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Former powerlifter and American football player Jim Wendler created the 5/3/1 method after he felt all burned out from competitive powerlifting.

Boost your power and strength with 5/3/1

Former powerlifter and American football player Jim Wendler created the 5/3/1 method after he felt all burned out from competitive powerlifting. In his own words he described his situation: “I was fat and out of shape. And even though I’d recently squatted 1000 pounds, I really wasn’t strong. I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t use this strength for anything other than waddling up to a monolift and squatting.”

Wendler wanted an easy plan to get into shape again without having to do a million different exercises in the gym. He decided to strip away everything complex and reverted to a simplistic, percentage-based program. The bench press, squat, press and deadlift have always been staples in any strong person’s repertoire – so these were the multi-joint lifts Wendler used to construct his 5/3/1 program.

The principles of 5/3/1 are:

  • Train 4 days per week
  • Perform each of the big lifts on separate days
  • Each training cycle lasts 3 weeks before you deload
  • Do 3 sets of 5 reps on your first week
  • Do 3 sets of 3 reps on your second week
  • The third week you will do 1 set of 5 reps, 1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep (5/3/1)
  • The fourth week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps – this is an easy deload week
  • After your deload week you start the cycle again with 3 sets of 5 reps

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