The Real Power of 5/3/1

Jim Wendler‘s 5/3/1 (overview) is an amazing strength building program. It’s not everything, but it is something. I’ve had success with it over a number of years, and so have many others – including my sons.

Many focus upon the templates: Boring But Big, Triumverate, Beach Body, Krypteia, and there’s gazillions more (just buy the books). Templates are one magic of 5/3/1. I assert the real power of 5/3/1 is the principles.

5/3/1 was founded upon 4 principles: emphasize big, multi-joint movements; starting too light; progress slowly; break personal records. When you understand what drives and underlies these principles, it continues to hold no matter what you do. I shifted back to 5/3/1 for a time, saw good results, but I’m not a young man any more and the wear and tear caught up with me so I’m shifting to more hypertrophy-oriented work (for a time). The 5/3/1 principles remain. Starting too light and progress slowly hold well in hypertrophy work as I ease into the novel stimulus). Big movements are good, perhaps with more stability, like a Cybex machine press. PRs can now be rep PRs, inches on my biceps gained, inches around my waist lost.

5/3/1 as originally conceived is not something I can do so much any more. However, the principles of 5/3/1 will forever carry me forward.

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