Building Strength With The 5/3/1 Workout


Training is no joke. It involves conditioning not just your muscles, but your entire organism, including your nervous and digestive system. This is why it’s important to find a quality strength building program and stick to it. The problem is once you end up searching for one, you’ll undoubtedly be flooded with a myriad of programs claiming to be the best, most efficient and fastest ones, promising you a strong, healthy, ripped body in just a few months.

But that’s little more than an illusion. To become a stronger version of yourself is hard work, and your strength program is nothing more than a guideline on what you should do. Nevertheless, the better the guideline is, the more efficient you workout will be.

Today, we’ll be checking out Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 method. Jim is a 3-time letter winner at the University of Arizona and is known to have squatted 1000 lbs in competition. The purpose of his program is to build pure strength and what’s so great about it is that it’s really simple. It focuses on the basic lifts, the squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press, and mostly highlights those lifts because of their large carryover to other exercises.

shutterstock_224472037So here’s how it works. The training cycle is broken down into a four-day schedule, so the lifter can focus on one of the main exercises on each day. Each cycle lasts four weeks and the weights should be based off your one-rep max. If you don’t know how to calculate your proper load, there are tons of online calculators you can check out, so don’t worry about it. ON the first week, perform 3 sets of 5 reps for the main lift you’re doing that day. On the second week, the intensity goes up to 3 sets of 3 reps, and then on the third week, it’s 3 sets in total, one for 5 reps, one for 3 reps and a final set of one.

The fourth week is a “deload” week, aimed at keeping you fresh for the next cycle of the workout. During this time, continue to work out with the same movements but at a much lighter intensity. Once the week is over, feel free to add 10 lbs to your weight for the lower-body moves (squat and deadlift) and 5 lbs for the upper body ones.

This is a slow but efficient method. Don’t expect huge gains right away, it’s a program designed to make you strong – but only if you stick to it. Because it’s slower, the chances of a plateau are close to non-existent. Give it a try!

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