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Thread: Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

  1. #1

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Questions or comments about Wendler's 5-3-1...post 'em here!

  2. #2

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Just a heads up for those that might be interested and are not aware of it. I discovered a FB group for 531 where a lot of questions and answers are posted (some answered by the man himself).

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/103690729681/

  3. #3

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Thanks for the heads up... looks like good discussion area.

  4. #4

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Thanks for the link! Looks like a great resource

  5. #5

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I'm somewhat intrigued by 5-3-1, and was looking at it for my post-challenge workout in April. I'm not sure that it is quite appropriate for intermediate type lifters with it's monthly progression, and it's once a week "big 4" lifts. Right now I'm comparing it to Texas Method and Madcow's 5X5.

    I did see one variant of Boring but Big that might address the once a week issue, http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...onth_challenge where he does the volume squats on DL day, and vice versa.

    Does anyone have much experience with 5/3/1? Would you consider yourself beginning, intermediate or advanced when you tried it? How old were you when you did it? As I approach 50, I've realized that there are certain programs that are tougher to recover from than others, and I need to factor that in.

  6. #6

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I've been doing 531 for quite some time. I'd say I was intermediate when I started, maybe closing in on advanced by now. It has worked very well for me and I like it a lot. It moves you in small progressions.....this isn't a program you just DO and then hop to something else. It's meant as a longer-term approach over many cycles.

    Let's just say I am over 40 and under 50 and leave it at that.

  7. #7

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Quote Originally Posted by "missjane":3h47hlmc
    I've been doing 531 for quite some time. I'd say I was intermediate when I started, maybe closing in on advanced by now. It has worked very well for me and I like it a lot. It moves you in small progressions.....this isn't a program you just DO and then hop to something else. It's meant as a longer-term approach over many cycles.

    Let's just say I am over 40 and under 50 and leave it at that.
    Thanks, then we are in roughly the same age range! I kind of figured whatever program I went to next I'd probably stick with from April to the end of the year. Most likely it is between 531 and Madcows, because I'm not sure I'd recover well from the Texas Method's volume day.

    Do you do a 3X per week variant or a 4X per week? Which version of 531 do you do as far as accessory lifts?

  8. #8

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I do 4x a week and I do the 531 for powerlifting (which varies just a little bit from the original 531, allowing me to train heavy singles two weeks out of a month). I do my own accessory programming.

  9. #9

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I am 46, and had some reservations before I started 531 that it would be right for someone at my older age, and younger training age (lifting for about a year). To put it simply, I am loving it. The slow progression I think is perfect for someone that doesn't want to pile on the weight too aggressively. It is also very flexible. If you haven't actually purchased the ebook, I would recommend getting his recently released 2nd edition. It gives many variations for programming the main lifts and the assistance work. That is one of the great things about it - is that it can be quite flexible.

    In terms of the "only once a week" concern - don't worry. Once you get into it, you will find that it is deceptive - it looks low in volume, but you will see progress. And if you want, you can program more volume like the "boring but big" challenge you refer to. Personally I use the "programmed big assistance" lifts that he lays out, which is kind of the same idea. I also train 4 times a week.

  10. #10

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I also did 5-3-1 in my 40's, and I did the twice/week version (two big lifts each session). I loved it, and may come back to it at some point in the future.

  11. #11

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I've had these two questions on my mind.

    1. How did you choose the auxiliary exercises, or did you just do boring but big or jack nothing?

    2. What combinations were successful? What exercise combinations were unsuccessful? So we're clear, if it was successful at making you puke every time, I'd label that as unsuccessful

  12. #12

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    To answer your first question, Cathy, I've kept in mind stuff my physical therapist had harped on from a few years back (i.e., unilateral work). And I'm trying to do more core related exercises, if only because I hate them. I think we should sometimes do the things we hate, unfortunately.

  13. #13

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I love 5/3/1. I'm on my 2nd week of my 5th cycle. I have been doing the Boring But Big template the last 3 cycles. The start of this cycle I inverted the Big lifts. So now on squat days I do Deads for assistance and on bench day I do overhead press,etc. I like that much better. it's less boring. I haven't gotten the latest book yet. maybe I will get it this week and give it a read. I love Jim's no BS attitude. It reminds me of me

  14. #14

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Quote Originally Posted by "tcul1972":runprhvw
    I love 5/3/1. I'm on my 2nd week of my 5th cycle. I have been doing the Boring But Big template the last 3 cycles. The start of this cycle I inverted the Big lifts. So now on squat days I do Deads for assistance and on bench day I do overhead press,etc. I like that much better. it's less boring. I haven't gotten the latest book yet. maybe I will get it this week and give it a read. I love Jim's no BS attitude. It reminds me of me
    I'm glad to hear from someone who did that Boring but Big swap, since that is what I was considering doing starting April. It seems more appropriate for me than vanilla BBB since I'm not lifting big weights yet, doing 2X per week on a lift (one heavy, one volume/light intensity) seems a little better than crushing a lift 1X per week.

