T Nation

Two Days a Week


Hi all,
First time posting. I have a few questions about 5/3/1 two days a week. To start I’m 47. I’m just getting back into lifting. I’m just finishing up a 12 week cycle of strong lifts 5x5. I race track and some road(cycling). The last few years my off season training has consisted of on the bike training,kettle bells,and Muay Thai. I have done 5/3/1 before. I have the first edition I believe(2009).
What I would like to do is keep lifting during my riding/racing season. I want to keep it simple. Two days a week is what I would have time for. My questions are:
1 Should I work at 90% or less for the main lifts.
2 How much assistance should I do and could I use KB’s for assistance.
3 I have a low ceiling in my basement so OHP is out. I’ve been doing kneeling (both knees)land mine presses. What can be substituted?
I will be racing and doing on bike training the other days so I’m assuming that covers my conditioning. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Hope I didn’t ramble too much.

  1. Your TM should not be above 90%. The lower it is, the better. Alot of people use 85%. I’m not Jim, but since you’re doing all this cycling and racing i’d go with using a TM of 85% of 1rm.

  2. btwn 50-100 total managable reps of push(like push ups, dips, etc.) 50-100 of pull (pull ups, rows, etc.) and 25-50 of single leg/core work(KB swings would fall into this category). other than KB swings KBs arent gonna be some sort of magical thing but use them if you want idk. Jim would be better at answering this whole question better than me.

  3. Either do Presses kneeling or seated I guess but landmine presses arent really a main movement to use for 5/3/1.

Dont kill yourself esp with the supplemental this’ll take some common sense and balance


Its never a bad thing starting too light. You could go as light as 80% to be honest.

Jim might have another suggestion, but I’m guessing 25-50 reps from each category (push/pull/single leg or core), each workout. It doesn’t matter what you use… KB, DB, w/e… just get the reps in from each category.

Although not the best substitute for standing OHP, you could do seated OHP or incline bench press.

If I were you (I’m 39 years old) and wanted to condition as often as you do while doing a 2x week program, I’d do this:

2 cycles of:

5s PRO
5x5 FSL (can be same as main exercise or the opposite)
25-50 from each category

1 cycle of

5x5 FSL upper, 3-5x5 lower
25-50 from each category, but cut out the single leg work

no need to deload since you’re lifting only twice a week.


Marc is correct.

As for the assistance work, go with Marc’s suggestion and see how it pans out. So if it’s too much, do less. And if it’s not enough, do more.

That’s pretty much common sense training.

Marc’s got it as far as how to program the total program.

The Jim Wendler Forum has a couple of downhill racers on there (and I assume other bike riders) who have been helping each other out there. The is at least one guy trying to do the Krypteia program and ride. We shall see.


Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.
Are Leader and Anchor in the new version of 5/3/1 or one of the other books?
Would I do Leader then Anchor as suggested then keep repeating both?


I believe it was first described in Jim’s private forum and is explained in the new book.