5-3-1 question

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    5-3-1 question


    I've been doing some reading about the 5-3-1 method. I plan on trying it full on later in the year. Both the powerlifting template and the bodybuilding template he has set up and see how they compare. My question about it is can I cherry pick from it and expect good strength gains? For example, I really want to increase my leg strength but I like how my training feels for the rest of my body.

    Can I just apply the squat template and expect the same kind of gains? I do squats/quads Monday and deadlifts/hamstrings Friday. My deads are progressing very well and I do a similar type of set up for both days. I was thinking about trying the 5-3-1 for my squat day and see if my progression is a little bit better. Has anyone tried that or is the program better when done in its totality. It probably is, but like I said, I like how everything else is going, squats just aren't going the way I want.

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    well, what exactly are you doing now? how long have you been doing it? what did you do before? how long have you been training? can you post a vid of your squat?

    what is your diet like? how well and how long do you sleep?
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post
    My deads are progressing very well and I do a similar type of set up for both days./// I like how everything else is going, squats just aren't going the way I want.
    Just a few things to ponder.
    It says you are 6' 2" and under #200 so I am guessing you are built much more to pull than to squat. This could very well be the reason why your dead is doing so well and you feel your squat is lagging but may not be.
    Another thing is, if your dead is going up, you will most likely be slowly increasing your squat too, unless you are a real high hipped all low back puller, which IMO, you should be doing the bent leg variety dead. If you put #100+ on your dead, there is a dang good chance that you'll put more on the squat as well. It might not be that much, but naturally you will most likely always have you dead above the squat by perhaps #100 or so if you are lifting raw!? You can eventually focus a great deal on the squat to improve, but your ratio from dead to sqaut may always be having the dead higher, as if your squat goes up, so might will your dead most likely. I might be more apt to give each one even time at this point, and see where they go. If you have access to a trap bar, that can also be good for guys who are taller and are able to pull/deadlift better, but still get more leg involvement, especially if you stand on say 2" blocks to make the ROM fuller.
    The bottom line for me would be, if I was making progress, I'd keep at it until it tapers off or stagnates.
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    5-3-1 question


    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    well, what exactly are you doing now? how long have you been doing it? what did you do before? how long have you been training? can you post a vid of your squat?

    what is your diet like? how well and how long do you sleep?
    All of this.

    The ability to intelligently "bastardize" programs like 5/3/1 are greatly dependent upon your level of training experience and knowledge.
    Don't worry, man, someday I'ma be nobody too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    well, what exactly are you doing now? how long have you been doing it? what did you do before? how long have you been training? can you post a vid of your squat?

    what is your diet like? how well and how long do you sleep?
    I have been concentrating on front squats primarily. For about 8 weeks (which I think I pretty much wasted my time haha) I would train front squats third behind leg press and barbell hack squats. Every fourth week I would then do it first. Right now I am just getting back into doing it while I am fresh. Feels less stressful on my brain.

    I have been training hard since I was 26. I've had periods of inactivity because of spraining my back and a big move to Texas a couple of years ago.

    My diet is pretty good. Oatmeal, peanut butter, scoop of protein, milk for breakfast, turkey burgers and brown rice for my 3 meals at work, scoop of protein, oatmeal, and pb about an hour and half before I work out and postworkout. I change up from the whole insulin spike, fast digesting carbs I did when I was younger. I feel better doing it like this.

