your main lifts, your supplemental lifts and your assistance workouts. I know the assistance is your last priority as your main lift is goal but do you think it be good to add on?

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If I was making any progress on anything, let alone explosive progress on already solid lifts, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m also not one of the stronger guys here, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt. The other posters in this thread know better.