Explanation for the Jim Wendler 5/3/1 calculator
1. The lifts
This is the only column in the spreadsheet / calculator that you will fill. All other numbers will populate automatically if you fill these fields. The calculator works either for pounds or kilograms, as the fields are being calculated as a percentage of what you provide in these four fields. So it doesn't matter whether you type in your one rep maxes as pounds or kilograms to use the calculator.
3. 90 % of one repetition Maximum
The Wendler 5/3/1 program works with 90% of your one repetition maximum. These fields will provide numbers once you filled in your input under the column"weight". These are the building blocks from which the four week cycle will be calculated. None of the formulas are hidden and yours to be manipulated if needed. However keep in mind that I based the calculator on the design of the program by the man himself, Jim Wendler, if you make alterations.
4. 5 week repetition maximum week
The first week of one cycle is the 5 repetition maximum week. Each of the lifts is performed on one day and the calculator assumes that you would train 4 times a week. In case you train less than this, the layout of the calculator is sub optimal. Let me know in the comments if you lack the excel skills to make it into a 3 day version and I will provide one, as soon as there are enough requests. Monday would be squats, Tuesday Bench Press, Wednesday off, Thursday Deadlift, Friday Military Press and Saturday and Sunday is rest. You can start on a different week day, but keep the upper body / lower body splits and the rest periods.
The last set of each day is a maximum effort day. You should at least hit 5 repetitions with the weight the calculator provides in this field and strive to do as many as possible. If you go beyond 9 repetitions you either want to consider readjusting your weight or implementing joker sets, as you are not challenging yourself enough. This is why it says on the last set 5+ rather than just 5.
More than 9 repetitions means that you are exiting the area of strength building and enter the area of bodybuilding repetition schemes. You find more on the basic principles of loading in this post.
5. 3 Repetition maximum week
Same concept as the week before, but you are working up to a three repetition maximum rather than a 5 repetition maximum. Do all the build up sets, as they are needed to create the enhanced strength you want. Wendler tried to skip them without the desired result, so do not try to outsmart the template. With the 90% weight the calculator provides perform at least 3 repetitions in your last set and aim for as many as possible. If you do less than three consider lowering your weight. If you do more than seven again make use of joker sets or readjust your one repetition maximum.
6. 5/3/1 week
Same as with the weeks before, only difference being that you will do a set 5, a set of 3 and a 1+ set rather than 3x5's and 3x3's. If you do more than three repetitions consider joker sets.Still you should be careful in this week and only do this if the weight feels really really light as you are working closer to your absolute one repetition maximum.
7. Deload week
Week 4 brings one cycle to its conclusion. Here you give your body a rest and you can use the opportunity to work on your technique, explosiveness or flexibility as the weights are getting fairly light. Maybe incorporate chains and bands as in the west side method to put your muscles through a variety of stimuli. Stay focused, this is also quality work to prepare to go up in weights the next week. The major sources of injury are putting too much weight on the bar or carelessness with light weights.
8. Move to next cycle
Once you have completed the cycle move on to the next worksheet and add 2.5 kg / 5 pounds on the Bench press and Military press and 5kg / 10 pounds on the Deadlift and Squat for the next month / cycle. The calculator provides you with 13 cycles which covers training for an entire year. I planned my One year Wendler numbers with this, printed them and currently work to achieve my goal to become an elite lifter.
Further reading on Jim Wendler 531
- 30. Jim Wendler quotes that kick ass
- Avoid the biggest mistakes with Jim Wendler 531
- German Volume Training vs Jim Wendler 531
- How to combine Jim Wendler 531 and the westside method
- Jim Wendler 531 Joker vs Volume Sets
- Jim Wendler 531 Bodyweight Accessory work
- Jim Wendler diet
- My second Jim Wendler 531 cycle
- Wendler 531 6 month review
- Wendler 531 for athletes
- Wendler 531 for beginners
- Wendler 531 for crossfit
- Wendler 531 for mass
- Wendler 531 for mma
- Wendler 531 should you train to failure
- Wendler 531 speed up techniques
- Wendler 531 vs Stronglifts 5x5
- Which Wendler 531 book should I read