    Honestly, my problem is mostly sleep, but I am starting to get that corrected. I have 3 boys and I wouldn't make it to the gym until 9:30 or 10. Then I would have a hard time falling asleep because I would be wound up from my workout. I wouldn't fall asleep until 1:30 and be up before 7 to get my older boys ready for school. I know I need more sleep and my diet on the weekend could be better, (ie more quality calories)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    Just a few things to ponder.
    It says you are 6' 2" and under #200 so I am guessing you are built much more to pull than to squat. This could very well be the reason why your dead is doing so well and you feel your squat is lagging but may not be.
    Another thing is, if your dead is going up, you will most likely be slowly increasing your squat too, unless you are a real high hipped all low back puller, which IMO, you should be doing the bent leg variety dead. If you put #100+ on your dead, there is a dang good chance that you'll put more on the squat as well. It might not be that much, but naturally you will most likely always have you dead above the squat by perhaps #100 or so if you are lifting raw!? You can eventually focus a great deal on the squat to improve, but your ratio from dead to sqaut may always be having the dead higher, as if your squat goes up, so might will your dead most likely. I might be more apt to give each one even time at this point, and see where they go. If you have access to a trap bar, that can also be good for guys who are taller and are able to pull/deadlift better, but still get more leg involvement, especially if you stand on say 2" blocks to make the ROM fuller.
    The bottom line for me would be, if I was making progress, I'd keep at it until it tapers off or stagnates.
    LOL you are dead on. My pulls are pretty good. I'm a leg driver. I try not to use my lower back more than I have to. I'm a glutes and hamstrings kinda guy when I do deads. 345 x 8, 365 x 6, and 385 x 3, and 405 x 1 was my last deadlift workout. Not extremely strong, but not a total vagina either haha. And your ratio is correct. When I trained all the time and didn't have kids, my squat was 385, my deadlift 450. I use no belt right now. I use chalk above 375 for my deadlifts. I'm trying to build as much natural strength as possible before getting a belt. No plans on like a squat suit or any of that stuff haha.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swanson52 View Post
    All of this.

    The ability to intelligently "bastardize" programs like 5/3/1 are greatly dependent upon your level of training experience and knowledge.
    I kinda figured. I didn't know if anyone had any success just trying bits and pieces versus the whole program. Bastardize is such a strong word haha.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    Just a few things to ponder.
    It says you are 6' 2" and under #200 so I am guessing you are built much more to pull than to squat. This could very well be the reason why your dead is doing so well and you feel your squat is lagging but may not be.
    i experienced this. i put on 110lbs to my dead my first year in powerlifting while i added 45 to my squat. now they have a 110lbs difference.

    i was even stalled on squats for 6 months till i started doing wide stance paused box squats, ala westside style on DE day. i would do 15-20 sets of 20 in like 12-15 minutes. after 2 months my squat starting going up. at first it was my singles at 90+% got much easier then when i tried a new max i went up nearly 30lbs after 4 months of doing those box squats.

    i would also recommend if you have long legs like me that you should do bulgarian split squats and steps ups as well.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Thank you guys for the replies. I appreciate it. I think I have some small things I can do without "bastardizing" anything haha. Any further suggestions are welcome, though. I think my biggest issue is probably sleep. I was curious if anyone had manipulated the program in such a way and had success. I've heard so many good things about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    i experienced this. i put on 110lbs to my dead my first year in powerlifting while i added 45 to my squat. now they have a 110lbs difference.

    i was even stalled on squats for 6 months till i started doing wide stance paused box squats, ala westside style on DE day. i would do 15-20 sets of 20 in like 12-15 minutes. after 2 months my squat starting going up. at first it was my singles at 90+% got much easier then when i tried a new max i went up nearly 30lbs after 4 months of doing those box squats.

    i would also recommend if you have long legs like me that you should do bulgarian split squats and steps ups as well.
    You know, I have been considering doing bulgarian squats again. I'm 6'2, but I have legs of someone an inch or 2 taller. I have destroyed on deads since coming back to the gym.
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    5-3-1 question


    Quote Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post
    Thank you guys for the replies. I appreciate it. I think I have some small things I can do without "bastardizing" anything haha. Any further suggestions are welcome, though. I think my biggest issue is probably sleep. I was curious if anyone had manipulated the program in such a way and had success. I've heard so many good things about it.
    The only things in 5/3/1 I've changed are the assistance exercises, and I rotate them based on what my big lift weak point is. I have a coach evaluate my lifts, identify weaknesses, then modify assistance as necessary.

    Therein (IMHO) lies the beauty of 5/3/1. It's so simple, yet it's effectiveness (again, IMHO) is undeniable. I believe many people get sucked in to over thinking the process. For less advanced trainees, the KISS principle applies directly to 5/3/1.

