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Program Recommendation to Add Muscle?

Okay so I’ve been on 53/1 since December, just finished another cycle this week. I’ve made crazy strength gains. Maxes before v.s. after: Deadlift 390 now 425 OHP 140 now 170 Squat 250 now 280 Bench 235 now 250. Only downside, I gained no muscle and maintained a body weight of 170lbs. I’m wondering if GMM may be better for adding muscle mass and will allow me to maintain my 425lb dead-lift?

If you have the money (less than $20) to invest in Base Building I highly suggest that ebook. Covers in great detail everything you’re asking here.


Base Building is definitely worth the money.

However, you’ve been on 531 for maybe four months and made very good progress. If you want to add muscle your diet will be a big factor. My coach says, don’t change the program. Change yourself.


You gained strength but failed to gain muscle…

What rep ranges were you consistently working in during that time?

I did 5/3/1 and my assistance work was almost always 5 x 10-12.

I officially started GMM yesterday, looking forward to running it for a good 3-4 months. I just have to be sure to keep my diet on point.

No no…what rep ranges were you using for the big lifts?

And were your assistance lifts taken to failure and did they improve as well if so? If they weren’t taken to failure, why not?

Paul may correct me here, but it seems like your issue is mostly diet related. It would be difficult to add noticeable muscle without adding weight.

How do you know you added no muscle?

For the big lifts 5/3/1 so, 1-5. Occasionally I’d get up to 8-10 on the last set. My assistance work were never taken to failure and they didn’t improve. I never took them for failure because the program didn’t call for it

Good question, It’s not like I ever took a body composition test. I just figured I didn’t gain muscle because my weight stayed the same

Probably true. Do you feel your lack of weight gain was an issue with programming or with diet?

Well there’s your issue if I had to guess. Too much low rep work on the big lifts, and then not pushing the assistance work to failure.

I like 5/3/1 as a foundational strength building program. I do not like it as a pure hypertrophy program. Not unless you’re going to take the big movements being done pretty close to failure and really push the effort.

So you gained maximal strength, because the reps were low. But failed to gain any appreciable muscle mass…because the reps were low and the effort on the assistance stuff wasn’t done with enough effort.

Take note people. “Studies” will tell you shit like you don’t need to train to failure, and that low reps build mass. It’s really just not true. Or isn’t true to the same degree that rep work and high effort builds mass.


A little bit of both. As it turns out I should have been pushing my assistance work to failure. As for diet, I’m sure I could have done a better job of taking in calories

Coach not to deviate too far or thread jack, but since we are on the topic what is your opinion of rest-pause work? Lower total reps but all sets to failure?

If you aren’t a fan, would adding a drop-set to it make you like it more? I loathe waiting between sets so I employ these methods frequently

What’s your goal? Training wise.

@Paul_Carter To fill out my weight class to be more competitive in the sport of strongman, while bringing up my deadlift and overhead numbers.

That’s four goals.

Which one do you want to focus on right now?

Fair enough. Filling out my weight class is the most immediate goal.

Then I’d focus on hitting big rep PR’s across the board on some big compound movements that have good transfer ability to your other goals once you transition into a more strength dominant phase.

Thanks coach! Then that’s the game plan.

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