Restarting Wendlers 5/3/1

For several years I have concentrated on doing Wendler’s 5/3/1 program as the base of my workout strength workouts. When I’m injured, or other getting to the gym enough, I use others programs. Starting last week, I’m back to my standard. 

The idea of Wendlers program is simple; you do four major lifts a week: squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press. Then you add as much accessory work as you need or as you have time for. In a time crunch? Do your major lift and leave. It’s about 20 minutes.

Each week you change the number of reps/set and the % of your one rep max. So each lift is a little different. 

Week one: warm up with 5 reps at 40%, 5 reps at 50%, and 3 reps at 60% of your 1RM. Then the working sets are 5 at 65%, 5 at 75%, and as many reps as possible at 85%. 

So, if your 1 rep max is 100#, your sets would be: 5@40#, 5@50#, 3@60; 5@65#, 5@75#, AMRAP @85#. That last set might be 5-1O.

Week two: warm ups are the same, but working sets are only 3 reps at 70%, 80%, and AMRAP at 90%.  That close to your maximum, getting 3-5 reps is great. 

Week three: the big challenge. Same warm ups, and working sets of 5/75%, 3/@85%, and 1+@95%. Getting 2 reps would be great.

Week four:Deload week. Your body recovers. Simply do the warm up sets. 

Next month, increase your 1RM number by 5-10 pounds, and start all over again. The first month is easy; by month 6, I’m constantly challenged, but getting stronger each week. 

I’m in my first month, so each set is easy. I add a lot of accessory work to make sure I’m ready for the months ahead. Within a year I should be 

  • Squatting 165#.
  • Bench pressing 125#, maybe 130.
  • Deadlifting 215#.
  • Overhead pressing 75#.

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