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Posted: 10/2/2011 8:12:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/5/2012 9:45:55 PM EDT by GUNGUY148]
I need a new routine and am thinking about starting 531. Several posters down here seem to think favorably of it. It being low volume I like but it looks like painfully slow progression.

What's the straight story on it?

I'm also open to any other strength training routines that we want to discus.
Link Posted: 10/2/2011 8:55:14 PM EDT
I read through the book recently...if I wasn't into Crossfit, this is what I'd do. In fact in addition to hitting DL, squat, bench and press once a week it has you doing condition workouts such as sled drags, bodyweight circuits and such...which is very similar to what I do anyways.
The book states that progress will be slow- but you WILL make progress which is the important part.
Link Posted: 10/2/2011 9:10:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/2/2011 9:11:22 PM EDT by RatherBeLifting]
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
I need a new routine and am thinking about starting 531. Several posters down here seem to think favorably of it. It being low volume I like but it looks like painfully slow progression.

What's the straight story on it?

I'm also open to any other strength training routines that we want to discus.


Keyword highlighted.

Every time I go into the gym I hit a PR, not one rep max, but multiple rep max. I can write down numbers and see that last week I did 335 squat for 8 reps and today I did 340 for 8 reps. I know I'm stronger even if I do nothing else in my workout for the day. It provides a very simple template to tell if you're making progress. I was just thinking about it in the gym today and I like the fact that it takes one piece of the programming away. I know if I miss a lift that it's not the programming, but perhaps I've missed sleep ( I have an 11 month old that just got sick last weekend and she was up most of two nights), I'm not eating enough, etc.

It's also not necessarily low volume. You have a key lift that you hit and it gives you a benchmark to see if you're getting stronger. After that do whatever. I've done everything from blasting out high reps to hitting the same weight for some heavy doubles. In his book he puts down a whole bunch of templates from "bodybuilding", "strength", "not doing jack shit today" and the best "moving north of vag".

Link Posted: 10/2/2011 10:24:38 PM EDT
I feel it's low for starting out. I always start 3x5 on the big lifts (squat, DL, clean/snatch) 3 days a week (85% one day, 60% another, 75% another) supplement as needed/desired. Maybe switch to front squat on the light day and do something else on the medium day for clean/snatch. Then go to something like the 531. Never go to fatigue. Make crazy gains in a couple a months lifting the 3x5 like mentioned.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 2:19:04 AM EDT
It is and it isn't slow. It is something that your body can keep up with. If you do 2 lifts, 2/wk, then it doubles the speed of progression, but that isn't necessarily a good thing. The thing works great until it doesn't, then you have to reset. If you progress more slowly, it takes longer before you have to reset. Also, you can make better gains than the template, it isn't going to hold you back...

It is really an intermediate routine, so whether or not it is slow would depend on how much you had already gained. If you can make rep increases every week, there could be better routines out there. For guys who are starting to fight for their increases, it is an awesome routine. I did great on it for @ 6 mos. After that I had issues, but they were partly due to my own problems. I am planning on going back on it.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 8:56:26 AM EDT
Thanks for all the input. Looks like I will be starting 531 tonight.

I switched from 5x5 to 3x5 about 6 months ago and made some more strength gains but all in all it's been pretty flat. Im excited to try something new.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 1:16:29 PM EDT
One thing Wendler stresses in interviews is long term focus. He cautions about getting caught up in the pursuit for large, short term gains at the expense of long term, continuous improvement. That very much resonates with me, as I am looking decades forward. I am not a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. If I can make continuous improvement, even if slow, until age finally starts pushing me backwards, I will be very happy. I will very likely be doing 5-6 consecutive cycles of 5-3-1 Big But Boring within the next 12 months.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 2:06:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By bsf:
One thing Wendler stresses in interviews is long term focus. He cautions about getting caught up in the pursuit for large, short term gains at the expense of long term, continuous improvement. That very much resonates with me, as I am looking decades forward. I am not a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. If I can make continuous improvement, even if slow, until age finally starts pushing me backwards, I will be very happy. I will very likely be doing 5-6 consecutive cycles of 5-3-1 Big But Boring within the next 12 months.



Yeah. I got to thinking about it and slow progress beats the hell out of the almost no progress I have had recently.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 4:38:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Thanks for all the input. Looks like I will be starting 531 tonight.

