Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program is often referred to as “The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength.”
The 5/3/1 program is a real proof that training does not have to be complicated or fancy to work wonders. The concepts behind Wendler’s 5/3/1 workout philosophy are quite simple:
Big multi-joint movements
By starting light you make more room for further progression and strength gains.
Take it slow, no need to rush. This is a guarantee that you won’t sabotage your own progress.
Break rep records
5/3/1 is set up to allow you to break a variety of repetition records throughout the year.
The method itself is divided in cycles where every cycle has 4 micro cycles or waves(weeks).
sets set1 set2 set3
Wave(week) 1. Warm up, 65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5
Wave(week) 2. Warm up, 70%x3, 80%x3, 90%x3
Wave(week) 3. Warm up, 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1
Wave(week) 4 (Deload) – 60%x5, 65%x5, 70%x5
Wendler suggests that you underestimate your loading percentages by subtracting 10% from your 1RM when calculating weights.
Every wave (or week) has 4 workouts.
A. Squat + assistance
B. Bench press + assistance
C. Deadlift + assistance
D. Military press + assistance
Along with the main lifts, Wendler’s 5/3/1 program includes assistance exercises (like chin-ups, dips, lunges, and back extensions) to build muscle, prevent injury, and create a balanced physique.
Assistance work depends on your goals:
Base – just do the main lifts
Strength – just do 1-2 supplementary lifts, typically 3-5 sets x 6-20 reps
Bodybuilding – 3-4 supplementary lifts, including some isolation work, done for higher volume, typically 3-4 sets x 10-20 reps