T Nation

New to 5/3/1, Starting with BBB

Good morning all,

I’ve read and read on Jim’s 5/3/1 Program and have decided to try and begin my journey utilizing it. I do have some basic questions despite re-reading and searching several forums:

I plan on using Boring but Big for my initial template, I’ve figured all my maxes, downloaded a decent app to help track progress, and I’ve been on it for two weeks. Currently my program looks like this:

Deadlift 5x10
Lat Pulldown 3-5x10

Shoulder Press 5x10
Weighted Situps 5x10


Squat 5x10
3-sided Planks

Shoulder Press
Bench Press 5x10
Inverted Rows

The app is setup that this cycle ends after week 3. What would you recommend to continue: run this template again but with new Training Maxes so the weight continues to increase? I started the program very light due to some nagging injury rehab. The sets are challenging but I’ve been able to complete all of them. I plan on adding more assistance work as I progress into the program further, but right now I’m happy with the progress. After a second cycle should I be looking to switch from an anchor to a leader template?


Good for starting the program light. Hows the injury rehab coming along? Will it limit your lifting much?

What % are you using for the BBB sets? How have you figured out your TM?

Why? Not a rhetorical question, or designed to say you’re wrong, just think very hard about why you’re adding stuff. More is not necessarily better, it’s just more.

You could, but you also could not. 531 worked perfectly well before Forever came along. Are you using plus sets or just 5s PRO for your main work?

Thank you for the reply. To be honest I took an educated guess at my 1 rep maxes initially when starting this program.

My problem classically is thinking I am in better shape/younger than I actually am. I’ll make initial progress then hit a wall, get frustrated, and give up on the program. Age (36) has brought a certain (just a little) amount of wisdom, so I took what my maxes were about 5 years ago and injury free, dropped about 30% off of that and have started from there.

As far as nagging injuries go, I hope the light starting weights, along with a commitment to proper form, and not raw numbers will prevent any of that. The injuries were nothing serious in the grand scheme of things, repeated lower back strains, which would lame me up for a time frame from a few days to a few weeks. This was due to chasing numbers, poor form, and lack of stretching.

Thank you again for the advice, this 1st cycle will be over on Friday 12/20. I think I’ll try some kind of “test day” and see what my 3 rep maxes are (my small gym is empty at 0430 so I’m hesitant to load the bar down for a true 1 rep max), then start the program over again with new TMs.

A solid 3RM is probably a better tool anyway. Do you normally lift at 4:30am?

I’m normally in the gym between 0430-0500 at the latest. I’m a Firefighter in VA, currently in our Training Department, so I get my workout in early so I can help out with whatever needs our Academy or other members have when they start at 0700.

1 Like