Your Complete 5/3/1 Workout Program Guide (with Spreadsheet)



This put up covers Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program which is likely one of the hottest exercise packages round. After studying this you’ll perceive how the 5/3/1 Program works, the advantages of working this program and the solutions to generally requested questions surrounding it. To simplify it, the 5/3/1 Program is an efficient energy program for intermediate lifters that facilities round 4 core compound lifts. You’ll progressively get stronger month over month should you comply with this program; that is a promise.

What’s the 5/3/1 Program?

The 5/3/1 Program was developed by Jim Wendler who was an elite powerlifter with a squat of over 1000 kilos and massive 3 complete of two,375 kilos. The 5/3/1 Exercise Program is constructed round mesocycles of 4 weeks or “waves”. Every week consists of 3-4 days of coaching. 4 days being the optimum frequency as a result of every coaching day is centered round a core carry. The 4 core lifts are Overhead Press, Bench Press, Deadlift, and Squat.

In case your schedule doesn’t permit it and you’ll solely get 3 days of coaching in per week then you’ll nonetheless solely carry out one of many main lifts every session earlier than working by the cycle once more, thus extending the 4 weeks to five weeks. Every exercise session ought to embody 3 completely different workouts together with the core carry. So, you’ll be able to select the opposite two accent lifts to suit your objectives; possibly you want extra shoulder work, possibly that you must hit your triceps extra. The accent lifts could be programmed to fit your private state of affairs by way of train alternative. Simply be sure you select workouts that equate to a well-rounded lifting program.

Every 4 week cycle you’ll have new weight objectives for the core lifts. Right here’s a high-level have a look at the tenets of the 5/3/1 Program.

Step 1: Discover your 1RM of the core lifts (Overhead press, Bench press, Squat, Deadlift) then subtract 10% out of your 1RM. That is the quantity you’ll base your exercises round.

Step 2: Every exercise you’ll carry out one core carry for 3 units utilizing a weight that’s a proportion of the 90% of the 1RM.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Set 1

 65% x 5

70% x 3

75% x 5

40% x 5

Set 2

 75% x 5

80% x 3

85% x 3

50% x 5

Set 3

 85% x 5+

90% x 3+

95% x 1+

60% x 5

So let’s take a 300 pound squat 1RM for instance. The beginning weight that determines the remainder of the chances could be 300*.9 = 270 kilos. The desk under provides you the weights and units you would be lifting on this state of affairs.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Set 1

 175 x 5

  190 x 3

   200 x 5

   110 x 5

Set 2

 200 x 5    

  215 x 3

   230 x 3

   135 x 5

Set 3

 230 x 5+

  245 x 3+

   255 x 1+

   160 x 5

Be aware: We rounded to the closest 5lb increments. If you see the + in Set 3 this implies it’s best to intention for AMRAP (as many reps as potential). Week 4 is a de-loading week the place you’ll have the possibility to recoup and get well from the earlier 3 weeks.

As soon as this mesocycle is accomplished then you’ll start the subsequent 4-week cycle utilizing heavier weights on the 4 core lifts. It is best to attempt to add 5 kilos on higher physique lifts of bench press and overhead press after the 4 week wave. Attempt to add 10 kilos to your decrease physique lifts of squats and deadlifts.

How do I calculate my 1RM?

To correctly execute the 5/3/1 Program you’ll need to determine your 1RM for the core lifts. This shouldn’t be based mostly on guesses or maxes you would like you possibly can do. It’s essential to begin the 5/3/1 Program together with your present max lifts, don’t over/underestimate your 1 rep max in any other case this system received’t work the way it ought to. Take just a few days or exercise classes to find out your 1RM for the core lifts.

Comply with this methodology to hone in in your 1RM:

  • Start with an estimation of your 1RM
  • Begin with 80-85% of your guesstimated 1RM then carry out as many reps as you’ll be able to
  • Use the formulation under to determine your 1RM for Bench Press, Overhead Press, Squat, Deadlift

Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = 1 Rep Max

Be aware: There are a lot of free online calculators that may additionally assist with figuring out your 1RM.

Who’s 5/3/1 program Good For?

