5/3/1 Strength program incorporation

Hi all,

Does anyone here incorporate Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength program into their training routine? If so, would you mind sharing your routine? I just started TrainerRoad and I’d like to get back into powerlifting as well.

Thanks!

5/3/1 Forever and also random posts on the Internet have some recommendations for 5/3/1 for athletes. It’s lower intensity and a little less lower body volume.

I’ve been doing 5s PRO upper body. Lower body plus cycling is too much for my knees. I should work on that in the off season…

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Here is Jim Wendler answering just that question

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I had good results from combining the beyond 531 program and rugby season, but not cycling.

One thing I found helpful was as the season wore on, i switched from back squats and deadlifts to front squats and RDLs. That still gave me a significant stimulus, but the reduced weight and the reduced emphasis on either the posterior or anterior side depending on the day kept me fresher.

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yep i do 5/3/1 every week…i only make 2 small changes. i do a dead lift machine instead of dead lift from the floor and i do a form of lunges instead of squat. i lift twice a week and do bench/dead one day and lunge/press the other…make sure to always leave a few in the tank or it can be rough on the body.

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I just looked up 5/3/1. Good grief but if that’s “the simplest training method for raw strength”, I’d hate to see a complicated one.

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Hah, yeah it looks complicated but it’s simple in practice. TBH, the numbers are a big reason why I enjoy cycling and powerlifting.

How old are you? What are your goals? How is your joint health?

I did 5/3/1 without reading/understanding the program. I just got an app and started doing the BBB version. Bad move. After hurting my shoulder on OHP - I started hunting for more reddit info and found that the push/pull ratio on a lot of programs can get way off if you don’t know what you’re dong. BBB without understanding for me was way too push centric.

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I’m 40 years old and my joint health is relatively good. As for my goals, I’d like to take part in crit racing albeit I’m more interested in the fun, excitement, and camaraderie as opposed to getting on the podium. Holistically, I have always had a lot of maximal strength and I don’t want to lose that as I get older. Being able to compete with younger guys in kickboxing and on the wrestling mat is also fun.

I fully understand what you’re saying, powerlifting was my main form of exercise prior to cycling and it’s not to be taken lightly. I’ve just never done any endurance sport in my whole life, let alone with strength training. That said, I’m going to do the standard 5/3/1 program with a reduction in the assistance exercises. I plan on doing 2 strength workouts a week on my commute dates, and just bring my commutes down to a recovery level and save the hard rides for the TR sessions.

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what is the essence of 5/3/1?

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Sounds like a plan and seems quite a sensible approach. Good luck with it.

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Follow one of 4 exercises using specific percentages based on your 1RM
Start with 5 then 3 then 1 lifts. Add some additional ‘assistance’ work
Train 3 to 4 days a week

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I’ve not tried while cycling a lot so I don’t have experience with that.

But 5/3/1 is a solid program and I think one of the best for strength and general conditioning.

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also for those that dont know there are a lot of free apps for 5/3/1 that set everything up for you. all i do is get on my phone and it tells me what to lift and how many reps i need to set a new PR. i think having that clear goal is what makes 5/3/1 so good. plus i like only having to really work hard on one set lol

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I followed it to a T for a long time before TR. When I started TR, I figured I could do both if I ate right, stretched, and slept well.

I lasted 4 months before I suffered from over training. My lifts went up (DL closed in on 400, squat at 350, bench at 235) and my ftp kept increasing. I felt like a total badass… until I wasn’t.

Listen to the podcast and they talk about it in a recent one. The sweet spot I think it’s doing the basic 531 with BBB and just call it from there (done in about 25 minutes). Some weeks I only get to do dl or squat… however that’s ok bc I’m all in on cycling.

Set your goal appropriately and then choose your workouts towards that goal.

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Sorry to revive a quiet thread, but I’ve been really happy with 5/3/1 for the last little while. Exactly what the routine looks like changes throughout the year, but I feel like it’s been pretty positive on the balance.

As a triathlete, my racing season is generally late spring to early fall, during which I try to do a pretty standard base/build/specialty arrangement. During base and build, I like the approach Wendler outlines in the T-Nation forum for distance runners:

  • Lift twice a week, two main lifts per week
  • Use a training max of 80-85% instead of 90% for each lift (that’s a percentage of your 1 rep max, which you should probably be estimating instead of testing)
  • Instead of 5/3/1 go with “5’s PRO and 5x5 FSL,” which is three sets of 5 reps of increasing weight (65/75/85, 70/80/90, or 75/85/95% of your training max), then 5 sets of 5 reps at the first weight
  • No AMRAP (“as many reps as possible”) sets
  • Do accessories appropriate for your sport in between sets of the main lifts
  • Increase your training max at the end of every third week: 5lbs for upper body lifts and 10lbs for lower body lifts.

The week before an important race, or if I’m feeling rundown, I do the recovery week percentages (40/50/60) and drop the 5x5.

During the specialty phase, when I’m really focused on an A race and worried about fatigue, I drop the 5x5 entirely, and don’t up my training max. My goal during the specialty period is minimizing fatigue while making sure that when I return to strength training, I don’t get knocked over by DOMS. (My general experience - and it’s different for everyone - is that if I take a couple weeks off from strength training entirely, then the next time I pick up a barbell I’m going to be incredibly sore for several days afterward.)

Outside of my racing season, I try to prioritize strength training more. I’ll generally only swim if it sounds like fun, I’ll try to maintain consistency of running and biking without any intensity (this is a good time for supplementing fun rides with traditional base on the trainer, and watch some TV), and I’ll go with a different 5/3/1 program. I’ll reset my estimated 1-rep maximums, I’ll switch to a training max that’s 90% of that, I’ll do the 5/3/1 sets with an AMRAP finishing set, and I’ll train 3 days a week instead of just 2.

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