T Nation

Is 5/3/1 the Program for Me?


#1

Hello T-Nation I was looking for some information about whether I am ready for 5/3/1. My stats are as follows:

Squat 1RM 145kg/ 320 lbs
Bench 1RM 105kg/ 230 lbs
Deadlift 1RM ( conventional) 170kg/375lbs
OHP 3RM 60KG/ 135 lbs

Edit: Current bodyweight is around 80kgs/ 176lbs and my main goal is strength

My plan was to do the Big But Boring version for 3 months then change the accessories to address any weak points. After working out my monthly cycles I am slightly concerned. It is suggested to add 5kgs to lower lifts and 2.3kgs to the upper, but when I use these increments it takes Months before i get anywhere close to the weights I currently can do e.g…

5-6 months to Squat 145kgs x 1
8 months to Bench 1RM 105kg x1
7 months to Deadlift 170kg x1
6 months to OHP 60KG x3

I am worried that going this long without going really heavy will cause me too lose strength. Particularly as I don’t think you are meant to do the AMRAP sets while doing BBB. Would someone with more experience be willing to offer some advice?


#2

Repeat after me:

“TM has nothing to do with the size of my penis.”

Now, do you have the book? You do not do AMRAP for the challenges, but different story for the regular templates.

If strength is you main focus, use a different template.I would start with triumvate, but that is personal choice.


#3

[quote]JFG wrote:
Repeat after me:

“TM has nothing to do with the size of my penis.”

Now, do you have the book? You do not do AMRAP for the challenges, but different story for the regular templates.
[/quote]

This.

Following on from this, I would typically expect to be hitting around 5 reps for my final set on 5/3/1 week, although YMMV. This being the case, you’ve just added ~25kg to your squat 1RM over the course of 6 cycles, roughly 5 months.


#4

You are overlooking so much of the program it is hard to know where to begin.
The “amrap,” the principle of the “training max,” the 90% factor, the 5-3 deal, the .03333 formula, etc… they all work together. I have done BBB challenges and all of the permutations of it - I like it a lot. But when I first started I used the Triumvirate (like has already been mentioned) and milked that for a long time. I also used amraps on the last set as much as possible because, quite frankly, it’s fun as shit.

I have had to get smarter about it all over the last 5 years or so - but it’s still my favorite part of the program. I even did them when doing BBB, mainly because I am addicted to beating my own records and I am also not the sharpest tool in the shed.

I get why it is not advised though

Also, strength progress is very rarely linear and logical. Have the plan and use it as a guide but be prepared to adjust as needed. I doubt if your calculations will happen in the way you expect. The human body has a mind of its own.


#5

I agree with the above posters. I get more out of the AMRAPS, than just about anything else. Train sub-maximally and stay healthy. Buy into it and believe in the program. It will give you more than strength gains.


#6

I think I have got a bit confused between his book [ I have a copy of the original 5/3/1 from amazon ] and the big but boring article here on T-Nation. His book says to work your ass off in the last set of the main exercise. I understand how doing this will keep you strong without having to go anywhere near your training max. On his BBB 3 month challenge month this site article however, Jim Wendler says

‘Use 5/3/1 as your foundation. Only do the required reps for the last set and then move on to 5 sets of 10, which is assistance work.’

should i just ignore this then and do the last main set as an AMRAP before starting the BBB assistance?


#7

As someone said above, the challenges posted here on the T-Nation site are different from the base programs in the book. If you do the BBB template from the book, do AMRAP on your last set. If you do the BBB 3 month challenge, do what the challenge says to the letter.


#8

[quote]diddy_lemon1 wrote:
On his BBB 3 month challenge month this site article however, Jim Wendler says

‘Use 5/3/1 as your foundation. Only do the required reps for the last set and then move on to 5 sets of 10, which is assistance work.’

should i just ignore this then and do the last main set as an AMRAP before starting the BBB assistance?[/quote]

This is something he said about the BBB challenge. His recommendation to go AMRAP still stands for the other templates. The 3 month challenge’s volume and increasing intensity will kill you - you’ll have to cut back somewhere, so the 5/3/1 sets are kept to the minimum. It’s all in the article; you just have to realise this is an exception for this particular template.

(You often wonder how religious wars start and then you realise how many people misinterpret something as simple as training advice…)


#9

There are definitely some situations where Jim says to either cap or forego altogether the amrap set. The “advanced” program comes to mind; as does the 5’s pro, etc - I cannot remember regarding the challenges but if it’s in the book - then I’d follow it.

Like I said above - I am not the sharpest tool in the shed so I have always done the amrap set even with BBB. What I did with a great deal of success for awhile was make a deal with myself: if I did amrap - then I had to get 10 reps no matter the week. Then I only did 4 sets for the BBB. See the math? Still 50 reps (with 10 of em being at a high weight)

Before anyone gets there panties in a wod, I know it is not the way Jim wrote it and I know I altered it.
But it worked for me in that it allowed me to negotiate the volume and the amrap set. But in general - the program works the best the way it is written.