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Jim's High School Training Plan

Been watching/listening about Jim/Kyle’s football team who he has training 5/3/1 Krypteia.

He mentions a few times about dropping the Squat from training, so does that make it just become a Bench day and a Trap Bar day which alternate ABA then BAB on MWF?

Just curious more than anything, the whole journey of the team and their training is really interesting to me.


We just drop the squat during the in-season; we just lift two days/week in the in-season and do 2 days of recovery work.

Off-season: we train 3 days/week.

how many times per week are your kids squatting? Offseason? and In Season no squats at all?

One day barbell.
One day dumbbell.

In season - some DB squats are done but programmed individually. Too many variables.

thanks Jim for sharing these informations!

I´m confused, beccause on your Instagram Q&A from a few days ago and in the YouTube video also, you mentioned, that your athletes do some kind of SQUAT, push and pull every training day!?

Whant kind of squat do your athletes on the third training day?

The do a trap bar deadlift. Probably a misstep on my part due to quickness and shortness of instagram.

The exact program has been outlined dozens of times in speeches, videos, interviews, podcasts and in the Forever book. Please understand that there is NO SECRET.

no, please don´t get me wrong, I know that there is no secret but I´m very interested in your coaching principles because everyone knows that you are the “goat” in this topic, especially with athletes/kids etc.

I also have the forever book and like you describe the training principles, it I think it is the Krypteia Template!?

I have one last question please and I hope you can help me out and give me your personal opinion:

Do you think, it is necessary, to train legs (I know, the deadlift is also a “leg exercise”) directly with squats, barbell and or dumbbell, more than twice a week to develop powerful, strong and “big/muscular” legs? Not for bodybuilding and aesthetics purposes, for overall fitness development like athletes!? (No performance enhancing drugs etc.)

Since these full body shit and all this new study crap came out, I´m really confused and I always think it´s necessary to squat three times per week for example… I always believed in principles, thats what I learnded since the first 531 book came out but like I said, since all this new shit is on the market, I´m totally confused. You are someone I trust and I hope you can help me out!


No. I think saying that it is absolutely necessary does a disservice to young athletes who don’t have the luxury to do so…or for “normal” people who don’t have access to a barbell. People have become stronger, faster and gotten in great shape without doing squats more than twice/week.

Hell, you can get strong/in-shape/fast or whatever without a barbell. It becomes a challenge and it is not very efficient but if someone has the time/mental energy or remotely cares about doing so, I’m sure it can be done. I don’t count myself as one of those people. However, when I was recovery from back surgery I couldn’t squat/deadlift and my legs didn’t “suffer” from lack of strength.

Anyway, I understand you being confused and all I can say is this: it is normal to feel that way. But whatever you choose to believe or follow, be confident. Understand that if it is rooted in some basic, common sense and held together with commitment/effort, you will be fine.

I think one big mistake people make is that they are always looking for new stuff. But there is gold to be mined from “old stuff”; meaning things you’ve already read/experienced and looking at them again from a different perspective.

thank you very much for your answer! You are always explain topics or things that at the end, there is no room for doubt!

Obviously, you are a genius and master in “sports and strength performance” and not a “Calisthenics” specialist per se but I since you published the first 531 book, I myself believe in this program and I believe in the principles of Jim Wendler, but thats me. Of course, I can put the words “bodyweight”, “squat alternatives” or “becoming strong and huge without squats” into google and I will found one million articles, programms and suggestions BUT like I said, I believe in your programming and your principles.

That’s why I would like to ask you please how you would set up a training program for a period of one year for example for an athlete/kid/injured individual who cant load the spine with a barbell because of surgery, back problems etc.? How would you structure a “complete/well balanced” training program with dumbbells, bodyweight, kettlebells for upper and lower body? How many training days per week, sets, reps etc.? what exercises etc.?

I hope I will get another brilliant answer to my questions.

Thank you! I appreciate your effort and work!

You must have missed this part of my answer.

Making a year long training program for some made-up person I will never coach is impossible. And even if it was possible, I’m sure it would take me at least one year of research. And as noted above, I don’t have the time or energy.

I would highly, highly recommend you look at my answer and see my reference to the WALRUS training program I’ve built. I would probably start there in my quest to find the answer. In fact, you would be very well off if you reached “General” status in any of the WALRUS disciplines.

That took well over 3 years to develop.

Sorry for making this so damn complicated! I will come right to the point and I hope I can get your attention and your opinion/recommendation one last time please. I have two last questions, I promise!

Right now and for the next 12-18 months I can´t train with a barbell and I should only use dumbbells, kettlebells and my bodyweight, thats it. No spinal loading.

I decided to come a “master” in all your assistance work templates who are mapped out in the forever book and I simply started with

-Push 50-100 total reps
-Pull 50-100 total reps
-Single/Leg 50-100 total reps

three times per week. I´m so damn weak, that its impossible to overtrain my body with push-ups/dips/dumbbell press or pull-ups/rows BUT since I started lifting I love to squat. For the single/leg category I usually do DB-squats like you recommend in the krypteia program.

I use this method to progress

  • Start with a weight for 5 sets of 5 reps.
  • Increase work capacity until I was fit enough to do them on the minute every minute
  • Add a set whenever I could until I was up to 10 sets of 5 reps.
  • Then add a rep whenever I could until I hit 10 x 10.
  • Then reduce the sets until I was up to 5 x 20 (like in the beginner prep circuits)
  • Increase the weight and repeat.
  • And I’ve done that and worked all the way up to the 24kg kettlebell. (I´m weak!!!)
    Simple? Yes.
    Effective? Very.

Now, I can´t recover from it when I do the DB-squats three times per week and I´m sore all the time and feel tired.

What would you do in my situation:

-still squatting three times per week and cut back down the volume and only do 50 reps per session or

-squatting two times per week and still try to hit 100 reps per session and replace the DB-squat in one session with another exercise and if so, which movement would you chose to still hit the lower body?

I hope I you can give me YOUR PERSONAL opinion and recommendation one last time.

Thank you very much!!! I appreciate your effort!
Best regards!

Dude, read the book(s). Just got all 4 of his a couple weeks ago. Solid gold. Have learned so much from them, and they answers ANY questions you may have about 5/3/1.

thanks for your input but I can´t train the 531 method because I CANT USE A BARBELL!!! Please read the post…
It also would not be smart to program dumbbell work with the 531 program!!!
I also have every one of Jims books but 531 is a barbell strength training program and not a dumbbell, kettlebell or bodyweight program!
Regarding my situation I can´t use a barbell but I swear of Jims advice and knowledge and therefore I ask him for advice!

Have you read Dan John’s stuff? He’s a big fan of the kettlebell.

Not Jim, but again, look at what he said.

If you don’t do that, do goblet squats and lunges, and pull throughs and GHR’s. Not as good as as barbell work, but will provide some leg work. Add in some sled/Prowler work, and you will be fine.