I have herd a lot of positive feedback from this program and a lot of negative feedback. I am here to tell you the negative feedback usually comes from the individuals who have no sense in how to get stronger, or you will have that guy that knows a thing or two but insist on sabotaging the program which leads to little success.
I have trained with Jim Wendler for ten years and have went from that person who gained and oversized ego, who liked to show off in other gyms (sabotaging everything Jim showed me) to getting my shit together learning, and experiencing the progression of the 5/3/1 program. Something that Jim tells me everyday, “We are not just training; we are doing something bigger”. I Finally understand what he was telling me. When training you have to look at the bigger picture, don’t be the guy who’s impatient and wants results now; be the guy who understand the progression of the program and looks at the big picture and see's success in there training future.
T NATION: 5/3/1 HOW TO BUILD PURE STRENGTH
Here's what you need to know...
- Getting good at the core lifts will have a huge carryover into everything else. Start light, progress slowly, and leave out the ego in order to bust PRs.
- Train 3-4 days a week. Center each workout around one of the following: parallel squat, bench press, deadlift, or standing shoulder press.
- Use a specific percentage of your one-rep max to lift 5 reps, then 3 reps, then 1 rep. These percentages are based on 90% of your 1RM.
- Complement 5/3/1 training with assistance work to build muscle, prevent injury, and create a balanced physique. Options include chin-ups, dips, lunges, and back extensions.
The Reason for 5/3/1
Just so we're clear, either people want to do 5/3/1 or they don't. I really want to help people, but if they won't take my advice there's nothing I can do. That's fine by me. I don't fight the battles. I just don't fucking care.
Look, arguing about strength training theory is stupid. And the reason I came up with 5/3/1 was that I wanted a program that eliminated stupid thoughts from my head and just let me go into the weight room and get shit done.
I've been training for 20 years, and this is what I've learned.
A Powerlifter's Progress
My best powerlifting accomplishment in the 275-pound weight class was a 1,000-pound squat, 675-pound bench press, 700-pound deadlift, and a 2,375 total. No, I wasn't strong at all! Sure, I could waddle up to the monolift and squat, but I couldn't do anything else. Really, all I could do was squat, bench, and deadlift.
Today I have different aspirations. I want to be able to do a bunch of different activities and still kick ass in the weight room. I want to be as mobile, flexible, strong, and in as good a condition as I possibly can. That's how I came up with 5/3/1.
The core philosophy behind 5/3/1 revolves around the basic tenets of strength training that have stood the test of time.
Basic Multi-Joint Lifts
The bench press, parallel squat, deadlift, and standing press have been the staples of any strong man's repertoire. Those who ignore these lifts are generally the people who suck at them. If you get good at those, you'll get good at other stuff, as they have such a huge carryover.
While it may seem counterintuitive to take weight off the bar when the goal is to add weight to it, starting lighter allows you more room to progress forward. This is a very hard pill to swallow for most lifters. They want to start heavy and they want to start now.
This is nothing more than ego, and nothing will destroy a lifter faster, or for longer, than ego.
This ties in with starting light, and it keeps lifters who want to get big and strong yesterday from sabotaging their own progress.
People want a program that will add 40 pounds to their bench in eight weeks. When I ask how much their bench went up in the last year, they hang their heads in shame.
Break Personal Records
5/3/1 is set up to allow you to break a variety of repetition records throughout the year. Notice that it's "rep records" and not "one-rep max." Most people live and die by their one-rep max. To me, this is foolish and short sighted.
If your squat goes from 225 x 6 to 225 x 9, you've gotten stronger.
5/3/1 by the Numbers
To see 5/3/1 by the numbers and the whole article click here