Since I started powerlifting, I’ve had a few workouts that I really liked. The first was the Madcow 5×5 version of Bill Starr’s 5×5 routine, and the second was Sheiko. (The Sheiko volume about killed me tho cuz I wasn’t prepped well enough for it. DOH! BUT, I loved it!). Other routines I really like were the Texas Method and Smolov. However, I didn’t give the Smolov routine the amount of respect it deserves and ended up with a strained hip flexor. Double Doh!
I still use Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 workout routine and have combined it with the Texas Method at times. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend getting your hands on it. Even better, buy it so you can go back to it like I do from time to time. Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Book (2nd Edition): The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength.
5/3/1 Workout Breakdown
- Train 3-4 days per week
- One day will be devoted to the standing military press, one day to the parallel squat, one day to the deadlift and one day to the bench press.
- Each training cycle lasts 4 weeks.
- The first week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5).
- The second week you will do 3 sets of 3 reps (3×3).
- The third week you will do 1 set of 5 reps,1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep (5/3/1).
- The fourth week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5). This is an easy deload week.
- After the fourth week, you begin again with 3 sets of 5 reps.
- Each week and each set has a percentage to follow, so you won’t be guessing what to do anymore.
Emphasize Big, Multi-Joint Compound Movements
For years I did a lot of isolation exercises; Curls, Tricep extensions, Leg extensions, etc etc etc… I also did a couple compound movements like squat and bench, but I never really focused on compound multi-joint movements. MAN, WHAT A WASTE OF YEARS THAT WAS!!
Mult-joint compound movements build the most muscle and work all these smaller muscles in addition. People are baffled when I tell them I rarely if ever do curls. Actually can’t remember the last time I did a bicep curl. Also, I’ve always had problems with tiny calves and hated it. Amazingly, when I started focusing on the big compound lifts, my calves actually grew. (They’re still small in my mind, but they’re better than before.)
Start Too Light & Progress Slowly
We all want to make huge gains fast, and in the beginning this is possible. However, the longer we train, the slower the progress becomes. That’s why, with this program it’s all about starting light and progressing slowly. You will hit a point where it starts getting much harder and that’s when you learn to appreciate the deload weeks.
Break Personal Records (PR’s)
Another big thing about the 5/3/1 program is breaking personal records. That could be in weight or reps. If at the beginning of one cycle you’re only benching 225lbs x 5, but then the next cycle you hit 7 reps, then you’re getting stronger…. obviously.
I highly recommend taking the Wendler 5/3/1 workout program for a test drive for at least 12 weeks.
The Jim Wendler 5-3-1 Workout Spreadsheet
I love automating things (lazy) to make my life easier (lazy) and more efficient (lazy), so I created a 531 workout spreadsheet that will auto calculate all your numbers after the first week.
TWO Spreadsheet Benefits TABS Below...Benefits of these spreadsheets include but are not limited to… (Note: Originally I only had benefits for us dudes, but I recently had a comment that I should have benefits for the ladies too). So, ladies, let me know if I should add any more. I’m just guessing right now. ha!
- Hair regrowth
- You’ll get a hot sex crazed girlfriend (Warning, don’t expose your new girlfriend to these spreadsheets or she’ll probly get pregnant because of all the pent up testosterone laden manliness that exists within said spreadsheets.)
- Your new girlfriend will invite her hot friends over and ask you to have a naked pillow fight that will evolve into a night of body shots and “other” fun activities.
- Cures impotence! (which is super sweet now that you have a hot sex fiend girlfriend that likes to invite her hot friends over for shenanigans).
- Your dog will stop licking his balls in public.
- You’ll even win the lottery!
Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I created 2 versions of the 5/3/1 workout spreadsheet. Originally I had 4 versions (two that rounded and two that didn’t) but that is completely unnecessary because you can just round them in your head. Duh. PLUS, it’s nice if you plan on Microloading Fractional Plates – DIY.
There are “Destructions” in the first tab, but most times I’m not good at explaining things via the good ole fancy shmancy written word using the Engrish alphabet in a way that convey’s the message that I am trying to convey so that the reader can understand what I’m trying to convey when I convey it in a way that allows for easily understanding said conveyed instructions.
>> BE SURE To WATCH THIS REALLY BORING VIDEO (from my previous site DIY Strength Training) ON HOW I USE THE 531 SPREADSHEETS, and Then… Check out the shorter “updated” video… and then download the spreadsheets below it…
Portrait Version Total Time: ~8min
Note: This video also applies to the Landscape Version
Updated Version Total Time: ~4min
Get UpdatesGet Notified of Updates. Yes sometimes I do update these or create new super duper awesome spreadsheets, and if you don’t sign up, you’ll never know about it. SOOOO…….. Sign up for updates and your life will be complete.
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the head and shoulders with a blunt object.
ALSO… Please leave a comment below letting me know what you think or if you have any questions or problems with my version of Wendler’s 531 routine.
Wendler 5/3/1 Workout Spreadsheet
Download Portrait Version
Wendler 5/3/1 Workout Spreadsheet
Download Landscape Version