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Starting Strength to 5/3/1 Transition

I’m 42, 5-10 180 lbs, a little fluffy. I train for longevity not for a specific sport. I want to be stronger and maintain conditioning. I like to be active in my free time but have a desk job so I need to exercise.

After returning to “exercising” 4 years ago I did 2 years of unguided bro-science screwing around at a gym, 1 year of crossfit, some distance running, and in the last 6 months started training doing Starting Strength. I bought the books, made it my hobby, and on SS I made fast progress. I really like the education in form I got. I set up a home gym and I built my squat from 170 x 5 to 250 x 5 in a little over 3 months (which I never thought was possible for me at my age). Since then I’ve been inconsistent and fallen back a little but am still mostly there.

I love how SS improved my lifts but in the end I couldn’t sustain the “all or nothing” eating and lifting mentality, I got fluffy (and never lost it), the lifts turned into a grind and I started dreading my squat workouts.

I now bought 5/3/1 version 2 and have Forever on my desk (reading through it). I want a program that works but doesn’t run me into the ground (or the fat farm). I want more conditioning and general health / fitness with a lower calorie intake. I have a personal goal of squatting 315 x 5 (whenever), benching 225 x 5, pressing 155 x 5, deadlifting 415 x 5, but I don’t want to do this at the expense of my joints or long term health.

My plan is to run re-run SS for a few weeks until I plateau, take a de-load week, then run 5/3/1 beginner for several months. How does that sound for a guy with my age / goals?

Did the same transition my self a few years ago. From my understanding the way to move from here is to add a LITTLE bit more volume without the extra wear on your body. Fsl is great for this, BBB is maybe over the top, it is for me.

Here’s what got me moving and is a great middle ground.

From here you can work out if you need more or less. It looks complicated but really it isn’t, write it out and it’ll make sense. Btw 1.2 also worked great but I over did it on 1.3. just cycle between 1.1 & 1.2 moving up the weight. This has been my stock answer since I did it as it’s a great place to start.

I’m the same age.

Thanks for sharing.

I’m sorry, but I have Beyond 5/3/1 on kindle and nowhere can I find a 1.1 and 1.2 program, the link you posted takes me to good info but I can’t correlate that to 5/3/1 beyond or another 5/3/1 program.

I’m used to very simple programming (SS Novice progression), 5/3/1 is an entirely different animal to me. Care to elaborate?

just jump straight in to Triumvirate. Once you ‘get’ the system/(3-6 months) down the line then beyond 1.1&2 are great choices


The link is the programme. Jim wrote it for the website after beyond was published. It’s beyond, beyond. That’s 1.1, Google for 1.2.

It follows the same type of format as SS with bench & squat paired, and Ohp and deadlift paired.

When you go heavy on one of the pair, you do 5x5 at 75% (of TM) on the other lift.
For example, day 1, heavy squat one set at 90% (of your TM), and then 75% 5x5 on bench.

This will give you more volume but shouldn’t wreck you. Write it out and it’ll make sense, or find an app or spreadsheet.

Our do what rampant says. Equally as good.

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I’d agree with what’s been said above. 5/3/1’s success is the simplicity (don’t do the programs in Beyond 5/3/1 if you haven’t done the main program yet).

I did the Triumvirate and core lifts for over a year before I went anywhere near BBB or Joker Sets. Those things break up the monotony or get your through plateaus but stick to the basics and you’ll do just fine.

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Thanks! I put down Forever and went back to the original book and re-read about the basic program. Then I made a spreadsheet with the basic 4 day a week program. After that I looked back at beyond and the 1.1/1/2 and I get it now. I just needed to do more homework to get the concept.

Now the issue is… there are so many options! I’m used to training 3 days a week so I think I’ll try the 1.1 out.

It’ll all make sense half way through your first workout. Just a few points about my own experience:

  1. I noticed on chasing the weights on SS that my form wasnt the best. Use the 75% sets to perfect form. For example, I paused all my benches and made sure I exploded off the bottom.
  2. 75% is the heaviest first set last, and the lightest second set last. Don’t worry if this means nothing at the mo. There’s will give you an indicator of whether going heavier or lighter with the supplemental is the right way.
  3. As all I’d done was sets of five on SS, I found it hard to go past 6 or 7 reps with lighter weights. It was bizarre, but it meant that amraps wheren’t very good at first, now it works great.

Tldr; use this time to get a good guesstimate. And follow the programme including deloads.

I started 4-day Triumvirate today and it was a great training session. I set conservative training maxes but still had a good workout. I like how fast it was compared to my previous 1 + hour 3 day a week sessions (with 5 minute breaks). with brief stretching, warmup, work sets and accessories I was done in about 45 minutes. with these percentages I don’t need more than a minute rest except before my 5+ set I took more.

I used black iron beast to lay it out. No way I can do 5 sets of 10 chins and 5 sets of 15 dips in a row right as specified, but I did what I could for 5 sets and I’ll work on that number.

Side note: I had a groin issue that was lingering. I started doing the “DeFranco Agile 8” with some minor customization’s along with some band/isometric exercises and it’s made a huge difference… Amazing.

That sounds great and like you’ve made the right choice.

You’ve come out energised and worked on some weaknesses (chins etc) and corrective exercises.

Enjoy the programme.

Sounds like you’re doing really well. Keep with the programme. I’ve done it for years and it is a great program for long term strength and health.

Are the Beyond 3x3-program here meant to be done 1.1 as Cycle 1, 1.2 as Cycle 2 etc? I thought 1.4 replaces 1.1-1.3 as an “better” cycle.


Also 1.1&2 get better feedback. They are excellent.
3&4 most people stall

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