Why Do People Say 5/3/1 Isn't Good for a Beginner Lifter?

Ive been curious about this for a while. Why do people say 5/3/1 isnt good for a beginner? is it because you only increase weight every cycle? It seems everybody recommends sl 5x5, or starting strength or allpros ect.

I bought jims books a couple of months back as a complete newbie and i thoroughly enjoyed reading them, granted alot of the 2nd book went over my head being a newbie. Anyway i for one am going to start the 5/3/1 Beginner full body routine because i like the structure and the support here.

I would like to ask, being a new lifter, i understand initially my strength will go up fast (nublet gains?), faster than the amount of weight im adding to the bar, will this sabotage my progress due to weight increase every cycle or will i still make progress in the strength and mass department?

Thanks guys.

There’s a article on jims website not long ago about his recommendations on new lifters or lifters returning , he even suggests starting with starting strength

Starting strength will learn you technique and add more weight to the bar weekly

I’d say really get your technique on the lifts mastered before moving onto 5/3/1

People generally forget the other important issues when training a beginner - and that is about building a large base of other attributes, in other areas, that will help anyone, regardless of goals.

If anyone has coached different athletes, especially ones with a solid background in gymnastics (for example, high level cheerleaders) or with a large variety of different sports, knows this. You take a college level kid who played football, wrestled and ran track in junior high and high school - and his potential is much higher than someone who did nothing.

You need to build that base and that includes running, jumping, calisthenics, and bodyweight work and some basic lifting. too many people just want to lift and that’s fine. But unless you have amazing genetics, your peak level will be diminished. You take this time to use sub-max training AND build that base for a couple years, and you’ll have so many tools to fall back on.

Principles will always rule - and you have to understand that the biggest mistake beginners make is listening to other beginners. People are in a rush to get to point B as fast as possible. I’d rather take the time to have people do shit right, get to point B a little later and be able to get farther in the long term.

The amount of bodyweight work, sled/Prowler, running, mobility, jumping and throws people do here, over the course of a year, is pretty high. And when the shit hits the fan, and they hit a wall, their toolbox is so large and their strength ALL OVER will allow them to overcome it. If all you do is lift weights, that’s all you can turn to.

it’s the whole “teach a man to fish” idea.

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Only your effort can sabotage your progress. Now, some programs make turning up each day like taking a kick to the nuts, so be wary.

I like Jim’s programs because they proactively avoid the nut kicking. Some other programs ask you to spread your legs and have you wait until the blow is delivered.

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I always figured that because I played sport in school from 1996-2003 (basketball, rugby, grass hockey and track and field; albeit never at a high level) that somehow had helped me when I started training again even though from 18 to 26 I was a fat, inactive slob. I just didn’t know quite why, I always put it down to my body kind of remembering; that and five years as a prop making the back side of my body a bit stronger.

Right so im all set to go and ive worked out my maxes. Heres the beginner routine from your first book/Website, do you still recommend to do this as is, just making sure since im about 30 pound over weight? Cheers pal.


Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Bench – 55%x5, 65×5%, 75%x5
Assistance work


Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Assistance work


Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Squat – 55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5
Assistance work

Yes, you can do this. There are also a number of 531 Beginner programs on this very forum. Like I tell everyone, do whichever one you want for 2 cycles. Then switch, if you want.

Make sure you are running, doing calisthenics, mobility work and are jumping. They are essential to the program.

Lifting weights and just lifting weights is how you stall quicker and have a lower ceiling.

Damn your really active on these forums. Id like to ask you a question if you dont mind. Being a beginner im asking all sorts of questions since i finds thats the best way to learn. I noticed in a few of your beginner routines that OH Press and Deadlifts are only done once a week on the Wednesday, I,m just wondering, if you dont mind, could you explain to me why please? obviously i know nothing compared to you and im not doubting you have them set out like this for a good reason but as i said im trying to learn, hence why im asking. Thanks Jim.

I don’t care if people bench or press more often - I usually have people press more often due to people having done 1000000000 more reps of bench press than press.

The squat is done more often than the deadlift due to recovery issues.

Best advice I can give you is to find some strong ATHLETES, not just lifters, and start training with them. Load their bars and keep your mouth shut. Do sets when they aren’t. You will learn 100% more than reading forums. 99% of the shit on forums/social media is from people who has as much experience as you but seem to have all the answers. Blowhards who can recite verbatim but haven’t the strength, muscle or experience to form any sort of opinion other than whether or not their momma’s meatloaf is better than grandma’s.

Lots of blowhards and never-was’. Be wary.

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Thanks alot for taking the time to give me good advice, i sincerely appreciate it, I re-read some of your Beyond book today to try and gain some more knowledge since i feel like a tool asking questions here lol.

Anyway the above template from your book, how can that be altered for 5SPRO, is it possible? i read in your beyond books that you think its great for beginners and i would like to give it a crack, i however dont feel comfortable programming it into the above routine just in case i mess it up. I hope you dont mind giving me a hand here. Thanks pal.

Just curious, of all your beginner/full body/hardgainer templates, which one have you found the most effective?

There are a couple other templates on this forum that use 5’s PRO. I would recommend those.

They are based on the same principles - thus they are equally effective.