Last Updated on
- 5/14/19 – Added “Power & Hypertrophy” 5/3/1 version
More of a template than a strict program, many variations of 5/3/1 exist. You’ll find some of the best spreadsheets for these variations here. All of them will get you stronger by focusing on steady progression of the Big 3 lifts though. Jim Wendler’s popular 5/3/1 template were highly influential on the popular GZCL and nSuns programs.
The program is comprised of 3 and 4 week cycles, designed to run indefinitely.
Related: Jim Wendler’s Building the Monolith
- 1 Recommended Reading
- 2 5/3/1 FAQs
- 3 5/3/1 Boring But Big Program Spreadsheet
- 4 5/3/1 for Beginners Program Spreadsheet
- 5 5/3/1 Boring But Big Program Spreadsheet (variation)
- 6 Power & Hypertrophy 5/3/1 Program Variation
- 7 5/3/1 Boring But Big AND Powerlifting Specific Program Variation
- 8 5/3/1 N Suns Linear Progression Program Variation
5/3/1 (2nd Edition) by Jim Wendler
It is highly recommended that anyone planning on running 5/3/1 programming also reads 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength for maximum training benefit. 5/3/1 is more a template than a strict program, which is why there are so many “interpretations” of 5/3/1. To understand how 5/3/1 can work best for you, putting in a little reading work goes a long way.
5/3/1 for Powerlifting by Jim Wendler
If you’re looking for a powerlifting specific interpretation of the 5/3/1 for Powerlifting. An example of this progam is available in a spreadsheet below, though nothing beats reading the book.
What is Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program?
5/3/1 is a flexible lifting template that can be applied to a variety of lifting goals. It is best suited for intermediate level lifters and is renowned for the significant length of time an athlete can continually make progress on it.
Can 5/3/1 be run for powerlifting?
Yes, there are variations of 5/3/1 that are well suited for powerlifting. A spreadsheet of a powerlifting 5/3/1 variation is available on Lift Vault.
Does 5/3/1 not have enough volume to be effective?
A common point of criticism against 5/3/1 is that it doesn’t program enough volume (volume being reps x weight lifted). For certain variations of the program, this could be true. The “original” version of the program published on T-Nation in 2009 does, in fact, only contain 3 working sets for each primary movement. This was “addressed” later when Wendler released his book Beyond 5/3/1. This contained a variation known as “first set last” that added an additional AMRAP set to each day’s primary lift. Another common remedy is to run the “Boring But Big” variation (spreadsheet included here), which contains a significant number of back off sets for extra volume. This only scratches the surface of ways to add volume to 5/3/1. To learn more, check out Wendler’s classics: Beyond 5/3/1 and 5/3/1 Forever.
What other programs did 5/3/1 influence?
5/3/1 Boring But Big Program Spreadsheet
Wendler’s 5/3/1 Boring But Big (BBB) program is renowned for both its brutal simplicity and serious results.
Basically, BBB follows the 5/3/1 template where one main lift is trained per session (squat, bench, deadlift, or overhead press) using the 5/3/1 rep scheme before dropping the weight and doing 5 sets of 10 reps for the same lift.
The result? Strength and size. No gimmicks, just hard work.
Because the training max increases monthly, this program is best geared for intermediate to advanced lifters that require more recovery and cannot progress as quickly as novice/intermediate lifters.
5/3/1 for Beginners Program Spreadsheet
via /r/fitness wiki sidebar
5/3/1 Boring But Big Program Spreadsheet (variation)
This is simply another variation of the program above. Check out both and see which layout you prefer more.
Power & Hypertrophy 5/3/1 Program Variation
5/3/1 Boring But Big AND Powerlifting Specific Program Variation
The powerlifting variation of BBB switches weeks 1 and 2 and incorporates additional heavy single work – increasing the specificity needed for powerlifting and including additional recovery time by not scheduling consecutive heavy lifting weeks.
5/3/1 N Suns Linear Progression Program Variation
This popular mutation of 5/3/1 was created by Redditor /u/n-suns.
It allows for faster progress week to week than the initial BBB program, making it ideal for novice and intermediate lifters that are able to recovery more quickly.
If you like this spreadsheet, check out the other n-Suns program spreadsheets.