T Nation

What Routine Should I Use for PL?


I'm 5'10", a little over 160 lbs, and I'm just getting into powerlifting after years of bodybuilding style training. I'm not sure what my max squat is, but it is increasing quickly. I can deadlift somewhere in the 400-450 range, but my bench is less than 200. maybe 170. I haven't really benched before, just with dumbells.

I started a routine than is mainly in the 8x3 range and I've only been doing it a couple weeks so far, but it seems to be working. However, I have been hearing a lot about starting strength and I'm wondering if I should ditch my current routine and switch over to that. I'm not a beginner in lifting, but I am in powerlifting specifically.

I'm wondering if it might help me make quick beginner benching gains, but I don't know if it would be enough of a workout or if it would be enough for my squat and deadlift. I can provide more specific information if necessary, but I would really appreciate any advice regarding where to go from here because I want to get into powerlifting and I want to maximize any potential gains in my lifts.


Lots of people here have had fantastic results with 5/3/1. I'm just getting into it myself.


I personally did 5/3/1, but it absolutely is slow and you have to hold back all the time. Not for everyone. I switched to west-side conjugate style after 5 months of 5/3/1 and went from a 205x1 to a 260x1 bench in less than 4 months, added more than 100 pounds to deadlift and squat during that time as well.

It may have been premature for me to start conjugate though.

If I had it all to do over again though, I feel like I would have done starting strength. It is progressive overload though, which only takes you so far, or...your CNS simply won't deal with it.

Skip stronglifts, waste of time in my opinion. There's no magic number reps sets like that program claims.

I have had great results focusing on max efforts followed by technique volume work followed by appropriate assistance work each lift day...and eating well over 3000 calories a day.


Another vote for 5/3/1 here.


So I think I'm gonna start 5/3/1 in a few weeks and follow it for a while. What exactly is it though and are there more than one versions?

is that 3 sets with 5 reps, 3 reps, and a 1rm?

and what kind of assistance work should I do?


So I think I'm gonna do 5/3/1 in a few weeks and then follow it for a while. What exactly is it though? And are there multiple versions?

Is it 3 sets with 5 reps, 3 reps, and a 1rm? and what assistance work do you recommend?


There are tons of articles and info on 5/3/1. Look for a little while, and you'll get your answers.

I will add that I think you should do 5/3/1 with high-volume assistance work (perhaps boring but big) and eat a lot. 160 is pretty light for 5'10," especially if you have "years" of bodybuilding training. Lift heavy, lift for lots of reps, and eat a lot, and you will get stronger very fast


I think a program where you lift heavy weights would be appropriate at your stage, and goals !
531 fits perfectly. also check out Lift-run-bang, and Bas's Barbell, Goodluck


Thanks! high volume like 5x8?
I found some articles that look good. I'm lighter partly due to having thyroid cancer through 3 of the past 4 years. now that it is all taken care of, I'm hoping to make some good gains with what is now not a ridiculously high metabolism.


Alright, I'm gonna do 5/3/1 with a couple 5x10 assistance lifts. how does this sound for a weekly routine?

day 1: standing bb shoulder press - 5/3/1
close grip bench - 5x20
pulldowns - 5x10

day 2: deadlift - 5/3/1
good mornings 5x10
decline weighted situps - 5x10
day 3- rest

day 4 - squat- 5/3/1
leg press - 5x10
leg curls - 5x10
day 5 - bench- 5/3/1
db bench - 5x10
db row - 5x10

day 6-rest
day 7-rest


Pretty solid start.

Personally, I'd make sure to hit abs/core on both the squat and DL days. Do leg raises or side bends or something, ditch the decline situps. Consider doing Glute ham raises, RDLs or SLDLs instead of leg curls, just much more effective for training posterior chain.

Make sure you understand how the 5-3-1 works in terms of programming and percentages. It's pretty straight forward, but for some reason people always end up confused and with questions. There's a HUUUGE 5-3-1 thread on this site with a wealth of information, I'd read through that in your spare time.


I use "Black iron beast" it's 531 calculator Wendler hates these sights but they make it easy to set up 531 number's, for what it's worth 20$ for 531 Ebook at jim Wendler com is money well spent, and then use the black iron beast to set up, 2cents


4 day 5/3/1 not three. The press work ill carry over to the other lifts. The 3 day 5/3/1 will work and you will see numbers, but IMO the 4th day either as a weak area day or OHP is going to see better numbers.