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My Butchered W4SB1 Template

I’ve been lifting on and off for a while now.

Best strength and size gains I made were on SL 5x5 with added overhead pull (pulls down or chins depending how i was feeling) and hitting arms on cables at the end of every workout. I done this for 6 months or so and got reasonably strong. When the gyms opened back up last year I started W4SB1 and made decent progress in the 10 weeks or so before they closed.

Right now after doing next to nothing during the second covid lockdown I’m a little fat. love handles and lower belly

I like simple stuff that doesn’t needs changed often. It’s why I keep getting drawn back to 5x5.

So here’s my plan. It’s a mix of what I enjoy, what’s worked in the past and hitting weak points.

Max effort upper day
Rack lockouts - work up to the max over 5 sets usually
Incline DB press 4x8
Bent over barbell row 4x10
Chest fly 4x10
Straight bar face pull 50 reps ( rope attachment isn’t out for covid reason, hard to clean it)

Max effort lower day
Box squat - working up to max over 5 sets
Box squat 5x5 drop the weight down each set from my max
Leg curls 4x10
Calves 50 reps
For some grip I’m doing 3-5 hammer curls between reps

Rep upper
Bench 95lb 3 sets to one before failure.
Press downs 4x12
Neutral grip pull downs 4x12
DB shoulder press 4x8
Any curl I’m feeling that day 4x12
Facepulls 50 reps

Full body day - keep it challenging but easy to recover from, just hitting areas I feel need extra work
Squat 5x5
deadlift 5x5
shoulder press 4x12
vertical pull 4x12
calves 50 reps

The goal is the usual, little less fat, little more strength and a little bigger. A recomp basically.

Roughly eating a 1g protein per lb of bodyweight and about to eat 1800 calories for a few weeks. I’m 6ft 89kg right now.

I sit on my ass for work, so making time for hour long walks most days.

Hows it looking ?


Conjugate is a poor choice then; max effort movements are rotated every 1 to 3 weeks, and rep effort and supplemental stuff gets changed frequently as well.


Honestly it’s been modify so much it has very little resemblance to the root program.


I had planned to just keep the exercise selection the same and run it for 12 weeks to see how I got on. Does it look balanced enough and worthwhile to run with?

I’m not an expert, but the couple times I’ve tried it lead me to believe running a conjugate program without rotating the max effort moves is going to lead to some aches and pains and frustration


Poorly is how I imagine

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Yeah I’m probably best not to f*ck around with it :joy:

I’ll just run it as it should be and rotate the compounds around.

Is the added face pulls and calf work an issue?

If you’re looking to keep main movement the same but hit some heavy singles you could consider 531 training maximally approach.

Work to either a single at your TM, go for a rep PR if you’re feeling really good, or a couple of joker singles if you’re feeling really really good.

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You’re very close on some days to building a 531 workout. E.g. on your max effort lower day you build up to a top set , then 5*5 (fsl supplemental) at a lower weight then, 50-100 reps of legs/core and pull (accessory).

I would look at his fsl workouts. Especially if you’re planning to keep a movement for 12 weeks.

I put the 531 terms in brackets so you can get into reading the programmes a little easier.

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I’ve read a lot into 531 , I plan to start it once I’ve already got a semi respectable level of strength and size. Anytime I’ve been lifting consistency it’s always essentially been a 531 prep in my mind!

I know Wendler says to start 531 regardless of training age, it’s a marathon not a sprint. But I want the quicker progression while I’m able to.

I do prefer full body 3x per week. Using the 531 app would be good as well.

You should be progressing as fast as possible on 5/3/1. Only you can slow down your progression.


I made the mistake of putting my TM too high coming off starting strength as I wanted quicker progression. It didn’t work. Who knew :wink:

Adding a 10th rep to a 9 rep record will happen much more often and allow quicker progression then adding a 4th rep to a 3 rep max, which doesn’t happen frequently.

Punisher is right, once I did the programme properly the gains came much quicker. And I was much further from injuring myself and/or burning out. And you may have days where you add multiple reps to a PR.