T Nation

Training Structure


Hi Jim,

First and foremost I must admit that I'm a big fan of your work, particularly the 5/3/1 stream.

I was wondering how you would prefer to structure the workout week if one must choose between a sprint day and a second lower body day. I personally prefer the sprint day as I feel the recovery is better and that it is important to maintain the capacity to sprint through ageing.

I'm just wondering how you would structure your own training week if that was the case and perhaps if you could give some rational as to why.




Sprinting is great, but it doesn't really constitute a second lower body day in my opinion. It's a conditioning tool that can be done on any day of the week. What is your training like now?


Training varies. Generally I'm guaranteed an upper body day and a lower body day during the week. I try to do a sprint workout with accessory moves and another upper body day. I ask the above question because what it comes down to is that I must choose to sprint or do a second lower body workout (well, there are other options such as full body training).

I follow a fairly basic progression model for push press and front squats (similar to 5/3/1). I do not have trouble choosing what to do with my training. I was just hoping to hear what Jim (or others) would personally do in a similar situation, and why that works for them (and perhaps would work better for me).

I was doing 3x/week full body with 2 weights 1 sprint lower and 2 main and accessory for upmain upper/lower) for quite some time. I do like the stress reduction of exercise so I wish to move to a 4x/week split but any more is not doable.


Do sprints before squats or pulls ...longer cardio on off days. Thats it


All out sprints should be done before lifts. It reduces chance of injury. Hill runs, longer intervals on off days


My best suggestion for you is to do the 4-day 5/3/1 variation and sprint on either the deadlift day or the squat day. Personally, I would kill it on the squat day in terms of assistance work, and then sprint on the deadlift day as conditioning after my main sets with no other assistance work. My reasoning for this is that two lower days a week are difficult for me to recover from if I do a bunch of assistance work on each day.

If you don't choose to do the 5/3/1 variation, then do something similar to Defranco's Skinny Bastards program: Heavy upper w/ assistance, heavy lower w/ assistance, a bodybuilding upper day, and then add your conditioning day with sprints. Work hard on the heavy lower day and you may not need a full-on second lower day.

I am not sure if I've helped at all. When it comes down to it, I think most people are fine with one heavy, hard lower body session per week. So hit it hard for that one day, and add a sprint day rather than an extra lower body day. Work on mobility extensively prior to sprinting to avoid injury.


Just follow the 5/3/1 2/day a week Boring but Big routine with sprints a couple of days a week.

To clarify use the revised routine in the newest book.


I completely disagree with you regarding sprinting and aging. I 100% know that you have to pick just one - so you should make it work. If you think strength training and sprinting are important, then find a way to get it in.


Sorry what do you disagree with in terms of sprinting and ageing? What are your views on the subject?


I believe strength and resistance training (and muscle growth/rentention) are more important for an older lifter. You disagree and that's fine.