T Nation

The Cult of 5/3/1


Im 35 next b'day and i liked the look of this forum, so i thought i'd post up my training log. I've only really been training properly for a year, though i spent a few years previously going to the gym but not really knowing what i was doing.
I was doing a 4 day spilt, low reps on the main compound lifts but high reps on isos so the 5/3/1/ isn't a real departure but i like idea of having the thinking taken out of what im doing, i do enough thinking in work. My lifts aren't great but im enjoying what im doing and challenging myself.

I don't really do 1 reps maxes but for this workout i estimated they are as follows (we use metric over here in Ireland so i'll post in both kg's and lb's)
Squat - 287 lbs, 130 kgs
Bench - 220lbs, 100kgs
Deadlift - 330lbs, 150kgs
Mil press - 155lbs, 70kgs

Incidently im 6'4 and weigh about 225 lbs which makes my lifts look a wee bit poorer.


Welcome G&R! You will have lots of company in the 5/3/1 camp...Look forward to following along. I myself am a 6/4/2 guy!


You'll fit in fine with the rest of us beat up old bastards!!!


Welcome aboard!

6'4"? Long limbs? That makes for a very loooong press. Heck, squats can't be much better.


Thanks for the welcome everyone,

Littlestrick, yeah very longs limbs, makes pressing very tough but my squat is actually strongest(and fav) lift, relatively speaking.


First day of 531 which on paper looked easy, it wasn't. Im gonna do the bigger but boring assistance,

75kgs/165lbs x5
90kgs/198lbs x5
100kgs/220lbs x9
Assistance = 80kgsx/176lbs 5x10

The assistance work was a killer, the last few set were torture, i expect doms tomorrow, the gym was too hot and i sweated buckets but enjoyed this and im looking forward to getting into this routine


Military press

Bar x lots
40kgs/88lb sx5
50kgs/110lbs x5
55kgs/121lbs x7


Wide grip pull down
45 kgs/100lbs x10x5

Narrow grip pull down
45kgs/100lbs x10x2

DB Shrugs

Some people dislike lack of variety in a session but I don't mind it, 5/3/1 really takes the thinking out of working out, you know what exactly what you have to do. This workout only took 40-45 mins today but didn't feel rushed.
I have proper doms from yesterdays squats -good stuuf all round, on the whole I think I think im gonna enjoy this workout (apart from deads days, my least fav lift)


welcome. there is no need to threaten to kill and eat you, since you have already converted to the religion


I'm about 6'4" and squat just fine. I also think 5/3/1 is the best thing I ever did in 25 years of training.



Bench day

I forgot to take a note of the weight i had to lift and just made a guessimate at them

60kg/133lb x 5
65kg/144lb x 5
70/155 x 10


65kgs/144lbs x 5x10

my bench is pathetic, hopefully the programme will sort it out



i did 5-3-1 for a year and had good results on all of the lifts. just keep hammering away



Just keep going... Relentlessness is the name of the game.


Thanks again for the welcome, i feel at home.

Deadlift day, its been a while since i DLed and i wasn;t looking forward to it but it wasn't too bad.

85kgs/188lbs x 5
100kgs/220lbs x 5
110kgs/243lbs x 8


50kgs/110lbs 5x10

BW dips and chins to finish.

Pleased overall, deads ain't nothing to be afraid


Military press Day

Main lift
50kgs/110lbs x 3
55kgs/122lbs x 3
60kgs/133 x 8

Mil Press
50kgs/110lbs x 8,7,6,7

Facepulls 3x10

Front and side raises supersetted 3x10

DB shrugs 2x10

I enjoyed this today,

By the way i play football, or soccer as some call it, a few times a week for my cardio.


Squat day

85kg/188lbs x 3
95kgs/210lbs x 3
110kgs/243lbs x 8

assistence squats 85kgs/188lbs 5x10

I have to adamit that squat day is my favourite day, i feel like i am progessing well and according to the spreadsheet todays top lift should equate to a 1 rep max of about 139.5kgs/308lbs which is about 10kgs/20lbs higher than i thought it was, so this is pleasing.

A the minute, due to work commitments, i am only getting 3 gym sessions in per week, rather than the 4 i would like, which is pissing me off but hopefully that will change in the next week or so.

On other thing to to note is that my diet has been pretty poor over the past few weeks, not unhealthy exactly but rather, not big enough. I will have to work on this


Bench Day

i used a different gym today, i had a pool and a suana which was nice to use for a change after worikng out.

Main lift
60kgs/133lbs x 5
70kgs/154lbs x 3
80kgs/177lbs x 3
85kgs/188lbs x 5


incline DB bench

25'skgs/55lbs 5x5

Dip and chins to finish, these were done on assistance machine so i could get a bit more volume.

Im frustrated with my bench, the barbell today felt soooo heavy, to the extent that i was convinced that the oly bar at this gym was much heavier than the one at the gym i usually use.

The following day my chest, front delts and triceps are nicely sore


We all have days like this, you does gotta keep going. Sauna is a good thing, especially super-settet with cold showers.


You can make good gains on three days a week if you hit it hard on 5-3-1. I am starting to like 4 times a week, but using 8 or 9 day "weeks." 8-day weeks work well for me because I can just lift every other day, and I don't feel the need to deload as much.

Welcome aboard, sorry I didn't stop in sooner and say hi.



This X 2



Jack and colin, thanks for the welcome

Jack, i suppose thats how my sessions plan out 4 over 8-9 days, i don't think i will deload after the 1st wave and go straight into wave 2.

Deadlift day
main lift
90kg/200lbs x 3
110kg/243lbs x 3
120kgs/265lbs x 6

BOR 50kg/110lbs 3x10 - My lower back was aching pretty badly so i move onto kroc rows
DB Kroc rows 80lbs 4x8


Well to the old folks home.


Hey green-and-red, a quick question from old(er) guy: ever considered doing the 4 main lifts following the 5/3/1 routine, and the assistance following 5x5?
That's what I'm doing for a while now, and it's working great for me. After performing a main lift, I do 2-3 ancilliary exercises following Reg Park 5x5 routine.
(I'm 39, 185cm tall and currently at 99kg.)