T Nation

Which Book to Get?

Hi guys, looking for a bit of advice on Jim’s cyber monday sale.

I ran the original 5/3/1 7-8 years ago (I think it may have even been a predecessor, I think I remember there being other Wendler programs in the book, Triumvirate among them) and felt fairly proficient in running it, especially as Jim was good enough to answer a few questions on EFS.

I just competed in strongmman nationals, and now that that’s over I’d like to focus on the core lifts for a while. I bought 531 Forever a few months ago (wish Id waited for this sale, haha), but seems like the 531 program has grown since I was running it/reading about it - joker sets, first set last, etc.

Do I need to get one of the earlier books, and if so, is Beyond 531 the right one, or are there significant changes between the original 531 and the 2nd edition? “Beyond” references Jokers and FSL, but I dont want to junp ahead if what i need is the basics.

Sorry if this is answered elsewhere on the forum, just hoping to take advantage of the sale today.

TL;DR - Best book for someone who’s familiar w 531 amd owns “Forever” - 2nd Ed, “Beyond,” or neither, everything is in Forever, just knuckle down. Thanks

I really like Beyond. It’s my favorite of the books, including Forever, which really seems to me like a response to getting inundated with questions for a decade. It’s an endless compilation of hard-coded programs that you can just do and doesn’t leave any room for questions.

Beyond, on the other hand, was more of an under the hood kind of book, full of training ideas that you could play with and use to build your own programming. As a guy competing at a national level, you might appreciate it.

X2 for beyond. If you were not as experienced and needed everything laid out i would say forever.

Great to see you back @KBCThird

I’ll echo what others have said. Not a ton of changes between first and second, but Beyond has a lot of those big changes you’ve noted. Helpful to bridge the gaps.

Just recently received a copy of Forever. Over all I prefer the structue of 5/3/1, 5/3/1 For Powerlifting, and Beyond 5/3/1.

Overall, Forever is really just a collection of different set ups that, like someone above said, feels like Jim was merely responding to a myriad of programming inquiries all at once.

Whereas Beyond offered a sensible revision and upgrade to the initial 5/3/1 program, Forever merely reiterates what has already been said (for the most part anyway).

Id recommend investing in the first 3 texts to get the most bang for your buck if you are on a budget, and all 4 if you have the cash.

Jim’s writing is generally enjoyable to read, so I’m sure you’d content with either book.

Thanks guys. Unfortunately, after all that, i didnt realize the sale was ending 8pmET, I just assumed it was anytime before midnight. Here’s hoping for one more sale before the holidays. At least now i know which book to get!

Forever 5/3/1 is THE book on programming. It actually TEACHES you how/what to do and explains WHY; and all in a simple language. You can literally build any kind of program PROVIDED YOU READ the book and understand SIMPLE PRINCIPLES. It’s similar to a cook book - teaching you how to BALANCE training. I’m amazed at how many questions there still are when that book explains EXACTLY WHY AND HOW TO DO IT.

Every single man lives his life with hard and sure principles - at least I do. I cannot imagine taking a laissez faire attitude to other things in your life.

My best advice is to really READ training books, don’t just peruse them. I read MAYBE one or two training books a year so I can absorb them fully.


Beyond is definitely the way to go. Love that freaking book!

Hey @KBCThird, you can get 15% off your order now with the code SantasPowerBelly Thought you’d like to know.