T Nation

Your Guys' Best Method for Gaining Strength?


#1

greetings, all.

I'd just like to pick the brains of the experienced guys in here who've been able to make steady gains in the strength world.

The last 3 months I built a program with the first exercise being for strength, and I used the 5/3/1 protocol. Unfortunately, that had the opposite effect on me, as I became weaker in most exercises. Now, I'm in no way saying the 5/3/1 program doesn't work, because I altered it, and I'm clearly the minority for it not working.

Now, what I'm thinking is this:

First exercise, 3x5. I work the same weight for 4 weeks, then add 5lbs. The number I use will be 80% of my 1RM. The next two exercises will be accessory compound, 5x5, 70% of my 1RM. All exercises after that will be simple, bodybuilding/hypertrophy based type things.

Anyway, I was curious if you guys thought this would be an a-OK way to go, as well as what you've done that's worked well for you.

Appreciate any feedback, buckshots.


#2

Sounds like user error on the 531 especially since you altered it, there are tons of different 531 templates just do it as written. Don’t over think it here getting strong is simple, just not easy. I would imagine you are a new lifter so just about anything should work for you.


#3

Just get on a fixed template and stick to it. This one works well…


#4

I too didn’t have much luck with 531 and personally don’t think it’s the best program when starting out and consider it better for intermediates.

My remedy was to do a basic 5x5 program which consisted of 2 warm up sets and 3 work sets, I started light and added a small amount of weight to the bar every session and did much better.

That doesn’t mean that 531 isn’t a good program especially since it’s been updated since I used it with first set last set and joker sets etc but for me basic linear progression worked better.


#5

You altered the program so it might be a good idea to do the program as written if you want results. I think you aren’t understanding some of the main guiding principles. Read through the book again. One is to treat assistance work as assistance. You mentioned doing two accessory compound exercises at 5x5x70%. That is likely not sustainable over the long term if it is too taxing for you. You may also be consistently pushing the main work too hard instead of leaving 1-2 reps in the tank unless you’re really feeling good. Whenever you go to true failure, it takes time to recover. Consistently going to true failure will hurt your progress over the long term. Try thinking of all the assistance/accessory work as “bodybuilding work” and maybe you won’t overdo it. Better yet, do the BBB template as written.


#6

[quote]CaliberWinfield wrote:
First exercise, 3x5. I work the same weight for 4 weeks, then add 5lbs. The number I use will be 80% of my 1RM. The next two exercises will be accessory compound, 5x5, 70% of my 1RM. [/quote]

What evidence do you have that this is a good idea?

No one ever takes home their first PlayStation and before plugging it in, tries to rewire it to work with an x-box controller…


#7

If you got weaker as a result of doing 5/3/1, what was your training before that? The basic 5/3/1 template doesn’t have a lot of volume on the main lifts, if you cut volume drastically it could do that to you. I would advise using any 5/3/1 template that has extra volume on the main lifts.

4 week linear progression sounds like a waste of time. If 5x5 or something similar doesn’t work for you anymore then don’t bother looking for linear gains.


#8

Look up Dr. Mike Zordous theory of Daily Undulating Periodization. It’s more of a theory rather than a program. Hands down there is not better for strength. But it requires a lot of volume typically and also squatting 3x a week.


#9

This is right.

Practice the lifts w/ lighter weight and get good at the movement. Then add weight as long as the movement is right. Reps and time is what is required.


#10

[quote]CaliberWinfield wrote:
First exercise, 3x5. I work the same weight for 4 weeks, then add 5lbs. [/quote]

As others have stated, it depends on your weightlifting career up until now. I don’t think what you wrote above will be an optimal approach. This is a very slow progression. It would be better (IMO) to increase the weight sooner and then add a deload week if/when you stall.

Running the 5/3/1 can seem like you’re getting weaker if your body becomes fatigued due to lack of rest/fuel. Try taking a deload week and going back to 5/3/1. I’m personally a fan of the ‘Building the Monolith’ template…but make sure to go grocery shopping before you start this, you will be hungry for the next 8 weeks.


#11

[quote]CaliberWinfield wrote:
First exercise, 3x5. I work the same weight for 4 weeks, then add 5lbs. The number I use will be 80% of my 1RM. [/quote]

If you want to use something like this, here’s an idea/suggestions:

80% of 1RM is about a 7RM. Hitting a 3x5 at a 7RM as a starting weight in your programming will be tough to progress on to say the least.

I’m definitely not the strongest or most experienced dude here, but here’s something kind of similar that I’ve gotten amazing results off of in the past several months:

Why keep your 3x5 static for the entire month? My approach involves adding sets every week, so that it would look something like this:

3x5, 4x5, 5x5, 6x5 -> 3x5 with more weight

That said, as you advance in the program, the higher volume days will get pretty tough. I prefer doing sets of 3 for that reason (it’s a lot easier to add a set of 3 than 5). I’d lay it out more like:

4x3, 5x3, 6x3, 7x3 -> add weight

I like to start out with around a 7RM, so that it’s heavy, but each individual set isn’t overly challenging. Lots of heavy reps with good form = profit.

Others have already said what needs to be said about your assistance.

Just some food for thought. If you find this training style interesting, I have a thread in the Beginner’s section that explains everything in more detail.


#12

[quote]bigtom91 wrote:
Look up Dr. Mike Zordous theory of Daily Undulating Periodization. It’s more of a theory rather than a program. Hands down there is not better for strength. But it requires a lot of volume typically and also squatting 3x a week.[/quote]

Hands down you say? Interesting.


#13

as a noobie, id suggest the best program is just pushing yourself. find a training split, eat in a slight caloric surplus and write down all your workouts, every week just try to beat last weeks workout.


#14

Reed: IMO If you can handle the volume the theory of DUP training it is second to none.

Some people simply cant handle the amount of squats in a block. for instance this week im doing 4x8 70%+15 lbs, 5x6@75%+15 lbs, and 5x4@80%+15 lbs with an additional AMRAP set. (bench is very similar)

A lot of people I know and train with utilize this, and the ones who don’t just cant keep up with the volume of a program like this.