• Q&A
  • February2nd

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    I’d like to elaborate on is something I’ve been asked a few times. “Does it bother you that someone who you believe isn’t as good as you (in terms of training/strength/fitness) is more successful/gets more attention/gets more likes/makes more money?” There are a lot of people that have hundreds of thousand of fans, yet they don’t have the experience and background – they just take great pics and offer general advice. To make it simple: Does it bother you when Johnny ComeLately gets more love than you?


    The answer is no. I never get mad at someone else’s success, no matter how one would define it. I don’t know anyone that measures success by social media “likes” but then again, I’m older and at this point in my life, all my friends are pretty like-minded. From a general point of view, being jealous or mad of someone else’s success is petty. Its junior high bullshit. If someone is successful in what they do, love what they do and harm no one – good times. That is just a “world view” of it. However, there is a “in the industry” view, I’d like to elaborate on.


    1. Maybe they deserve it.

      Everyone has an ego in this industry and that’s not always a bad thing. Every driven, successful person I know has a strong ego. This ego DRIVES them to be better, it shouldn’t hinder their success. But that doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge you aren’t the best. So perhaps they are good, despite what you think.  And even if they don’t know that much, they are simply better at marketing themselves.

    2. You aren’t that good. 

      As said above, we all have egos and while I believe you should BELIEVE in what you do, we all have room to improve. And maybe, just maybe, the reason you aren’t successful is because you need to do some work. Just because you look the part and have snappy sayings/ideas/programs doesn’t mean you deserve success. Maybe you suck. Knowledge is power but it doesn’t mean you can apply that knowledge. And part of the application of knowledge, at least in this industry, is communication with your audience. I have seen many people who KNOW about training but couldn’t coach worth a damn. If you are trying to help people out with their training, whether it be in person, online, through articles, books or videos, you are coaching. Certainly not in a classical sense but in the spirit of the word. And if you can’t communicate with the audience, anything you say will fall flat. (On a side note, I see way too many people in this industry writing articles/books for others’ in the industry, not for people who are actually going to apply them. It’s akin to a dick-measuring contest; I don’t care what another professional thinks when I write an article. It’s not for them. I’ve never written anything to appease someone who does what I do. I write for the audience: people who have other jobs or careers who want to be stronger/better. They don’t have the background that I have and I wouldn’t expect them too. I’ve been criticized many times for my “too basic” ideas, my writing and approach by others in this industry. Many times. I almost always write to a younger me, the kid who was hungry to learn and ready to implement something that works. I don’t expect the same knowledge and love from others. I do expect discipline and consistency.) To sum it all up: you may not be that good, and even if you are, maybe you don’t know how to talk to those that listen.


    1. Your area of expertise isn’t worth as much.

      This is something I learned at EliteFTS and also when playing football. At EliteFTS, I don’t know if we sold more than 10 monolifts per YEAR while I was there. Things may have changed as EFS has grown but just because you are great at your thing doesn’t ensure you have success. You don’t play grind or death metal because you want to make money. And you don’t make monolifts exclusively if you want to be rich or famous, no matter how good the monolift is built.   In football, the hard lesson is that the more you contribute to the team, the more you are worth. The superstar quarterback gets more love than the special teams walk-on.. Strength training is never going to have the money and the love and the public draw as diets or fat loss. Great musicians will never make as much money as corporate-made pop stars that can’t write a song or play an instrument. Welcome to the world. It’s not fair.

    1. Success for them, is success for us.

      You can hate the programs and the selfies and all the bullshit that drives their popularity, but any success in this industry helps EVERYONE. While I don’t believe in the motto, “Something is better than nothing” when it comes to training, any exposure of some kind of training can only drive people deeper into this world. At worst, they do a few workouts and quit. At best, they keep learning and eventually they may follow what you say.

    1. This is not a new phenomenon.

      The internet has given people a new avenue for marketing themselves. But intense marketing hasn’t changed in the fitness industry over the past 50 years. Before the internet there were magazines; and much of the crap that you read in those rags wasn’t that good. You had people disguised as experts dispensing training advice that was horrid. And yes, the internet is a much bigger platform. But the fact that some people who didn’t deserve the respect and admiration get it- it happens in all professions. You can either bitch or do better. And I can tell you with certainly, no one gets anywhere with a big mouth and no legs.

