T Nation

Need Advice on Adapting/Fitting In Lifts


#1

Hi,
decided to start 5/3/1, you can find my stats and more about my goals/intentions here:

I’d do the 4 days 5/3/1 split. I have a lot of questions so please bear with me, my preference goes into having good overhead and deadlift and keeping a strong back/posterior chain:

-the main lifts I’m interested into would be Overhead Press - Push Press - Deadlift - Front Squat. I know, there’s no benching, I suppose this means that (weighted) dips twice a week becomes pretty much mandatory for proper chest development. From what I understood, in the book Jim pretty much says “just do the assistance work” without blowing your head about loads, % and such, but, considering that I need the dips for chest development, would you recommend me to find a TM on those too and keep track of the % I’m using to chase a weight progression?

-how to fit one arm dumbbell snatches into the routine and when to place them? I know that clean and snatches are supposed to be done before the main lifts, but that’s referred to the barbell versions I think. How many sets/reps would be recommended and what %? I can test my 1RM easily this week if needed. They should fit good after the Push Press

-how to fit snatch-grip deadlifts into the routine? Do they usually count as a specific variation of DLs (i.e. to be done in 5x10 after DLs for BBB assistance) or are more suited for back/lats work on a non-DLs day? Would it make any sense to put on the same day Deadlift - Snatch grip deadlift - Kroc Rows since they’re all pulling exercises?

-how to fit loaded carries and rack work into the routine?

-supersets (?): at one point in the book, Jim wrote “I still recommend to do chinups between each pushing set, including warm up sets”. I’m not sure I understood the meaning of it, is he recommending to superset push sets and chinups sets?

-conditioning work: is rope jumping ok, for those days when I need to stay at home? On some days I won’t be able to leave home for running&co. Also, what about walking with a weighted backpack? A T Nation article mentioned it works wonder for generic conditioning

-extra work day: don’t jump on your seat, not trying to add a workout day. I’m interested (with no hurry at all) into learning the front lever and handstand pushups, would it be ok if I hit the gym on a free day (usually, Saturday) to do some practice on those? Shouldn’t impact much, if at all, on recovery

-mixing assistance programs: again, not trying to mess with the program, but I was wondering. Jim mentions that for “chinups” he means all kind of grips and stances, including the pullups, and he suggests to mix them up and keep them varied. Thing is, I don’t think I’m able to do 5x10 weighted pullups. So my doubt is, would it be ok for example to do 5x10 weighted dips (BBB program) and crawl up to 5x15 bodyweight pullups (bodyweight program), then move to 5x10 weighted pullups (BBB program)?

-assistance work: again, I know the mentality is “just do it”, but is it recommended (or not recommended) to do it more bodybuilding style and focusing on slow negatives in programs like BBB?

-stretching and mobility work: is there any real benefit in doing it right after the workout? I usually do it at home before going to bed, but I’ve read a TON of different opinions about the timing of stretched&mobility work (premise: specific stretches and mobility stuff are mandatory before the workout as a warmup, that’s a given)

-Original 5/3/1 vs Beyond: thinking about starting and sticking to the original programs for some time, months, to get the grip of it and understanding the principles behind. Is there any issue with this? Maybe there’s something from Beyond that I should absolutely add to the original programs from the start, something super recommended and such?

Thanks in advance for any input, as soon as I have some feedback I will try to put down a routine with the exercises I want to do, I’m currently starting a deload week so I have time to tweak the routine and start it next week :slight_smile:


#2

Not the most experienced on here but…

When i first began lifting i used original 531 and grew in size and strength tremendously by just following the program.

Its just my opinion, but rack work/ one arm snatches / snatch grip deads are things you dont need to consider.

Assistance work/ templates, just pick one. Boring but Big or Triumvarate where you have 2 exercises 5x10 will be plenty.

