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Wendler 531 for crossfit [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 4, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Wendler 531 for crossfit

As CrossFit does not utilize the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press to a great extent and dynamic lifts like the snatch, push press and clean and jerk are utilized more, I personally think there are more specific programs out there to achieve your goals in CrossFit. That being said, if you experience a lack of strength on a constant basis to be on the competitive level you want to be, 531 can bump your strength levels up considerably by adding another half an hour to your session. 

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What is Wendler? 

Avid readers of my blog will already know this, so please skip ;). For anyone else who found this post, Jim Wendler is an intermediate lifting program that lets you train four times a week using the squat, bench press, overhead press and deadlift, if done as designed. 

What is Crossfit? 

For the official definition go to the CrossFit website which has a quite elaborate and long definition. For me personally, Crossfit is functional movements with high intensity for 20 - 30 minutes. Very efficient and effective to lose weight and get fit (which the name kind of gives away). The sport itself is a big fan of Olympic lifts which you can almost find in every second popular workout of the day. A workout of the day usually consists of one lift & one bodyweight movement at least. 

What is your status quo and your goal?

If Jim Wendler 531 is the right program for you in CrossFit depends on your fitness level and goals which you set for yourself. If you set out to be generally good at CrossFit it is more effective to learn the Olympic lifts probably and work on body coordination for movements like handstand push-ups. 

As these are not at the core of Wendler you might not want to do it, if you just start out with CrossFit.

For more experienced crossfitters who have to get better at the deadlift ( there were some instances at the CrossFit games, where very good athletes had to opt out because they had to do a heavy deadlift for reps) then Wendler is just for you. If you struggle with King Kong or Adam Brown, Wendler 531 is just for you.


In summary, I think Jim Wendler 531 is not the best option for most crossfitters, as they have to pass landmarks like the butterfly pull up, muscle-ups, handstand push us, mastering the snatch and the clean and jerk first, before looking at strength improvements. Once a solid foundation in the basics (which by the way are pretty good fitness levels compared to mere mortals) has been laid, Wendler is good to beef up. If you experience on some WODs that you can not move the weight at all and you have to scale because of lack of strength, Wendler is a good value for time approach to get stronger. 

Further reading


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