I switched from 5x5 to 3x5 about 6 months ago and made some more strength gains but all in all it's been pretty flat. Im excited to try something new.


Yea, definitely ready to switch if that has been your progression.
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 8:35:34 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/3/2011 11:54:30 PM EDT
It's slow but consistent... You can gain 5-10 lbs per month to your 1 rep max. It might not sound like much but tell me that at the end of the year when you've added 60-100 lbs to your max
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 12:50:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 8:05:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Hank:
Originally Posted By cubanchurchill:
It's slow but consistent... You can gain 5-10 lbs per month to your 1 rep max. It might not sound like much but tell me that at the end of the year when you've added 60-100 lbs to your max


I heart it. I just finished my first wave of my first mesocycle (ish) and I feel great.




Awesome... Hope you made good gains in your strength... My friend is a competitive power lifter and turned me on to it. The only reason I stoppped is I ran out of weights and I have no spotter. I workout in my garage

Link Posted: 10/4/2011 10:03:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 11:09:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cubanchurchill:
It's slow but consistent... You can gain 5-10 lbs per month to your 1 rep max. It might not sound like much but tell me that at the end of the year when you've added 60-100 lbs to your max


That is ridiculously slow. Try adding 5-10lbs every 2 weeks.
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 11:32:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 1:42:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hank:
If you can do that consistently to your bench, dead, squat AND military press, more power to you. I'll be ridiculous and settle for what I get and keep doing it for the long run without burning out.


If you get your un-loading weeks in, as suggested by Wendler (which I highly recommend as well), you shouldn't have burn out, especially without lifting to failure/fatigue. Essentially, the program the OP has done is just a dragged out version of the 5 3 1, spreading each week over the course of a few months. (Starting with 5x5 ––> 3x5 ––>now to this). This is pretty close to what I did during the course of my training and how I coach my power athletes, training 10-11 months straight. The only reason we take time of is just to be without question recovered and take a little drop in strength, coming back to blast through to new highs. Taking time off is hard to do because you're constantly feeling good.
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 2:37:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/4/2011 2:39:24 PM EDT by Hank]
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 4:23:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By bsf:
One thing Wendler stresses in interviews is long term focus. He cautions about getting caught up in the pursuit for large, short term gains at the expense of long term, continuous improvement. That very much resonates with me, as I am looking decades forward. I am not a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. If I can make continuous improvement, even if slow, until age finally starts pushing me backwards, I will be very happy. I will very likely be doing 5-6 consecutive cycles of 5-3-1 Big But Boring within the next 12 months.



Yeah. I got to thinking about it and slow progress beats the hell out of the almost no progress I have had recently.


This realization is important.

I did 5/3/1 for a few months, and liked it, but because I'm an idiot I wanted gains faster. Now I've got off most of that stuff and go to a CF gym that does strength workouts nearly every day.
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 6:39:34 PM EDT
Here's a link for ya -

531
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 10:31:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hank:
I don't think you understand 5/3/1- it's not vastly different than what you are talking about, but there is a definite set/rep scheme that occurs over a "mesocycle" with prescribed increases in weight. Sure, you could retest or recalculate your 1RM to adjust the weight per rep, but the prescribed increase in 1RM is between 5 and 10 lbs every mesocycle, with each of the four big lifts getting its own dedicated day per wave of the mesocycle- hence, if you do 4 days/week, you increase weight every four weeks. If you do 3 days/week, you increase weight about every 5.5 weeks. We're not talking about increasing weight to your 1RM every few months NOR every two weeks as you suggest.


In general terms it's not that different, I get that - hence "Essentially, the program the OP has done is just a dragged out version of the 5 3 1, spreading each week over the course of a few months. (Starting with 5x5 ––> 3x5 ––>now to this). This is pretty close to what I did during the course of my training and how I coach my power athletes, training 10-11 months straight." - There are similar principles in play.

If we are not talking about increasing 1RM then what are we talking about? Lifting heavier weight per set in subsequent weeks is increasing your 1RM is it not? It's painfully slow progression and if you're lifting to fatigue (even if Wendler says to) on the last set, that's going to slow down recovery because it breaks muscle and the CNS down much further than it needs to for gains, mass wise is a little different, you need the extra breakdown. Now wouldn't most agree, that as you age you need some extra time to recover?