Conditioning is anything “awesome” - some consider the farmers walks as conditioning, but they are taxing. I would just sprint 2-3x a week. I just step out my front door and run 80 yards up my road, walk back, and repeat 6-10 times. Its a slight incline/hill.

Superset pulling and pushing just means between every single set of bench 531 or press 531 and any pressing 5x10 assistance work (dips/incline/bench/military), perform chin ups or rows. Stick to bodyweight. I do 5 body weight chin ups inbetween my bench and press work.

Finally mobility is easy - do De Francos Agile 8 upon waking , use as warm up for training, or before you sleep. Just google/youtube it. Or do it for all 3 times.

So basically, just read 531 and follow original BBB or Triumvarate. Do Agile 8 daily 1-2x. Sprint 2-3x a week after training or whenever. Eat and sleep well. In 6-12 months you’ll be amazed and would hopefuly stick to the principles for life. I have.

Hope that helps.


#3

follow the 5/3/1 for beginners program for a while. that will eventually answer all of your questions. You’re overthinking this way too much. Do one of the programs as written, I recommend beginners or 5/3/1 for hard gainers. When you have enough training experience you’ll be able to answer all of your questions for yourself. If you follow one of Jim’s programs the way they are written you will learn what does and does not work for you.

If you don’t want to bench, do the beach body challenge program; but this isn’t a beginner program.

snatch grip deadlifts are an accessory lift. So if you did deadlift day, you would do SGDL as an accessory, or assistance. 3x10, 5x10, 5x5, 3-5x3-5 w/e.

loaded carries are conditioning.

superset push/pull - band pull aparts during main pressing or face pulls (during bench or press 5/3/1 sets). Superset chin-ups/pullups or dumbbell rows or t-bar rows with main assistance exercises (FSL, BBB, SSL etc…). So if you do OHP day, superset OHP main sets and warmups with pull aparts or face pulls, then if say you’re doing BBB, superset chin ups or dumbbell rows with the BBB sets.

Jump rope is not easy conditioning; so either do it instead of other hard conditioning. easy conditioning is airdyne bike or man walks (weighted vest). SO if you have a hard conditioning day, or two, jump rope for 20-30 minutes. make sure you get easy conditioning in 3-4 days a week on top of it.

get to 5x10 bodyweight pullups then add weight, work up to 5x10 weighted pullups, add weight, work up to 5x10 weighted pullups. When you’re starting to do really heavy sets, you can start setting goals like 5x5 pullups etc… You want to do bodyweight chins 5x10 one day, and weighted 5x5 on another day. that’s my recommendation and Jim recently posted a blog about how to get in volume and weighted in the same program. Check it out on his site.

Stretching and mobility is personal. Do it so you don’t need it. Trust me on this. I neglected this for 4-5 years and now I’m a fucking mobility queen spending 25 minutes before every session doing mobility because I fucked myself up. I also do a yoga video twice a week. Shoot me in the fucking face, but I do it now because I have to. So just do it so you don’t wind up like me.

Do the original before you start asking about Beyond. You’ll know when you are ready for something like Beyond… you know, like when you get beyond the original.


#4

Thanks for the replies.

How could I adapt the Beginners program without benching? Sounds like doing OHP/Push Press 3x a week (even if once with reduced %) is not a great idea

So, loaded carries are considered heavy conditioning?
I usually do: overhead carry with a 45lbs plate, 3x1minute (with 1 minute rest), farmer walks with 2 dumbbells about 50-60 yards x3, suitcase carries alternating hand 50-60 yards (per side). Obviously on different days, at the end of workouts (overhead carries on upper workouts, farmer walks or suitcase carries on lower workouts).
Can I fit them in at the end of 5/3/1 workouts? Do they conflict with the notion of keeping some energy in the tank at the end of the workout? I’d like to do some weighted walks or running anyway the other days.