The 5/3/1 Program is finest suited to intermediate lifters who want to steadily enhance their energy and max lifts. Individuals who’ve accomplished the Beginning Power and Sturdy Carry Applications typically transfer on to Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program as the subsequent step of their weightlifting journey. The linear development mixed with one week of de-loading in every 4-week cycle lets you keep centered and avoids burning out.

Is 5/3/1 Program Good for Newcomers?

The 5/3/1 Program is nice for anybody that desires to progressively get stronger. With that stated, newbies might be higher served by different lifting protocols, such because the 531 for Beginners (shock!). The usual 5/3/1 Program isn’t supposed to provide large leads to a brief period of time so newbies would discover different packages, just like the newbie model, extra helpful as they need to see sooner beneficial properties in a shorter time-frames. In different phrases, beginner beneficial properties. Intermediate and superior lifters are higher fitted to the 5/3/1 Program above, as it will probably assist to incrementally enhance energy beneficial properties at instances the place they may’ve stalled out. Newcomers want a simple linear development plan, like ‘531 for newbies’ or GZCLP.

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 In A Nutshell

  • Deal with Bettering Core Lifts: Compound, multi-joint actions allow us to construct essentially the most muscle and that’s why Bench Press, Squats, Overhead Press and Deadlifts are the cornerstone of this energy program.
  • Begin With Lighter Weights: On this program you’ll begin with weights which are gentle sufficient which you can make good progress as you progress by this system. Wendler created the 5/3/1 Power Program across the concept of constructing energy and energy over time as a result of attempting to get fast beneficial properties will result in extra plateaus sooner. Normally when individuals stall out of their progress, they may lose curiosity and quit so the smaller victories as you progress ahead can help you construct up momentum.
  • Gradual Progress = Breaking Information: The 5/3/1 Program is about up so that you simply acquire small victories as you progress by it. The objective right here is so as to add to your lifts but when you find yourself with the ability to carry extra reps of the identical weight you then’ve nonetheless gotten stronger. Health must be a lifetime journey not just a few months exercise program the place you’re attempting so as to add 20 kilos to your bench. With small chew sized objectives of including 5-10 kilos to your lifts it helps not solely bodily however psychologically as properly. When you get within the mindset of setting smaller but manageable objectives you’ll perceive the facility these small achievements have over the long term. It’s not all about 1RM, the straightforward reality is that should you preserve setting new PRs for reps and or weight, your 1RM can even go up. The 5/3/1 Power Program lets you consistently push and inspire your self by setting new PRs with out focusing in on solely breaking the 1RM.

Advantages of 5/3/1 Program

It looks like there’s at all times a brand new exercise program or methodology that pops up within the health trade however most don’t have legs to face on. Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program has longevity within the health trade and is revered by everybody who has used it and/or is a revered determine within the weightlifting world. Let’s take a look at a number of the advantages of working the 5/3/1 Program to see why it’s been utilized by individuals around the globe.

  1. Simple To Comply with: After getting your 1RM dialed in for the 4 core lifts the 5/3/1 Program is easy to comply with (Spreadsheet under  will do calculations). The units and reps are merely laid out so that you simply simply want to trace your progress week to week, cycle to cycle.
  2. Outcomes Pushed: Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program is all in regards to the steady enchancment on the 4 core lifts by progressive overload. You will note outcomes should you keep on with the 5/3/1 Program whereas consuming and sleeping proper. That is no gimmick program that guarantees unrealistic outcomes. We like to think about it as sluggish and regular progress that provides up over time.
  3. Centered Round Core Lifts: If you wish to get stronger that you must concentrate on the primary compound lifts; Bench Press, Squats, Deadlifts and Overhead Press. There are a number of variations of the 5/3/1 Program that swap up help lifts by way of units/reps schemes however the core lifts stay as the muse of this system.
  4. Environment friendly: Some exercise packages require by no means ending hours spent within the health club. The 5/3/1 Program lets you achieve critical energy and dimension in a relative quick period of time. You may full a exercise session within the 5/3/1 Program inside 45-60 minutes, contemplating you’ve correctly warmed up beforehand with a brief however efficient dynamic stretching routine.

Disadvantages of 5/3/1 Exercise Program

There aren’t many complaints across the programming of the 5/3/1 Exercise Program however after all there are at all times just a few dissenting opinions in all the pieces concerning health.

