Wendler 5/3/1

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by Franko, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Franko

    Franko New Member

    I recently read about this program over on Tmuscle and it seemed pretty interesting. Has anyone tried it or have any opinion?
  2. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yup. It's a good program. I liked it a lot. Personally, I don't think it's any more effective than a regular HST type program where you focus on the big three lifts, but it makes for a nice change. Any accessory exercises chosen could make quite a difference to the overall effectiveness of the program - if you do too much for these, because you don't feel that the main lift for that w/o has been taxing enough, then you might start accumulating too much fatigue. The cycles are short though, so there's opportunity to change one's approach to accessory work quite often.

    Wendler has an ebook for sale over at Elite Fitness Systems (http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=370&pid=2976). It's a fun read which lays out the ideas behind his program along with plenty of templates to get you started.
  3. RUSS

    RUSS Member

    If you live for low reps you'll love this. If you REALLY live for low reps skip this and go right for the Doug Hepburn, why snort the coke when you can smoke the crack? [​IMG]
  4. People should think of this program as one long cycle that has 8 mini-cycles that last one month. To get the most out the program, you need to increase your training max (10% less than your current max) and hit rep maxes for 5-8 months.

    I'm amazed at the number of logs I've read which tried 5/3/1 for two months and moved on...
  5. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    That tells you something right there. I wonder what the PL's think of it. That's who counts.

    Russ, yer a funny guy and we worry about you... [​IMG]
  6. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    (fearfactory @ Jul. 31 2009,12:12)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">People should think of this program as one long cycle that has 8 mini-cycles that last one month.  To get the most out the program, you need to increase your training max (10% less than your current max) and hit rep maxes for 5-8 months.

    I'm amazed at the number of logs I've read which tried 5/3/1 for two months and moved on...</div>
    I don't recall Wendler stating that he thinks there's a minimum time one should use his 5/3/1 program (at least, not in the eBook). [​IMG]

    If you've been training a while and have good records, I actually think it could still be effective if you only did 5/3/1 for a month and made comparisons with previous load and rep PRs - but to give it a fair shot you're going to need to give it at least two cycles.

    I'm ok with the idea that each cycle is set out as a month long; this way it's easy to keep an eye on progress and you get one deload/active-recovery week each month, which should help to prevent burnout and delay plateauing.

    There is opportunity to make a new PR almost every session in one lift; as big Jim says: &quot;On the last set [of the big compound of the day], however, you’ll have to reach further and grind it out – not to failure so you’re dead and can’t train the rest of the week, but it should take some life out of you.&quot; That won't be to everyone's liking.

    Of course, we are all aware that actual, measurable increases in size take time and a concerted, consistent effort to achieve because they generally occur slowly once the early gains stage has been passed; they certainly take a lot longer to manifest than increases in loads lifted, or an extra rep or two with a particular load. If your squat PR has gone up by 2.5lb in a month, or you made 1 extra rep, you aren't going to look noticeably different but you are going to be spurred on because, as Wendler puts it: &quot;Breaking personal records is a great motivator.&quot; Add up lots of 2.5lb improvements over the course of a year and you are going to look a bit different too.
  7. very well said Lol
  8. nkl

    nkl Member

    I might add that Wendler makes you start 'too light'. I.e., you take 90% of your current 1RM as your training 1RM. Then you work your way up, week-by-week, from 85% of your training 1RM (e.i., 77% of your real 1RM) to 95% (e.i., 85%) over 3 weeks, then you deload 1 week (using loads at 50% or less). For the next cycle you raise your weights by 5 lbs (upper body) and 10 lbs (lower body) on the max you are basing your percentages on .

    Each workout you do max effort work on the main lift, by going for maximim reps on the last work set (of 3), using different %-ages of your training 1RM (not simply ME work in the traditional 1-3 rep range). Target reps for these three weeks are 5+, 3+, and 1+, hence the name. It is not an 'all low-reps' program. Because you start 'too light' your rep PRs will be high(er). Rep PRs in the 10-15 range is not uncommon. As long as you can do your target reps you add weight to the bar next cycle. When you fail your target reps on one lift, you reset (establish a new training 1RM) and work your way up again on that lift. Progress is slow but the big rewards lies in greater gains over time. Reading posts for Jim in the Q&amp;A section at Elitelifts you will find individuals that reports great gains. Several emphasizes that starting 'too light' is important. This is similar to HST, where each 2-week progression begins very light and ends at your RM. I think the big reward with 5/3/1 is that it keeps your strength up while allowing for periodization HST style.

    The Boring But Big accessory work for size is an interesting twist. After you are done with your main lift (DL, SQ, MP, or BP), you perform 5 sets of 10 reps with the same lift you just did, then do some 1-2 extra exercises for other body parts and then you go home (Simplify and Win). This one is popular and a lot of people do great.

    I'm currently trying 5/3/1 out, but tweaking the accessory work (doing myoreps and spreading out the volume over the week for higher frequency in order to adhere to the HST principle of chronic stimuli). However I'm still leaning out so I don't expect any great strength or size gains until I begin increasing my energy intake again.
  9. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I've probably messed up the 3x3 Korte allready by raising the weights a bit early. It just didnt' feel like I was working hard enough, but we'll see. I didn't raise them much, but as my form got even better, it got easier. 40-48 reps per exersize will tend to get you in alignment. 5-3-1 sounds interesting to try.

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