Question: Hey Jim, Ive been on 5/3/1 for 6 months now and I love it. I switched from high bar to low bar about 1 month ago, and enjoy it greatly. I have decided to take a little wider stance then usual, but not as wide if i were wearing gear. Because of this wider stance I want to implement box squats into my training, and I was wondering what you think the best sets reps sceme and % would work best for a raw lifter.
Answer: Use the same sets, reps and percentages as the main lifts in the 5/3/1 program.
Question: Just wanted to say thanks for your program. I am currently in Afghanistan in a remote area. I have been doing 5/3/1 for 2 months now and it is by far the best program for gaining strength I have ever encountered. Almost every day I am beating PR's and when you don't have much to look forward to you'd be suprised how the little things really make the time go by. I have always been a big guy and gave up on the Six Pack and just wanted to focus on strength. But an awesome result of your program is how my body has transformed to be in the best shape of my life. Losing inches off my waist and still getting stronger. Your program is the only Long Term program I have ever found that makes sense to me over the long term. Can't wait to get home and get a sled and incorporate. Right now I run with a 65lb dumb bell on the helo pad. They look at me like I am nuts but Fuck Em! 5/3/1 is an awesome program and I can't wait to see my results next year this time!
Answer: Thanks for the comments and the update. It’s always amazing what happens when someone focuses on PERFORMANCE rather than LOOKS – everything seems to fall into place. Thanks for writing in and stay safe in Afghanistan.
Question: I'm thinking of giving your beginner 3 day a week routine a go but I'm having some difficulty with deciding what assistance work to do and on what day. If you have a spare moment would you mind giving me some ideas?
Answer: All body weight movements are recommended: dips, chins/pull-ups, fat man rows, push-ups, hanging leg raises, ab wheel and back raises will make your day better. I recommend doing a lot of sled work (pulling forward/backward), pushing the Prowler and running hills/stairs. Besides the main work done 3 times/week, you should be doing the above every single day. Get your body ready, get your ass in-shape. So a daily workout with the above exercises would look like:
- Dips - 100 total reps
- Chin/Pull-ups - 50 total reps
- Back Raises - 100 reps
- Prowler - 12 x 40 yards
Spend some time getting your base built!
Question: Hey Jim- I have entered the powerlifting world recently, and I love to deadlift. It feels more natural in sumo stance for me though. Should I be training with regular stance, and only using sumo for competitions?
Answer: Practice like you play. Pull sumo the majority of the time, as this style of deadlifting requires a great amount of technique. I would occasionally pull conventional but I don't know how you structure your training so I'm not sure when you would do this.
Question: I´m 31 year old and working my ass out at the gym few times a week but if I look around me and see how other guys look like I´m wondering if I just should not stop train? They all look huge, big backs, huge arms. They train 6times a week doing every bodypart twice sometimes three times a week ? I wanna be strong but like many guy´s I allso want those big guns, a huge back, you know the entire package... Bodybuilding splits seems boring to me but as I say they pay off, what would you recommand me ? Friendly regards and keep up the good work man !!!
Answer: My advice is quit looking at men. Start training to be great.
Question: Jim, do you ship international? I'd want to get one of the shirts all the way down to Brazil. Thanks
Answer: Yes, we ship to every country and continent besides Antartica.
Question: Your site is awesome and 5/3/1 looks the real deal. I just wanted some advice from someone who has actually been there and done it with strength training. I went through starting strength a year ago for a few months and went from barely being able to squat without weight, to being able to squat my bodyweight on the bar. But being a young and silly bastard, I got bored, moved on and lost track. I still kept on doing bench, squats and deads, but bench and arms started taking priority. So I ended up fucking around in the gym and haven’t really improved in the last 6 months. Start of this year I got back into it, but I screwed my rotator cuff and have had to spend 2 months rehabbing it but the physio (he is into lifting too so I mostly trust what he says) recommends not barbell benching too much for the foreseeable future. SO, I think I need to completely restart and your 5/3/1 program seems to have none of the fluff. I don’t want to overthink everything again, I just want to get in and do it and leave and actually get bigger and stronger. Could you please give me advice on what YOU would recommend in this case. Obviously 5/3/1 would be the go, but is it possible to substitute benching for something and still make gains? And as for diet, I am only about 165lbs at 6 foot and have some fat on my gut, so I guess I am skinny fat and I am lactose intolerant and after trying GOMAD, it definitely isn’t a pretty option. Just wondering how much food you would recommend to try and gain 10 pounds or so in a year? Sorry for the long email, I’m just trying to figure out the best way for me to do this so I don’t repeat last time.
Answer: You can use any barbell, full range of motion exercise in place of the bench press. If your shoulder injury prevents you from doing so, use a partial range motion or just bench to a towel, carpet or board. As for diet, eat food, develop good habits and start pushing the Prowler. If you are looking to me to improve body comp, you’ve come to the wrong guy. We only train for performance. When you do that, everything improves including the quality of trim you get to poke. If you want to get lean, eat Paleo or Zone or whatever. All the normal, mainstream diets are pretty much the same. They are all repackaged with different spokesperson, different hook but pretty much the same shit is being shoveled. Just do what EVERY SINGLE SMART PERSON HAS EVER DONE: look at the big picture, see the common elements and then use some common sense. If you want to get big as fuck/strong as fuck, eat the above diets and then eat about triple of whatever they recommend and then have a large pizza every night. The funny thing is that people are afraid of food - as if eating a couple steaks and a dozen eggs a day is the same as 14 Mountain Dews and 16 Big Macs. We have such a weird obsession with food in this country - love and hate and love and hate.
Question: About a month ago I was deadlifting and on my last rep I felt a pull in the rib area. Since then I've only deadlifted once and it also hurts when the weight is on my back during squats. I know set backs and injuries happen. Me pulling a rib muscle while deadlifting could it be my form or belt too tight? Or is it just shit luck.
