T Nation

New to 531. Questions and Introducing Myself


#1

First of all hello to everyone, I am quite new to this forums so bear with me if I do something stupid or ask something redundant.

I was out of the gym for a month and a half because of work, came back last week doing Dr. Stoppani’s shortcut to strength and ran into Jim Wendler’s program which im starting on monday.

I’m relatively new a strength programs and been following the ones I’ve found on the google play store.

The first program I ever did after losing 45 lbs was 5x5 and I liked it but felt it was lacking in working out my biceps and other parts of my body, I can assure that this program works to gain strength because I work at a farm and some heavy work that I did felt easy as hell.

Second program was shortcut to size by Dr. Stoppani and it also worked for me

Last program I did was Kris Gethin’s size program and holy crap! I can’t believe I survived it!

Anyhow, what assistance work would be recommended for a person who’s starting the 531 program?

Does it matter if you go too light when you start? I want to look at the program as a complete beginner

Jim says that he doesn’t track calories or macros but recommends certain amount of protein and carb intake in his book, wich has me confused

Do I track or not?

I’ve never done AMRAP workouts before, only reps to failure, what’s the difference?

Is it viable to do cardio on rest days?

And finally, when do I start warming up before workouts in this program?

Asking this because I’m starting the overhead press (my weakest point) at 55 lbs and the warmup sets would be 20 lbs

Thanks a lot! Sorry for the long post


#2

Welcome aboard and great choice getting into some 5/3/1 action.

5x5 and some Stoppani’s S2Size should have built a pretty solid base for you. What are your current lifts at (OHP, Bench, Deadlift, Squat)?

I like the basic program:

All your assistance is outlined in the article.

Quote from article:
Over the past 20-plus years, the following principles have stood the test of time, and I believe they can make any program successful:

Start Too Light
Progress Slow
Set Personal Records (PR’s)
Use Multi-Joint Exercises

If you’ve never tracked food before, it would probably be a good idea to know what you’re putting in your body. How much food/what macros you require will be dependent on your current level and what your goals are.

AMPRAP = As Many Reps as Possible…with good form. As soon as the rep slows significantly or form starts breaking down is when I would be done with the set. Leaving 1-2 “in the tank” is a good idea.

Quote from the article:
Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday
Conditioning Weighted Vest 2 miles
Mobility DeFranco Agile 8 3 x/day

So yep, don’t go crazy here. The cardio should help your recovery, not hurt it.

Don’t get too caught up in prescribing your warmup. If you’re only doing 55lbs for your working sets, you may want to grab some light DB’s or 10lb plates and do some circles, and presses. I do a bunch of band pullaparts, band dislocates and banded facepulls before my OHP and Benching to warm up my shoulders. The objective is to get them warm and primed for your working sets. This is pretty individual to the lifter and can vary from one day to another.

If you have any other questions let me know. I’m no 5/3/1 expert but have ran it for long enough that I know what works for me!


#3

Thanks man!

My goal is to get bigger and stronger, screw looking like a model!

Also, with my current program I don’t do OHP as a main lift, rather as an assistance lift so I don’t go too crazy on it, I lifted the bar only last week and this week it feel very light so I think I can add a little weight to it.

I’m currently doing

95 lbs in bench 5 sets of 8
205 lbs for the squat 5 sets of 8
And 185 on the deadlift, again 5 sets of 8

I’m planning on starting bench as is

135 lbs for deadlift and squat

I actually read his book but will check out the beyond 531 article you linked for me to look at that program.

I tracked food when I lost weight (keto diet) and it was a pain for me and more for my wife because she cooks and had to adjust her food intake to mine so… yeah… you get the point

Luckily she eats healthy and procures that there are veggies, protein and carbs in our plates and we usually drink natural fruit water, not TANG.

I’ve never felt so STOCKED to start a program and I can’t wait for monday to roll in to start.

Thanks again man, much appreciated


#4

I’m assuming you read his first book? He has a few on the shelf now!

One of the most important things about 5/3/1 is ensuring your Training Max ™ is in the sweet spot. So Jim recommends taking 85-90% of your 1RM to use for calculating your lifts each day. You could plug your current bests into an online 1RM calc to get an estimate of where you are in terms of a 1RM (assuming you haven’t tested a true 1RM).

Carbs will fuel the workout and protein will fuel the recovery. As long as you’re eating enough, you’ll should see your strength increase. The weights should be challenging but you shouldn’t be missing reps.

It would be a good idea for you to create a training log on here and track your sessions and even meals if you wanted to. Keeps you accountable, and gives you a place to ask questions about specific parts of the program or request other advice from some more experienced members.


#5

I understand Jim says over and over to start too light, but this is a bit excessive if you are already doing 205 for a 5x8 and 185 for the same. I would just start with at least 205 and 185 as your TM that way you at least aren’t pulling a 25 on each side making your dl starting position lower than normal. Just my thoughts


#6

I know, but I want to start light to re-work my form and take it from there.

Are assisted chin-ups and pull-ups acceptable? My upper body has always been my weakest point


#7

What does your form on those two look like? You still need to progress, and starting with 135 would make your work sets feel pointless in all honesty if you are already at the point you are. And yeah they are. I would even throw in some pulldowns and such at some point to help train the lats and such to get used to the movement.


#8

I’m working on going way lower on my squat, I’m a tall guy so I struggle a little for my butt to barely touch the floor.

Deadlifting I generally end up with a sore (not hurt) lower back, the soreness last for one day.

Is it ok to be lifting kind of heavy for leg work and be a weakling on shoulders and chest? I just want my body to work evenly so I won’t have huge legs and small upper body


#9

Anyhow, what assistance work would be recommended for a person who’s starting the 531 program?

Choose from the 3 main categories and choose the total reps - for most this start at 25-50 total reps per category.

Does it matter if you go too light when you start? I want to look at the program as a complete beginner

I have no idea what this means.

Jim says that he doesn’t track calories or macros but recommends certain amount of protein and carb intake in his book, wich has me confused

You can do whatever you want.

Do I track or not?

I’ve never done AMRAP workouts before, only reps to failure, what’s the difference?

We do PR sets, not AMRAP.

Is it viable to do cardio on rest days?

Yes - this depends on training level and current fitness level/goals, etc.

And finally, when do I start warming up before workouts in this program?

Before the workout.


#10

Holy crap! Man, loved your book and can’t wait to start your program!

What I mean with the too light start is that if I already lift 185 in deadlift to lower it to 135 and go from there.

And the warm up question is because when I did 5x5 stronglifts at the very beggining I did not have to warm up because the weights were too light, I can’t remember well but I think that I started warming up when I started hitting the 90 lbs categories or so.

I won’t be counting calories, as you stated, if I like what I see in the mirror I’ll stay there, if I don’t I’ll eat less.

Thanks for the reply man, I’m really stocked to begin tomorrow! I’m saving money to buy your second book and beyond 531

You fucking rock


#11

What I mean with the too light start is that if I already lift 185 in deadlift to lower it to 135 and go from there.

No. Start at the appropriate weight.

And the warm up question is because when I did 5x5 stronglifts at the very beggining I did not have to warm up because the weights were too light, I can’t remember well but I think that I started warming up when I started hitting the 90 lbs categories or so.

Do the warm-up that is listed in the book.


#12

Will do, did my first workout today and it felt amazing!

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it