T Nation

What Templates Have You Run? What Do You Want to Run?

This thread is for people that have run 531 templates, and would like to hear about what has worked well for others.

For me, I have run:

Limited time widow maker
Building a bigger yoke
Beyond 531 1.1 - 1.4
Jim Wendler classic
531 Building a bigger yoke

My reviews of each:

Krypteia: absolutely awesome. This one is great for overall athleticism and fitness, but does get redundant if doing the full cycle. The full program is 17 weeks, between the prep phase, leader phase, anchor phase, and deloads.

Limited time widowmaker: I like this one a whole lot. However, it’s almost more of a challenge because you do 4 all out sets each workout. I like the tradeoff between the barbell work and the assistance. I also love the kroc rows. My wife uses this template exclusively, and she loves it and has seen great results. For her, being weaker, the all out sets are not a problem to sustain over time.

Beyond 531. This was my introduction to 531 programs. It got me hooked, yet a prefer the templates in his “Forever” book more.

Jim Wendler classic: As a mid-40’s workout dude, I love this one. I love the WALRUS workouts (and use them even when not doing this template), and love the barbell work. Can’t recommend this one enough for someone who has experience lifting and isn’t looking for “instant gainzz” or other nonsense.

531 Building a bigger yoke: Well, as much as I like the others, this may be my favorite. I did the T-nation variety (it’s slightly different on his website). It involves a 531 main lift and SST of a supplemental lift. I love the shrugs/rows supersets, and the swings. Great stuff here. Can’t wait to do it again.

What’s on my to-do lift?

Building the Monolith. The next time I have 6 weeks to devote to a program, this will be it. It looks like that will be August.

Beach body challenge. This tongue-in-cheek challenge looks awesome. Can’t wait to do it.

What are your experiences?

I’m fairly new to 5/3/1 but I have a run a few different programs from Forever.

5x5/3/1: This is the first 5/3/1 program I’ve ever run. I was attracted to the intensity of the supplemental lifts. While the TM is fairly low (80%), it still is quite a challenge. I followed the guidelines of 50-100 reps on the assistance and usually performed somewhere in the middle (75 reps). The program kicked my ass, in a good way. When switching to an anchor I definitely noticed the strength increase. Definitely do not ignore the 80% Tm recommendation or you will have a bad time.

FSL + Pr Set: One of the more common programs from what I’ve seen. Nothing really to say about it. You attempt to break your PR’s from the strength you gained in the previous leader.

I’m actually started out Leviathan tomorrow and am looking forward to it. I enjoy the high intensity/low rep scheme as well as the flexibility of supplemental choices.

Triumvirate using 5 Pros and FSl is the one I keep coming back to. Being in my 60s this is the program I recover best from.

I really like the balance of 2x2x2 but doing 2 main lifts a session with the assistance work has gotten harder to recover from.

Great idea for a post by the way

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Building the Monolith- By far the best 5/3/1 template I’ve ever ran, bar none.

Krypteia- I didn’t finish this one all the way through due to a change in focus on goals, but I ran the first two phases and loved it. One of the best templates for getting strong and in good condition. Also it rebuilt my love for goblet squats and SLDLs.

I’ve ran a few others, but I feel like the ones above are the best I’ve done. I like the layout of a lot of them and use them in my own programming (BBS, FSL, BBB, etc). Same goes for things such as 5x5/3/1 and things of that sort. I’d like to run God is a Beast and Spinal Tap again now that I’ve been training a bit longer and understand my body more.

For my first 5 months on the program, Triumvirate with FSL 5x5 as supplemental.

Right now, PR set + jokers + FSL 5x5.

On my to-do list, BBB and BTM.

Volume and Strength: A tonne of fun and if you like Full Body stuff you should run this at least once. I didn’t set many if any PR’s using this template, but I was more using this program to building myself back up to previous strength levels, and to practice squatting more. I think this is a good program for people looking to train for raw powerlifting. Only 3 days a week, but the sessions can be as long, especially if you are not focused. Has variety in the ways you can set up the Leaders and Anchors.

Portals 5x5/3/1: Tonnes of fun, but hands down the most difficult training program/template I have ever run. The sessions are very taxing and recovery is important, but still very doable. Even though it is high volume, it will increase your technical proficiency with the lifts. It bewilders me how your reps get stronger in the later sets of 5x5/3/1. If your not big on assistance, this is your program. Recommendations are 0-25 reps, and trust me once the barbell work is done you don’t have much left int the tank.