What I am saying is that you can make faster gains, safely. I don't know a better testing ground than sprinters/jumpers for making safe strength and power gains. They are not only lifting for strength and power but now they actually use it, at much faster rate than your power lifter. If a sprinter can make big gains and stay injury free, training smart, is it not safe to say the gains are done safely?

The 5,3,1 is a pretty good program (heck I use it as part of my training cycles with the mods I've mentioned in previous posts), but I"ll go out on a limb and say it isn't the only safe way to make strong gains.
Link Posted: 10/4/2011 10:47:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 1:04:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mosspointers:
Here's a link for ya -

531


Buying the book is the best thing to do to get the full routine and all of the variations and the FAQ's that come with it. I have yet to see any article that lays out the program proper; there is always something slightly different than the book(not to mention you get help if you can only workout 1-4 days a week, etc).
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 1:59:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Chizzle:
Originally Posted By Mosspointers:
Here's a link for ya -

531


Buying the book is the best thing to do to get the full routine and all of the variations and the FAQ's that come with it. I have yet to see any article that lays out the program proper; there is always something slightly different than the book(not to mention you get help if you can only workout 1-4 days a week, etc).


Yep. Thanks for the link, some good info there, but I picked up the book last night.

Thanks again for everyones help. We will see how this goes!
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 3:02:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 4:51:58 PM EDT
The iTunes store has both paid and free 5/3/1 apps, I just grabbed the freebie as it looks to be about the same as the paid one to give it a shot. I just searched 5/3/1 in the app store.

Just something to throw on the iPod....
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 6:01:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FivespeedF150:
The iTunes store has both paid and free 5/3/1 apps, I just grabbed the freebie as it looks to be about the same as the paid one to give it a shot. I just searched 5/3/1 in the app store.

Just something to throw on the iPod....


Got it. It beats the hell out of a calculator!
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 9:03:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 10:34:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/5/2011 10:40:11 PM EDT by AZ-AR15]
Buy the book if you haven't yet. Best $25 I ever spent on something workout related(hard copy off of amazon). I also got the "531 for Power Lifting" e-book which has a nice FAQ section and a slightly different format of 531 geared towards the power lifter. I suggest buying the regular version though and maybe borrowing the powerlifting version from me after reading up on the original

My progress on 531 since mid April:

Squat: 340x12 to 440x6
Bench: 270x8 to 315x5
Deadlift: 375x9 to 415x9 and 555x1

eta: Been following BBB the whole time with the only modification being a recent switch to dumbbell presses instead of military presses because of bad shoulders.
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 10:37:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By Chizzle:
Originally Posted By Mosspointers:
Here's a link for ya -

531


Buying the book is the best thing to do to get the full routine and all of the variations and the FAQ's that come with it. I have yet to see any article that lays out the program proper; there is always something slightly different than the book(not to mention you get help if you can only workout 1-4 days a week, etc).


Yep. Thanks for the link, some good info there, but I picked up the book last night.

Thanks again for everyones help. We will see how this goes!


Pure fucking win!
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 10:40:42 PM EDT
Cool.

I've got a Starting Strength book if anybody wants to trade their 531 book for it..
Link Posted: 10/5/2011 10:44:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AZ-AR15:
Buy the book if you haven't yet. Best $25 I ever spent on something workout related(hard copy off of amazon). I also got the "531 for Power Lifting" e-book which has a nice FAQ section and a slightly different format of 531 geared towards the power lifter. I suggest buying the regular version though and maybe borrowing the powerlifting version from me after reading up on the original

My progress on 531 since mid April:

Squat: 340x12 to 440x6
Bench: 270x8 to 315x5
Deadlift: 375x9 to 415x9 and 555x1

eta: Been following BBB the whole time with the only modification being a recent switch to dumbbell presses instead of military presses because of bad shoulders.


Nice!

Would you mind sharing what assistance work you're doing?

Link Posted: 10/6/2011 8:11:57 AM EDT
Like I said before, the only thing I really changed was military presses because of my shoulders. I also use that day to work the little things I feel like I need to in order to maintain balance. Other than that, it is basic BBB.