    What other (if any) accessory lifts are you doing? After a few cycles, please post a progress report to let us know how progress compares to vanilla Boring But Big.

  15. #15

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Quote Originally Posted by "djc":1cqt5ite
    I'm glad to hear from someone who did that Boring but Big swap, since that is what I was considering doing starting April. It seems more appropriate for me than vanilla BBB since I'm not lifting big weights yet, doing 2X per week on a lift (one heavy, one volume/light intensity) seems a little better than crushing a lift 1X per week.

    What other (if any) accessory lifts are you doing? After a few cycles, please post a progress report to let us know how progress compares to vanilla Boring But Big.

    I started my first cycle ridiculously light because of a nagging backache and knowing I would be taking 2 weeks off for Christmas vacation.I was thinking about doing some 1Rm stuff before my 5th cycle and upping my true 1rm but then I read the "Boring But Big 3 month challenge" and decided I like the idea of inverting the big lifts for BBB so I decided to keep my current path and do that. Currently for other assistance stuff I am doing dumbbell rows on Bench day, Band Assisted Chins on Overhead press day, Barbel roll outs on Squat Day and swiss ball crunches on Deadlift day. I follow the North of vag warmup before each workout(4 days per week) and on off days I just do some foam rolling,static stretching,jump rope and band assisted pullups. So far I can still usually bust out 10-15 on my last set through the month but I can tell that that won't be lasting much longer as the weights get heavier.

  16. #16

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    I guess I would be considered an intermediate lifter since I have only been lifting for right at a year and a half and had never lifted in my life before that. I started about 6 months after starting Atkins and I was using the TNT Diet workouts for about 4 months and then started the NROL Eternal Beginner workout. I got all the way up to week 3 of Strength 1 and wrecked my back on a deadlift. I tried to pull much more than I was ready for. during my 3 week recoup time I found 5/3/1 and loved the fact that it told me how much weight to use each workout so I didn't have to wing it. I don't care about the monthly progression. I only have 2 months left in my 30's, am married with a 20 year old daughter,7 year old son and a 75 pound lap dog. I'm not in this to impress anybody(except maybe a few of my daughter's 20 year old friends ). In the last 20 months or so I have lost 30 pounds following Atkins and lifting. 30 pounds doesn't sound like a lot but I went from a 56" gut to a 39" gut so the scale doesn't tell the whole tale. The only reason I opted not to do the BBB challenge is because I am still trying to drop body fat and the current BBB is helping me do that WHILE I am getting stronger. And for what it's worth, I am still seeing weekly progression on my last set at this time. I know that won't last forever but it's a big motivator.

    If anybody needs an excel spreadsheet that will calculate your weights for the entire month based on your 1Rm let me know.

  17. #17

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Thanks for the responses so far. We do not do boring but big, that would be boring!

    Quote Originally Posted by "NYC_Native":3gzxb9wj
    To answer your first question, Cathy, I've kept in mind stuff my physical therapist had harped on from a few years back (i.e., unilateral work). And I'm trying to do more core related exercises, if only because I hate them. I think we should sometimes do the things we hate, unfortunately.
    I'm trying to make sure we do unilateral work too. We've had step ups in the program since day 1, because as DH says, he hates those so he knows he should do them. hah. I'm trying to make sure we do core most days too, mostly because since nrolfa I just feel like thats been lagging behind.

  18. #18

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Today I decided on to do some Kroc rows for my last 5x10 assistance set of dumbbell rows. I used my 55 pound dumbbell and managed 40 per arm. I was wiped and pumped at the same time. I think I will do this every Bench day. my highest dumbbell at home is 55 pounds but I have some oly handles and plenty of 5 and 10 pound plates.

  19. #19
    BurgerBob
    Guest

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    Has anybody ever had any joint issues with the volume from BBB? I've had a pretty good run with keeping my low back healthy, but I started doing the BBB template about a month ago. My low back has feels like it's getting worse. I'm not sure if all the extra squats and deadlifts is to blame.

  20. #20

    Jim Wendler's 5-3-1

    BBB is brutal and makes me sore, but I am not noticing any lower back issues and I have a pretty weak lower back. Deadlift is my worst lift for sure but I think BBB is actually helping my lower back.

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