Answer: I would probably go to a doctor to see what the problem is – I can’t diagnose or treat an injury (I’m not a doctor). Could be your form, could be bad luck or it could be part of the game of competitive training. I wouldn’t sweat it too much unless it becomes a regular thing.
Question: Jim serious question: MISFITS ( with glenn danzig of course) or DANZIG?
Answer: Well, Misfits WAS Danzig (and Samhain was Danzig as well). I’m partial to the Misfits though just because it brings me back to some great times in junior high and high school. Danzig is an amazing song writer. He has written more memorable and great songs (even by normal standards) than just about anyone in the industry. When you consider 100% of pop music is not written by the "entertainers", it is even more impressive. The fact that R. Loren from Pyramids didn't win a Grammy this year tells you how fucking lame anyone in the modern music world is - they can't even write a song. They have no vision and are 100% built up on bullshit.
Question: i discovered your 5/3/1 program over the weekend. i started it this morning with legs. i damn near cried. and then i waddled to my car. i'm all pumped up (haha) and ready to hit some PRs. thank you!
Answer: Thanks man – good luck and train hard.
Question: Good morning Jim, I recently purchased your 5/3/1 ebook and I'm a big fan of the workout. My question is what alternative exercise would recommend for dips? It's hard for me to do them since I have a partial tear on one of the tendons in my shoulder.
Answer: DB bench press, DB incline, standing DB press, push-ups, any kind of press with the FBall bar or Fat Bar (or really any kind of bar). Dips are usually recommended because they are very efficient and relative body strength is important.
Question: Hi Jim, First of all I want to thank you for creating 5/3/1, I've made more progress with that program than with any other, Starting Strength excepted, and more importantly it allows me to adapt my program to my life and work, which is really a godsend in my situation (I'm in the military, actually writing this from Afghanistan). Also, your whole philosophy is just awesome, it put everything into perspective. Now I've got a question about deload. I had a herniated lumbar disk two years ago, and I'm trying to find ways to prevent this kind of injury to happen again. Among other, stability work seem to be a must, so while I do stuff like weighted planks on a regular basis to that end, I had an idea about the deload week. Would you think it a good idea to add bands with weights on the barbell on deload week to throw in a little extra stabilization work ? (I'm thinking some kind of homemade bamboo bar actually.) My rationale is : I don't want to spend too much time doing these, as I have to keep my workouts pretty short (I usually do the Triumvirate, and I don't want to waste an exercise on this). But on deload, it would kill two birds with one stone: allow the body to recover, while simultaneously work on stabilization. I've never had shouldr problems, but I guess bamboo bench can't hurt. What do you think? Is it retarded, and should I devote the extra time to this kind of training, or would 1 week out of 4 would be enough, and most importantly, without taking away too much for my recovery? Thanks for your answer! And good luck Iuck with your own recovery! (Pardon my English if there is any mistake or odd sentence, it's not my native language.)
Answer: I’m not sure how bands and a bamboo bar is going to help your back – those two things would be the last things I would ever do. Why don’t you look at using alternative ways of strengthening and stabilizing your core? This would be the first and best thing I would do. I rehabbed my back using a weight vest and have found my worn out body to be in amazing shape - all from using the weight vest and the various circuits I have been doing.
Question: would you recommend doing the turkish get up and kettlebell/barbell windmills? and how would you fit them in your 5/3/1 program? before doing the main lifts or as assistance work?
Answer: The Turkish Get Up, which if done in a Turkish bath means said person is/was in trouble, is good for a warm-up and as a recovery tool on off days. It is also good for your shoulders. Its a great movements but it's not a "main" movement at all.
Question: First time when I was in the gym is 2 years before (when I was 16 year old, now im 18)... I didnt take this sport seriously so I went maybe about 2 months in row and went 2-3 times in month after that... So I learned basic lifts (military-max 60kg, squat-max 90kg, deadlift-max 125kg, bench-max 90kg, rows)... I started to lift weights few weeks before and I stared with stronglifts 5x5 training program and I started squats with 50kg and now I am at 70kg... Progression in other lifts is still going on.... SO my question for you is how many months I should be doing 5x5 and when should I start with your 5/3/1 program, I realy want to try it but I dont know when is the right time, maybe after 3 or 4 months of 5x5?
Answer: I have no idea what “stronglifts” is but it sounds like the same 5 sets of 5 reps that has been used by many. My answer is you should switch or change programs when:
- You no longer can make progress.
- When you want to start a superior program.
Good luck and start thinking about the long term life of training and NOT how quickly you can stall out. At some point the idea of training principles, being smart and training hard will be in vogue. But as long as people are buying the quick fix, people will be selling shit.
To learn more about training for the long term, get the 5/3/1 Book here.
On another note. I got this album my 8th grade year - and this was huge for me. I had been part of the thrash/death world and this was a totally different take on dark music. You didn't need to play 1000mph or scream to have an effect. And it also introduced me to the underground production that I still love - nothing is worse than a perfect sounding album, one that sounds mechanized - one that isn't REAL. I understand some people don't like the "necro" sound of recording but there are a lot of morons out there. So do the math. I had a Samhain sticker on my skateboard and this is how you communicated with others - see who is part of which tribe. It was this sticker than led me to befriend a couple guys who I immediately formed a band with. We weren't that good but damn, we played with some conviction. But again, not very good. Give Samhain a shot - I believe November's Coming Fire is their best work (despite Initium making the Top 10 of best album covers ever). The songs "Birthright" and "Human Pony Girl" are highlights. This album takes me back to riding my Diamondback bike over to my friends' houses and just being a kid; Slayer, popping wheelies and prude girls.