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Starting 531 while in the Police Academy


Dear Jim,
I’ve been solely using the daily body weight workout to train for the police academy, which I start in three months. Academy PT consists of distance running and calisthenics, usually performed on a daily basis. Since reading your article, I have caught the 531 bug. What would be the proper progression for me to start 531 with my current situation?

Some background:
*I have little lifting experience, and I am focusing on the body weight basics and running at present.
*The academy is 5 days a week/8 hours a day/ 5 months long.
*I plan to use the body weight program up until the start of the academy to build up my base/get my ass in shape.
*I want to use the proper progression to set myself up for success
*I have a physical job which I work 5 days a week

Given these factors, what would be the most logical way to go about starting your program?

Thanks, Adrian


In general, I would recommend the Prep program and then using the 5/3; what you do is 100% dependent on what your goals are. That is why I try to teach principles and ideas and give examples. Then you take the personal responsibility of what to do.

Unless I personally train you in my weight room, all I can do is teach. So Prep program and then you choose the training based on your goals and current levels.


Great, thanks Jim. Before venturing out on my own I just want to confirm two things,

  1. Is the prep program run for six weeks only?
  2. I am assuming the 5/3 is 531 without the third week? Would that make it a three week program only?


Have a read of that.


Thanks, will start training to win.


In general, I try to avoid “weeks”. Using “5/3/1 cycles” as a time reference is much more accurate. So the prep program is done for 2 5/3/1 cycles. Matt Rhodes has just begun it. Joey Waters is doing it. Nine other “to be named later” people have done it. I have experimented it with myself (obviously).

The competed program will be in the new book, along with the conditioning/recovery work we’ve been doing. In short, if you are done “PL” and want to never be sore, get stronger and get in amazing shape - this is kind of the pinnacle. This is kind of 5/3/1 Forever.

Like Rhodes told me, “At first, I hated you. Now, it all clicked.”


Awesome, thanks Jim!


I don’t know how your academy is structured, but there is no way I had time to lift after the day was over. If you can, great, if not, remember it’s only temporary and you have your whole life ahead of you to train.


The prep work is for the 3 months PRIOR to the academy. While there - I have no idea how they structure the training.


I went through the NYPD academy back when it was in the old building and did 5/3/1 at night. You can make it work! Just remember to eat enough.


I teach PT at some police academies. Unless you’re totally untrained or a fatbody or something then you’ll have not problem doing the assigned PT and working out on your own. Academy PT goes at the pace of the lowest common denominator. Plus beating paying customers, cadets, out of the academy is bad for business.