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View Full Version : Anybody Use Wendler's 5-3-1 Program?



Guido
01-05-2009, 02:07 PM
I'm starting it now after reading some things on it but was wondering if anybody on here had used it and what were your results. How much did you put on your squat, bench, or deadlift after one training cycle using this program?

Tom Mutaffis
01-05-2009, 03:15 PM
A couple of friends of mine use this program and have been very pleased with it.

Seems to work well for a more advanced lifter. I've thought about giving it a try.

geoffsherman
01-05-2009, 03:59 PM
I am using it now. I am on my first wave and it is a tough program. I have been used to working in the 1-3 rep range and the program obviously works at higher reps. One big thing is to take your maxes down a bit when you start the program (I think Jim recommends plugging 90% of your max in for your first time through). I thought this was bunk, but started the program two months ago and got my butt kicked before I decreased my max.

Brian Hopper
01-05-2009, 04:08 PM
Where can I find out more about this program?

KarstenDD
01-05-2009, 04:27 PM
Where can I find out more about this program?


You can get it as an ebook or a regular book.

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?cid=375&m=PD&pid=2795

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?cid=375&m=PD&pid=2786

sayagain
01-05-2009, 04:28 PM
I've been doing it for the past 2 weeks and it does really kick your ass if you are used to the 1-3 rep range on the big 3. It is definitely a good idea to base the program off 90% of your actual maxes to start with. This has really gotten me working in a higher rep range than I'm used to and I think will be a good change of pace. After a few times through this program I will probably go back to a Westside style template and see where I stand, but I think it is definitely going to be worthwhile.

KarstenDD
01-05-2009, 04:33 PM
Oh yea, it will definitely kick your ass.

AlMohr
01-05-2009, 04:42 PM
I just finished my first 4 week cycle. As far as gains I really can't comment yet, but I "feel" stronger and not as beat up as I used to. Some of my training partners have used it for a few cycles, and have put weight on all thier lifts. Not huge amounts (10-25lbs) but enough to please any experianced lifter. It builds off a solid base and allows for the lifter to make continual progress while knowing where thier at strengh wise, unlike alot of other programs. However as stated, this is demanding intensity wise if done correctly. The top set of the day must be pushed as hard as possible. just like any program you'll get what you give effort wise. And start lighter! Good luck

HP666
01-05-2009, 06:00 PM
And remember about Jim's program that it is meant to be a LONG TERM program. Jim preaches it all the time, it is meant to be taken slow, with small jumps in weight.

RhodeHouse
01-05-2009, 06:18 PM
I've been doing it for the past 2 weeks and it does really kick your ass if you are used to the 1-3 rep range on the big 3. It is definitely a good idea to base the program off 90% of your actual maxes to start with. This has really gotten me working in a higher rep range than I'm used to and I think will be a good change of pace. After a few times through this program I will probably go back to a Westside style template and see where I stand, but I think it is definitely going to be worthwhile.

If you're not going to stick with it for at least a year, I wouldn't bother. Strength is a marathon, not a spint. You should actually give it 3-5 years before you really judge it on it's effectiveness. Strength is a lifelong pursuit.

I've been using it with great success. Right now, I'm trying figure out how to mesh it with using the gear.

Guido
01-05-2009, 10:03 PM
I am using it now. I am on my first wave and it is a tough program. I have been used to working in the 1-3 rep range and the program obviously works at higher reps. One big thing is to take your maxes down a bit when you start the program (I think Jim recommends plugging 90% of your max in for your first time through). I thought this was bunk, but started the program two months ago and got my butt kicked before I decreased my max.This is what I did and it seems to be about right. It would be REALLY tough starting out basing it on your true max.

Guido
01-05-2009, 10:06 PM
If you're not going to stick with it for at least a year, I wouldn't bother. Strength is a marathon, not a spint. You should actually give it 3-5 years before you really judge it on it's effectiveness. Strength is a lifelong pursuit.

I've been using it with great success. Right now, I'm trying figure out how to mesh it with using the gear.This is what I'm trying to figure out, too, for the deadlift. I'm just using it "as is" to increase my raw squat and bench.