The part about stretching made me laugh (I’m a bad person I know but the way it was worded is awesome). Been doing a lot of stretching since the beginning due to my right shoulder. I usually do about 100 bands pull aparts, 50 shoulder dislocators, then full body static stretches from top to bottom. At evening, before I go to bed, almost every day (5 days a week at least). Will surely add some mobility work like the Agile8 to do during the day too.


#5

When you start changing the programme, you’re no longer doing the programme and therefore will never get intended results. Benching is a massive part of developing upper body size and strength and shouldn’t be replaced. If due to injury (i.e. A chronic and consistent damage to a joint/muscle), then buy a SlingShot, do your 5/3/1 with this and don’t do any other pressing movements as accessories. Stick to pulling movements. The SlingShot is the only thing I’d “change” and only if there’s is an injury. Everything else here is Wendler approved in various articles.


#6

I know what you mean, and I swear I understand it. If you read my original thread (linked in the first post here), I was reluctant to try 5/3/1 for these exact reasons - there are lifts I want to make and some I don’t want to make, I have personal goals that are focused towards deadlifting and overhead pressing and I don’t want to bench.
I’ve been suggested to give it a try even if I have to change it, so I guess that trying won’t hurt - I won’t come here blaming Jim or the users if it doesn’t work, no risk at all.

I don’t want to bench because my shoulder is not okay, even if it improved hugely in the last year with stretches, mobility work and overall reinforcing the muscles. But still, when I bench, I keep a ton of focus on retracting the scapulae, keeping the shoulders back, and not enough focus on moving the weight.
I’d rather have a less flexible program in which I do dips twice a week, keeping track of the weight used, so that it can be like some kind of secondary pushing lift, and do it maybe once in 5x10 and once in 5x5. I can do dips better, I focus on moving the body and the whole shoulders back/retracted scapulae comes much more natural in dips.
I have yet to see someone good at dips who lacks chest development and strength, while I see a ton of benchers with good numbers that couldn’t probably do bodyweight dips and with no aesthetic/massive chest. I’m talking of “good numbers for mere mortals”, I know that 600lbs benchers have a good chest.
But I want to be realistic with my goals, I won’t reach those numbers - I’m not interested in reaching those numbers.
All I care is to have good levels of DL and OHP, some good generic conditioning and some decent aesthetic.
That’s it - that’s really all of it


#7

Upping the thread for a doubt:
in the chapter “Programming Your Assistance Work – The Simplest Strength
Template”, which is highly recommended by Jim himself, there’s a ton more assistance work than in the other templates:

Monday
Press – 65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5+
Close Grip Bench Press – 50%x10, 60%x10, 70%x10
Lats, Upper Back, Triceps, Biceps

So it would be like: Press 5/3/1, Close Grip BP 3x10, Kroc Rows 1-2 sets, barbell curls 3x10 and something else for triceps (dunno, dips 3x10)… all of this while supersetting chinups between each pushing assistance exercise.

That’s a lot more stuff than BBB or Triumvirate… am I missing something?


#8

It’s similar to doing squats every day when doing the whole body program. I’m doing that now and I do 5/3/1 Monday and 3x10 with 40, 50, & 60% of my TV on Wed & Fri. It’s really not a lot of extra work though. Jim recommends 5@40%, 5@50%, and 3@60% for a warm-up before doing a 5/3/1 lift. And you can never do too many pull ups.

Back to your bench concerns… I personally believe bench is overrated but I try to view lifting in terms of real world application. In my police job I need to be able to pull myself with only my arms (in case my legs get taken out); pick up & drag a fallen officer (deadlift); run & jump (all other leg movements); when fighting to arrest someone it’s mostly pulling to keep them from escaping (like wrestling).

There aren’t a lot of scenarios where I need to be able to push 400lbs away from me (maybe if I’m on my back and a car falls on me). The rest of my training is b/c I enjoy it or it contributes to overall balance and general preparation.

I think benching would help your overhead press but if you don’t want to do it then don’t. It’s your program. You have to enjoy it. And I’m a big believer in “if it hurts then don’t do it”.

