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Programming Wendler Bodyweight Routine


I have been doing the wendler 3 day a week workout and am enjoying it. Getting big and stronger are not my primary objectives.

I have the form down on the main lifts and have started out very light to ensure Ies do not stall.

The difficulties I am having is programming the bodyweight stuff. I am a bit overweight so bodyweight stuff is proving difficult.

First it says 75 chinups, dips, leg raises and GHR's which I can not do, I can only do a few at a time and can not reach a total of 75.

Second problem is I do not have a glute ham raise station. I want to keep to bodyweight movements for my assistance exercises rather than doing weights so would it be more advisable to do assisted chinups and dips at higher reps or just stick to as many full chinups and dips as possible?

Secondly can anyone recommend a bodyweight substitute for GHR's ?

Last question is about grip strength, Would it be a problem to throw in some plate pinches or heavy dumbbell holds in at the end of my workout as my grip really needs work for jiujitsu.


If you cant do 75 reps now, do less and you can have 75 reps as a goal.

A substitut for GHR could be back raises.

Hope that helped.


Can I ask what your current goals are?

I'm sure you "could" do 75 total, but I'm guessing it would take longer than is practical. How many of each exercise can you do before hitting failure?

Like Flor said, the best bet will be to keep the 75 as a mid-term goal, and shoot for, say, 30-50 per workout for now.

Depends on how many of each you can do right now.


At the end of one or two sessions a week (like deadlift day and some other non-squat day), either of those should be fine.


switch to another template like 'Triumvirate' until you get your strength up


Hey chris, My goals are simply to get better at jiujitsu. I could stand to lose fat and gain muscle but both those goals are secondary.

I can only do around 1-5 a set and after a few sets that drops and my form completely goes. I think this is probably due to carrying a few pounds (over 20% bodyfat)

Thanks for the reccomendation on grip training, I shall do it on deadlift day.


Gotcha. A lot of guys in the Combat forum seem to like 5/3/1, so you should be on the right track. Clean up your nutrition will go a long way in dropping some fat as you go.

Then yeah, whenever you do them, avoid hitting muscular failure. So, stop the set knowing you could do 1 or 2 more if you had to, even if it means you end up doing 2 or 3 reps per set. By avoiding failure, you'll be able to do more total sets.


Thanks for the advice, I am a bit clueless on this stuff, hence me joining the forum.

Sorry to bother you but is there any particular way I should be eating apart from getting a lot of protein?


No problem at all. That's what we're here for.

To get a general "fat loss" diet in place, I like this as a start:

For more general rules, this has some good, basic guidelines:


Thanks chris, That second diet seems like Berardi's grapplers nutrition guide. Clean foods, lots of fruit and vegetables and high protein, but with sports drinks pre, peri and post workout.

I think I will do something like that along with Wendler rather than lose weight just yet. I need to gain some guns before I take them out of the case (bodyfat) and show them to the senoritas.


I know I'm going to get flak for this, but do a few sets of chins or pullups. When your form starts to get really bad, move on to pulldowns. Get the rest of your 75 reps there, even if you use only 50 pounds. Next time, add 5 or 10 pounds to the stack. Keep adding weight just about each time, even if you have to throw a 2.5 dumbbell on the weight stack. There is no way, at the level you are doing pullups now, that you will crank out 75 reps, no matter how many sets you do. Technically, you could probably do 75 sets of 1 rep, but you will tweak your elbows or shoulders. Until you get good at them, you will just injure yourself.

Keep adding weight to the pulldowns each time, which is actually not hard. Of course, you want to keep adding reps to your pullups and only make up the difference with the machine. Conversely, you could also utilize an assisted pullup machine to mimic the actual movement more closely or you could use bands.

To a certain extent, pullups are directly related to your body weight, muscular or fat. Just keep plugging away and eventually, you will get there. As a nice bonus, you will hit new pullups PR's just about weekly, even if it's one rep.

For the record, I've been doing 5/3/1 for a while now and I love it. I've hit every number in almost every workout so far. All three big lifts are PRs for me and I've have never done 75 pullups in a workout in my life. However, I do them twice a week in one form or another


Just hitting this up real quick for some simple clarification, on the + sets do I go to failure?


Generally speaking stop one or two reps short of failure, ie the last rep is tough but not an absolute ball buster.

Several people also recommend that you don't go over 5 or 6 reps on deadlifts regardless of what week you're on as high rep deads can irritate your spine and often lead to too much form breakdown.

You only ever 'need' to get the minimum reps btw.


Okay first day I hit all the numbers (just) but have come to a realization how out of shape and fat I am.

Military Press

5x20kg ?
5x22.5kg ?
3x27.5kg ?
5x30kg ?
5x35kg ?
5 x40kg - 6@40kg

chin ups - two at a time

overhand - 10
underhand - 4
neutral - 6



Not sure why these are so hard I tried these years ago and could do sets of ten easily, maybe it is just the extra weight.

machine dips- lighter the weight harder the resistance

30kg x 10

Lat pulldown because I got so few chinups.


Barbell curls because lack of underhand chin ups due to bar being slippy in narrow grip no knurling


Not sure what to do about the assistance exercises.


Can anyone offer any advice on how to carry on this routine as far as the secondary movements and my high fat low strength predicament?


You shouldn't be "just" hitting the numbers on the 5/3/1 when you first start out. When I first started 5/3/1 I was getting at least 5 or 6 above each required rep target. Going by your first workout you got 6 on your 5+ that would mean you will probably stall within a couple of cycles which isn't really what you want to be doing.

I think you have over estaminated your 1 rep max by way too much.


Personally, I think that's a great idea.


I meant only just got six on my 5+ not on the others.

My upper back seems to be the weak link.


x2. The last set should be tough, but I generally avoid training to failure.

Like Wendler says in the manual (you've bought and read the manual, right?):
"The last set of the day is the all-out set. You'll be going for as many reps as possible. I hesitate to tell anyone to do anything to failure, because that's not what I'm after. I wouldn't prescribe this. This last set should be a ball buster, though, and it's the one you really need to focus on. This is when you dig in and try to move the world.
On the last set, however, you'll have to reach further and grind it out - not to failure so you're dead and can''t train the rest of the week, but it should take some life out of you.
I highly recommend having a goal in mind for these last sets. Sit down the night before, or the week before, and think of the number of reps you'd like to hit. See yourself doing it. Write it down and visualize the bar in your hands or on your back. When it's time, let yourself go and attack the weight.
This program requires that you push yourself on the last set. This often entails performing 10 or more reps."

Seeing as how it's been precisely six days since you got nutrition advice, I'd say you need just a smidge more time to see some change with the "high fat low strength" thing.

Almost definitely caused by going too heavy.

To be honest, everything is a weak link right now. Patience and consistency is the answer.


I 1rm 50KG last week, I didn't start too heavy. Its like I have no endurance whatsoever.


Did too, did too, did too.

If your 1RM is 50kg and you tried doing 40kg for 5+, you went too heavy.

For the 5s week, you should be using 85% of your training max, which is really 90% of your "actual" 1RM, which means you should've used 35kg if my math is right.

Re-read this article, purchase the ebook, read it once or twice, and then recalculate your numbers.