The 12-Week Training Program I Wrote with Jim Wendler

TAGS: Caleb Sexton, JIm Wendler's 5/3/1, program, training program, Jim Wendler

I was talking to Jim Wendler this week during our training session and told him I wanted to write another article for elitefts, but I wasn't sure what to write. Jim told me to write up a 9 or 12 week program based on the training we have been doing. After little thought, we wrote up a 12-week program like Jim suggested. Here's what we developed:

Before starting this program, you need to find out an accurate training max (TM) for yourself. To find your training max, take your one rep max (1RM) and multiply it by 0.85. This is now your training max. You will use your training max to calculate your work sets. Here is a example:


Squat 1RM: 500

Squat TM: 500 x 0.85: 425


Once you have determined each of your training maxes, you use those numbers to determine your work sets. To calculate your work sets, you will take your training max and multiply it by the percentages I will supply you with through the program. This program will be done in three-week cycles. After each  three-week cycle you will add five pounds to your bench and overhead press, and you will add ten pounds to your squat and deadlift. Here is a example of one cycle:

Week One

Set 1 x 5 (Training Max x .70)

Set 2 x 5 (Training Max x .80)

Set 3 x 5 (Training Max x .90)

Week Two

Set 1 x 5 (Training Max x .65)

Set 2 x 5 (Training Max x .75)

Set 3 x 5 (Training Max x .85)

Week Three

Set 1 x 5 (Training Max x .75)

Set 2 x 5 (Training Max x .85)

Set 3 x 5 (Training Max x .95)

Add 10 pounds to squat and deadlift training max. Add 5 pounds to overhead and bench training max then start next cycle.


caleb-sexton-program-jim-wendler-

 The Program

Weeks 1-3

Example of how each week in the cycles are set up above.

Main Lifts — 5 Reps All Sets

Monday- Squat

Supplemental Work — 5 x 5 with first set

Wednesday — Overhead Press

Supplemental Work — 5 x 5 with first set

Friday — Deadlift and Bench

Supplemental Work — 5 x 5 with first set

Accessory Work 

Monday — Rows, Abs, Back Raises, Prowler

Wednesday — Chin Ups, Dips, Curls, Prowler

Friday — Abs, Back Raises, Prowler

Weeks 4-6

Main Lifts — 5 Reps All Sets

Monday — Squat

Supplemental Work — 50 total reps with first set

Wednesday — Overhead Press

Supplemental Work — 50 total reps with first set

Friday — Deadlift and Bench

Supplemental Work — 50 total reps with first set

Conditioning — Weight vest walk x 2 miles, 4 days a week

Accessory Work

Monday — Abs, Back Raises

Wednesday — Chin ups x 50 reps

Friday- Abs, Back Raises

Weeks 7-9

Main Lifts — 5 Reps All Sets

Monday — Squat

Supplemental Work — 5 x 3 pause squat with first set

Wednesday — Overhead Press

Supplemental Work — 10 x 5 with first set

Friday — Deadlift and Bench

Supplemental Work — Bench 10 x 5 with first set

Deadlift 5 x 5 with snatch grip, first set

Accessory Work

Monday — Abs, Back Raises, Prowler

Wednesday — Chin Ups x 50 reps

Friday — Prowler

Weeks 10-12

Main Lifts 5x5, Last Set to a Rep PR (No Supplemental Work)

Monday — Squat

Wednesday — Overhead Press

Friday — Deadlift and Bench

Accessory Work

Monday — Abs, Back Raises, Prowler

Wednesday — Chin ups, Curls

Friday — Abs, Back Raises, Prowler

 Don't Sabotage the Program


This program is made to be followed strictly. If you sabotage this program you will not see as much progress through the twelve weeks. From what I have seen in the past with good programs, a lot of lifters will say that the program is not for them or that they didn't see the progress they wanted to with the program. What they don't tell you is all the extra lifts they added, or some other bullshit they did during the training program. That is what you call sabotaging  the program. From experience with Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 program, I have found that if I I'm not a dumbass and I follow the program strictly, I continue to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Don't let that ego get to you — follow the program.

Caleb Sexton is a senior at Urbana University studying Sport's Management. Currently an intern at elitefts, Caleb works at Fed Ex Freight and trains for powerlifting.

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