People's Experience Running Jim's 2x/Week Routines?

I was curious if anybody has run any of Jim’s 2x/week routines and if so what was your experience? For example the 2x2x2 or Wendler Classic.

Yes, i ran a 2 days/week template for about 2 years while i played another sport (Rugby).
Most of the time, i did something like this:
Day 1: Squat + Bench, 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL
Day 2: DL + Press, 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL
Assistance was Facepulls and some kind of rows OR chins OR lat pulldowns + anything else if i had the time.

I had slow, but steady strength gains. Only thing was, i needed to reset my TM more often then i probably would have if i trained on more days. It wasn’t great for hypertrophy obviously, but it did a great job in increasing my performance for Rugby.

Well with the routine I’m following I believe I’ll see some hypertrophy results, it’s called the Wendler Classic and its

2 Days of strength training Day-1 Squat/Bench 5x5/3/1 Day-2 DL/Press 5x5/3/1
3 Days of Weight vest training Push Ups/Pull Ups/Body Squats
Weight Vest Walking for conditioning.

What do you think?

I had the best strength gains over the last couple years doing Wendler classic or a similar dan john program that had two barbell lifting days each week. I think these are pretty optional for most people. You recover better and have more flexibility in training days. Also I love weight vest work.

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3x a week is better. Mon and Friday 4 to 6 reps for strength. Wed 8 to 12 reps for size.

This is what I was thinking.

How long did it take (time in the gym) for the Strength days, the Squat/Bench, DL/OHP with 5x5/3/1?

How did a typical training week look like when you followed the wender classic?

I would usually spend 40-45 minutes or so on the workout, with 10-15 minutes of a warm up not included in that time. When doing barbell work 2x a week, I would follow either the Wendler classic (5x531), the Limited Time Widowmaker (a bit shorter, but also harder), or a Dan John 2x a week workout (which followed a different rep scheme, but in spirit is similar to a 531 workout).

Here’s how:

Monday: Strength work (bench and squat)
Wednesday: Weight vest work
Friday: Strength work (OHP and DL)
Sat: Weight vest work
Sun: Weight vest work + run

Obviously, the weight vest work can be fit in as needed. It doesn’t take long if you do it like Jim lays out in the WALRUS example (maybe 15 minutes), and is easy to recover from. I would give yourself at least 2 days between main barbell work. Also, get in 1-3 conditioning workouts. I like to run/airdyne and play soccer as my mine.

A huge bonus to this training is the flexibility to allow for other endeavors. I would always get the two strength days in, and between 1-3 other days of weight vest/assistance work depending on time/other training.

Lastly, I really liked to substitute a Dan John workout for WALRUS workout for variety. He has one where he does DB clean and press ladders with pull ups, then 1 arm bench presses and rollouts. It is similar in difficulty and length as the weight vest workouts, but just different. Remember these workouts are meant to be more of a “tonic” and should leave you feeling energized.

thanks for responding! How much weight do you use when you do the weight vest work, especially for the Bulgarian Split Squats and the squats? I´m looking for some reference point because I´m horrible out of shape! Im really weak and skinny and I have to build muscle but I´m not sure if the Wendler Classic is the right program for me. Please let me know how much do you usually use for these exercises to make progress but not overtrain und make gains on the barbell lifts.

Thank you very much!

Which of the three did you prefer; Wendler Classis, LT Widowmaker or Dan John Routine?

I was reading about Dan John routines and I like the Bench Press twice a week but can’t seem to find what training % to start with or some type of baseline to go with for training weight?

I use a 40 lb weight vest (and I weigh about 170) and do sets of 10-12 push ups, 5-6 pull ups, and either 25 rep squats or 10 each arm KB snatches. I don’t use the split splits, but not for any particular reason.

That said, I’m pretty good at bodyweight exercises and have spent more time on these than barbell lifts in my training years. Feel free to use no added weight at first and just do some bodyweight only circuits, and add a progressively heavier weight vest. Don’t go too gung ho with these workouts, as they are to compliment your main work. You should leave 3-5 reps in the tank on each move, I’d say, so adjust the weight accordingly. You should be working hard, but not straining, grinding, or gasping for breath on these workouts.

I liked them all, and really just switch between them for variety.

