T Nation

Workout Overview?

I’m in the UK, 51 years old and been lifting only about 18 months regularly. Started on 5x5 but then got to a point where I was continually resetting and then found 531. I love the principle of it. I’ve just done two cycles of a general 3 day split to get a feel for it and have decided to to start on a 4 day FSL for the longer term, maybe four days some weeks maybe bleeding over depending on available time.

I have read the first two books and although Jim says ‘don’t overthink assistance’, I have a tendency to overthink everything, especially until I fully understand it. So I have been very much overthinking my assistance work for this with nobody to ask advice, I’m hoping someone can let me know if this looks good. Be gentle on me, I’m still trying to get my head around what works best for what, once I get that drilled into my head it will all fall into place easier for me!
Also, just to mention, if I have a weak point it would be Deadlifts so if anyone can recommend if I don’t have the correct assistance in there for that it would be helpful. Current plan of attack is -

OHP - 531
OHP - FSL 3 x 8
Chins (assisted)
Bicep b/bell curls
Tricep pushdowns
Back Extensions

DL - 531
DL - FSL 3x8
D/bell lat raise
Front squat
Ab Wheel
Back Extensions

Press - 531
Press - FSL 3x8
D/bell rows
Skull Crushers
Back Extensions

Squat - 531
Squat - FSL 3x8
Straight leg DL or RDL (?)
Hanging Knee Raise
Back Extensions

Current 1RM’s in kg -
Squat 139
DL 126
Press 93
OHP 49

Would be grateful for any advice or input,



Hey Bud, welcome to the forum. Program looks good if you can recover from it. The front squat & dumbbell rows can be demanding as assistance if you are pushing PR sets on 531, so keep an eye on that. Personally, I would replace front squats with goblet squats or single leg moves (lunges, split squats etc…) & I’d consider a machine/cable in place of the dumbbell rows if doing pr deadlifts.

Other things to help with recovery are taking an extra day off & of course eating & sleeping more.

Hi, thanks for your reply.

I take note of what you say, I hadn’t considered it that way, as I said I’m still trying to educate myself on what supports what without detriment to the overall workout.

Regarding front squats, I only recently started doing them and have just been using around 35kg including the bar just to get the technique right, which I have been enjoying. I could shift it to goblet squats if this is going to be more helpful to me - would this support my main squats better and cause less fatigue? I was managing ok on the 3 day split, obviously no FSL on that although I was doing two compound lifts 531 each day.

And reference the dB rows - tbh, I am happy to change that as it always seems a little imbalanced but I need to strengthen my lower back. Would barbell rows be preferable to cable rows for this?

As I said, I lack knowledge on the best assistance work to use, I’ve read the books but I could use a better grounding in ‘what does what and why’, I have a lot of learning to do…

If you are comfortable with your recovery, try what you have written. For me, that would be too much. Keep in mind, I’m no expert, & I’m about as strong as you are. I personally like doing 5x5 fsl or 3x5 ssl (bench) with max barspeed. I can mess with dumbbell incline press and dumbbell rows if I’m not pushing PR barbell sets. If I’m doing PR sets, I do assistance that’s easy to recover from.


I’ll give it a go for a week and see how I feel, If it’s too much I’ll try goblet squats as you suggest in place of front squats. I’ll maybe swap the dumbbell rows out for barbell rows. Appreciate your advice!