T Nation

Squeezing 4-Week 5/3/1 Mesocycle into 2 Weeks - Good Idea?


Was just wondering whether any of you guys have tried this or think it would be a good idea - doubling up on core lifts for a 4-day training week to get through a mesocycle in 2 weeks instead of 4.

Week 1

Monday - Press & Deadlift - 3 x 5
Tuesday - Bench & Squat - 3 x 5
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Press & Deadlift - 3 x 3
Friday - Bench & Squat - 3 x 3
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

Week 2

Monday - Press & Deadlift x 5/3/1
Tuesday - Bench & Squat x 5/3/1
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Press & Deadlift - deload
Friday - Bench & Squat - deload
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

Each training day includes some sort of pulling exercise (pulldowns/rows/chins/reverse flyes) - 3 x 10

Foam rolling and stretching each day + approx. 10 miles walking each week and plenty of food

Changes to Training Maxes are + 2.5lbs every 2 weeks, and sets are taken to required reps only - no extra reps on last sets to not negatively impact recovery.

Been going well so far after 2 cycles (4 weeks).

Would love to know everybody’s thoughts!!!




To make quicker, more sustainable gains on the core lifts through increased frequency.


I’d suggest you’d be better off picking a program designed for higher frequency rather than amending one that isnt.


Quicker is not More Sustainable.


Maybe not quicker actually, as increasing TM by smaller increments at the end of each cycle. But I’d say with the increased frequency of each lift, would lead to more overall gains in strength? Going to continue to give it a go anyway and find out.


Well, in the full body templates you do a PR set for squats one day and you do the regular reps for a 5, 3, or 5/3/1 day of the other two days.

Monday: 5/3/1
Wednesday & Friday: 3 x 5 @ 65/75/80% or 3 x 3 @ 70/80/90% or 5/3/1 @ 75/85/95%

You’re basically doing that but for all lifts and condensing the time frame a bit more. The big part of 5/3/1 is the PR sets. Without those I think your plan is sustainable but not necessarily superior.

I’m actually planning to cram my full week of full body training into three consecutive days before my hip surgery because I’ll be sitting around for a week before I hit the gym again and start training on machines. You can do these overload approaches occasionally but not often.

Edit: you can’t rush progress because it mostly has to do with what happens outside of the gym. If you want frequency then try the Full Boring program in the Beyond book. You do everything three times per week.


you actually seem like an intelligent programmer based off the thinking that your demonstrating. However, if your looking for consistent strength gains, I dont mean to shit on your idea here but this isnt a good idea. Customizing a program is NEVER a good idea, i cant even tell you how many times ive done this and ended up exactly where i started a month later or worse, sidetracked everything. If your looking for “quicker gains” as im assuming based off this schedule, try another program (proven method or routine, not your own) Customizing is basically a crapshoot. You expreriment with it and it may or may not work. At least if you followed a proven program completlely as written, there is much less risk of it not working.


I started 531 two weeks ago and am already hitting prs. I originally wanted to add more weight per month rather than do as rx’d and add 5 to the TM. Im glad i changed my mind!


I think I actually saw this in a beginner template somewhere.

It was basically what you listed but was 3x/week training instead of 4 (didn’t include the deload week). It also was 5s pro, & not PR sets as @JMaier31 suggested.


Ah I see, didn’t realise there was already a similar template out there. Will need to take a look as will be better than me messing about with it myself. I just feel that 3 working sets per week on main lifts isn’t enough frequency to master any of the movements.

I may follow my current plan until I stall and then follow a more conventional 5/3/1 template with less frequency but more assistance exercises.


I have to admit this is always one of the most baffling ideas to me, People who say things are going well when they are only a few weeks into 5/3/1. In that amount of time you might not even be exposed to the same weight twice to see how it feels compared to last time.

In 5/3/1 you dont come ANYWHERE close to your real max for MONTHS if you are following it right. If you are only doing the required reps, meaning you aren’t even testing rep maxes, what criteria are you using to determine that its “going well” ?


Meant that recovery between sessions and performance during sessions is going well even with doing a full cycle in half the time.Agree though that weights aren’t near maximal yet so can’t make a great judgement though.


Will need to check this out!


Thanks for the advice! Will have to take a look at other programs, or may just go more conventional 4-day/4-week 5/3/1