T Nation

Leader and Anchor


I’ve been searching around on this forum for at while to make sense of the Leader and Anchor, but without luck!
Would anyone be so kind to inform me of what these two things are? I have an idea of what it is, but not nearly enough to make use of it!

Thanks in advance!

5/3/1 More Squatting

I think you’ll have to wait for the new book just like everyone else


Leader (2 cycles): less intensive work on main lift (e.g., 5s pro), higher volume supplemental (e.g., BBS, SSL), lower volume assistance
Anchor (1 cycle): higher intensity on main work (e.g., PR set, Jokers), less supplemental work (nothing, FSL), higher volume of easy assistance

TM testing between and at the end. Conditioning tailored to what you need.

Concept is simple. Like in many training approaches, you’re moving from a higher volume, less intense base block to a higher intensity block. Just different terminology.

Maple Syrup Strength (littlesleeper)

Wauw! Thanks for this reply Ramo! This really makes sense. I appreciate your time!

One thing though! Do you mean cycles as in 3 weeks or 6 weeks?

Would you consider it right if it was done like this?

2 cycles of:
Main lift - 351, Single on TM (Strength Phase)
Supplemental - SSL

1 cycle of:
Main Lift - 351 (No PR set), Amrap on TM (Strength Phase)
Supplemental - FSL


I don’t think a single at TM is less intensive. That’s what I meant by wait for the book. I’m not trying to be rude, I just think it’s better to read over everything and get the whole picture before making important decisions


I understand and I don’t read it as rude. Thanks for the reply!


2 cycles (6 weeks) of Leader followed by 1 cycle (3 weeks) of an Anchor is fine. Wendler generally recommends planning out 5 cycles, but a 2:1 setup is recommended sometimes.

Regarding the particular setup you posted, I would not recommend it. You do not need singles in the Leader phase. I would suggest just doing 5’s PRO and SSL (5x5), along with some basic accessory work, for the Leader. For the Anchor, why not do the main set for a PR? You can then follow it with joker sets for 3 or 5 reps if you feel up to it, and then on to accessory work. Remember the point of each phase, put the volume work in the Leader and keep volume low in the Anchor when you are going for PRs and otherwise doing higher intensity work.


WAUW revchad! Thanks for the in-depth help and guidance! Its really appreciated!
I’ll try out what you’re saying about 5’s PRO + SSL for 2 cycles and then 351 for the anchor, doing PR sets and jokers if I feel for it!
This help was really needed! I truely can’t thank you enough!

One thing tough, would you still do 5’s Pro for deadlift and power clean? Not that I’ve an issue with this, but I’ve seen it been discussed many times on this forum.


I’m not sure exactly what you are asking. Do you mean for the Anchor, doing 5’s PRO instead of PR sets? That is certainly an option, and if you are doing cleans I, personally, would do those with 5’s PRO, or even 3’s PRO, since I tend to think of the clean as an exercise best done with low rep sets. For deadlifts, I would tend to do the PR sets, but if you feel like you need to keep deadlifting restricted then it is fine to do 5’s PRO for the deadlift.

If you are asking wether or not to do 5’s PRO for deadlift and clean during the Leader, then I am not sure what alternative you would have in mind but I would just stick to the 5’s PRO. Personally, by the way, I would not do the SSL for cleans.


The first part of your reply answered my question thoroughly!
I was in a hurry writing the question, I now see I certanly missed some details!

Thank you for you time and help revchad! I really needed this!


Is the 5’s pro is the only option for the leader?


No you could go for pr’s on all weeks for ‘leader’ then pr’s/jokers on 3/1 weeks for ‘anchor’. Personally most cycles i go for pr’s on 3/1 weeks and throw jokers in on anchor, supplemental work varies to suit cycle. I keep setting pr’s so i see no need to go to 5 pro for my main lift as yet.


Thank you Shaun87! This was really great, as I feel kinda demotivated by the 5’s Pro when I hit the great days. Kind of you for sharing this with me, thank you!


It seems to really depend on what else is going on in the cycle and overall plan. I have seen some Leaders in which Wendler recommends going for PRs, but most of them see to be 5’s PRO, just the 5 reps. It is all part of the push and pull. Only doing 5’s leaves room for more elsewhere, going for PRs requires pulling something else back. In general, if you see Wendler give, or give an ok to, a program with 5’s PRO, I take it that Wendler intends for it to be done with that, and not just changing it out for PR sets. But, if you want to do PR sets, you can find or make Leaders specifically like that (with the appropriate reduction in other things).

Personally, I think Wendler knows what he is doing and recommends 5’s PRO for a reason. I find that if I am having a good day with it, I just enjoy it, and focus all the more on form and bar speed. It is all part of the process for building up to the PRs and longterm progress.


What the hell is 5 pros?


revchad, I really enjoy your replies, as you deltail every part of your answer thorough. And somehow you always makes me pick the smarter thing, rather than picking the thing that stimulates my ego the most. Thank you so much for this answer! Escpelly thanks for the reminder of just enjoying the great days when they’re there and focus on the bar speed and form, cause that’s really what’s it all about!


Because of your great answers, I hope to steal some more information from your brain revchad!
What would you consider best for supplemental, for building strength in the leader? SSL or BBS?
I think that BBS insures great bar speed if using the FSL pecentages, and it delivers great volume. But on the other side SSL delivers great training effect on the strength due to the percentages, but the volume is lower.
I am gonna try out both for sure, but I have a meet coming up, and would like to know which I should go for first. I have a program Jim helped me with, where I combined them, but I’d like to get your (and other value opinions) on this!
Thank you in advance!


Do you have Jims book, Beyond 531? It is described in the book.


Yes, I have them all. What are you refering to, cause I don’t exactly know where you read about SSL (other than in the strength challenge), BBS and about leader or anchors?


I would just do the program Jim helped with. He certainly knows more than me and other folk likely to chime in here. In any case, lifting is a longterm thing, and you already know that the important part is to try out both BBS and SSL. I doubt the order matters. Good luck at the meet!