RhodeHouse
01-06-2009, 06:14 AM
This is what I'm trying to figure out, too, for the deadlift. I'm just using it "as is" to increase my raw squat and bench.

I'm going to put something together for Jim's book on this. It's not the be all and end all of gear training, but just what I'm trying and how I'm trying to incorporate it while still keeping my raw strength up.

=Travis=
01-06-2009, 07:26 AM
I just finished my first 4 week cycle. As far as gains I really can't comment yet, but I "feel" stronger and not as beat up as I used to.

I am finishing up my second cycle of using this and the above statement seems pretty right on. I don't feel as beat up as I used to feel and I think I'm making progress. I didn't have a problem starting with my regular max and actually thought the first cycle was a little light as I did all my sets for triples in the single week. So far I dig it though as I don't feel as beat up but I feel like I am making some progress.

RhodeHouse
01-06-2009, 09:50 AM
I am finishing up my second cycle of using this and the above statement seems pretty right on. I don't feel as beat up as I used to feel and I think I'm making progress. I didn't have a problem starting with my regular max and actually thought the first cycle was a little light as I did all my sets for triples in the single week. So far I dig it though as I don't feel as beat up but I feel like I am making some progress.

There is no singles week. The 1st set is 5, the 2nd is 3, and the 3rd is a single.

Ben Moore
01-06-2009, 09:55 AM
There is no singles week. The 1st set is 5, the 2nd is 3, and the 3rd is a single.

Pretty sure that's what he meant

ehubbard
01-06-2009, 10:47 AM
I have been using it on my deadlift for the last 4 months and my geared comp deadlift went from 675 to 725. I just finished the first 3 weeks of a 4 week wave on the bench and have hit two rep PRs. On the bench, I plan on doing shirt work after the raw bench work and limit my shirt sets to 3 -5 sets. I have not tried the program on the squat, simply because my raw squat technique needs some work and I would rather dial that in than reinforce bad habits. Overall, my week is structured:

Bench Day
5/3/1 Bench
Shirt Work

Deadlift Day
5/3/1/ Deadlift
DL Assis. (GM, Zercher)

Bench Assistance
Rep Work on Boards
5/3/1 Standing Military

Squat
Geared Squat Variation
Squat Ass.

We'll see how it goes, but I plan on sticking to this for quite a while.

AlMohr
01-06-2009, 11:20 AM
I'm going to put something together for Jim's book on this. It's not the be all and end all of gear training, but just what I'm trying and how I'm trying to incorporate it while still keeping my raw strength up.

Rhodes, I was thinking about how to add gear in to the mix as well. I'm thinking to be as true to the program as possible raw wise I would do the normal 5/3/1 raw and right after thats finished put gear on. I guess it would be like "warming up" raw before putting the gear on. Do you think this too much, going heavy raw AND geared?

Ben Moore
01-06-2009, 11:27 AM
I have been using it on my deadlift for the last 4 months and my geared comp deadlift went from 675 to 725. I just finished the first 3 weeks of a 4 week wave on the bench and have hit two rep PRs. On the bench, I plan on doing shirt work after the raw bench work and limit my shirt sets to 3 -5 sets. I have not tried the program on the squat, simply because my raw squat technique needs some work and I would rather dial that in than reinforce bad habits. Overall, my week is structured:

Bench Day
5/3/1 Bench
Shirt Work

Deadlift Day
5/3/1/ Deadlift
DL Assis. (GM, Zercher)

Bench Assistance
Rep Work on Boards
5/3/1 Standing Military

Squat
Geared Squat Variation
Squat Ass.

We'll see how it goes, but I plan on sticking to this for quite a while.

That's a good plan - thanks for posting that.

=Travis=
01-06-2009, 11:40 AM
There is no singles week. The 1st set is 5, the 2nd is 3, and the 3rd is a single.


Pretty sure that's what he meant

Yep, that's what I meant, the third week at 5-3-1.

