T Nation

It's a Good Day to... Start 5x5


Welcome Mort. Thanks for the comments.

And thanks for the feedback / heads up on the order of the 2nd lifts. That makes sense - you’d break down the muscles in the same plane/movement more - for strength I guess you’d want to keep them more fresh so separate movements would be better.

In that case, what does Jim say about the other exercises? i.e. is it then better to do:

Deadlift day:

  1. deadlift
  2. SLDL
  3. ham curls or some more quad dominant like hack squat / split squat / goblet squat?

Squat day

  1. Squat
  2. Front squat
  3. ham curls or a quad dominant exercise?

I can see arguments for either option.

I think I will keep it as it is for now - I haven’t deadlifted properly in probably 12 months so I don’t want to overload my lower back doing deadlifts and SLDL on the same day just yet.

I’d like to find a way to incorporate behind the neck presses too - I started doing them this year and I think they are a great exercise. Any suggestions? Not heavy, just as one of the follow on assistance exercises.


Hey man.

I’ve been doing front squat recently anyway as they felt better on my groin so it shouldn’t be an issue. When I chose SST it was a tight call between doing that or the pyramid or FSL schemes from Beyond 531. If this is going well I may try adding in pyramid or FSL down-sets after a couple of cycles.


With my current 5/3/1 variation, I’m doing front squats for accessory on deadlift day, and Zercher squats for accessory on squat day. I squat fairly wide so I work my hamstrings and glutes a lot more with back squats, so I need something that hits the quads. It’s all about what you need to work your weaknesses, but what you’re doing is a great place to start. Give it a few cycles, and adjust the accessory work if it’s not giving you what you need.


I haven’t been on his forum for more than a year.
But he generally likes to run 5’s pro and FSL 5x5 followed by assistance as 50-100 reps of push, pull, single leg or core work

That means
50-100 reps push: pushup, db bench, dips (he loves dips), db press, flyes, any pressing movement.
50-100 reps pull: chin up, pull up (he loves those), bb row, db row, cable row any pulling movement.
50 - 100 reps Single leg: lunges, split squats, one leg dl, you get it
50-100 reps core: hanging leg raise (he likes them) ab wheel, planks, crunches.

The assistance should be light and non taxing.
All effort in the main lift, some in the supplemental, little to assistance.

Do 2 cycles of 5’s pro fsl one week deload, one cycle of PR sets and 3 - 5 sets FSL, and assistance is down to 25 reps.
one week deload one week test.
The test is to try to reach a 5 reps with the next cycles TM, that way you know your TM is correct.

I just happen to love the original way with pr sets I’ve tried the 5’s pro and pr cycle and test week. I didn’t like it. BUT a lot of peeps have had great success with it.
Sorry for the rant, I love 531 and think I know it quite well.

I think doing the opposite lift for supplemental would be good.
Assistance is really not that important.
You could focus on delts on the press day, quads on squat, you get it, or just do the push/pull/single leg or core thing.

I really would try to go with the template you put up, I like it a lot.
You’re working the opposite lift hard on supplemental and focus is on weakness on the main lift. Quality.


Following along. Keep it up


Thanks Mort. I will go with this template. It’s got stuff I need to do plus stuff I like to do. So it should keep me honest.

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Hey dpeels. Welcome. Hopefully there’ll be something worth following!..

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Thanks Steve. Good point about doing the things that build up the weaknesses / missed areas


5/3/1 SST; Cycle 1; Week 1; Deadlift day

Only listing the work sets. Warm ups were done in 10kg increments and I did sets of 15 reps of band pull aparts between each warm up set

My own stretching routine which lasts about 8-10 minutes.

75kg x5
87.5kg x5
100kg x9
Superset with Band pull aparts

30kg x10
37.5kg x10
42.5kg x10
Superset with
BW x15
BW x13
BW x12

SEATED HAM CURLS (5 second negative):
45kg x15
40kg x15
35kg x15
Superset with
BW x12
BW x12
BW x12

GLUTE THRUST (3 second negative):
55kg x12
55kg x12
55kg x12

10kg x14 each side
10kg x12 each side
10kg x10 each side

30s on / 60s off for 5 rounds

First day of 5/3/1 done and it was a good session. Everything above was done in 75 minutes (including the stretching routine, warm up sets and post-workout foam rolling).

I liked it. The PR set on deadlifts was good - going for max reps was fun. I probably could’ve got another 1 or 2 but form would have definitely gone by then.

The assistance work was easy, wasn’t taxing at all especially after the bigger lifts.

Conditioning was meant to be prowler but there was some strange cardio circuit thing going on on the turfed area.