  1. Gradual Progress: The methodical linear development within the 5/3/1 Exercise Program isn’t for everybody. This program is constructed round long-lasting beneficial properties over time. Some individuals would possibly need to attempt to add extra weight to their lifts in a shorter period of time.
  2. Frequency: Some would possibly need to prepare the primary lifts greater than as soon as per week. We consider that should you can obtain outcomes when performing the main lifts solely as soon as per week then the frequency shouldn’t matter a lot. Nevertheless, should you’re on the lookout for extra work on particular lifts then the 5/3/1 Exercise Program won’t be the proper match.

what is 531 program

5/3/1 Triumvirate Exercise Program

As we acknowledged earlier than you are able to do 3-4 exercise classes per week and nonetheless comply with the 5/3/1 Power Program however on this 5/3/1 exercise routine we’re sticking with 4 exercise classes weekly. Should you can’t get 4 exercises in weekly, you’ll be able to nonetheless comply with 5/3/1 Exercise plan however it would simply take longer to cycle by it.

To start out the 5/3/1 Program be sure you know what your 1RM is on the core lifts.

We exercise with the next program on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. The times of the week to exercise ought to suit your life-style and schedule. Should you resolve to run the 5/3/1 Power Program on a 3 day per week schedule then it would take 5 weeks to run by one cycle of this system in contrast with our 4 day per week schedule the place we’ll end in 4 weeks.

Begin with a Heat Up, Wendler recommends the next warmup of the focused essential carry:

  • 1 set x 5 reps @40% 1RM
  • 1 set x 5 reps @50% 1RM
  • 1 set x 3 reps @60% 1RM


Be aware: Relaxation between units could be anyplace from 3-5 minutes for the core carry units and 60-90 seconds between help workouts units.


Train Units Reps %1RM
Overhead Press Week 1 3 5, 5, 5+ 65, 75, 85
Overhead Press Week 2 3 3, 3, 3+ 70, 80, 90
Overhead Press Week 3 3 5/3/1+ 75, 85, 95
Overhead Press Week 4 (deload) 3 5 40, 50, 60
Dips (Week 1-4) 5 15 Weighted if wanted
Chinups (Week 1-4) 5 10 Weighted if wanted


Help Work Variations

Wendler gives 5 variations of help work that may be executed in tandem with the 5/3/1 Program.

Help #1: Boring However Massive

Probably the most widespread help programing for the 5/3/1 is the BBB model the place you’ll carry out the identical train after the primary carry however with the rep/set scheme of 5 units of 10 reps. For instance, if on bench press day of week 1 you’d do:





Bench press



65, 75, 85

Bench press




Dumbbell Row



 reasonable depth

Help #2: Triumvirate

Much like BBB variation besides you don’t need to comply with the primary carry with the very same carry and you’ll swap up the set/rep vary should you’d like. Wendler’s model of the Triumvirate is detailed above.

Help #3: I’m Not Doing Jack Shit

Presumably Wendler’s favourite model, this help work consists of no help work. You principally go into the health club to do the primary lifting portion of 5/3/1 then go away, that’s it. Should you’re in need of time then this is perhaps the variation that’s finest for you. There is perhaps just a few disadvantages right here by way of restricted quantity and breadth of workouts.

Help #4: Periodization Bible by Dave Tate

Modeled after an article referred to as The Periodization Bible, Half 1. This text was lacking some key features of core lifting ideas however did cowl workouts like pace benches. Right here is an instance deadlift day week 1:

Train Set Rep %1RM
Deadlift 3 5 65, 75, 85
Hamstrings (Leg Curls, Glute-Ham Increase) 5 10-20 30-60
Quads (Leg Press, Lunges, Hack Squats) 5 10-20
Abs (Sit ups, Hanging Leg Raises, Ab Wheel, DB Aspect Crunch) 5 10-20

Help #5: Body weight

With this model all help work might be executed with body weight workouts. This will help you keep athletic whereas sustaining and gaining muscle mass. It is best to intention for at the very least 75 reps of every body weight train with out outlined units. Right here’s an instance with squat day week 1:

Train Set Rep %1RM
Squat 3 5 65, 75, 85
Lunges 3-5 75 or extra complete
Sit ups 3-5 75 or extra complete

531 workout benefits

Why is the 5/3/1 Program So Efficient?

