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Questions on 5/3/1 BBB Program

I bought the program early in the year but I was training for a race at the time and had backed off weight training. I’m now in my third week and I really love it so far. I decided to low ball my max lifts to spread out the progression a bit so the “plus reps” on the last sets have been going well.

As I approach the deload week I have two questions:

  1. Wendler seems to focus on the 3 main weeks obviously and I get the sense that the deload week is for backing off, making no new gains. Basically getting ready for the next push.

What do you guys think about switching up the exercises for that week only, since weights and maxes are not a huge issue?

I’d like to substitute DB presses for barbell, do some lunges, maybe bent over rows. Change it for isolateral work. Then on the next push go back to the basic 5/3/1 lifts adding some weight from my last push.

I just feel like my joints would like a break and this would be a good week to change up. Thoughts? Or do whatever, doesn’t really matter?

  1. at 175 lbs I’m not really worried about body fat so I haven’t been doing any GPP work or cardio. Now that I’ll be going into the second phase I’m feeling a bit more like I know what I’m getting into and I’d like to add 2 days of some GPP.

What do you think is better to maintain a bit of overall cardio: two steady state days of maybe 30 mins or so, or two HIIT days doing something fun like hill sprints? Or doesn’t matter?

I’m mainly interested in not burning too many calories but hanging on to some of my cardio I gained from the race.


those substitutions should be fine, just as long as they work the same muscle groups, the only thing is since its a deload week, u still need to take it light and easy even if you are changing the exercises.

the GPP or hill sprints will work better, wendler says in the book about how he is a big fan of hill sprints, so id listen to him lol

Yeah as long as you take it easy it doesn’t really matter if you do different exercises during deload week.

About the cardio, if I were you I would start off with steady state cardio for a while, 3 or 4 weeks or so, and then replace one of those days with HIIT.

Getting some endurance trough trought steady state cardio before will help you make the most of your HIIT sessions later.

Then, if you prefer, just do your hill sprints and shit…

Ok thanks guys.

Yeah the 5/3/1 program really doesn’t get too bogged down in the details of the deload week so I was planning on doing the normal routine very downshifted. Instead I think I will throw in the substitutions for a change up…it’s only one week and not supposed to be demanding.

I agree too with adding some steady state first to see how I feel. I’ve done hill sprints and sled drags before but I wouldn’t want to be too sore to throw off the next lifting day.

If that goes well then I’ll mix in some more dynamic HIIT stuff as long as my body weight is moving up.

Thanks guys…