BBS Challenge: This is a great template all around. Pushed my deadlift to 600lbs. But its just…boring. Worked very well, but hasn’t worked as well when running it not in the challenge. I think BBB and BBS are best ran in the challenge setting. The payoff at the end is better.

OG 5/3/1: Basic, straightforward, flexible, fun, challenging, and it works. Mainly ran this for a period of 6-7 years, and continued to get stronger. Probably should have added a bit more volume in sooner, but oh well.

Leviathan: Did not have a great experience with this template, but I think thats user error. Was in the middle of a stessful time of life. It is a lot more challenging than it looks. Make sure to run it as written. It is the only 5/3/1 template i have seen that combines TM work with supplemental work for the same lift in the same day. Recovery is very important.

FSL/SSL/Widowmaker: I have done this lots of FSL on Anchors and when first trying to add a bit more work to OG 5/3/1. Great because bar speed is always high. A good way to start doing other movements besides the main lifts after your main work. Widowmakers for the Squat will make you see God, not sure if they actually make you stronger, but they will build work capacity and mental toughness.

Want to Run:

Building the Monolith: Top to bottom this looks like an incredible amount of fun, I just can’t justify gaining anymore weight right now.

Krypteia: So much hype around this how could I not try it out one day?

Rest Pause Challenge: I think this would be fun to run after BTM.

Prowler Challenge: I have never done a conditioning based challenge yet.

Beach Body Challenge: I would have to get my hang clean together first but I think this could be a lot of fun to run as well.

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I want to try BBS challenge, is it good for size gains, too?

Have ran:
OG 531-ran this a long time ago. I really enjoyed the simplicity. Didn’t do much for building muscle but it did push my deadlift.

BBB non-challenge -ran this a long time ago. didn’t work for me-at the time I had a very very physically demanding job and the volume/effort level was just too high.

5’s pro +fsl 5x5-ran this recently. I really enjoy the flexibility of it. Honestly didn’t need to switch it up but it was getting boring.

SST- only on week 1 but the 3 sets of 10 where a welcomed change. As it turns out I CAN count higher than 5 lol. Still experimenting.

Want to run
Bbs challenge. I respond well to the low rep/high volume stuff so this interests me.

531 + widowmakers. This looks fun as hell

Pervertor. This looks fun as hell

My own combination template

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The only full program I ever did was Krypteia

Kicked my f*cking ass and made me wish for death on the Bench days


Triumvirate Hard to beat a classic.

Absolutely. You can also superset your assistance with the BBS sets to save time as well.

Great! Thank you :wink:

  1. Regular Degular 5/3/1

  2. BBB

  3. Jack Shit

  4. 5/3/1 Offseason for Strength

  5. FBFB (about the simplest full body program I’ve ever come across)

  6. Periodization Bible

I wish to try:

  1. Forever

  2. Leviathan

  3. Krypteia (pardon the spelling if it’s wrong)

1). Original 5/3/1. Not the one listed in Forever, but the original article on T-Nation, which I believe Wendler did not write but oh well.

2). Triumvirate. Technically not, since I changed one or two assistance movements but I kept the 3 lifts only spirit of the program in place.

3). Briefly BBB. Again, from T-Nation, not his books. Mixed feelings on it - I personally used to feel like it wasn’t right for beginners (which I still consider myself one), due to the extremely low weight a 50% of TM that was already probably pretty low would produce, and after looking back at Jim’s words, he only recommends more experienced lifters do it, and to avoid using such low weights that you look like a douche (ex: me pressing 55lbs for 5x10), but I know members on here have had good results with it, so why not? Will probably try again in the future.

I want to try the Fat Loss one (don’t remember the exact name), Limited Time, and Krypteia.

@antiquity - you said your wife likes Limited Time? My mom has been lifting for a few months now, doing Jim’s Beginner Prep School, and so far it’s been going good, but I feel like for her goals (being stronger than the average mom and healthy) the 2 movements with 8 working sets each done 3 times a week may not be necessary. She also would enjoy shorter workouts, just due to being in school and raising 6 kids.

My wife wants really simple workouts, and doing two lifts and then one set of Kroc rows fits the bill. She also doesn’t do the assistance days, so just does barbell lifts and rows. She does the two lifting days and then goes for a run on the off days (and then takes the weekends off). She’s stuck to that for quite a while and it’s worked well for her.

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