T Nation

Wendlers for Size and Strength Gains? and for Fat Loss?


I know it's about correct amount of calories but I was just wondering how many of you have made big gains in both size and strength off Wendlers 5/3/1?

I'm curious.

Would it also work well for fat loss? Or do you reccomend something else for this?


You can set it up either way. It's a good basic program for the core lifts, which should be included for both gaining or losing weight.

Just set up your assistance differently if you are trying to gain or lose weight, i.e. more volume if you are trying to gain weight and a bit less volume w/ more conditioning work in there if you are trying to lose weight.

As long as your main lifts aren't falling drastically, you can be pretty sure you aren't losing muscle when dieting. If you are trying to get really lean you may experience some plateaus and strength loss. Your recovery abilities will be impeded as well, so don't expect your lifts to take off while dieting either.


I've made some great strength gains on 5/3/1, and stayed on it when I took 6 weeks to lean out effectively. For size, I put on a few lean pounds but have mostly not been focusing on trying to bulk up. I did add some mass to my shoulders, back, and tris. I have no way to assess how much size I may have gained had I not been trying to stay relatively lean and focusing on strength gains.

I would definitely recommend it for fat loss, just do as Wendler recommends and do some hill sprints (or something comparable), warm up with a jumprope and eat properly.


I used 5/3/1 all of fall semester '09 and gained tons of strength in my core lifts but not a lot of muscle. I only noticed slightly more definition in my delts. I used a 3-day split and did light cardio.

I drank a gallon of milk on lifting days, took Isopure's gainer consistently and at times would cook 1.5 lbs of ground beef for myself or a pack of chicken thighs and other good stuff that was clean and protein-packed.

It was my 1st time experimenting with a gainer but prefer to stick with whey...ended up finishing the semester using a whey concentrate powder once again. On top of my diet, my stack was gainer powder or whey, glutamine, multi and magnesium.

I've been lifting for 8 years but it was my 1st program where I truly felt spent for the 1st few weeks. I eventually switched over to the boring but big template to help gain in size. I'd recommend it since the rep-range is ideal with sets of 10.

I failed to train my abs directly and as a result strained an abdominal from doing the big core lifts, that's the only thing that blew. Just train them as he tells you to.


I think, unless you are a very advanced lifter, you should gain size from that as well as strength. I was at 160ish when I started and I'm up to 185 solid now. If you want to see what it can do, look at the "bootcamp if 5 days thread" in the beginners section. Just eat like you want to gain size and that program should give you both.