T Nation

Thibs What Do You Think of this Set Up?


Bench Press - 5/3/1
Incline - 3x4-6 using double progression
Dips - 3x6-8 using double progression

Finish with 1 or 2 chest/triceps isolation exercises using rest pause

Squat - 5/3/1
Front squat - 3x4-6 using double progression
Walking lunges - 3x6-8 using double progression
Abs - hanging leg raises - 3 x max reps

Barbell Press - 5/3/1
Dumbell Press - 3x6-8 using double progression
Close Grip Floor Press - 3x6-8 using double progression

Finish with 1 or 2 shoulders/triceps isolation exercises using rest pause

Deadlift - 5/3/1
Chins - 3x4-6 using double progression
Low Row or Chinese Row - 3x6-8 using double progression
Finish with 1 or 2 trap/bicep isolation exercises using rest pause

Also would there be a good day to fit in short sprints or a1 mile run after a workout?



I don’t like to critique programs based on other respected coaches work (5/3/1). I personally am not a huge an of the 5/3/1 approach,

I AM NOT SAYING THAT IT IS NOT EFFECTIVE… you can’t argue with results, but I tried it and could only stick to it for 2 weeks, just didn’t like it; it doesn’t fit my own preferences and it’s not how I work.

As such I’m not in a good position to critique a program based on 5/3/1… wouldn’t it be better to ask the originator of the program?


How about if I do the main lift in the 2 to 5 rep range like you normally suggest. Then how does it look? I’m really just concerned with everything after the main lift such as exercise selection that I put to build the main lift.



Well I do not always recommend doing the main lift for 2-5 reps… this is a very reductive view of what I do.

For example It’s not what I do at all at the moment.

I cannot comment on just a few elements of a program and pretend that the most important element (man lift) doesn’t exist.

And if there is ONE belief that I have is that a program should be designed to correct individual weaknesses, its not just a collection of exercises that look good on paper. Sure you choice of exercises is fine; all good exercises. But are they the best for you? I don’t know… I don’t know your strengths, weaknesses, body type, goal, etc.


Ok. Thanks for taking a look anyway


If you took the time to simply tell me what your weaknesses are (either muscles or portion of a main lift) then I would at least be able to help a bit and not look like a bitter old geezer :wink: If you want me to help you out you need to help ME out!

A program can be great on paper but not work if the exercise selection is not appropriate for a person. Just like a program that looks bleh on paper might work great.


Ok that makes sense. For me i am 6’ tall and weigh 205. Current maxes are
bench - 300
press - 185
Squat - 335
Deadlift - 450

For the squat I am slow out of the hole so I feel like I’m weak at the bottom position. Probably my worst lift.

For the deadlift I feel really good. I pulled 450 last week.

For the bench and the overhead press I feel like I am strong until the halfway point of the lift. So I’m thinking need to strengthen triceps to get through the sticking point?


Since the finish of your bench and overhead is your weak links the incline press is a good choice… while the dip is a decent triceps exercise (I personally see it more as a chest movement) the close-grip bench press (maybe on a very slight decline) might be a better choice for you.


The front squat is a good choice since your weakness appears to be the quads. I would do them is a 2 sec pause in the bottom position focusing on maintaining perfect body position not on the load… so something like 5 sets of 3 reps NOT using the double progression would be best. The double progression is a fine progression model but I don’t like it on front squat since it will often lead to bad form just to “get the reps” because you HAVE to improve. I would just do 5 challenging sets of 3, leaving 1 or 2 reps in the tank, focusing on perfect form. Add weight when it feels too easy. I know it’s not precise, but sometimes you can’t go with rigid progression models.

The lunges are a good idea (I prefer walking lunges), make sure to take fairly short steps to focus more on the quads… lunges are quite likely the WORST exercise to use the double progression model on, don’t use that… do 3-4 demanding sets but never breaking form, add weight only when it feels too easy.

I don’t like hanging leg raises for abs, it makes great pictures but it is not a great movement. Especially if you are weak out of the hole in your squat, it will tighten up your hip flexor which will make it hard to be in an optimal positon in the bottom position of the squat


I like dumbbell presses, but it is too close IMHO from your main movement. I would go with a high incline (60 degrees) DB press… I would keep the close grip on bench day. A good movement here could be the push press since it overloads the top portion of the overhead pattern OR you could go with partial (top half , from forehead, from pins) shoulder press.

If you pick the push press do it as your first assistance lift with the high incline DB press second and if you pick the partial shoulder press do it as the second assistance exercise with the DB high incline done first


I don’t like the double progression on chins, unless you are strong enough to avoid cheating, cutting your range or kipping just to get the reps in.


Overall I feel like you could add a third assistance lift per workout. 5/3/1 is very low stress as a loading method for the main lift (low volume and frequent deloads).


Thank you for all of the answers. I will try these out. I appreciate the help and advice as always!