T Nation

What's Your 5/3/1 Template Look Like?


First, big thanks to Jim for all of the 5/3/1 books, articles, and of course this forum.

I know the philosophy of 5/3/1 and the general template should remain consistent between all of us 5/3/1 disciples, but we each include our own variations, whether that's in the main work, back off sets, conditioning, etc.

I was hoping we could have a space where everyone could post their template, get feedback, share ideas, and help each other get stronger (and/or bigger, if you're into that kinda thing). This should include your weightlifting template (days, sets, reps, techniques), what conditioning you do, what goals you have (and your progress towards those goals), and even your diet if you'd prefer.

I will post my 5/3/1 setup later today, just wanted to make this quick post before work.


5/3/1 program, BBB Template 2, Var 2

Day 1: Bench 5/3/1 & Press BBB
Day 3: Press 5/3/1 & Bench BBB

  • Dips, Laterals, Incline BB, Curls

Day 2: Deadlift 5/3/1 & Squat BBB
Day 4: Squat 5/3/1 & SL Deadlift

  • DB Row/Chins, DB Shrugs, Calf Raises, Standing Cable Crunch


Mine is extremely simple, maybe deviates from specifics of the book some.

Off Season, gain some muscle
Monday: Dead 5/3/1 sets, BBB squats 5x10
Tuesday: Overhead 5/3/1 sets, chinups (50 total), BBB Bench 5x10
Thursday: Squat 5/3/1 sets, BBB stiff legged DL 5x10
Friday: Bench 5/3/1 sets, Dumbell Rows 5x10, BBB overhead 5x10

In Season closer to a meet
Monday: Dead 5/3/1 sets, Joker Sets, FSL sets
Tuesday: Overhead 5/3/1 sets, Joker Sets, FSL, chinups (50 total), Close grip bench 4x8
Thursday: Squat 5/3/1 sets, Joker Sets, FSL (I do pause squats w/ these, no belt)
Friday: Bench 5/3/1 sets, Joker Sets, FSL sets, Dumbell Rows 4x10

Joker Sets and FSL are optional and not done as often for deadlifts, only when I feel great.


Squat - Beyond 5/3/1
Bench - Beyond 5/3/1 (chins)

Deadlift - Beyond 5/3/1
Press - Beyond 5/3/1 (chins)



Day 1: Dead 5/3/1, RDL 3x10, Front Squat 3x5
Day 2: Bench 5/3/1, DB Bench 5x15 SS with DB Row, 5x10
Day 3: Squat 5/3/1, Squat w/ bands 3x10, BB Hip Thrust 3x10
Day 4: OHP 5/3/1, Dips 5x15 SS with Chins 5x10


sat. sq
sun. bp
mon. dl
tue. mp
wed. sq
thu. bp
fri. off

All using the Training Maximally method. I’ll change the off day if need be. Won’t train less than 5x/wk, usually 6. Results have been very good.


Hey Ramo,

What Option you using? How do you find training 6 days?


[quote]EyeHateGod wrote:
Hey Ramo,

What Option you using? How do you find training 6 days? [/quote]

This decision is never made until I’m under the bar. However, it’s usually at least one joker set and three backoffs at 5-8 reps, (lower rep range for pulls). If I’m feeling ok, i’ll go for a RM w/ the TM, and if I want to hit a very heavy single, i’ll work up to that and then take the RM afterwards. I may also take an RM with one of the joker sets if I can set a meaningful 3 or 5rm or whatever (this has happened numerous times for each lift over the past few months).

If I feel shitty and can tell nothing good will come of hitting heavy jokers or attempting a rep PR, I’ll usually hit the TMx1, drop down and work back up a couple times. I find myself doing this most often with squats.

Training 6x/week is awesome, but you have to relax and not make the mistake of investing too much in any one session. Keep the big picture in mind. Trashing yourself in any one session will hurt your training for the next week or several, especially with a higher frequency setup. If you need three red bulls and nose tork every time you train, this is definitely not for you. If you can be workmanlike about things I think it should work very well, certainly has for me.


