5/3/1 is a strength training program developed by the power lifter Jim Wendler, and original laid out in his book 5/3/11. Wendler went on to expand and improve upon the program with a powerlifting version, Beyond 5/3/1 , and 5/3/1 Forever2.


  1. Start too light
  2. Progress Slow
  3. Use Multi-Joint Movements/Exercises
  4. Set Personal Records
  5. Balance2

Main areas of concern:

  1. Mobility
    1. Agile 8
  2. Strength
  3. Conditioning
  4. Recovery

Balance across these domains.

In the later books, Wendler introduces varied programming cycles beyond the “standard” of Week 1 5+ sets, Week 2 3+ Sets, Week 3 1+ sets. I personally have tried the following variations:

  • 1000% Awesome leader and anchor
    • A full body workout on each work day. Seemed balanced and not boring.
  • Krypteria Part 1
    • Short workouts, almost circuit training like, goal is to finish in under 45 minutes. This first phase is meant to build tolerance to the pace of the workout for the later phases which increase volume.
  • Limited Time (Widow maker)
    • Two lifting days per week (Squat - Bench | Deadlift - Press). Use PR sets with 5 Progression, then do a widowmaker set. Assistance work is one working set of high rep Kroc rows (20+).
      • Geared around limited time lifting days, need to proper warm up (Agile 8) before lifting.
    • Mix in conditioning/mobility and Jumps/throws on off days.

Jumps Throws


5’s Progression (5 Pros) - [p. 903] - Retain the percentage progression from the standard 5/3/1 for workouts and across weeks except every set is done for five reps and you do not try to go past 5 on the final work set (i.e. no PR sets). AMRAP - see PR Set Plus set (#+) - see PR Set PR Set - As many reps as possible, this does not mean absolute failure. Jim advises leaving a rep or two in the tank and your form should not be compromised on the last rep (p. 5)2.


Wendler, J. Beyond 5/3/1: Simple Training for Extraordinary Results. (Jim Wendler LLC, 2013).

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