Squat day
531 sets/reps
5x10 squats
5x10 hHamstring curls

Bench Day
531 sets/reps
5x10 bench with pull-ups between sets
5x10+ dips

Deadlift Day
531 sets/reps
5x10 deads
Ab work

Shoulder Day
531 sets/reps seated dumbbell presses
4x10-15 rear flyes
4x8-12 DB rows
5x10 curls
calves
Link Posted: 10/6/2011 8:13:45 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Mosspointers:
Cool.

I've got a Starting Strength book if anybody wants to trade their 531 book for it..


Just hold onto SS since it is full of awesome technical information and buy 531. You won't regret it.
Link Posted: 10/6/2011 8:43:12 PM EDT
Yeah, this does look painfully slow, but if it's painfully slow progress, it's still better than I'm getting. My bench hasn't gone above 300 in over two years now

I'll start 5/3/1 once I separate and can access a real gym. The one here doesn't even have a free weight bench.
Link Posted: 10/6/2011 10:48:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
I read through the book recently...if I wasn't into Crossfit, this is what I'd do. In fact in addition to hitting DL, squat, bench and press once a week it has you doing condition workouts such as sled drags, bodyweight circuits and such...which is very similar to what I do anyways.
The book states that progress will be slow- but you WILL make progress which is the important part.

A lot of people do 5-3-1 with heavy metcons.
http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=35062
Link Posted: 10/6/2011 11:22:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Thunder900:

Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
I read through the book recently...if I wasn't into Crossfit, this is what I'd do. In fact in addition to hitting DL, squat, bench and press once a week it has you doing condition workouts such as sled drags, bodyweight circuits and such...which is very similar to what I do anyways.
The book states that progress will be slow- but you WILL make progress which is the important part.

A lot of people do 5-3-1 with heavy metcons.
http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=35062

Yeah, my gym doesn't follow it exactly, but like I said we're pretty close. We hit the big 4 once a week, in varying rep schemes- usually 3x5 at a constant weight.
Link Posted: 10/7/2011 12:28:25 AM EDT
I have been doing a lot of 3x5 stuff lately, along with a mix of mainpage and CFFB dwods.
Link Posted: 10/9/2011 10:22:13 AM EDT
tagged for newbs
Link Posted: 10/9/2011 5:15:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/9/2011 10:58:05 PM EDT
I love this program, but just be aware that it is NOT for a beginning lifter. A beginner's program should take you to 225, 315, 405for Bench, Squat, Deads pretty quickly, depending on several factors. If you can't do those, there are quite a few programs that are probably significantly better. A few reason's why:

Limited higher intensity work.

Limited volume.

Less opportunity to find your groove.

It isn't that you can't make good gains on 5/3/1, just that it isn't really designed to get you there as fast as you could as a beginner. Kind of like staying in 2nd gear going down the freeway, you can do it, but OD would be a better option. Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, just don't want people to get upset because their program isn't working like it should.

Link Posted: 10/10/2011 1:06:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 2:27:36 AM EDT
What happens if you have a weeklong hunting trip where a gym isn't around for over a hundred miles?
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 6:06:09 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Razoreye:
What happens if you have a weeklong hunting trip where a gym isn't around for over a hundred miles?


You try to program your deload week to be during that time. If it was me, I would do some bodyweight squats, pushups, etc whenever I could. This is what I do when I go home to hunt and visit my parents.
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 1:33:23 PM EDT
Week 1 is done.

The main lifts were very easy. The program starts kinda light and builds up from there so I'm not going to screw it up by changing it. I did down load the upper body lifts due to a nagging pain in my right arm. If it is better at the end of the month I'm going to refigure the lifts(took 20#s off calculated max).

For the accessory lifts I went with the Boring But Big program which is 5x10 at 50% of max lift after the main lifts. Again there the upper body lifts were no problem, squats went ok but for dead lifts I got my ass handed to me. In the PR thread AZ posted this same routine and I posted. Well like a week later I'm doing the same thing(at alot less weight) and I still think it's a whole bunch of bull shit.

I won't bore everybody with weekly updates but Im going to keep this thread going for a while and we will see where it goes.
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 1:54:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 2:01:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Hank:
I had never done dead lifts before starting this program, and I flipping love them. AZ-AR beasted that one up- good inspiration for the rest of us.

