Blood, Sweat and Football: A 5/3/1 Family

Blood, Sweat and Football: A 5/3/1 Family

Note from Jim: I've gotten a lot of success stories over the years, great testimonials from all over the world.  Not one of them goes unappreciated; I am humbled by each one of them.  This time of year (and hell, every part of the year) my heart will always be in high school and college football. The following story hits very close to home AND showcases two athletes who will be playing for the University of Washington in the 2016 College Football Playoff.  We were contacted by Darren Bowman and over several emails learned how he and his two sons, Shane and Ryan, trained together and made amazing progress.  When I learned they are at UW, I immediately screamed "Dave Hoffmann and Steve Emtman were some of my favorite players when I was in high school!"  And to add an even more personal touch, Darren is from Mt. Prospect, IL (right where I grew up) and went to Northern Illinois University (my parents alma mater).  And if that wasn't enough, he is a huge Black Sabbath fan.  So basically, everything about this family is awesome.  I could go on but I won't take any more of your time.  Read on and watch the games this weekend- regardless of your favorite team it's hard not to root for these two players.


I wanted to share our story with Jim and our gratitude to him and the 5/3/1 program. We have all had incredible success- not only following the program - but also following Jim's consistent messaging and principles.

Background: I grew up in Mt. Prospect, skinny kid, loved Black Sabbath, obsessed with lifting - a walk on football player initially for 1aa school and earned a scholarship. When the program shut down I finished my college football career at Northern Illinois as a DT in 1986. I share that because Jim's story is very similar to mine.

The Short Version Of Our Story: About 10 years ago we moved from Chicago to Seattle. I was traveling for work all the time. I missed my boys, they missed me and were lonely moving to a new state. I stopped training somewhere along the way - primarily just running while I was on the road. I came home from a trip and Shane, my oldest, asked if we could start lifting together. The gift of having my son ask to start training was all I needed to get busy setting up the garage with a home gym.  It was a great opportunity for us to spend some quality time together. I called Elite and spoke with Jim.  He helped me set up the garage with some equipment, I bought 531 and so it began.


Both boys have become incredibly strong, fast, and explosive following Jim's principles and programing.


Shane and Ryan Bowman

They gained over 100 pounds in the past 6 years and both are top 2 or 3 strongest players on the team. They follow the 531 program religiously. No switching.  No obsessing about different programs - 531 only. They are disciplined and committed to their goals and their own progress. They sleep 8 hours a night. Never miss a meal- meat, potatoes, oats, eggs, and chocolate milk by the gallons.


Shane Bowman

Shane is now a 21 yr old RS Sophomore at UW - he is currently 6'4" 299 pounds.  He is 2nd team Defensive Tackle and he is under scholarship.


Ryan Bowman

Ryan is an 18 yr old preferred walk on and plays DL/OLB. He just won Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year and is currently 6'1 and 270 pounds.

They are blessed to have great strength coaches at UW - led by Tim Socha - same principled approach as Jim.  Both Shane and Ryan continue to make progress.

I'm an old meat head - I'm 52 - always wanted to lift in a powerlifting meet - too afraid to do it until my late 40's after my sons and I began training together.  

The following numbers are when I started 531:

Squat - 275
Bench - 225
Deadlift - 315

Darren Bowman

Then I entered my first meet at 48 years old: 

Squat - 557 
Bench - 419 
Deadlift - 600 

Oh and I gained 50 solid pounds. I can't help what happened to my head; watermelon-like, but we wont attribute that to Jim's program...

I just wanted to share our story. The 5/3/1 program and philosophies changed our lives dramatically on so many different levels - most importantly - its what we do together as a family. No greater gift and I thank you. 

-Darren Bowman

5/3/1 The Simplest And Most Effective Training System For Raw Strength

We still watch the Bowman Boys and wish them great success as they play this season.  I'm not trying to tell you what color face pain to use but even if UW isn't your team it's hard to root against their discipline and effort.  

Let us and the rest of the 5/3/1 world root for you, your 5/3/1 athlete or your team.  Send your story to with subject: My 5/3/1 Story.  We love to put a face to the name so include an action shot or two.  We will show support by posting your story on the blog and sharing them across Social Media.  Hard work, effort and attitude earns a bigger cheering section (as does winning).   

Bowman Family

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