T Nation

Moving From 2 Day LP to 5/3/1 - Where to Go?



I am 58 and after some health issues leading up to a major accident last year I started strength training. I have arthritic knees and bad lower back. Shoulders are not much better. I have been doing a lot of micro-loading.

I have followed the Starting Strength model 2 days a week but have been stalling and need to move to different programming and 5/3/1 was suggested.

I have all of Jim’s books and have been browsing the forum and have become overwhelmed at the number of 2 day a week programs.

The ones that have caught my attention are Training 2 Days/Week Options 1 and 2 pp.77 and 78 from 5/3/1 the 2nd Edition. (even though I can not do dips and currently doing pull-downs.)

Old Man Winter :Training For Mr. Gray Pubes pp.42-43 from 5/3/1 for Powerlifting.

Two Day/ Week - New Template p. 70 from Beyond

Con Clavi Con Dio pp.201-204 from Forever.

Mobility is awful but I am working. Conditioning is Airdyne and walking (no HIIT at this point) and started walking a prowler 2 days a week with some light weight.

My goal is to be in the best shape (and honestly look good on the beach) when I retire in a couple years so my wife and I can enjoy an active lifestyle.

My question is where would you suggest I start? .

Thanks for your time.


2nd post in and 9 months into my lifting journey aged 39, so ignore my post if it sounds wrong. I’ve just moved from a novice program, SS, and moved to 531 2 days a week. My deadlift and squat moved along just fine with a single set of first set last but I’ve had to experiment to get my presses from declining or stagnating. At first single FSL was not enough then BBB was too much, especially with some assistance work. But I find 5x5 FSL on the opp day works well. So my 2 days are:
Press 531
Deadlift 531 with 1 X FSL
Bench 5x5 FSL supersetted with rows

Bench press 531
Squat 531 with 1x FSL, supersetted with chins
Press 5x5 FSL

I think my lower body moves along because of Prowler, running and cycling. Basically I had to experiment a little too get the volume correct and even though my presses where going down once I listened to my body they shot straight back up.

I’m sure those with more experience will be of more help


58 years old. I’ve been using 531 almost exclusively since 2011.
Like yourself I own and have read the books. This is what currently works for me. You will need to find your way. I train for strength, health and enjoyment. I train to what I can recover from.
I plan the weeks 351.
Weights every other day. On the off days I typically do easy cardio work. Walking, sled etc, trying to move for a a similar amount of time as a weight session.
I would really recommend looking at the combination program in the latest book , and find what you like
Each lift has its own day.
5 progression.
I use some different lifts for the supplemental.
Squat, I just squat FSL 3-5x5… BP ,I vary from BP to CGBP to floor press, DL I use either SSB squats , SLDL or usually SSB good mornings, light and 3-5x10, press I like either behind the neck press or incline press again 3-5x10.
25-75push. Push-ups between squat or DL sets, DB tricep work on BP and press day
25-100 pull. You choose ,between press, BP sets. Rows, lat pull down, chins etc. between the supplemental lift on squat, DL day
25-100 " core" at the end. Mixed with some curls if you like.
I start each work out with a good warmup with mobility.
I get a main lift , a good supplemental lift and the push, pull, core gives balance and for me a very recoverable full body type of training.
Good luck


I’m 57 and have been using 531 since January of 2013. I have tried a number of things but keep coming back to the original 5/3/1 as described in the 2nd edition with that addition of the modifications from the latest book (set TM to 85% of 1RM, 1+ days should give at least 5 reps).

In addition, I find that any variation that involves doing two main lifts per day does not work for me - the second of the two lifts always suffers. I do one main lift per workout, and find that usually three workouts per week work well, so I am doing ABC DAB CDA etc. If I am having a tough week then I go to 2 per week but don’t change the workouts.

I also find that the sequence from 531 for powerlifting works best - so I am doing 3+ / 5 (no rep max) / 1+ / deload, so I get a deload every 4th week instead of every 7th.

I have had three knee operations and have had arthritis since my late 30s, and find that this program along with stretching every morning and after every workout has worked very well. I am making progress and feel great.