No, this is not a question but I thought I needed to write you in hopes that you will post this as a testament to how well your program has worked for me-and how well it could potentially work for others. I started 531 after seeing the t-nation article about it. Up to that point I had been lifting weights for almost ten years. After spending almost 3 devoted years on your program (and I intend to keep running it forever) I have come to the realization that the reason your program is excellent is because of the high level of flexibility and adaptation it allows while always showing up to illicit results.
Your book has been a faithful friend to me in my pursuit to stay true to my training and goals through the most insane times of my life; childbirth, relocation, undergrad while working 2 jobs, grad school while working 2 jobs, personal turmoil, ups, downs, and all the other bullshit that life has thrown at me...my excel spreadsheet was always there, staring me in the face letting me know what needed to be done, and I knew without question if I did just that I would be one step further away from being a wet, hot, vag.
I've done many versions according to what I was looking for goal-wise or what I was doing in life at the time. I am not going to go over how each version worked out but they all lead to me increasing strength over the long haul. One example I will bring up is the fact that I followed Jack Shit (page 50 in the 2nd Edition) for 8 months...3 of those cycles I didn't go for any rep records at all, I trained twice a week. At the time I didn't think I was getting stronger but I knew I wasn't getting weaker (boy was I naive). Once I finished up the semester I went back to four days a week (boring but big) and my strength went through the roof. I think this 3 month quasi-deload on the Jack Shit template gave me sort of a primer to allow me to stay fresh and start crushing PR's when it was time to go back to training with assistance work and more frequency.
The point to all this is that it took me 13 years of weight training, a little under three years now on your program for me to FINALLY GET IT! I feel like I now know what weight training is all about and it might sound silly but I really can't put it in words right now, people reading this need to give a decade plus to the barbell and figure it out on their own much like you have said. It's the intangible things it has done for me, an outlet, a time for me to get my mind right, make myself better, and surprise myself with PR's. As I have grown and become better in my training I have as a person as well and anyone who tells you there isn't a direct parallel between the two really doesn't get it. Thanks for giving myself and many others a sense of direction and purpose in their training and life. - Michael R.
Maxes in December 2009 at 235 lbs
- squat 495
- bench 335
- deadlift 525
- ohp 190
Maxes in April 2012 at 251 lbs
- squat 635
- bench 410
- deadlift 670
- ohp 265
From Jim: This is amazing. This is the training and life transformations that I want people to have when they do the 5/3/1 program. It takes some time (there is no "month" or "8 week cure" to anything we do). Thank you for sharing this with me and the world.