    Do I think I’m better than some others that are more popular? Sure. But I have a biased view. I do know that time will eliminate the pretenders. People will eventually realize that they are full of shit. Not all the time, but most of the time. 99% of people reading this are entrenched in the “Training Underground”; they aren’t falling for trend diets and infomercial/TV fitness products. These things will always be there and will always sell. But those that are selling themselves as experts in the underground almost always get exposed if they are frauds. Getting upset/jealous/mad when someone has success, despite what you think, makes you the one thing we all are training to avoid; weak.

  • December7th



    Question:  Firstly thanks for creating 531, it’s awesome. I’ve got a fracture in my hand so my training is now limited for the next 2-3 months or so.

    I was thinking of squatting 3 x p/w will hill sprints thrown in. Firstly, would you advise this  and if so can you give me an idea around sets / rep ranges as haven’t squatted more than once a week so unsure how to structure it?

    Answer:  Check out the Full Body Training template on TNation and in the 2nd Edition of 5/3/1.  You can find the 2nd Edition Ebook on the www.JimWender.com website and the hard copy on Amazon.  If possible, use a safety squat bar for squatting if your hand doesn’t allow you to hold the bar properly during the squat.  If you are going to squat three days per week AND run hill sprints, I would highly advise you to try to run hills after you squat (on the same day).  Also, remember that “hard” conditioning work like the Prowler and hills must be accounted for in your weight training. In other words, if you put something in like this, you have to pull something out.  Hard conditioning is, for most, just another form of lifting.  You have to account for that.


    Question:  Want to start buy saying thanks for helping me finally start making gains after 10years of fucking around doing nothing.

    I bought your book around 7months and instantly discovered I knew nothing at all about training(blamed by poor genetics for lack of gains), well to cut along story short I heard you were writing a book on conditioning and I want it to continue with my quest for greatness are the rumors true and when is it available?

    Answer:  Glad your training is back on track; always feels good to have some guidance and progress in the pursuit of physical and mental strength.  As for the conditioning book, we are going to add that to the NOV book but we pretty much cut out all the fat out of conditioning part i.e. only included the stuff that I think is relevant and NOT just putting in all the the things I’ve done over the past 20+ years. The new book I am writing now is pretty detailed on some conditioning methods such as hills, Prowler, weight vest, AirDyne, running and also includes N.O.V. challenges. The latter are strength and conditioning based challenges that are for people that want to try something a bit different.



    Question:  I’ve been using your 5/3/1 for about a year now.  I have made good gains.  Havent totally stalled out but definitely slowed down.  I’m 21, 6’0 about 235, 610 sq 420 bench 645 dl (raw). Stayed explosive as hell.  I havent used any bands or chains yet, I have kind of viewed them as my ace card I was going to hold on to as long as possible.  When do you think the right time to start messing with that kind of stuff is?

    Answer:  This is a good question and the answer (well, the best answer) that I came up with is this: “The best time to use chains and bands is when you stop asking WHEN you should do them and just do it.”  Obviously they aren’t to be used by a beginner but the one thing that they did teach me is that training and all the gizmos and gadgets that go along with it is a right of passage.  Sometimes you have to go through just about everything until you settle on your own Training Philosophy.  And more times than not, you end up coming full circle and your training is whittled down to the most basic and primitive means.

    It’s kind of like all the diet crazes that come and go; you try high carbs, no carbs, organic, Zone, Paleo, fasting and then all of a sudden you realize that you just need to eat some good food and get on with your life.  It has been my experience both personally and professionally that the best way to overcome a plateau is to look at your weak points in training. “Weak Point” is not a muscle group but looking at your overall training program and see what area is in need of attention.  For example: diet, speed, conditioning, attitude, programming, etc.  Instead of thinking about your glutes or shoulders or whatever muscle group, think about the bigger picture of training.  The four biggest things I’ve noticed that need work are:

    1. Diet
    2. Condtioning
    3. Recovery
    4. Mobility/Flexibility

    Divide your training into smaller cycles and make sure each area has the proper attention for your particular goal, long and short term.



    Question:  I was looking all over for the answer since I too hate answering the same question multiple times. For the 3rd month of the challenge (70%). I missed on the final 3 sets by 2 reps.  I did a 6th set of 6 to get to 50 with the idea of lowering/removing that the next week since I technically failed the challenge (but still feel damn strong). I think what I’m asking for is affirmation that this makes sense and that I’m on the right track in my way of thinking. I’ve made incredible gains in the past 3 years since I was first introduced to the 5/3/1 and the proper way to thing about training.