Monday: 531 press, first two sets as back off
Lateral raises - 4-6 sets in a variety of rep ranges, sometimes some mountain dog style swings, always some very light controlled reps
Another shoulder press (currently seated dumbbellls) - 5 x 10 superset with facepulls
Sometimes light traps superset with facepulls - 4-5 sets
Shoulder press machine superset with rear delts - 4-5 sets
Sometimes some light triceps

Tuesday: Squat (don’t currently use 531 as I hurt my knee and had to limit the weights I use, but should be back at it next cycle) - ramp to a top set around 5-10 reps
Leg curls - 5 sets, ramped up with decreasing reps (eg: 30,20,15,10,8, dropset)
Squat - sometimes 5 x 10, sometimes 5 x 5 paused
Leg press (ramped) superset RDLs - 5 sets

Thursday: 531 Bench, first two sets as back off
Close grip bench - 5 x 10
DB floor press - 4-5 x 5-15 (typically pyramid)
Triceps for stupid volume, maybe 15 sets

Friday: 531 deadlift, first two sets as back off but sumo style
Chins - 3 sets AMRAP (3 x 4 is the PR) then 3-5 sets of 10 negatives
DB row - pyramid up over 3 sets to a top strict set of 10, then Kroc row it another set, then pyramid back down - 6 sets total
Heavier trap stuff superset pulldown machine superset facepulls - 5 sets
Straight arm pulldown superset seated cable row

Saturday: Arms
Basically just superset biceps and triceps and get a lot of blood in them. Performance is never great because I’ve just benched and done back the previous days, but this worked out the best place to put them.

Strength gains to be honest aren’t going well on the pressing front despite all that triceps volume and hammering the 531 sets as hard as I can. If anyone has any ideas why I’d be grateful.
I know Jim would say I do too much assistance work. But deadlifts seem to be improving, and I really enjoy all the volume and feeling like I’m going to explode out of my shirt by the end of a workout.

Most recent PRs are: Squat - 120kg x 10 - previous best 1RM was 165kg, getting back up there
Bench - 80kg x 11, 85kg x 9, 90kg x 5
Dead - 160kg x 5 - it’s 531 day tomorrow and I’m going for 170kg x 5, will update
OHP - 55kg x 5


Yeah, I would say you are doing way too much assistance. Simplify that shit, just do boring but big or Triumvirate. You are thinking way to much about your assistance exercises. pick 2-3, 5x10. Done.


I could be more honest than that but I will try and hold back. :stuck_out_tongue:


[quote]EyeHateGod wrote:
Yeah, I would say you are doing way too much assistance. Simplify that shit, just do boring but big or Triumvirate. You are thinking way to much about your assistance exercises. pick 2-3, 5x10. Done. [/quote]

I agree. Wendler replied to my post and basically told me the same thing. I switched to the BBB Variation I and it is no joke. Basically looks something like…

5/3/1 Sets
Joker sets (unless I feel like absolute ass that session)
BBB Sets
Lower Body = Back Raises / Upper Body = Lat Work and maybe one other assistance exercise

I am definitely very happy with that setup. It’s simple and really effective; I definitely feel like I worked my ass off when I’m done. Hit a PR today on my DL with my last Joker set. w00t!


Press â?? 5/3/1 â?? Joker Sets
Seated Dumbbell Press â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Lateral Raise â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Shrugs â?? 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Squat â?? 5 sets of 10 reps (5/3/1 soon?)
Leg Press â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Leg Curl â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Abs â?? 5 sets of 10 reps

Bench â?? 5/3/1 â?? joker sets
Close Grip â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Db Row â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Chins â?? 5 sets

Deadlift â?? 5/3/1 â?? joker sets
Good Mornings â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Bent Over Row â?? 5 sets of 10 reps
Curls â?? 5 sets of 10 reps

Try that. If you can pull yourself away from all that shitty volume


Yeah man, BBB looks piss easy on paper. You really have to try it to appreciate it don’t you!


Go for it bud, if I’m cocking up that badly I’d rather know and fix it. I’m definitely not under the illusion that everything I do is perfect, if that were true I’d be lifting a hell of a lot more.


There is just a shit load of useless bullshit there that is probably doing more harm than good… 15 sets for triceps? Pointless. Just do BBB or something really simple. Focus on the main lift and don’t even think about what comes next. Pick a few exercises do them for 5 sets of 10 reps and go home. Simple… and if you pick BBB… not fucking easy.


What do you do for conditioning Maazer?


[quote]EyeHateGod wrote:
Yeah man, BBB looks piss easy on paper. You really have to try it to appreciate it don’t you! [/quote]

It does look easy on paper but the reality is different for sure. After session one I had a tremendous appreciation for it though, love it.




Fair enough. I’m definitely guilty of getting caught up in the details. Thanks for the kick in the ass.