T Nation

Time Efficient 531 Upper/Lower


Bit of background, I lost quite a bit of weight about a year ago, lifting weights but with zero strength focus. Was basically a bodybuilding focus. Spun my wheels for a while, putting on and long a bit of weight here and there.

This year got a copy of 531 2nd edition and then beyond. Ran BBB for 3 cycles, ending maybe 8 weeks ago, saw some good progress.

Started simplest strength template, wife gave birth a couple weeks ago, training halted, diet has been utter shit.

My plan is to use the weekend to work up to 5 rep max on all lifts this weekend and get back to it with new TMs on Monday. I have always preferred an upper/lower split. Since I have a newborn in the house, I need to get the most bang for my buck and get everything done quickly in the gym. Im bad for overdoing it on accessories. After rereading 2nd edition yesterday, ive decided to strip it right back and just use the most worthwhile accessories, and not neglect conditioning, which I have been guilty of in the past.

I know the Triumvirate template is a pretty time efficient workout and the below isnt all that far off it. I just would prefer to use barbells as much as possible so dont much like machones so dont want to do leg press or leg curls, and prefer dips over DB bench so want to do them twice a week.

Below is what I propose to do.

Day 1.
1.Press - 531 + FSLs
Superset w/ - Chins - 3-5xFailure

  1. Dips - 3-5x15
    Superset w/ - DB Rows - 3-5x10-20

Conditioning - with KBs

Day 2.

  1. Squat - 531 + FSLs
    Superset w/ - ab rollouts
  2. Lunges - 3-5x8-10/leg
  3. SLDL - 3-5x8-10

Conditioning - Hill Sprints (theres a decent hill on my drive home from gym I will do these on. The weather is shit most of the time where I am so if it gets proper shit I will just have to see what I can do. Theres no prowler in my gym unfortunately otherwise id be all over it)

Day 3.

  1. Bench - 531 + FSLs
    Superset w/ - Chins - 3-5xFailure

  2. Dips - 3-5x15
    Superset w/ - DB Rows - 3-5x10-20

Conditioning - with KBs

Day 4.

  1. Deadlift - 531 + FSLs
    Superset w/ - ab rollouts
  2. Front Squat - 3-5x8-10
  3. Good Mornings - 3-5x8-12

Conditioning - Hill Sprints

Also, im sure there will be weeks where I get to the weekend only having been twice so I have came up with a day that combines days 3 and 4.

Days 3+4.
1.Bench - 531 + FSLs
Superset w/ - Chins - 3xFailure
2. Deadlift - 531 + FSLs
3. Front Squat - 2x10
4. Good Mornings - 2x10
5. Dips - 2x15
Superset w/ - DB Rows - 2x10-20
Conditioning if time permits

I will throw in jokers on days where I feel good, and will switch dips with DB presses and DB rows with BB rows etc as I see fit.

All comments welcome. Also, any ideas for quick conditioning workouts would be ideal.


not good lol


Thanks for the short reply ‘lol’.

Any reason as to why you thing that would be much appreciated.


Hey jantee19. 531 has changed so much since the 2nd edition, it may be worth picking up 531 forever. Forever even has a limited time program already designed for you. For assistance jim now advocates performing a certain amount of reps per category each training day. The categories are push, pull, single leg/core. So in essence each day is full body rather then upper/ lower.


Thanks for the reply Todd1991. I have read about the push/pull/single leg or core assistance. I may look at this.

I would love to buy Forever, but since its noy available on Kindle and as far as I know, not available in the UK without paying pricey shipping on top of the cost of the book, its not practical at the moment.

Thanks for your reply


i don’t know what your current strength level is, but chances are the 531 beginner philosophy (google it like this) might just be what you’re looking for.


My exapmle off max effort minimal time:
I have only max. 45min time for training during the week, except for monday morning and the weekend. This is what i do for most efficiency, maybe its good, mabe its not. i find it works.

Monday morning
Bench 5/3/1 + Jokers + FSL

Monday evening
Rows 10x10 GVT

Tuesday evening
Squats 5/3/1 + Jokers + FSL

Wednesday evening
RDLs 5x10

Thursday evening
OHP 5/3/1 + Jokers + FSL

Friday evening
Pulldowns 10x10 GVT

Saturday Deadlift Day (more time)
DLs 5/3/1 + Joker + FSL
Squats 5x10

Sunday Conditioning.
Battlerope swings, sprints, kettlebell swings. Couple off rounds and your set.

If somehow i have more time in the eveninig, i’l do both upper and/or both lower moves on one day.
Sadly i’m very busy troughout the week


Man, that program is a bit of a mess, and you should NEVER be doing jokers and BBB within the same cycle, much less the same day.


Well there is no BBB on the same lift, if you red the program right.
IF theres time, it looks on a

upper day like this:
Bench 5/3/1 + Jokers + FSL
Rows 10x10

and a lower day like this
Squats 5/3/1 + Joker + FSL
RDLs 5x10 (this is tecnically a BBB but not with squats again.

If you break it down you will see, its not that much volume on one day as you think.
Also theres nothing mentioned on NOT doing BBB after Jokers, cause Jokers are only a Option if you feel great.
And if you do another breakdown of the total week volume you will see its nothing compared to other templates Jim did.

Whats wrong with doing 1 excercise a day? I dont get it.


this programs fine i dont know why these idiots responded like this? So what if he isnt using the method in Forever, itl still work and if its good for him, then thats whats good.


thx for defending. Overall everyone says something different and nobody can tell how much volume you need until you try. Every body is different. Maybe someday a huge jacked dude who is strong and aesthethic af is doing 5/3/1 + jokers + FSL + BBB + another accessorie for each bodypart twice a week that everybody would complain and say is too much shows up, and will kick ass and take names, because he can handle that.

every opinion is different. go and try, your body will tell if its too much.


@meatshrd i was talking about the OP not your program… there is most definately BBB with the same lifts of the day, thats the original way. Get the new book youll find plenty of cool templates.