The 5/3/1 Program is efficient as a result of information and experience that Wendler put into it from his a few years of aggressive powerlifting. You WILL get sturdy should you comply with this system precisely because it was designed for 3 main causes:

Linear Development: The 5/3/1 Program is an easy simple methodology of reaching regular beneficial properties. The idea of linear development performs out right here as a result of the objective is so as to add 5 lbs to your higher physique lifts and 10 lbs to your decrease physique lifts after every 4 week cycle. One of these development means attainable beneficial properties every cycle with decrease possibilities of ache or damage.

De-loading: Wendler cleverly made the 4th week of every cycle a de-loading week. De-loading means you’ll carry a lot lighter weights in order that your physique has time to get well sooner and higher. De-loading additionally helps you psychologically as you’ll be able to take it simple for a brief period of time earlier than going again to giving it your all. Within the 5/3/1 Program the de-loading week means you’ll solely be lifting between 30-60% of your 1RM for 3 units of 5. That is your time to loosen up a bit in order that your physique is ready to enter the subsequent 4 week cycle with the elevated weights. De-loading is essential to maintain the linear development transferring in a constructive route.

Constructed Round Core Lifts: It is seemingly that you will notice the core lifts in nearly each profitable energy coaching program. Squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press are large compound lifts that interact main muscle teams to work in unison thus activating and stimulating the muscle groups to develop and grow to be stronger. It is tough to achieve any actual energy should you skip out on these lifts.

Ideas For Wendler’s 5/3/1 Exercise Program

  • Be sure to begin with the proper weights
  • Comply with the 5/3/1 Exercise Program to the “T”
  • Attempt to add some conditioning into your schedule. Wendler recommends hill sprints or pushing a sled however not on leg day coaching.
  • Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of physique weight
  • Get 6-8 hours of sleep each evening

5/3/1 Exercise Program FAQs

Can I Do The 5/3/1 Program With 2 Exercise Periods A Week?

Should you can solely squeeze two days per week of exercises is then comply with this:

  • Monday or Tuesday- Squat and Bench Press
  • Thursday or Friday- Deadlift and Overhead Press

Full the identical 4 week schedule then regulate weights. As at all times, carry out the first lifts first the add help work as wanted. Attempt to restrict complete exercise time to 60 minutes.

What Do I Do If My Progress Stalls On 5/3/1?

Though many individuals expertise steady enhancements with their lifts all through the length of the 5/3/1 Exercise Program, it’s potential that you simply would possibly journey up and never be capable of max out on a carry. Recalculate your 1RM then take 90% of that and start this system once more for that specific carry. Proceed uninterrupted on the opposite lifts.

Can I Construct Muscle With 5/3/1 Exercise Program?

The 5/3/1 Exercise Program is designed for the person to get stronger however not essentially with hypertrophy as the top objective. Should you’re trying to construct muscle whereas utilizing the core ideas of the 5/3/1 Program then it’s best to strive the 5/3/1 Boring However Massive or 5/3/1 Bodybuilding variation.

Is 5/3/1 Program Good For Powerlifters?

The Triumvirate 5/3/1 Program that we hyperlink to on this put up won’t be your best option for powerlifters. Nevertheless, there are variations of the 5/3/1 Program on the market like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program for Powerlifting.

Are there different variations of the 531 Program?

Sure, there are a selection of variations that comply with the same methodology of the unique 5/3/1 Program. These variations of the 5/3/1 Program embody 5/3/1 Program for Powerlifting, 5/3/1 BBB Program, 5/3/1 BBB for Bodybuilding, Energy & Hypertrophy 5/3/1 Program and 5/3/1 Vanilla + 3/5/1 Powerlifting Particular Program Variation, and 5/3/1 for Beginners.

wendler 531 program


The 5/3/1 Exercise Program is a stable alternative for intermediate lifters who want to break by plateaus. The 5/3/1 Exercise Program is a time examined, no bullshit plan that may add weight to your lifts should you keep on with the script. Even when the common 5/3/1 Exercise Program would not suit your precise objectives don’t fret since you may at all times strive one of many variations that may scratch your itch should you’re a powerlifter on the lookout for large energy enhancements or a bodybuilder that desires to construct muscle and get stronger.


Put together to maximise your energy with our unique 13-week energy coaching program. 3, 4, and 5 day per week programming choices.

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