    Have someone (or even us, via video) evaluate your lift, identify failure points, and make assistance suggestions.
    Don't worry, man, someday I'ma be nobody too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post
    I kinda figured. I didn't know if anyone had any success just trying bits and pieces versus the whole program. Bastardize is such a strong word haha.
    bastardizing is kind of odd with that program with so many variations of the accessory work. if you look at all the great programs out there you will notice very similar things. like if you want to get stronger the bulk of your main lift will be between 15-25 reps for the workout and most accessory work will be much higher reps at much lower weights.

    to me the core of 5/3/1 is the 5/3/1 part. it almost doesnt depend on which accessory plan you choose but which one you want to put the most work into. and then its knowing which exercises will give you the most on the main lift. most of those are easy to find for nearly everyone by watching form and seeing the sticking point.

    there are some 5/3/1 purists that say you are only doing that program if you follow even a specific accessory plan. that seems a bit too narrow viewed to me. others, like me, feel that as long as you follow the 5/3/1 on the main lift you are following the program and accessory work is fluff.

    then you get into bastardizing. why are you doing that first of all. i remember your previous post now about the front squat question and how you were programming your workout. if memory serves me correct it was nothing spectacular. but than most programs suck. that is why even great lifters follow proven programs and all proven programs have similarities for their respective goals.

    i do use 5/3/1 on some lifts for my max effort work sometimes. i feel it gives me a change in just going for singles all the damn time and also teaches me to strain at varying lengths of time in case i have to fight a weight for a long time at a meet. and that can be the only place i use anything 5/3/1 is for as little as 1 lift. but i still will follow a proven plan, which has been westside for last year and the start of this year so far.

    i was an athletic trainer for 9 years and after making programs for people for years i still feel that a proven program is worth me doing. this way i dont feel like wasting my time and changing my plan every day. spending hours to get 1 hour of work done in the gym. i would stress over a perfect program till i stopped being stupid and realized a great program is one i work hard at and do consistently with plenty of food and sleep.

    you also mentioned in the first post that you were thinking of later this year trying 2 different 5/3/1 plans. how long were you planning on running each? it is my strong opinion that an individual should spend no less then 3 months, and upwards of a year on a plan to tell if it works or if they will even put in the work to do it right. 6 months is a great amount of time and see results especially in strength. remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. dont judge a workout by 1 workout but by 100. which is another reason why a proven program is so important. it takes out the time which could be years, in finding a program that will work for you. proven programs are just that, they work by proof. so if you dont get results it may be the effort, the sleep, the food, etc. but not the program.

    IMO more sleep would definitely be great for you. but i understand it can be hard. i am a single father and some days im pushing on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. i do give up lots of activities, hobbies, and project time and even a lot of TV time (lol there fore sure) and go to bed right after my 5yr old some nights. i will feel fantastic sleeping 9 hours that night.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    bastardizing is kind of odd with that program with so many variations of the accessory work. if you look at all the great programs out there you will notice very similar things. like if you want to get stronger the bulk of your main lift will be between 15-25 reps for the workout and most accessory work will be much higher reps at much lower weights.

    to me the core of 5/3/1 is the 5/3/1 part. it almost doesnt depend on which accessory plan you choose but which one you want to put the most work into. and then its knowing which exercises will give you the most on the main lift. most of those are easy to find for nearly everyone by watching form and seeing the sticking point.

    there are some 5/3/1 purists that say you are only doing that program if you follow even a specific accessory plan. that seems a bit too narrow viewed to me. others, like me, feel that as long as you follow the 5/3/1 on the main lift you are following the program and accessory work is fluff.

    then you get into bastardizing. why are you doing that first of all. i remember your previous post now about the front squat question and how you were programming your workout. if memory serves me correct it was nothing spectacular. but than most programs suck. that is why even great lifters follow proven programs and all proven programs have similarities for their respective goals.

    i do use 5/3/1 on some lifts for my max effort work sometimes. i feel it gives me a change in just going for singles all the damn time and also teaches me to strain at varying lengths of time in case i have to fight a weight for a long time at a meet. and that can be the only place i use anything 5/3/1 is for as little as 1 lift. but i still will follow a proven plan, which has been westside for last year and the start of this year so far.

    i was an athletic trainer for 9 years and after making programs for people for years i still feel that a proven program is worth me doing. this way i dont feel like wasting my time and changing my plan every day. spending hours to get 1 hour of work done in the gym. i would stress over a perfect program till i stopped being stupid and realized a great program is one i work hard at and do consistently with plenty of food and sleep.

    you also mentioned in the first post that you were thinking of later this year trying 2 different 5/3/1 plans. how long were you planning on running each? it is my strong opinion that an individual should spend no less then 3 months, and upwards of a year on a plan to tell if it works or if they will even put in the work to do it right. 6 months is a great amount of time and see results especially in strength. remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. dont judge a workout by 1 workout but by 100. which is another reason why a proven program is so important. it takes out the time which could be years, in finding a program that will work for you. proven programs are just that, they work by proof. so if you dont get results it may be the effort, the sleep, the food, etc. but not the program.