    Thanks again and keep up the grind.

    Answer:  Don’t be dissuaded by missing some reps – this is the hardest part of the challenge (Read: CHALLENGE!) and  shit is going to get hard.  If it was a walk in the park then all we’d have to do is stroll to get strong.  Keep pressing through this part and do whatever you can to get your training on course; eat more than ever and prepare yourself mentally for the battle beneath the bar.  Once this phase is over, we will move forward to another phase of the year long training cycle.  Remember a challenge is not supposed to be easy; think about this – people view going on a diet as a challenge.  Stop for a second and really think about it – NOT stuffing your face is a challenge?  Somewhere along the time of the Industrial Revolution we have lost the idea that shit is gonna get hard. 



    Question:  I’ve being doing the 5/3/1 full body routine that has me squatting 3 times a week for a while now. Very enjoyable, makes you feel like a man! About to move onto Phase 2. I like the sound of the 3 month BBB challenge, what are your thoughts on including that BBB template with the full body routine? If thumbs up, you got any pointers/dos & don’ts?

    Answer:  Don’t.  Either pick one or the other. Don’t try mixing and matching templates and programs.  You will get half the program and no results.  Programs (my programs) are written for a reason; for the end goal.  It’s not like I randomly picked shit out of the air and lumped it into the program.  Exercises,reps and sets were picked for a reason.  This is not a palm full of diarrhea thrown at a white board, chalkboard or computer screen and called “programming” under the guise of intelligence.   And I’m not one of the those that hides behind “Hard Work” as a means of making up for shit programming.  You still need to work hard but it helps when there is a brain pushing the muscle.



    Question:  What would you do to bring up a weak lift? For example, my dead, press, and squat are about right relative to each other but my bench is comparatively very weak. How would you recommend using 5/3/1 to fix something like this?

    Answer:  We all have weaker lifts but I certainly wouldn’t worry too much about it.  Instead of obsessing over some sort of made up “lifting symmetry”, embrace and push your “good lifts” and keep plugging away at the weaker one(s).  A well programmed training program rarely leaves any stone unturned.  The problem is that people don’t realize that balance in training doesn’t mean one has to spend equal time on each part.  For example, 10-15 minutes/day of mobility work can do wonders to help provide balance for 90 minutes of lifting.  You don’t need 90 minutes of mobility work.

    As for your situation, MOST of the time, the bench and press are going to lag longer than the squat or deadlift. This is because of the size/strength of body used when doing the lifts.  For example, the squat has a lot of strong muscles that can take over when the lift gets difficult – you have more professionals, so to speak, to help you. The press or the bench press don’t have that luxury. Also, building muscle mass is a huge help when lifting and too few people choose to eat in such a way that allows them to do that.



    Question:  I am a PFC in the West Va National Guard and I am a big fan and love 5/3/1. I was 8 weeks into basic training when I messed up my leg (Stress fractures in femur, pelvic bone, and i pulled my hip flexor) When I got back I didn’t want to be a pussy though, and immediately tested my bench and did a cycle of 5/3/1 for bench only because my leg still hurt to bad for the other lifts.

    Now I can train all but the squat. I have very weak hips still and am afraid to re-injure my hip as I have to go back to basic this summer.

    Any advice for how to strengthen my hips and push on?

    PS 5/3/1 works and anyone who says it doesn’t is not trying. Every month you get stronger. Period.

    Answer:  You can try high box squats and work your way down.  Step ups and hip bridges would also be in order.  You may want to see what other single leg work you can do and use these lifts to make up for not being able to squat (start with bodyweight one-leg work) Finally, make sure you are doing mobility work.


    Question:  Just got done reading your 531 book. Looking forward to doing this. One question for now. What the heck is vag?

    Answer:  That would be short for “vagina.”  While some may see this as a misogynistic term, I can only shake my head and hope they were not publically educated; I’d hate to see tax dollars being wasted that way.  It is simply a rallying cry to not be a pussy.  And if one can’t see past the simple and obvious point I am trying to make, I can only hope they never vote or procreate.  The ego behind adults telling other adults what words they can say or not say is amazing.  I never trust these people as they clearly have nothing going on in their lives and instead, spend time policing the world.  No Man (or Woman) of Action would ever bother with this. They are simply too busy getting shit done than weeping like a martyr. Being a victim is not sexy.



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