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5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength 1st Edition

234 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0557248292
ISBN-10: 0557248299
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher:; 1st edition (August 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0557248299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0557248292
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Chad Van Schoelandt on July 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Some background on myself: I did some weight lifting in high school, got out of shape in college, and a few years ago decided to get back into shape. After losing a lot of weight and months on Mark Ripptoe's Starting Strength program for beginners I was stalling and decided to switch to Wendler's 5/3/1 system. I started when I was 24 years old and have been using it for 11 months making constant improvements.

Some results from the system: Over the months I have put on about 20 lbs of mostly lean body weight, including spending one month focusing on losing fat. The 1 rep maxes on my lifts have gone up approx as follows: Deadlift up 70 lbs, Squat up 100 lbs, Bench Press up 30 lbs. I have also gained significantly in other rep ranges, improved my chinups from zero to 18 solid with a full range of motion. People have definitely commented on the physical changes, like the development of my shoulders and back, while on the program. Whether or not these gains seem significant, they are better than the zilch I was getting before and keep coming. As a further note, this is with basically ok eating and without any spectacular supplements (i.e., multi-vitamin, protein powders and creatine).

Some advantages of the system: It is straightforward, easy to understand, and can be repeated indefinitely. Instead of always having to change the program and figure out what to do the next month, as with some programs, you just start 5/3/1, increase the weights each month and every so often reset the weight a bit. You naturally will get different rep ranges and you are focusing on the big compound movements, so there is no need for radical reprogramming. You will not, however, get training ADD because of the flexibility in the assistance work.
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82 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Laura on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Runners World is wrong. The high rep low weight approach to strength training is a time waster. Emphasizing 4 compound movements and utilizing a compartively low volume approach, 5-3-1 is efficient, effective and fun. Progress is quantifiable, and month by month you will see yourself get stronger as you set PRs in the weight room and on the road. After a little over a year, I've taken 15 minutes off my half-marathon time (from 2:05-1:50), while running less and enjoying it more. In addition to improving your performance, this program will transform your body in a way that no amount of running can, and I promise it won't make you big, unless you're a dude. I very highly recommend this program to women and to runners. Buy it and do it. You won't regret it.
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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Big Pimpin' on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am an Elite lifter who was injured pretty seriously using some of the more "in vogue" training methods for years. It was either quit or find a way to get healthy. I dropped the gear and decided to go back to square one. In a sea of both information and misinformation, I had become confused. That's where 5/3/1 comes in. The simplicity of this program makes it a no-brainer. With volume and recovery controls built into the program, it takes out all the guesswork. I have been using the program for 8 months and am now hitting all time personal records, 500x10 in the deadlift for instance, in all of my lifts. This is amazing considering I was barely able to walk at the beginning of this program.

If you want to get strong, like for real, with no gimmicks, look no further. This is straight legit. Plus Jim's own twisted brand of comedy makes it a pleasure to read. I'd recommend it to anyone serious about getting strong whether you are a beginner or pro. It's an essential part of any training library.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By ABHReynolds on May 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a single example of monthly periodization that is most appropriate for experienced lifters that are plateauing on weekly periodization. For those not understanding what I mean, there are several stages in a lifter's career that have nothing to do with how long they have been lifting or how much they lift. The stages refer to how far along the path you are to reaching your genetic potential in the basic power lifts.

Beginners can increase the weight every workout as they develop the neuromuscular pathways-this will last 3-9 months depending on prior lifting experience (ie someone never lifting before might go 9 months before they plateau and someone getting back after a layoff might only go 3 months) When a beginner plateau's they become intermediate.

Intermediate lifters plan their workouts on a weekly basis with light, medium, and heavy work out days during the week. (this description relates to a combination of volume plus intensity not just how heavy the weight is. IE 5 sets of 5 with 185 lbs is heavier than 1 set of 3 with 205) With proper adjustments this system can be used for several years and for athletes that primarily compete in a non weightlifting type sport (track, football, lacrosse etc), might work forever. It takes knowledge and skill to make the proper adjustments and while there are a many sample programs, (Mahlers 5x5, Bill Starr) knowing which to use and what changes to make to overcome plateaus can be challenging. When intermediate programming is exhausted it is time to move to an advanced program.

Advanced programs generally have a monthly plan with heavy, medium, and light weeks scheduled. Note that weeks replace the days of an intermediate program. 5-3-1 is 1 sample of a monthly plan. It is a good one.
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