    IMO more sleep would definitely be great for you. but i understand it can be hard. i am a single father and some days im pushing on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. i do give up lots of activities, hobbies, and project time and even a lot of TV time (lol there fore sure) and go to bed right after my 5yr old some nights. i will feel fantastic sleeping 9 hours that night.
    That's why I was going to get into 5-3-1 for my squats. My prior theory didn't work out NEAR as well as I thought. I like to try different things and see how they work, but once I realized it sucked, I wanted to do something proven but not mess with everything else I do.

    Yes, 3 months for each bare minimum. I have read that 5-3-1 is more of a long term, stay with you kind of answer to strength versus a quick fix, which all of us can appreciate. I noticed there were a lot of variations and there is no set "thing", which again a lot of lifters appreciate about the program. My main thing for trying both is to compare the strength gains. Like say I needed more size, but wanted to get strong still, then 5-3-1 bodybuilding style. But then I would want to see if I would get greater strength gains with the powerlifting version, which would probably be the case.

    And I fully agree that sleep would be the biggest thing. I have no doubts. Sometimes my brain just feels tired and it can sometimes be hard to dig out that motivation.

    I was actually just joking around with Swanson52 about the term he used when he initially replied to me about bastardizing 5-3-1.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swanson52 View Post
    The only things in 5/3/1 I've changed are the assistance exercises, and I rotate them based on what my big lift weak point is. I have a coach evaluate my lifts, identify weaknesses, then modify assistance as necessary.

    Therein (IMHO) lies the beauty of 5/3/1. It's so simple, yet it's effectiveness (again, IMHO) is undeniable. I believe many people get sucked in to over thinking the process. For less advanced trainees, the KISS principle applies directly to 5/3/1.

    Have someone (or even us, via video) evaluate your lift, identify failure points, and make assistance suggestions.
    That may not be a bad idea. I think my main problem is what I was trying earlier sucked and I wanted to try something proven to make up for it. That, and my sleep has been less than ideal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post
    I have read that 5-3-1 is more of a long term, stay with you kind of answer to strength versus a quick fix, which all of us can appreciate. I noticed there were a lot of variations and there is no set "thing", which again a lot of lifters appreciate about the program. My main thing for trying both is to compare the strength gains. Like say I needed more size, but wanted to get strong still, then 5-3-1 bodybuilding style. But then I would want to see if I would get greater strength gains with the powerlifting version, which would probably be the case..
    long term, i know someone that has been on it for 2 years with the BBB accessory work for the first year. he know cross trains in strongman and highland games so he does work on top of 5/3/1. still making consistent progress with it.

    variations to the 5/3/1 are from my knowledge; the original, the powerlifting version and the high frequency. now the acccessory work is limitless on its variations.

    if you were looking at the strength gains from the powerlifting variation in comparison to the bodybuilding variation, well that is easy. the powerlifting one with plenty of food, sleep, and accessory work just right for you would do far more for gains on strength.

    if your main goal is size i would start with the 5/3/1 for powerlifting with the big but boring accessory work. over time, like 6-12 months, as your work capacity grows give the bodybuilding one a try. now if your work capacity is up there, then sure jump right into the bodybuilding one.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryane87 View Post
    LOL you are dead on. My pulls are pretty good. I'm a leg driver. I try not to use my lower back more than I have to. I'm a glutes and hamstrings kinda guy when I do deads. 345 x 8, 365 x 6, and 385 x 3, and 405 x 1 was my last deadlift workout. Not extremely strong, but not a total vagina either haha.
    That ain't bad at all buddy and being under #200 BW!? Heck man, nice work on both of those lifts.
    The thing I have experienced thru the years, is that although I still keep up with all the big 5-7 exercises say. I put the most importance on the ones I am built for. And my gig is getting as much absolute weight off the floor raw as I can. I don't begrudge anyone of differing goals. My point only is, if you have a gift/build of a certain type lift, I no longer waste too much time worrying about beating Eddie Coan's BP since I am not short or stocky. I can however pull well. So I exploit that talent. I am probably older than many here too, so I don't feel that I have the time left to hunt big numbers in all the lifts HAHAHAHA.

