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Wendler's 5/3/1 Program - Part 5


Previous thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_strength/wendlers_531_program_part_4

Liv92 asked: "I just finished my first week (lol) of my first cycle using the Triumvirate. I was wondering on Bench press days I want to do Kroc Rows instead of regular DB rows... Should I still be using 5 sets cause kroc rows are a diff beast then regular DB rows. What do you guys think?"

I think Kroc once suggested that if you are not rowing the biggest dumbbell you have access to for high reps, then just keep trying to increase working with the heaviest you can for sets of 15. That said, what I personally do is a set of 5 db rows after each set of bench, working up in weight to a heavy 6th set for max reps. I haven't programmed it exactly like 5/3/1, but it parallels it in that I use a lighter weight for higher reps on the 5 week and so on. When I can do 20 with the heaviest dumbbell I'll have to figure out a different way to program it maybe.


I want to focus on increasing my strength in the Big 3 SQ, BP, and DL. If I did a 3 day/week routine similar to this, would I still make progress on my BP? This set up would allow me to set PR on the last BP set. If I did 5/3/1 for the MP, I could only do the minimum amount of reps required on the last BP set.

SQ 5/3/1
SQ assistive

Bench 5/3/1
DB Row

DL 5/3/1
DL assistive

I do not have time to lift 4 days/week. The reason I do not do the 3 day/week routine that is in the book is because I can only DL on Fridays.


Been using 5/3/1 for 2 years, great results. I never had a question having read the first 2 ebooks, amazes me how many people want to change / mix and match / do 5/3/1 for wrist curls etc.

For 99% of people its not a question of how quick they will get strong, its if. If you've read the book and you're thinking "I'll only add 60 pounds to my bench in the first year? Maybe I should throw in some Westside / Russian training " then I expect you are benching the bar.

An important point most people miss is that you are neither limited by or forced to do the 5/10 pound increases. For instance if first cycle you squat 300x 10 on the 5 day and second cycle you add 10 to max and do 307 x 13 you've likely improved your max by more than the 10 pound!


? Of course you CAN still make progress on your bench press if you're training it.....


First, I should have originally posted that the MP is a DB MP.

Let me rephrase the question. Is the set/rep scheme I posted for the DB MP as an assistive exercise for the BP optimal for increasing my BP strength? I picked the BBB set/rep scheme. I could do a 3x8 or whatever. I hope my question was not stupid.


Are you restricted in the days you lift the rest of the week? You could consider Monday Squat, Tuesday Bench, Friday Deadlift and Press. That should allow you sufficient rest before an intense Friday, while also having two days of pressing each week. If that will not work for you, I might still add a bit of assistance pressing work on Friday anyways, even if just some rep work like pushups thrown in between sets or with your warmup, or just do it as you have laid out and you should be fine.


No I don't think its stupid. I think you can make gains to your bench press no matter what you do as long as you are still bench pressing. Sure, various assistance exercises will help, but I think as long as you're benching you'll still be making gains.


Just FYI, getting an Olympic dumbbell solved my problem with DB rows instanttly. They can be pretty pricey(mine was about $45) but it's really only a one time investment and has helped me finally start developing a back. Very worth it indeed.

I've never really gone for all out sets since I got it, I tend to do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps and I'm still making pretty good progress. I find e higher volume is preferable for me because when I first started training I never did any horizontal pulling. But that's just me I suppose.
Anyways, accessing your own Olympic dumbbell if your gym doesn't have them or only has light DB's, very recommended


Looking to bring up my BB Row as it is absolute shit. What do you think of using the 5/3/1 template for it, only shifting to 8/5/3 to focus on more reps since it's a back movement? I'm thinking of using 55/65/75 percent on my 3x8 day.

Personally, I see no reason why this won't yield just as great of results as I've seen for my other 4 lifts; I just wanted to check to see if there's anything blatantly retarded about it that I'm missing.


Yes, you can do this, just do it on the same day as bench or press (http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=137216&tid=) -- also, you can call it 5/3/1 even if you are more conservative when you set the training max at, say, 85% of your true max rather than 90%.


I'm using the juggernaut method set/rep scheme for BB Row which I liked better than 5/3/1 so you can get more volume and its not a 1RM type lift. You can modify it how you want but the general idea is good.


Do you mind PMing me the details? I'm unfamiliar with this.


I have the regular 5/3/1 book, but there is no mention of AAS use in it. I also googled 5/3/1 and AAS and I could not find and answer. Could someone link me to what Jim has posted before about running 5/3/1 on cycle.


Its going to be released in the hard copy version of 5/3/1 for powerlifting.

I thought it would be in any 5/3/1 for powerlifting so my ebook does not contain the information.


I'm just wondering why not use BBB for the bb rows on one or both of the pressing days. Not saying what you're planning is wrong, I'm just curious.


Would jump squats be a bad idea to do before my 5/3/1 leg work or should I just do olys or plyos for the purpose of increasing my total?


I'm actually doing a 6 day split push/legs/pull, so BB rows are like a main lift for the day. Most of what I've done has been higher volume like BBB, but the weights just aren't climbing as I'd hope. I always felt like back work was taking a back seat on my pressing days, so I've decided just to shift all back work to their own days. I think it'd be good for me to introduce a percentage based progression.


Wendler talked about using BB rows as a main lift somewhere and went from something like 225 for 12 to 280 for 16 over a couple cycles.


I started my cycle already, so waiting is not really in the cards.


I think i told you in the last thread before this one started what I do. Its not from Jim, but its worked for me.... 10 pound upper body increments, 15 pound lower body, two days lifting, one day rest, two days lifting, one day rest, repeat, so cycles go faster, I've skipped deloading but probably am going to now because I'm getting a bit worn down.

But I mean, honestly, is it that big of a deal what he says? You should be able to know what you can do with your body if you're using AAS.