Keep up with it, and don't forget the deload week- me and a guy at work are doing the program, but he is insisting on not doing the deload unless his body tells him to. EFF THAT! I'm going to stick with the schedule, I figure Wendler knows a lot more what he's talking about than I do.



Yeah. I haven't been doing any deloading and on the 3x5 that I was previously doing it was squats one work out and deads the next. I thought my recovery time sucked but after looking at this program vs the 3x5 I think I was just barly holding on to what gains I had made.
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 5:43:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2011 5:43:40 PM EDT by AZ-AR15]
Keep in mind, I don't do the 5x10 EVERY week for deads. Last Friday I skipped accessory sets after a deads PR since I just didn't feel like it would add much. I'd say I get the 5x10 done about 75% of the time for deadlift days.

Also, I actually did 5x5 as accessory for a while and worked my way up after a couple of cycles to the 5x10.
Link Posted: 10/10/2011 6:16:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By Hank:
I had never done dead lifts before starting this program, and I flipping love them. AZ-AR beasted that one up- good inspiration for the rest of us.

Keep up with it, and don't forget the deload week- me and a guy at work are doing the program, but he is insisting on not doing the deload unless his body tells him to. EFF THAT! I'm going to stick with the schedule, I figure Wendler knows a lot more what he's talking about than I do.



Yeah. I haven't been doing any deloading and on the 3x5 that I was previously doing it was squats one work out and deads the next. I thought my recovery time sucked but after looking at this program vs the 3x5 I think I was just barly holding on to what gains I had made.


If you weren't doing the de-loading with the 3x5, it's an unfair comparison and you didn't make the best of it. At the same time, you've been doing that for quite a while so the change to the 5/3/1 is going to be beneficial.
Link Posted: 10/11/2011 8:58:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 007Kevin:
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By Hank:
I had never done dead lifts before starting this program, and I flipping love them. AZ-AR beasted that one up- good inspiration for the rest of us.

Keep up with it, and don't forget the deload week- me and a guy at work are doing the program, but he is insisting on not doing the deload unless his body tells him to. EFF THAT! I'm going to stick with the schedule, I figure Wendler knows a lot more what he's talking about than I do.



Yeah. I haven't been doing any deloading and on the 3x5 that I was previously doing it was squats one work out and deads the next. I thought my recovery time sucked but after looking at this program vs the 3x5 I think I was just barly holding on to what gains I had made.


If you weren't doing the de-loading with the 3x5, it's an unfair comparison and you didn't make the best of it. At the same time, you've been doing that for quite a while so the change to the 5/3/1 is going to be beneficial.


The 3x5 program I was doing didn't have any deloading or light weeks built in to it. I would tell myself I'm gonna take it easy this week and not try to smash any PRs but that didn't work out to well. With 531 having specific weights and reps to do on a light week Im much more likely to follow it. So your right about an apples to oranges comparison but for hard heads like me having someone tell you to lift light is what it's going to take to get it done.
Link Posted: 10/11/2011 1:27:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By 007Kevin:
Originally Posted By GUNGUY148:
Originally Posted By Hank:
I had never done dead lifts before starting this program, and I flipping love them. AZ-AR beasted that one up- good inspiration for the rest of us.

Keep up with it, and don't forget the deload week- me and a guy at work are doing the program, but he is insisting on not doing the deload unless his body tells him to. EFF THAT! I'm going to stick with the schedule, I figure Wendler knows a lot more what he's talking about than I do.



Yeah. I haven't been doing any deloading and on the 3x5 that I was previously doing it was squats one work out and deads the next. I thought my recovery time sucked but after looking at this program vs the 3x5 I think I was just barly holding on to what gains I had made.


If you weren't doing the de-loading with the 3x5, it's an unfair comparison and you didn't make the best of it. At the same time, you've been doing that for quite a while so the change to the 5/3/1 is going to be beneficial.


The 3x5 program I was doing didn't have any deloading or light weeks built in to it. I would tell myself I'm gonna take it easy this week and not try to smash any PRs but that didn't work out to well. With 531 having specific weights and reps to do on a light week Im much more likely to follow it. So your right about an apples to oranges comparison but for hard heads like me having someone tell you to lift light is what it's going to take to get it done.


I guess I don't understand why the 531 is any different. You could come in the next week and say F-it and lift heavy again and you could easily add a de-loading week yourself with whatever 3x5 program you have.
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