I wouldn’t add a 2nd 5/3/1 day of OH pressing to your week though. Do the other 3 days and then do a 2nd pulling day of assistance work (maybe light Deadlifts, rows, pull ups, and anything else you want to throw in as bonus work).

It’s ok to tweak a program to fit your needs. You’ve already said you wouldn’t blame the program for lack of success because you’re changing it. This is all a lifelong process or trial & error.


#9

Yes Rippetoe clearly said that bench and OHP complement each other like deadlift and squat do, in his article about pressing overhead. That’s enough of a proof to me and the only reason why ditching the bench press hurts a bit.

Why not Push Press? I mean, is there some risk involved in doing another overhead movement? From what I’ve read it’s one of the most recommended complementary lift to the OHP, especially to avoid/break plateaus.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do more pulling, but it sounds like leaving room for progress behind


#10

Also, while I’m at it, here the adapted workout schedule:

MON - UPPER1
-Overhead Press 5/3/1 (band pull aparts between sets)
-Seated smith machine Overhead Press 5x10 (pyramid down)
-Dips 5x10 (bodyweight)
Chinups between sets of the last two exercises, about 5 at a time

TUE- LOWER1
-Deadlift 5/3/1
-Snatch grip deadlift 5x10 (pyramid down)
-Kroc Rows 1-2 sets
-Hanging leg raises 5x10

WED - REST, WEIGHTED BACKPACK WALK

THU - UPPER2
-Push Press 5/3/1 (band pull aparts between sets)
-Dips 5x5 (weighted, keeping track of progress like a seconday main lift)
-Dumbbell Snatch 3x5 (each side, pyramid down)
Chinups between each set of the last two exercises, about 5 at a time
(?) -Kroc Rows 1 set per side (not sure if it’s too much, will have to try)
[heavy conditioning] overhead carry 3x1min

FRI - LOWER2
-Front Squat 5/3/1
-Romanian Deadlift 5x10 (same weight all sets)
-Leg press 5x10 (pyramid down)

SAT - EXTRA
Morning: abs work to learn front lever and l-sit, some hanging leg raises, rkc plank, light stuff
Afternoon: weighted backpack walk

SUNDAY - REST, weighted backpack walk

Warmup based on Agile8, before workouts, before the weighted walks and possibly one more time during the day. Before going to sleep my usual 100 band pull aparts, 50 dislocators and total body stretching each day


#11

Ok so, started it today.
In the “85% x5+” I did 9 reps, felt like I had about 1.5 possibly 2 reps still in the tank. Is that number of reps ok, or is it some kind of indicator that the TM I’m using is too high/too low?

Couldn’t do 5x10 bodyweight dips lol. Progression was like 10-8-6-7-7, in hindsight I think I could have taken some more rest time between sets since I finished the workout a bit earlier than one hour. Still adapting to the new low volume routine but damn I really enjoied the workout.
Finished with 5x10 seated smith machine shoulder press and felt good.
Supersetting 5 reps of chinups (various grips) between each set of dips and smith machine worked pretty good, also managed to add about 10 band pull aparts right after the chinups and overall I felt like it helped keeping the muscles warm.

Well, so far really enjoyed it. Right amout of intensity in the 5/3/1 exercise and in the following mass stuff supersets with chinups, I feel like I’ve got the job done but at the same time I’m not dead. Cool cool


#12

I suppose you could try push press. I’d do it on day 1 and regular OHP on day 2 but that’s b/c I like to prioritize the power movements. I noticed that push press was stressful on my shoulders after awhile but I went 10 weeks without a deload doing the Complete Power Look Program.

Like I said, trial & error. I’m doing a lot of pulling right now and it might prove to be too much but I won’t know til I do it for awhile!


#13

get a football/swiss bar and press with palms facing one another - that should help with shoulders. Start light and progress slowly. You might even find this helps your shoulder.