Question: "5/3/1" Back to Q&A

Hi Ben, Thank you for being such a great influence on me, your insight on power lifting and nutrition have helped me make tremendous gains in the past 2 months since I started following you on YouTube. I know you probably get asked this a lot, but what exactly is the 5/3/1 or 3/5/1 program? Your reply will be very much appreciated.

- Dave

Ben Seath

I recommend buying the E-Book. But for now here is a quick Explanation of what it is.
In 5/3/1, you have to train four days a week. Each workout is centered on one core lift squat, bench press, deadlift, and standing shoulder press.

Each training cycle lasts four weeks, with these set-rep goals for each major lift:

Week 1: 3 x 5
Week 2: 3 x 3
Week 3: 3 x 5, 3, 1
Week 4: deloading

“Then you start the next cycle, using heavier weights on the core lifts. And that's where a seemingly simple system starts getting complicated.
You aren't just picking a weight to lift five times or three times or one time per set. You're using a specific percentage of your one-rep max. And not your full 1RM. The calculations are based on 90% of it.
So if your 1RM in the bench press is 315 pounds, you use 285 (90%) as the base number for your training-weight calculations. Here's how it works:
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Set 1 65% x 5 70% x 3 75% x 5 40% x 5
Set 2 75% x 5 80% x 3 85% x 3 50% x 5
Set 3 85% x 5+ 90% x 3+ 95% x 1+ 60% x 5

When you see 5+, 3+, or 1+, that means you do the max reps you can manage with that weight, with the goal of setting a rep record in each workout.”


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