I was half hour later starting than I wanted to be as the 6 year old decided to vomit at 4am. When I left at 5am for the gym the 6 year old, 3 year old and my wife were all awake. My wife, to her credit, knew I was starting a new routine today and told me to carry on when I offered to stay so she could go back to bed.

Rest between deadlifts was around 2 minutes, front squats was around 90s and the rest was around 60s.

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I have completed my spreadsheet with the template workouts through to the end of the year. If I keep progressing in each cycle then in the week commencing 29 Dec 2019 (cycle 12) I will be attempting the following lifts in the 5/3/1 week:

Deadlift 162.5kg (not done over 145kg for 3 years, 160kg was probably 7 years ago!)
OHP: 77.5kg (boggles my mind - I’ve never done over 60kg)
Squat: 115kg (not squatted over 100kg since 2008)
Bench: 97.50kg (do you think I could round up to 100kg?..)

I get those weights are relatively unimpressive compared to what a lot of people in these forums do, but by Jesus, I’d be ecstatic if I get to that! Realistically I’ll probably need to reset along the way - unlikely I’ll progress continuously for 12 cycles. But this has got me psyched up for the year now.


Nice workout. I’m in week 3 of my 5/3/1 cycle and can definitely feel myself getting stronger. Do you condition every day?


Hey @dpeels
I don’t do conditioning every day - I did it today as I still had something in the tank and time on the clock. I play football (soccerball) once a week for 60 minutes and then I try to do about another 20 mins of complexes or something each week. If the workouts continue to be the same length as today then I could add 10 mins on a day. I don’t think that goes against Jim’s principles and in my mind it allows me to eat more as I’ve earned it.

I suppose the conditioning will just have to be something that doesn’t interfere with the lifts, i.e. prowler the day before squats, farmers walks the day before deadlifts or KB swings the day before deadlifts probably isn’t a good idea.

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Today’s calorie intake has been:

Carbs 301g
Protein 217g
Fat 59g
Total cals 2603


5/3/1 SST; Cycle 1; Week 1; OHP day

My own stretching routine which lasts about 8-10 minutes.
Warm up OHP sets with band pull aparts in between.

35kg x5
40kg x5
45kg x7
Superset with Wide grip chin ups 5 reps each time, slow and concentrating on form

30kg x10
35kg x10
42.5kg x10
Superset with
45kg x16
42.5kg x15
40kg x15

4kg x20
4kg x18
4kg x17
Superset with
5kg x16
5kg x16
5kg x16

17.5kg x18
17.5kg x15
17.5kg x15
Superset with
7kg x20
7kg x20
7kg x20

EZ+15kg x17
EZ+15kg x14
EZ+15kg x12

45kg each hand
16 lengths of 15m each (240m total)

Bit disappointed with the last set on OHP; I should be able to do at least one more if not two. Will make up for it next week.

I added in the overhead front raise which wasn’t in the template first but I felt good enough to do it. Its like Paul Carter describes on T-Nation (https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-do-high-rep-plate-raises-for-traps).

Likewise I added in Farmer Walks as I had enough in the tank perhaps I need to push harder on the OHP and CGBP, but honestly I think its because I’m fit despite being weak! On Farmer Walks I was aiming for about 200 metres total so I went past that comfortably. The 16 lengths were broken up into 4x3 lengths and 1x4 lengths with about 90s in between each set.

At the moment the volume is comfortable (I’ve got 24 sets now on upper body days and 21 sets on lower body days). I will give it the rest of this 3 week cycle then when I reassess the TMs for weeks 4-6 I will consider adding things. Currently my thinking of the order of priority of adding further volume is:

  1. pyramid down sets for the main lift (so, for example in week 1, you go 5@65%, 5@75%, 5+@85%, 5+@75%, 5+@65%)
  2. Pushing for max reps on the final set of the secondary lift
  3. pyramid down sets for the secondary lift
  4. further assistance (this is actually further down the list but I couldn’t think of anything else for number 4!)


The Most Jacked Guy in Medical School? (J4GGA2's Log)

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These are some pictures from a 8 week transformation thing I did at a local gym last year. Since then I’ve gotten bigger then cut down again to about the same kind of lean-ness as the pictures on the right, just with another 5 lbs of size. I think most of that is in the legs and shoulders.


first 531 workout good.
Remember you put your money in the main lift.
If you do CGBP as your supplemental lift, you shouldn’t be doing pyramid or FSL work.

I think your TM is a bit to high, when I start out a cycle of 531 I’m getting way over 10 reps on the 5’s week.
You have to get at least 5 reps on the 531 week. If you’d like to follow Jims most recent advises.


Hey mort. I’ll keep that in mind. I will try these weights for the rest of the cycle and if I don’t get 5 reps on the 5/3/1 week I’ll keep the same TMs for those lifts