Dingus
01-06-2009, 01:24 PM
I have been using it on my deadlift for the last 4 months and my geared comp deadlift went from 675 to 725. I just finished the first 3 weeks of a 4 week wave on the bench and have hit two rep PRs. On the bench, I plan on doing shirt work after the raw bench work and limit my shirt sets to 3 -5 sets. I have not tried the program on the squat, simply because my raw squat technique needs some work and I would rather dial that in than reinforce bad habits. Overall, my week is structured:

Bench Day
5/3/1 Bench
Shirt Work

Deadlift Day
5/3/1/ Deadlift
DL Assis. (GM, Zercher)

Bench Assistance
Rep Work on Boards
5/3/1 Standing Military

Squat
Geared Squat Variation
Squat Ass.

We'll see how it goes, but I plan on sticking to this for quite a while.

This seems like a good way to set it up, what kind of squat variation is it going to be? What I mean is is it more of a Dynamic or a Max Effort day.

ehubbard
01-06-2009, 01:48 PM
That's a good plan - thanks for posting that.

Thanks! Let's see how it works out.


This seems like a good way to set it up, what kind of squat variation is it going to be? What I mean is is it more of a Dynamic or a Max Effort day.

I havent really planned out what it will be from week to week at this point. The last few weeks I have been without a back spotter / side spotters so it's been triples in briefs and some chain squats. But for the most part it will be max effort work (chain squat, reverse bands, free squat, and the occasional box squat). I have cut out the "dynamic" day for a variety of reasons.

RhodeHouse
01-06-2009, 03:20 PM
Rhodes, I was thinking about how to add gear in to the mix as well. I'm thinking to be as true to the program as possible raw wise I would do the normal 5/3/1 raw and right after thats finished put gear on. I guess it would be like "warming up" raw before putting the gear on. Do you think this too much, going heavy raw AND geared?

Vincent and I have been doing the 3 sets of the 5/3/1 after our shirt work. The thought is we really want to focus on the shirt, then finish up with some ra work. We're also in meet prep mode. In non-meet mode, I'll do the raw work first, then the shirt work. Try to keep the shirt to 3-4 sets. It can really beat you up.

vdizenzo
01-06-2009, 03:29 PM
I am using it and really like it. I think any plan with a little thought works as long as you are killing it. I like the simplicity. Like Rhodes said, we are using the 5-3-1 as assistance work after our equipped bench. I figured what better assistance is there for the bench than well--more bench pressing. I am please with the results. It has also given me some focus on deadlifting and squatting which I otherwise do aimlessly. However, I use a safety squat bar for squats and the trap bar for deadlifts.

Darracq
01-06-2009, 06:23 PM
whats everyone thoughts on floor press on shoulder day, my soulders kill me on overhead work, i dont know if it would be to close to just flat benching, i would use a close grip, i might just suck it up and do some db shoulder work, but my soulders seem to recover so slow.

vdizenzo
01-06-2009, 06:36 PM
Try bringing your shoulder presses just down to eye level. They could cause less stress on your shoulders that way.

geoffsherman
01-06-2009, 06:36 PM
whats everyone thoughts on floor press on shoulder day, my soulders kill me on overhead work, i dont know if it would be to close to just flat benching, i would use a close grip, i might just suck it up and do some db shoulder work, but my soulders seem to recover so slow.

Can you do incline presses?

Darracq
01-06-2009, 07:23 PM
Try bringing your shoulder presses just down to eye level. They could cause less stress on your shoulders that way.


They dont hurt as bad, but still pain mostly on the lowering part.

Darracq
01-06-2009, 07:25 PM
Can you do incline presses?

Maybe on a slight incline,maybe i could use some boards so i dont come down so far

Darracq
01-06-2009, 07:42 PM
How narrow of a grip can i use on shouler press or incline and stilll hit the shoulders?

Darracq
01-06-2009, 08:18 PM
Try bringing your shoulder presses just down to eye level. They could cause less stress on your shoulders that way.


I tried this i went to about mouth level, wasnt to bad i willl stick with this unless my shoulders get worse.

ehubbard
01-07-2009, 06:50 AM
whats everyone thoughts on floor press on shoulder day, my soulders kill me on overhead work, i dont know if it would be to close to just flat benching, i would use a close grip, i might just suck it up and do some db shoulder work, but my soulders seem to recover so slow.

