T Nation

To Anyone Doing 5/3/1


My twist on 5/3/1. After the "money set" go an do 3 sets of 5 at 80% of Training Max weight. Been doing this for awhile with a couple of clients of mine who are pretty strong and they are improving at a faster rate (which is important to my financial being) and feel that it seems to works the muscle better.

also the assistance exercises pick smart big compound movements. I see alot of people here are getting lost in the details again.

Lastly the 5/3/1 works best for MOST people on 3 days a week program. It is very hard to progress on 2 upper and 2 lower days a week for strength. It was outlined first (5/3/1) in Wendlers 3 days a week book as a 3 day a WEEK program. Remember that the Westside methods have 2 Max Effort and 2 Dynamic Effort days a week. Some people are doing the 5/3/1 4 days a week all with Max Efort intensity.

Pick your battles my friends: Do you want to get strong or do you just like to lift weights?
edit: these are my observations and ideas.


I think I resent, I mean resemble those remarks.

I think you are on to something, especially for us older dudes.

4x per week is a challenge to recover from.

What are some examples of compound accessories?


I run it Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri and think it works great that way. I suppose it depends on how much extra work you're doing besides the core 5/3/1 work. Good tips though.


No offense intended here: If that is a recent photo of yourself you are still a beginner and anything works at this stage. Keep lifting and grow brother.


For Bench day: Reverse grip benches, pendlay rows,close grip benches,incline presses
Sqaut: Single leg presses,front swauts
OHP: btn presses,bradfords,dbell presses,weighted pullups,dips(both lower body)
deadlifts: banded deads,single leg deadlifts,good mornings(both lower body) power shrugs using fat grips.

Notice not alot of single joint.

Example template

Bench 5/3/1 then 3x5 @ 80%
pendlays 5x8
reverse grip benches 3x15

sqaut 5/3/1 then 3x5 @ 80%
single leg press 5x5
calves and abs

OHP 5/3/1 then 3x5 BTN presses @ 80%
weighted pull ups 5x5
superset 2x15's spider curls and pushdowns ( for vanity)

Deadlift day 5/3/1 then 3x5 @ 80%
abs and acalves

Make sense ^^^^ that is what I am actually doing now


I am 45 years old and run the 5/3/1 4 days per week, M/T/Th/Sa. It works just fine as long as you don't overdo the assistance exercises and or treat them more as hypertrophy reps (8-15 or even more). The clients that I use it with all have had/are having great results with it as well.

I have been training people for over 20 years and typically you can raise even an older clients ability to handle volume (the assistance work) by increasing GPP. Prowler/sled pushing works well for this as it does not beat the body up too much while increasing fitness levels.


Well said.


You cannot compare Westside Method max effort/dynamic effort to 5/3/1. The 5/3/1 is 2 submaximal attempts with one maximal effort. The 2 cannot be compared as they use completely different levels of effort/volume.

You can progress very nicely with 4 limited max effort days per week if the assistance volume is not through the roof. Most people fail on programs due to wanting to do too much and/or not having the fitness level required for the attempted volume.


Great ideas Rick. Oldgoat is doing something cool. He's using a 6/4/2 template. I just thought this was a cool twist on the 5/3/1. Even a 7/5/3 would work. Sorry OG for steeling your thunder.


This is a similar approach to one supported by C. Thibaudeau. Ramp up to a max set, which bascially the 5/3/1 structure, and then do 5x5 with about 80%. I found 5x5 a little much after an all-out set. I like your 3x5 better.

Do you follow the standard 5/3/1 deload approach?


We both know that. alot of people doing this on their own(5/3/1 method) look at their logs to see: is that everyday becomes a max effort day with multiple exercises going to failure every workout, then they start mumbling on why they don't progress after the 3rd month .

I'm just trying to keep it simple across the internet is all and to help people out.


I don't. I usually mess around with strongman/kettlebell training 2-4 days that week for me to incorpate new stuff for the Kettlebell class and or Boot camp class I run.

I am very well conditioned right now and when following the template the only day that whacks me is Deadlift day so I set that up on friday with no weights following for 2 days. When the weights get close to my true maxes then yes I will truly deload.


I'm sure you are trying to help, but Fischer keeps his log here, and he reads ours, and he knows his shit. I think he is posting to help a couple of others here who have stalled on bench and press on 5-3-1. I know I will read your comments, and I appreciate your input, but I would prefer that you not try and turn this thread into a pissing match.


I meant no harm in my response, if it was taken that way.

When I was younger, I utilized a westside approach as a raw lifter and quite frankly it beat the hell out of me, it worked very well too. However, at 45 1/2 that type of volume/intensity would run me into the ground in 3 weeks. 5/3/1 tempers that intensity/volume to a manageable level as long as the assistance is not trained as max effort.

I typically add a high rep set @ 70-75% on after the max effort set for the 1/2/3 weeks on the squat day and I add this set only on the final week(3) of the deadlift day. I pick 1 or 2 assistance exercises for each day plus 2-3 shoulder/trap exercises(cleans or power pulls are always one of these) on upper body days. Throw bi's in 1 time per week. Push a prowler 4 to 5 times per week with varying intensity. Could be 322 pounds, this includes weight of prowler for 10 30 yard sprints/walk alternating low handle to upright handle with 35-45 second rests between pushes or throwing on 50 pounds and pushing for 1/2 mile straight.

If I feel beat, on any lower body day I will do main movement and then just push the prowler. On an upper body day, I would just do the main movement and the antagonistic movement then push prowler.

The biggest lesson to learn as we get older is it is important to keep one's mobility/joint integrity so you have to temper the max effort to get results but at the same time do some bodybuilding to keep the muscle and the movement.


Don't be so sensitive. My comment had nothing to do with a pissing match. It was an observation that pointed out that there is quite a bit of difference between 5/3/1 and Westside.


Thank goodness because after the age of 35 none of us can piss very far.


Only the first one of the day goes far!


I do need to work through some sensitivity issues. I was planning on getting right on that after I fixed my bench and press.

By the way, welcome to the O-35 forum. I'm usually not this pissy, but I recently cut ice cream out of my diet. My wife and kid now spend most of the day hiding in the closet.


Is that the one at 1:30 am,2:30 am or 5:30 am?


HA - so the pissing has now completely hijacked Fisher's thread!