T Nation

Jim Wendler is the Man

I’d like to thank you for creating the most effective program I have ever done. In a world littered with Bosu balls and zumba, you have cleared a path for me to finally reach the goals that I’ve had for years (which don’t include anything involving bosu balls or zumba).

I bought the 2nd edition of one of your books that was released in 2013–I don’t remember the exact title of it, but during a point in my life when I’m spending a few hundred dollars on textbooks every semester, it’s one of the only books that I think I’ve ever been happy to spend my money on. Near the end of the book, you included some “before and after” examples, for lack of a better term. Personal records from people that had used 5/3/1. Honestly, I thought those people were specifically chosen because their results were impressive. I didn’t really think everyone could improve that much that fast, but I figured since I already bought the book, I’ll try out 5/3/1.

My entire freshman year of college consisted of me going to the gym 6 days a week and doing way too much volume with absolutely no inkling of progression in any form. At all. Halfway through the year, I stayed with a friend at Ohio State and went to the Arnold in Columbus. That weekend was so fun that I still remember my numbers from my workouts while I was there in early March. That was essentially my peak of freshman year, and I hit 4 sets of 8 at 245lbs for back squats. Back squats. Yes, I’m serious. The next day, we benched, and I hit 185 for a set of 12, and proceeded to do drop sets down to 135. I don’t know how many reps I did that day for flat barbell bench, but it doesn’t matter. I was making no progress. I had no plan, no purpose in the gym, and I had given up on having goals because I had been “training” for months with nothing to show for it.

Today (September 28), after almost 3 months on 5/3/1, my bench PRs went from 235x4 to 230x10 and 245x8. Squat PRs went from 275x5 to 280x10 and 295x8. Deadlift PRs went from 300x1 to 345x7 and 365x5. Less than 2 months into my sophomore year, I’m making my freshman self look like a little b*tch. I love it.

I really can’t compliment you enough on not only 5/3/1, but your philosophy in general. That joke about bosu balls is partly true in the sense that there’s too much BS in the fitness world. You are the human incarnation of Occam’s Razor. You simplified everything for everyone who takes the time to understand 5/3/1 (which is not enough people. Their loss.) You also took the razor to nutrition. Eat good, whole foods with plenty of protein and carbs. No “eat 8 meals a day,” “cut THIS out to get huge,” none of that. I’ve been following that advice since I started 5/3/1 and it’s showing. A ton.

I’ve never made progress like this. I’d never actually looked forward to squatting before. I didn’t know how simple it really was until I said F it and gave 5/3/1 a shot. But like a lot of people, lifting weights is what I love to do. Not making progress was causing me to lose the passion that I have for what I love to do. So Jim, I want to say thank you again for 5/3/1. You quite literally gave me a program that gives me enough confidence and happiness to deal with the highs and lows that you experience when you’re 20. It’s not a mushy “thank you,” it’s a bro “thank you.” You are absolutely the man for thoroughly presenting a simple philosophy that is just scary effective. God bless you man. Long live 5/3/1


I’d also like to add that before I started 5/3/1, my goals were 225x10 on the bench (achieved that about a month in), a 365lb squat (seems fairly feasible at this point), and over a 405 deadlift, which also seems like it’s coming soon.

I’m not worried about stalling out any time soon, and even if I do, I’ll just reset and continue moving forward. I just finished my 3rd cycle today, which included 2 of the PRs that I listed. 295x8 was on my 1+ and so was 245x8. There’s some magic in 5/3/1 and I don’t understand how it works, but it does. I’m glad this isn’t an 8 week program, because I’m beyond excited to see where I’m at a year from now.

Like Jim always says, this is a lifelong pursuit. I’ll take 5/3/1 over an 8 week bench booster any day. Thanks again Jim.


Bench to Deadlift/Squat ratios tho. You some Kirill Sarychev looking motherfucker?

I too discovered 5/3/1 when I was a college sophomore. Its been 7 years and it has been a part of my training every since. My only regret is that I didn’t discover 5/3/1 when it first came out. I generally wasted my high school training years through reading Muscle and Fitness and training for the “pump”.

It also kind of gives me a chuckle when I try to explain the principles to people. I have had more than one person look at me like I am a donk when talking about 5/3/1. I moved back to my hometown and going to the gyms I used to go to in high school, I literally see the exact same people doing the exact same shit they were doing when I would see them in the gym 10 years ago. No one has learned and no one has evolved. I used to be just like these people only I realized I was the definition of insanity eventually, and decided to try learn.

OP, I am telling you now, commit to this program and philosophy for the next 5 years and then look back. You will be blown away at the progress you will make and you will learn lessons that will last a lifetime.


That’s awesome man!

I’m so happy to finally be on a program that 1) I understand 2) works 3) is essentially infinite. I’m looking forward to staying with 5/3/1 for years to come :slight_smile:

Lmao not quite as big. Bench has always been my strong suit and it has been progressing more quickly than anyone else I know’s bench. I was born with really good genetics for bench (or really bad ones for squat and deadlift, idk).

My thoughts on that are that if someone can bench 4 plates, squat 5, and deadlift 6, is anyone going to point out their ratios, or will people just be like “holy sh*t, you can bench 4 plates”? Regardless, if/when I get to that point in a couple years, I’ll be happy :slight_smile:


Thanks a lot for taking the time to write this out AND for reading/understanding what i’ve written. Remember that the 5/3/1 program, like you said, is based on sound philosophy/principles; it’s not about sets/reps or whatever.

So when you continue training and getting older, keep that in mind.

Good luck and thanks for writing this; sometimes in this industry it becomes a big piss fest and you feel like you aren’t getting to anyone. This made my day.