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Wendler 531 speed up techniques

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Dec 25, 2015, 4:33:21 AM

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Wendler 531 Speed up techniques

These are some ideas on how to speed up the Wendler 5 3 1 workout which are discussed in the Wendler 5/3/1 and beyond 5/3/1 book. Please refer back to those to get a full picture as this is just a small snapshot of what I have done with it. Also only speed the program up, if you got used to it in the first place. Do not jump in as a beginner and try to go fast. Usually a recipe for desaster. Here are some ideas.

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Do it in two days

The original setup is to do the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press on seperate days. The advantage of doing this is that your session can be over in half an hour. Especially when you do not have enought time to train due to other commitments this is a good way to make progress while keeping your overall lifestyle.

The downside of this approach is, that you are progressing rather slowly, as the 531 prgram is set up with a relatively slow progression compared to other lifting programs which escalate the load quicker. Wendler 5 3 1 workout is laid out for long progression in small increments, not necessarily towards a peak performance for a powerlifting meet. 

Here you can make a decision based on your work ethis, goals, time available and lifting level. Take into consideration how advanced you are for the load you are under Jim Wendler 531. For me personally, as I do not move 700lbs+ on the squat like Chris Duffin or 800lbs+ on the Deadlift like Dan Green, recovery as quite fast. Therefore I opted to do the four main exercises of 5 3 1 Jim Wendler in two days. Squat and Bench on Mondays and Deadlift and Overhead Press usually on Tuesdays.

With that I am left with five days in the week where I can either decide to move on in the program or support it with some dynamic benching and squatting, which I am currently doing. If you were to also train for speed or endurance you also have the rest of the week left for two recovery and three training days depending on your goals. I find that quite rewarding and practical. I still ran the 531 workout as stated for two months first to grow accustomed to it, before I made this switch.

Run two cycles back to back

Another option to speed up progress is to run two cycles back to back without a deload week. The standard template asks for a deload in week four of each cycle, if you train four times a week. In beyond 531 Wendler eplores the idea of cutting out this deload week and running two cycles back to back. 

This leaves you with 6 weeks of training with week 7 as a deload to than repeat the whole thing over. Also here this is also recommended if you are experienced, have good form, enough sleep, balance in your life and a good diet. Last thing you want is to break down and progress "backwards".

If you run twelve cycles this saves you one and a half month on a year of training, if you still progress. This can especialy done by lifters, which are not as advanced, as the the volume/load per session is lower.

Further reading

Topics: Jim Wendler 5/3/1