    And your ratio is correct.I'm trying to build as much natural strength as possible before getting a belt. No plans on like a squat suit or any of that stuff haha.
    Well, I am not into geared lifting. I don't begrudge people who are, I am just old school and like to be able to get out of my car and lift it. HA
    As far as your ratio, the standard average guy with a 5'10 build is going to pretty much be a 300BP, 400Sqt, 500DL. Now there are exceptions to those guides, but that is pretty much average. Even guys putting up #1000 squats are not doing that much raw on average. Some suits are giving guys a 1/2 ton (no pun intended) and the BP's too. The hardest suit to het any real great weight from is still the deadlift. Maybe #100 if you are lucky. Hell I know a belt gives some guys #25 or so. I don't use a belt either.
    Anyway, you can increase the squat by going up in the dead and vice versa, but as I said, putting more time in on your squat may help and when i put more time in on squatting, it does seem to carry over to my DL better than the DL over to squatting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post

    i would also recommend if you have long legs like me that you should do bulgarian split squats and steps ups as well.
    Yeah, well, long legs and a short torso is ideal for deads, since the lever arm on the torso is short, you can pull the weight up close to the body and if you have longer arms, it is a given you are pretty much a puller. Does not mean you cannot improve the squat, but I might guess it will never surpass your dead, raw anyway, since your dead may follow it upwards too. Like Anello used to say, he could improve his dead by not doing it.
    I am not real familiar with the split squats and have not done them, but again, if they are working for you, and you are going the direction of up, ride that wave until it comes to shore, then get on another one. Finding what works best for one, is the key in this game.
    Nice work...!
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    Bulgarian split squats won't necessarily make you stronger per se, but they do strengthen the knee itself and help the stretch out the hips by activating the glute med/min, which isn't worked when the hips are stationary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    Bulgarian split squats won't necessarily make you stronger per se, but they do strengthen the knee itself and help the stretch out the hips by activating the glute med/min, which isn't worked when the hips are stationary.
    I'd heard that as well. They do not necessarily change over to squat strength, but they help your squat in other ways along with allowing you to do unilateral work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    That ain't bad at all buddy and being under #200 BW!? Heck man, nice work on both of those lifts.
    The thing I have experienced thru the years, is that although I still keep up with all the big 5-7 exercises say. I put the most importance on the ones I am built for. And my gig is getting as much absolute weight off the floor raw as I can. I don't begrudge anyone of differing goals. My point only is, if you have a gift/build of a certain type lift, I no longer waste too much time worrying about beating Eddie Coan's BP since I am not short or stocky. I can however pull well. So I exploit that talent. I am probably older than many here too, so I don't feel that I have the time left to hunt big numbers in all the lifts HAHAHAHA.



    Well, I am not into geared lifting. I don't begrudge people who are, I am just old school and like to be able to get out of my car and lift it. HA
    As far as your ratio, the standard average guy with a 5'10 build is going to pretty much be a 300BP, 400Sqt, 500DL. Now there are exceptions to those guides, but that is pretty much average. Even guys putting up #1000 squats are not doing that much raw on average. Some suits are giving guys a 1/2 ton (no pun intended) and the BP's too. The hardest suit to het any real great weight from is still the deadlift. Maybe #100 if you are lucky. Hell I know a belt gives some guys #25 or so. I don't use a belt either.
    Anyway, you can increase the squat by going up in the dead and vice versa, but as I said, putting more time in on your squat may help and when i put more time in on squatting, it does seem to carry over to my DL better than the DL over to squatting.
    Ideal is correct. I don't even do sumo deads because it almost feels like cheating haha. I also agree with your stance on geared lifting, which was why I was saying the most I use right now is chalk. I'll eventually use a belt, but that's it. That other stuff is too much going on for me. I'm a little different that my back needs to feel heavy deads. Like I have to do heavy deads every week. If I don't do heavy deads, even though I use the minimal amount of back as possible, my lower back still doesn't like it all next week. This week it has felt great since I went 2 weeks in a row. I sprained it a couple of times, freaked me out. haha So it likes to be stiff every now and again. Plus, I'm getting older.

    I have also accepted the fact that my bench will never be huge. I would like to hit 405 one day, and I think I will, just will take time and patience. Hell, I need to hit 300 first. haha
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