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Wendler 531

rckeeper22rckeeper22 Posts: 103Member Member Posts: 103Member Member
I recently started the Wendler 531 program, and am curious what thoughts are from those who have tried it. I'm moving into the 4th week of my first cycle (deload), and have been doing Wendler 3 days a week, cardio/HIIT the other 3, with a full day off.

It's my first time operating in such low rep ranges, but I was drawn to the idea of slow, steady progress focused on building strength, along with reading somewhere it could pair well with high intensity, Crossfit-esque workouts as well (on alternating days).

For those who've done 531, what was your experience/what thoughts did you have on it?

Replies

  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Posts: 25,724Member Member Posts: 25,724Member Member
    I wasn't a fan. I switched to Norton's PH3 after a month or so.
  • RoxieDawnRoxieDawn Posts: 15,518Member, Premium Member Posts: 15,518Member, Premium Member
    I did it for 11 weeks. I only used the deloads once during that time, couldn't see skipping weeks of progressing if I did not need it.

    There is a place for various strength training programs that fits your training regime and goals, this one just did not for me.

    edited because my typing fingers too fat today. :smiley:
    edited February 8
  • PennyP312PennyP312 Posts: 125Member Member Posts: 125Member Member
    I didn’t particularly like it.
    I gave it about a month. Only seemed to progress through the joker sets.
    Wasn’t for me.
    Good luck tho!
  • JBanx256JBanx256 Posts: 459Member Member Posts: 459Member Member
    I did it for quite awhile. Liked it for bench & DL but not so much for squat. Go figure.
  • jemhhjemhh Posts: 14,291Member Member Posts: 14,291Member Member
    I ran it for a good long while (a year or so) and liked it.
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 2,400Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,400Member, Premium Member
    The main complaint most have with it is that progression is slowed down depending on where you are in your training. Seemed to be meant more for someone who has been training a while and plateau'd, whereas a beginner can progress in weight fairly continuously for some time before they plateau and need those deload cycles to progress further.
  • mom23mangosmom23mangos Posts: 2,820Member Member Posts: 2,820Member Member
    I wasn't a fan. I switched to Norton's PH3 after a month or so.
    RoxieDawn wrote: »
    I did it for 11 weeks. I only used the deloads once during that time, couldn't see skipping weeks of progressing if I did not need it.

    There is a place for various strength training programs that fits your training regime and goals, this one just did not for me.

    edited because my typing fingers too fat today. :smiley:

    I didn't care for it either and regret that I spent almost a year on it. I wish I had switched sooner.
  • firef1y72firef1y72 Posts: 1,500Member Member Posts: 1,500Member Member
    ritzvin wrote: »
    The main complaint most have with it is that progression is slowed down depending on where you are in your training. Seemed to be meant more for someone who has been training a while and plateau'd, whereas a beginner can progress in weight fairly continuously for some time before they plateau and need those deload cycles to progress further.

    I used it to get through a plateau with my shoulder press and I kind of liked it for a few months. I used an app that calculated all the weights for me, but then other trsining got in the way and I had to put heavier lifting to one side for s while.
    Thought about going back to it, but I'm only going heavy for upper body I decided against
  • deputy_randolphdeputy_randolph Posts: 833Member Member Posts: 833Member Member
    I used it for a year for all 3 (sbd)...switched to heavy volume for bench and squat; kept dl at 5/3/1.

    I'm back to 5/3/1 for squats after a year and half of higher heavy volume to see if I can break a plateau. Still using heavy volume for bench, b/c that seems to work best for me.
  • keithwp99keithwp99 Posts: 82Member Member Posts: 82Member Member
    I've been using it the past four months and like it. I like the emphasis on hitting the 4 big moves and the easy progression. I was looking for a program for overall increasing strength to support my trail running. The 5/3/1 has certainly helped me in that area.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 7,985Member Member Posts: 7,985Member Member
    Arguably the worst program as written if your goal is strength.

    Lacks volume in the sweet spot of useful intensity.

    Lack frequency if you are looking to progress long term.

    There are tweaks that can be done to address the flaws, but then one wouldn't be running 5/3/1....just a program that wasn't very good to start and I rather just run a program that is well written on its own wit out need of fixing.

    Simply put, there are many other programs that are optimal comparatively.

    edited February 9
  • rckeeper22rckeeper22 Posts: 103Member Member Posts: 103Member Member
    @Chieflrg, @mom23mangos, @ritzvin, @PennyP312, @RoxieDawn:

    Thanks for the honest feedback. Thus far I think it's helping to push me towards heavier lifts than I might otherwise attempt, but theoretically any strength program can do that.

    What other programs do you recommend that are amenable to being run 3-4x per week in conjunction with HIIT-style workouts on non-strength days?

    I've also done T-Nation's "Hard Body Training for Women," and enjoyed that quite a bit, but was looking for something different (plus, that program focused primarily on squats and push-press, which isn't bad, but was a little narrow in focus for me).

    @quiksylver296 What do you like about Norton's PH3? Haven't run across that one.
  • tx12sstx12ss Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    I like it. I use a loose interpretation of it. I don’t worry about the percentages, I lift for how I feel that day. I use it as a good split to hit each body part twice a week and total around 120 reps for each muscle group. So on Tuesday my main lift is chest and I’ll do a 3x5 or 5x5 or 5x6, depending on how I feel, but always go a little heavy on the main lift day and then Friday, which main lift is shoulder press, I’ll do bench again after the press, lighter and higher reps, and then throw in another chest to get the rep total to 120 for the week. I’m 40 and my body responds and recovers well to it. So I’m happy with it.
  • rckeeper22rckeeper22 Posts: 103Member Member Posts: 103Member Member
    So I did some research, got a few thoughts, and ended up deciding that the Greyskull LP might be a better fit for my current level. Here's the layout I'm going to start out with; the Olympic lifts are pulled from a Greyskull variation I read about on the StrongVillain site.

    Mon Week 1:
    Power Snatch: 7-10 singles, moderate weight I know I can hit.
    OH Press: 2x5, 1xAMRAP
    Back Squat: 2x5, 1xAMRAP
    Push-Press: 2x8-10
    OH Squat:2x8-10 (being able to perform the OH squat with solid form is a personal goal of mine, so I'm nowhere near going heavy, but trying to really work on form)

    Tues: Steady-state run + 20-30 min HIIT + Abs

    Wed Week 1:
    Bench press: 2x5, 1xAMRAP
    Power Clean: 5-6 singles, ramp up so last 3 are heavier
    Deadlift: 1xAMRAP
    Incline Press: 2x8-10 (alternate with DB bench press when there's 2 BPs in a week)
    DB RDL: 2x-8-10

    Thurs: Steady-state run + 20-30 min HIIT + Abs

    Fri Week 1:
    Steady-state run (if feeling good; trying to get a run in 4x per week, so it's going to have to overlap somewhere . . .may have to play with where it fits best)
    Clean & Jerk: 7-10 singles, moderate weight
    OH Press: 2x5, 1xAMRAP
    Front Squat: 2x5, 1xAMRAP
    Turkish Get-Up: 2x8-10
    Split Squat: 2x8-10

    Sat: Steady-state run + 20-30 min HIIT + Abs

    Sun: Rest
  • pierinifitnesspierinifitness Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member
    @rckeeper22, that's an action-packed workout for sure. I trained in the Olympic lifts about 10 years ago and totally enjoyed my experience. There's something seductive about both lifts but, for me, the squat snatch was my "mistress of the night." I couldn't get enough and was constantly "seduced" by her.

    I take it that training for the lifts is not your primary purpose given the other work you're doing. Seems like "too much" other stuff if Olympic lift proficiency and load growth is your primary purpose. Undoubtedly, the workout will produce some nice results.

    Can you currently squat snatch?

    Warm up your shoulders performing shoulder dislocates with a wooden pole, always, before tackling the lifts. Have fun and be safe.
  • rckeeper22rckeeper22 Posts: 103Member Member Posts: 103Member Member
    @pierinifitness

    You're dead on - the Olympic lifts aren't my primary purpose, but I think they're fun, challenging, and enjoy working to get better at them. Not as a primary goal- I just want to include the movement patterns, incorporate some element of that explosiveness, without making it the 'primary' and running the risk (knowing myself) of pushing myself for heavier weight than I'm technically capable of achieving with good form. By making them part of the 'warm-up' essentially, I can practice the patterns without putting pressure on myself. At least, that's my theory.

    I can't currently squat snatch -definitely something I'd like to work towards! Right now I'm focusing on swallowing my pride and working on the overhead squat first, as it's something I struggle with. Started off using super light dumbbells, going into a squat, then pressing them up overhead and standing. Did that for 2-3 weeks, now progressing to a 35-lb bar overhead. Really trying to focus on getting the form correct before I add any weight; I'm strong enough to add weight, but not skilled enough. Squat snatch will eventually be on the list, but it's a ways off for now!

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