I would also try and work on fixing the shoulder problem through non-surgical means, if possible. I have a torn labrum and for years I couldnt overhead press and at one point it got so bad that benching was causing me repeated pec strains. I did a lot of rehab exercise and continue to do a prehab warmup before I bench or overhead.

Brad08
01-07-2009, 07:06 AM
I would also try and work on fixing the shoulder problem through non-surgical means, if possible. I have a torn labrum and for years I couldnt overhead press and at one point it got so bad that benching was causing me repeated pec strains. I did a lot of rehab exercise and continue to do a prehab warmup before I bench or overhead.

Exactly. Don't just work around it. Try to resolve it. It's better long-term. Are you on a steady diet of dislocates yet?

Darracq
01-07-2009, 08:08 AM
Exactly. Don't just work around it. Try to resolve it. It's better long-term. Are you on a steady diet of dislocates yet?

No, i have heard of them, i will search and see what they are.

ehubbard
01-07-2009, 09:39 AM
I dont use dislocates, because they tend to cause me more harm than good. Here is what I do:

Foam Roll (upper back, mid back, lats)
Lax Ball Roll (Rotator Cuff / Upper Back)
Reach Roll & Lift
Side Lying Extension Rotation
Scap Pushup
YTWL
Face Pulls

Guido
01-07-2009, 01:14 PM
Try to find an ART doc in your area if possible. I've been seeing one for my glute/hip/knee issues and it's worked wonders for me. They should be able to work out shoulder issues, as well.

waynedang
01-07-2009, 05:55 PM
Try to find an ART doc in your area if possible. I've been seeing one for my glute/hip/knee issues and it's worked wonders for me. They should be able to work out shoulder issues, as well.


It has worked for me on shoulder and elbow

JK1
01-21-2010, 03:08 PM
I have been using it on my deadlift for the last 4 months and my geared comp deadlift went from 675 to 725. I just finished the first 3 weeks of a 4 week wave on the bench and have hit two rep PRs. On the bench, I plan on doing shirt work after the raw bench work and limit my shirt sets to 3 -5 sets. I have not tried the program on the squat, simply because my raw squat technique needs some work and I would rather dial that in than reinforce bad habits. Overall, my week is structured:

Bench Day
5/3/1 Bench
Shirt Work

Deadlift Day
5/3/1/ Deadlift
DL Assis. (GM, Zercher)

Bench Assistance
Rep Work on Boards
5/3/1 Standing Military

Squat
Geared Squat Variation
Squat Ass.

We'll see how it goes, but I plan on sticking to this for quite a while.

How did that approach end up working for you?

ehubbard
01-21-2010, 03:30 PM
How did that approach end up working for you?

My Military Press went up nicely. But in the end squatting and pulling heavy twice a week was not working too well for me. Following the 5/3/1 work on the bench with shirt work was also counterproductive. I had the most success when I did a geared squat, followed by 5/3/1 deadlift on the same day. If I had to do it over again I would do that, keep the bench assistance day, and just do shirt work/raw lifting geared towards shirted benching on a separate day.

JK1
01-22-2010, 11:50 AM
My Military Press went up nicely. But in the end squatting and pulling heavy twice a week was not working too well for me. Following the 5/3/1 work on the bench with shirt work was also counterproductive. I had the most success when I did a geared squat, followed by 5/3/1 deadlift on the same day. If I had to do it over again I would do that, keep the bench assistance day, and just do shirt work/raw lifting geared towards shirted benching on a separate day.

Well crap. My wife is training 5/3/1 and so far has made great gains. The thing is it seems as if she'sstarting to stagnate and we are ~16 weeks out from our next meet. I need to come up with a way to transition from 5/3/1 to gear for her that will not totally screw things up too.

ehubbard
01-22-2010, 12:42 PM
Well crap. My wife is training 5/3/1 and so far has made great gains. The thing is it seems as if she'sstarting to stagnate and we are ~16 weeks out from our next meet. I need to come up with a way to transition from 5/3/1 to gear for her that will not totally screw things up too.

I would back off the maxes maybe. Also, another thing I would do differently in the context of using the template for geared training is to not do as many reps as possible all the time. I know people like to test themselves in terms of rep maxes but I think having some back off weeks would be good too.