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Wendler 531 6 month review

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jan 13, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Wendler 531 6 month review

Thi is a short summary of where I am at after being 6 months an the 531 workout. So far progression is positive, but first cracks start to show which have to be monitored and, if persistent, countermeasures will have to be taken.

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Starting out 

I started the program on a 120kg bench press, 120kg Squat and 170kg deadlift. I am 185cm tall and weigh usually somehwere between 82 - 89kg depending on the season. My squat depth was not satisfying when I started and I just came out of having busirtis in my elbow due to being on Stronglifts 5x5 for a year.

Current progression

So far I have progressed to a 150kg squat, 140kg bench press and 190kg Deadlift and I am happy with this progression. You can see the full development on my youtube channel Marathon Crossfit if you are interested in the details. 

The switch up

Two months ago I decided to go a bit faster on the program. I started with four session a week with squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press a day each. Then I adjusted to doing squat / bench on one day and deadlift / overhead press on the other day. This left me with a couple of free days in the week where I decided to focus on band and chain work to develop more explosive movement patterns taking a leaf out of the westside barbell method. 

First Cracks 

After speeding the program up and the holiday season I am seeing the first cracks in my progression. I try to avoid a reset, but it looks like the time has come. The absolute tell was a 167kg deadlift which I aimed to do for a as many repetitions as possible set in the range of 4 - 7 and only manged to pull once. Same for the bench press where I faiöled a repetition on a 124kg bench press which I was not supposed to fail.

I will observe the developments after the holiday season but if this continues to happen for the next cycle, I will readjust.


My nutrition while on 5/3/1 is fairly simple and I do not overcomplicate it. Whey Shake in the morning and in the evening, Creatine before and after the workout itself. In addition I eat eggs, avocados, rice and meat. I strive to have 6 meals a day, three snacks (apples bananas and the likes) and three mains (breakfast, lunch, dinner). 

What's next

I am keeping this post fairly short, as I want to do a proper review of the program when I did for a year. Hopefully I will have progressed to a 200kg back squat by then, which would be pretty sweet. 


It is a good program with a lot of moving parts. Be careful with speeding up your progression as I did, as this is undermining the basic Jim Wendler 5/3/1 template and therefore I might have shot myself in the foot regarding my progression. We will see what comes of it. 

Further Reading

Topics: Jim Wendler 5/3/1, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman