Unless you are running some sort of cycle (which I doubt), I don’t quite understand why you are doing 5x5 @80% every single training session. That’s not something that should be kept year round. As well, If you know your back is a weakness why are you not training it? 5/3/1 is meant to be a template. Any successful training program will have clearly defined goals within a certain period of time, a logical progression, and address weakpoints. I suggest you:
-Write down some goals to attain within a certain period of time
-Figure out how you will progress and attain these goals within that time (ie. a plan)
-Figure out what your weakpoints are (back if you say so) and incorporate that into the plan
Thanks for the input, how long would you recommend running the 5x5 assistance for and at what percentage? I was planning on 3 cycles before reassessing it.
I like the structured plan approach, and I know what I want to achieve I have set goals by the end of the year. I’m Just unsure on how to improve my chin ups and which back exercises and volume/frequency to use.
If I took the just doing 50 reps in as few sets as possible using assistance bands route, then 5x10 dumbell rows on upper body days, does that look like enough work?[/quote]
I wouldn’t do 5x5@ 80% with 5/3/1 for more than 1-2 cycles at most before moving on… It’s something that should fit into a more lengthy plan. That’s medium volume and medium intensity and would fit into the middle of a longer plan.
You sound like youre mostly focused on hypertrophy but want some strength focus so this is what I’m going to recommend keeping in mind that you want to work on back the most:
Weeks 1-6: 3/5/1 with BBB at 60% 5x10
Weeks 7: deload
Weeks 8-13: 3/5/1 with FSL for 5 sets of 6-8
Weeks 14: deload
Weeks 15-17: 3/5/1 with 80%x5x5
Weeks 18-20: 3/5/1 with 90% for 5 singles
Weeks 21: Deload
Weeks 22-24: 3/5/1 with Second set last for an AMRAP set and jokers on week 3
Then possibly deload and test or restart with more hypertrophy work.
In this plan you can see you spend a lot more time at the bottom of the triangle working with mostly volume at 60-75% at most. Then You spend some time in middle part of the triangle with your 5x5 at 80% work after. After That you spend a small period of time (6 weeks) focusing on strength with lower volume and highest intensity of the whole cycle.
I would keep a template like this:
-Squat 3/5/1 and such
-Chins 50 total reps
-Back Extensions or Ab Rollouts 3-5x10-15
-Bench 3/5/1 and such
-BB Rows 3-5x8-12
-Dips 50 total reps
-Deadlift 3/5/1 and such
-Weighted Chins 3-5 sets of 6-8
-Ab work or Hamstring work 3-5x12-15
-Press 3/5/1 and such
-DB or T-bar Rows 3-5x8-12 or high rep kroc rows
-Dips weighted 3-5x6-8
You do back work everyday, working on chins on the days that you do lower body and rowing work on the days you do upper.
Firstly, thanks for taking time to give such a detailed response, looking at a plan like that I can see the bigger picture rather than just jumping from 1 assistance template to another, they follow a structure.
I already did 2x 3 week cycles of bbb before moving onto this cycle of 5x5, should I…
- carry on as though it’s week 17
- finish this cycle, deload and pick up from week 8
- finish this cycle, deload and start at week 1
Also should I push the +sets? I do at the moment as my weights are relatively low being on my 3rd cycle, I feel like a pussy if I stop at the prescribed reps. I shoot for 10,8,6 reps
I never thought of doing back on all days as I had my mindset on it being 2day upper/lower programme but I will give that a go as it gives me the extra volume and variety of exercises.
If I had already done 2 cycle of BBB then I would start at week 8 and go with option 2, but that’s highly individual based on focus. Spending more time and going back to week 1 is still an option but that’s something if you want to focus on more hypertrophy. If at this point you feel like your 6 weeks of BBB added quality mass and you’re ready to work up and hit some PRs then go for it.
I would hold back some days and push on other days. Again kind of individual. I think it’s smart to hold back on 5’s week to give yourself a break but I know some people are able to and benefit from pushing every week. Try each one out and determine which benefits you more.
As to assistance exercises and the back question in general yeah it’s again kind of up to the person designing the program. 5/3/1 is a good template, it can be altered in 1000s of ways to fit different goals. I would only run it hitting back every day if you think that’s a big weakpoint for you or if your goal is increased back strength/mass to carry over into the main lifts.
Your best bet as to picking assistance work is to video your lifts, look at where you have sticking points, then picking 1-3 movements that work on hitting this weakness. For me I know that back work is important to all my lifts so I hit it every day. I also know that I have trouble keeping upright squatting as well as shaking on pulls around the knee area which has been fixed before with ab work for me so I hit lots of rollouts and planks on my lower days. For OH I suck at the top so I hit lots of tricep work. Bench, I suck off my chest and hit more wide grip work on backdown sets and dips etc.
I hope that gives some indication of what to do with 5/3/1. There’s no real WRONG way to use 5/3/1. There are more intelligent ways that Jim can tell you directly, but in the end it is only a template and you have to use your head and think “what do I need and how do I keep it within the 4 core principles”