T Nation

My 531 Program (and Some Questions)


Hi everyone,
without any BS, I’m returning to lifting. Read 531 and Beyond 531 for a couple of weeks, (also pre-ordered 531 forever) and read every relevant t nation article I could find.

Right now Im experimenting with the bellow program, to see how my body reacts and if I manage to pull everything off in under 1 hour (I go early in the morning, and with all the communicating i gotta do, Im time pressed. Yes, I hate it too.)

As I’m a returning beginner with beginner weights, would just like to confirm I got the program and the principles right, as with so many options/templates, I think I got a bit overwhelmed.

I try to stick to the basic principles, which are:

  • heavy multi-joint lifts;
  • utilize TM;
  • start with low weights, progress slowly;
  • assistance exercises are secondary and complementary to the main lifts ;
  • conditioning with a goal - lose 6 kgs of fatty bombastic;
  • eat shit ton of protein,
  • whatever you need to do to be fit (physically and mentalle) WRITE IT DOWN - and stick with it;
  • kick ass, take some names along the way.

Day 1.)
Agile 8, Box Jumps
Squat 531, Joker sets(if possible), 5x5 FSL
Benchpress 531, Joker sets, 5x5 FSL - Superset with BB row, 5x10
Incline press assistance
Jump rope
(note: soetimes I split this day into 2: bench on one day, squat on another day)

Day 2.)
Agile 8, Box Jumps
Overhead press 531, Joker, 5x5 FSL, superset with CURL
BW dips
Jump rope

Day 3.)
Agile 8, Box Jumps
Deadlift 531, Joker, 5x5 FSL, superset with Pull-Ups
Tabata conditioning

Also, I have questions I couldn’t find an answer to:

1.) Is it possible to combine 2 main lifts in a day ? (for example if by circumstances I have to skip a day)

2.) I will see some programs (and also Jim’s articles) combine 2 main lifts a day: one 531, another 5x5. What is this template (didnt find it in beyond 531)

3,) Is there any rule for supersetting ? For example, if im super time presses, are there any combination of exercises you would not recommend combining ?

Thank you for any comments and tips.


You will find that doing jokers and then 5 x 5 might be too much. But it totally depends on what you do for Jokers, which will be largely feel. Honestly if you are just getting back into it, don’t bother with Jokers. Just do the main lift and then 5 x 5 FSL for a while until you are sure you are ready to add the heavy sets.

Your questions

  1. Yes, there are plenty of 2 and 3 day per week templates that do this. You sure you read the books? I prefer training 4 days a week, each lift gets a day and then accessories. But not everyone has that luxury.

  2. I’m not on Jim’s private forums, but I believe this is some of his newer stuff, PRO and/or 5 x 5. When the others come along they’ll be able to answer this.

  3. There’s no “Wendler” rules for supersetting besides the generic “don’t do stupid shit” rule, but I guess thats what you are asking. In general, superset with opposites. I superset every press or bench press with a set of chins for example. If you can’t do chins, do lat pull downs, rows, or some other kind of something that hits back. You want to LOOK strong, hit your back at least as much as you hit chest. I generally superset squats and deads with abs, for example hanging leg raises and ab wheel roll outs. You can also do good mornings, glute ham raises (aka pure torture). What NOT to superset? Well, don’t super set deadlifts with squats.


To clarify:
Yes I read the templates. What I meant was, that if i normally do 4 day template, but have to skip a day (thus have a week where i lift 3x), can I squeeze in 2 main lifts in one day ?


If that happened to me, I visit my priorities and decide. Generally, I think the answer is yes - squeeze in the 2 main lifts (i.e. the priority work) and probably cut out a lot of your accessory work depending time, what you can handle, etc…

Another option, if you you are able, is remove another “light” or conditioning session. For example, I “train” 4 days a week, but I’m doing something 6 - 7 days a week. If I miss a training day for some reason, I cut out something else, like a conditioning session or a light/recovery day. Depends on your priorities.

Hope that helps, and yeah I didn’t get that from your original question.


The main 531 work + jokers + 5x5 FSL for two different exercises is not ideal. Here’s a good 3 day/week program that Jim posted here recently:


Guys a very important question I have - ultimately, what the difference between 5x5 pro’s approach and 5/3/1 in terms of results ? I would expect that doing the last set AMRAP would yield better results, but wanna ask whats the philosophy between these two approaches ?