The Wendler Classic is more of a maintenance-style approach, assuming your TM is not too high. Very simple and time effective. It will leave you feeling good and strong throughout the week, but not beat up. I like a TM of about 80%, and focus on bar speed.

The LT Widowmaker is really hard. You are doing really 4 PR sets each workout: 1) at the top weight for bench, 2) at FSL weight for bench, and then doing these again for the squat. (same thing on DL/OHP day). Also, you are finishing with a set of Kroc rows, which are also max efforts. I really can only do this for one cycle, and then shift to another rep scheme. Still, because you are only doing 2 barbell workouts a week, it’s doable.

The DJ workout is also great. A bit more variety in it than the above two, but still very similar in approach. For the BP and squat, you do 4 sets of 10, with the last set weight being about your 10 RM weight. Don’t know what this is? Just estimate. If you estimated and got 8, great. Stick with that until you hit 10 clean reps and nudge it up. Could easily blow past 10 reps? Great. Add weight the next time.

Example for Bench press:

115 lbs x10
145 x 10
185 x10
225 x PR (got up 11 reps last time, so will use 235 next time I do this)

DJ uses pretty big jumps in weight (bigger than what I list above, because he lifts a lot more than me), and really the first three are warm up sets so don’t worry about going heavy on these. It’s really the last set that makes or breaks your progress.

I was debating on running one of Jim Wendlers twice a week routines like Limited Time Widowmaker but came accross a video Elliott Hulse did where he recommended if you did full body twice a week you should break it up to an Intensity Day and Volume Day. Which one do you think would be best to follow.

Squat 531 PR w/ Widowmaker (15+ reps at a First Set %)
Bench Pres 531 PR w/ Widowmaker (15+ reps at a First Set %)
Krock Rows 15 + reps

Deadlift 531 PR w/ Widowmaker (15+ reps at a First Set %)
OHP 531 PR w/ Widowmaker (15+ reps at a First Set %)
Krock Rows 15 + reps

Based On Elliott Hulse
Bench 3x5
Squat 3x5
Rows 3x5

Bench 3x10
Squat 3x10
Rows 3x10

Those don’t even look comparable in terms of intensity.

If I’ve learned anything from this site and the forums, it’s that people stress over unnecessary things way too much.

Which program would you rather do? Which program would you enjoy more? You are more likely to commit to the program and stick with it if you enjoy it. Personally, doing two widow maker sets every time I hit the gym would probably burn me out. They’re not fun. When I ran 5/3/1, I started to loathe the PR sets. They don’t suit me. When training becomes loathsome then it’s no longer worth it.

Think about what you want to do and do it with the right intensity and you’ll have success. Don’t worry about what people say you should do. Pick the program you want to do the most and give it a shot. It’s the best way to figure out what works for you. You could also do both. Run one program for 8ish weeks and then try the other.

The important thing is that you commit to whichever one you choose and put forth the effort to improve.


Ran Wendler’s Six Week Rest Pause program last fall/winter. The T-Nation version is 2x.week (I think it’s 3x in the book).

I’ll be switching back to it in the fall. Works perfectly for my busier October - March season.

Not to confuse matters but there are a few other versions of 2 day 531 that aren’t originally mentioned. The RP one above, limited time, the busy men workout (with a third optional BB day). And originals from the first books, some incorporated BBB. Oh, and in season krypteia which is two days. Ask yourself what style you prefer and cycle through a couple.

I looked this one up online (the 6-week challenge) and maybe you can clarify something, what does the bottom two things mean?

Squat plus 1 down set (65% x max reps) - I’m guessing this is a Widowmaker set?
Bench Press 65% x Rest Pause (RP) - I’m confused on this one?

Also, how long were the workouts typically?

Yeah the first is the Widowmaker set. The second is a rest pause set. Max reps + 10-15 sec rest + Max reps + 10-15 rest + Max reps

My sessions averaged a little over 95 minutes. My log from about 12/31 through 2/7 or so covers my time doing the Challenge.

May give this one a shot, did you enjoy it?

Also, I know in his Forever book with Limited Time Widowmaker he add two days of assistance work like Weighted Vest Pull Ups, Push Ups and Squats could you do this with the routine?

Typically a widow maker set means doing 20 reps with your 10RM. What you described is just a good old fashioned AMRAP set. Burrien covered the R/P sets.

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