T Nation

My 5/3/1, Critique Please

Hi there, first post here

Got my own 5/3/1 with the priciples of the book

I’m able to train 6 times a week, triyng to get shredded but Strong AF.

This is my routine:

For Warm up/mobility, typical stuff recommended, Agile 8, foam rolls, Dynamic stretches, the kinda no Bulls***t stuff.

My Conditioning is: Kettlebell swings, and some HIIT stuff, mosty sprints, normaly done after upper days.

Keep in mind that the days can change, due to business or privat stuff. Also, i’m not going to the gym. I have a Power rack at home, a bench, a cable pull (low and high) and a barbell. Maybe i will get some Dumbbels in the future cause zheir expensive as hell.

Thx for any critique and advises.

here’s the split:
sets and reps for accesories can vary due to mood, energy etc.


Deadlifts 5/3/1 + Jokers
Romanian Deadlifts 5x10


OHP 5/3/1
Dips 5x10
Lat Pulldows 4x10
Seated Rows 4x10

Wednesday Rest
can’t train that day


Squats 5/3/1 + Jokers
Squats 5x10


Bench Press 5/3/1 + Jokers + FSL +
Rest Pause
Barbell Rows 5x10 or GVT 10x10


Lower Hypertrophy
Front Squats 5x10
Hip Thrusts 5x10


Upper Hypertrophy
Bench Press 5x10
Dips 3x10
Side Laterals 3x15
One Arm Pulldowns 4x15
One Arm Rows 4x15

Doesn’t seem like you are following the principles of 5/3/1.


Any example why?

I imagine you think cause of the extra Hypertrophy days.

Volume and recovery.

can you explain that, instead of using single words my friend?

This isn’t good.

Set some proper goals
Lose the Joker sets
Lose the GVT sets
Lose Lower hypertrophy
Lose Upper hypertrophy
Add some “easy” conditioning…

Start again by finding a template from the hundreds that have been tested that matches your goals and run that instead.


What is your height/weight and squat/bench/deadlift??

You’re doing too much work in terms of reps per week and not resting enough. Both of those go against the principles of 5/3/1.

I completely understand the appeal of designing your own program. There is a “I did this myself” aspect to it. That said, if you want to follow a program, follow it as written. Completely changing it up will get you nowhere.

In Beyond 5/3/1 there is a program called 5/3/1 Frequency Project and 5/3/1 Frequency Project 2.0. Also in Beyond 5/3/1 there are multiple templates ranging from 3 days a week to 7 days a week. You can choose one of those templates. There is a lot of auto regulation in Beyond 5/3/1 so you really have to know what’s best for you. There are 11 different training schedules.

Your best bet, being that this is the first time you’ve started 5/3/1, is to follow a 4 day a week training schedule with an old familiar template. You are probably looking at 5/3/1 and asking yourself “is this really enough to get bigger and stronger?”

This is not a program for you if your goal is to look good in a speedo. This is a performance program and some of the side benefits of 5/3/1 are that you will be stronger and bigger.

“I want to get shredded but strong as fuck” is not a goal. If you want to get shredded you will not be able to eat to get strong as fuck, and if you want to get strong as fuck, you need to eat like it, and you wont get shredded.

If you want to get strong but lose some body fat, you should dial back the volume and train for strength while eating to lose fat, but not lose strength. That’s one of the hardest things to do in weight training.

Pick 1 goal:
A: lose fat
B: get strong
C: bulk up
D: run a 5K under 25 minutes
E: bench my bodyweight for 10 reps

Now I’m just making shit up…

My suggestion is to try 5/3/1 for a straight year. Do 5/3/1 4 days a week, hard conditioning two days a week, do mobility 1-2 times a day, every day. Walk 2 miles 4 days a week. Pick a simple template to start out with like the Triumvirate and run it a couple cycles, then try BBB or FSL or up/down ladder. You can do FSL 5x5 of FSL rest/pause; it really doesn’t matter. My point is, there are so many programs/templates to chose from, just pick one, run it for a few cycles, then pick another and run it for a few cycles. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, change diet, volume, conditioning, etc… learn what works for you and do it.

5/3/1 is all about habits, starting off too light, progressing slowly, and programming for life. Don’t reinvent the program - do it as written. There are no hypertrophy days and strength days in 5/3/1, although there are phases in some of the programs/templates in the books.


Because you aren’t doing 531 is why. Read the book, pick a template and do that. Then you’re doing 531. What you’re doing has that much extra stuff it isn’t anything near to 531.

I’ve made the same mistake. I agree with the others, follow the program. Every time I’ve hit a wall I’ve checked myself (noticed I’ve “customised”) and gone back to Wendler’s core principles and been reminded I’ve been a dumb azz for not listening to him. You can add a conditioning day for sleds, etc. but focus your work on your core 4 days (or whatever of his options you’ve chosen). Hit those days hard, but keep your rest days.