T Nation

Should I Stop Doing 531 Full Body Training?

I feel like squatting at 85%x5 3x per week is possibly taxing my joints and nervous system too much.

I did 3 weeks then a deload on week 4. I hit prs and felt great. And even gained 4 lbs lean bodyweight. But now I’m in week 2 cycle 2 and not hitting my amrap sets. The weight feels heavy as hell and my elbows, knees, wrists, and hips are all sore. And my arms or legs start shaking a bit even on warm up sets.

So the question is, should I stop squatting heavy 3x a week and maybe just do some type of push pull legs variation. Or maybe stick with the program and just lower the weight a little.

These are my stats if it matters
Lifting more serious for 2 years
Bodyweight 154 lbs 5’6"
Squat 315 lbs
Bench 240 lbs
Deadlift 375 lbs

Does anyone have any suggestions what I should do with my programming. I just want to get stronger and don’t really care about getting bigger, even though I don’t weigh much, (I have a small bodyframe started lifting at 125lbs <-- this is why I think my joints hurt even though my lifts arnt much). Just want to maintain size but increase my strength, especially in squats and deadlifts.

Btw I have a pretty physically strenuous job so that is also a factor

Any advice on programing? Wendler 531 programs seem pretty solid so I don’t want to stray far from the principles. Maybe I should just go back to bbb. Although I never tried it as a 3 day program

Well if you don’t want to put on size, not sure about BBB since it’s specifically size-oriented.
Forever has a lot of programs and I recommend buying it - it has many full body variations with various degrees of intensity and pushing different lifts.
If you pushed your squat so much until now, you might want to back off and stick to 4 days a week, one lift per day template. If you’re feeling beaten down, finish the cycle you’re doing now, deload if needed and then test your TM.
Then maybe run a cycle of 5’s Pro, 5x5FSL to focus on bar speed and recovery, and follow up with another program when you’re back on track.

From Forever there’s the Leviathan which is very strength oriented, I liked it a lot, without giving away the program let’s just say that the main work has you working up to a heavy weight, then follow up with supplemental work at your discretion (BBS and SSL are obvious choices for pushing strength).
It’s 4 days a week, upper/lower one lift per day, if you superset your supplemental and assistance stuff the workouts are fairly short, intensity is very balanced and recovery shouldn’t be an issue - my workouts lasted about 45-50 mins including warmup sets. I’d get in, get the work done with focus and get out, my technique improved along with getting used to handle heavy weights.

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From what you describe it sounds to me like you training max is too high. If this is the case your bar speed is probably suffering and your probably developing bad technical habits. Hence all the joint pain.

If I was you I would buy Forever and follow the new protocols in it. There are lots of solid full body templates in it as well.

Or you could just knock 10% off your TM’s and whatever template you follow make sure your technique is sound at lighter weights.

Also you are quite strong for you size. Your at a double BW squat, 1.5 BW bench, and 2.5 BW deadlift. This is just my opinion, but if you can keep improving those ratios at or close to your current weight that will be pretty impressive. However for most people you will have to start packing on some mass at some point to keep getting stronger at an appreciable rate. This will depend on your goals however. BBB might be mass focused, but trust me it will make you significantly stronger.

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Just try this -very effective and pretty straightforward to recover from…


Thanks for the advice everybody. All of your responses have good points. I think I have come up with a plan.

  1. Lower my training max 10 percent. I should probably consider that the maxes I listed were basically at a training peak, and I shouldn’t try to force weight constantly.

  2. I will probably try the program rampantbadger linked because it looks pretty interesting. And I don’t recall it being in beyond 531

  3. Buy forever 531 to catch up with the new protocols. Some of it sounds intriguing

Find a weight that you can do 5 fast, clean reps with, and use that as your training max. And this is a weight where you could hit those reps any day, not on a special occasion full of preworkout and straps and bench shirts or anything crazy.

That way, even in your 1+ weeks you’ll be getting AT LEAST 5 great quality reps. This will flow on to better success in all aspects of your training, no matter what 5/3/1 program.

There’s no bonus points for forcing out reps with a TM based off that 1RM you hit one time months ago or anything like that. Keep it sensible and think long term.

True, I always felt like forcing more weight was pushing myself when really I could probably lower the weight slightly for better long term success

I can’t believe those programs aren’t discussed more on the forum, especially for people with limited time. I have had tremendous results using those and slight variations of them for two straight years now

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I agree, theres a bit of a disconnect between the articles/T-Nation side fo the site and the forums. Perfect world there would be a stickie at the top like “top Wendler articles” .

Yeah 1.1 and 1.2 seem to have some of the best feedback of all the templates.
What exactly have your results been like with that? -any lifts in particular that have seen a big jump

That’s why the badger is here.

He has his pulse on it.

Every question asked here has been answered thru an article or 10.

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The biggest has definitely been the improvement in my press. I weight anywhere from 165-175 and am using 180 as my training max right now. The frequency following that template seems to balance the intensity and volume better than other programs I have tried over the years. It has amazed me how much better my shoulders feel after getting that up to a respectable number. I always used to get my bench up in the 275 range and then have to back off due to shoulder issues but have not had any issues at all since making the press a priority