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Thoughts on my Programming?


Hey guys, this is my first time posting. I recently started doing 5/3/1 after trying other programs like SS and SL with mixed results. I stalled fairly quickly on those programs and got burned out from all the volume. I’ve been enjoying the versatility of 5/3/1 much more, with the different rep schemes and assistance exercises to mix things up.

A little about myself: I’m a 32 year old male, 5’9 inches tall, 176 lbs. I love lifting, but unfortunately it took me a long time to get into it. Better late than never though I guess, haha. After looking into it online, it seems that I’m between a beginner and intermediate level, based on my lifts compared to my body weight, which are: Squat 200, Deadlift 230, Bench 155, Press 105. I know there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I’m in no rush and I enjoy this program much more than SS, even though most people believe that all beginners should do linear progression. Anyway, I wanted to get everyone’s thoughts on my programming. I’ve been doing the beginner 3 days schedule to get in more volume, with 2 assistance exercises at the end of each workout because I have the time and there are so many assistance options. I haven’t been over thinking the assistance though, and have been keeping the sets/reps simple as Jim suggests so they don’t detract from the main lifts. My goal right now is to get stronger and healthier for general purposes. Here is what I’m currently doing:

Day 1: Squat and bench 531 style. 3 sets chin ups and 3 sets dumbbell bench press 10-12 reps
Day 2: Deadlift and press. 3 sets of one arm rows 10-15 reps and 3 sets of farmers walks about 20 paces each with 90 lbs.
Day 3: Squat and bench @ 55%, 65%, 75%, 3 sets of chin ups and 3 sets of hanging leg raises 10-15 reps each.

All opinions are welcome if there’s anything I should take out or add as far as assistance goes. Also, would it be a bad decision to bump up the lighter day to 65%, 75%, 85%? The weight felt pretty light on my last session. I don’t want to mess with the program too much though. Thanks!


2 cycles of Leader:

Mon - squat/bench - 5’s PRO, 3x5 FSL
25-50 of 3 assistance

Wed. Dead - 5’s PRO, 5x5 SSL, Press 5’s PRO, 3x5 FSL
25-50 of 3 assistance

Friday - Squat/bench - 5’s PRO, 5x5 @ SSL
25-50 of 3 assistance

Move to PR sets and 3-5 FSL for Anchor
You can also increase assistance, but not “just because” - so plan that out.

Caesium32's Training Log

Thanks for your prompt reply Jim! Just so I’m clear on this - the 5’s PRO refers to a 10% increase for each set starting at 65% over the course of 3 weeks? Also, FSL and SSL mean first set last and second set last? And by the 25-50 reps, does that mean for each of 3 assistance exercises, or total amount of reps for all 3? Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make sure that I have a firm grasp on this. Thanks in advance!


Not Jim, just saving his time:

  1. 5’s PRO= you’ll go through the same percentages as in 3/5/1, but do only sets of 5, no PR sets. Example, 3’s week: 5x70% 5x80% 5x90%. TM 85% or lower.

  2. Yes.

  3. Yes. Total amount of reps. Example: Total 50 chins, 50 push ups and 50 back raises.


Thanks, I appreciate your response! I’ll look into the program further and I’ll buy the Beyond 531 book so that I’m fully schooled on everything and I can support Jim’s work.


Hitting the lower back three times a week? Is this too much or am I being overly conservative?



I guess it kind of depends; the kids I train do a high amount of squats, squat variations, dead, dead variations and bench press/press variations per week. But they also worked up to it over a year.

So yes, for some, it may be too much. But in general, you should be fine.


Many thanks for taking the time to reply, Jim, particularly with the imminent book launch keeping you busy. I’ve just turned 40 and wondered if the old body can handle the pace. The full body template was great; hitting lower back x3 a week but, of course, one of these days was sub-maximal.
Fortunately, I deadlift sumo style so that should help. At least the weights don’t lie. If it’s too much, I’ll know it.


PS: good luck with ‘531 Forever’. From the excerpts it looks great.