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5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength
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5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,146 ratings  ·  122 reviews
97 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.26  · 
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 ·  2,146 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm five months into The Greyskull LP: Second Edition's beginner lifting program, and am starting to research intermediate lifting programs for when my beginner's linear gains likely run out in the couple months. Wendler's 5/3/1's is pretty popular, so I picked up a copy of this book to check it out. Note that even though this program can be adapted for beginners, the book seems to assume working knowledge of the correct form and mechanics for the lifts. If you don't know those, check out Starti ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
He just rams everything on your head. There's no explanation for why one is better than the other. In-between he puts up his own pics and that's not convincing either because he just looks like a giant chunk of mass.

There's no explanation for why 5 reps is better than Arnold's recommended 8-12 reps. No background about how he figured it out, or what he observed that convinced him about this. Just "This is the best. If someone asks me questions I answer once. If they ask again, then that guy's go
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wendler seems to think that the foremost aspect of lifting involves being a hyper-masculine dude's-dude and shooting your load into the fairer sex as often as possible. I never anticipated that a book on a lifting program would mention sex/"mating" numerous times and would stress the importance of "BEING A MAN" so much. It really has no lack of unprofessionalism. His nutritional information is misguided at best, and contradictory at times, for example: "Don't drink protein powder if you can help ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
So I've been going through this system for a few months now, and frankly it works. I'm in and out of the gym in 45 minutes and I'm progressing quicker than when I spent over an hour a day. Even if you don't want to do the rep calculations, and you feel a 1 rep max is all-important over rep maxes (I'm not disparaging this line of thinking, whatever motivates you is what's important)... still thumb through this. I found the mindset of keeping it simple, taking the deload week, and making gradual i ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lifting heavy weights is strong medicine. This book provides a prescription for the recommended dosage.

The author is a well known power lifter with best lifts of a 1000lbs squat, a 675lb bench press and a 700lb deadlift. Even if your health and fitness goals are not aligned with lifting heavy weights (they should be) - this book describes a program for the application of the key concept of strength training - Progressive Overload. The idea is that you lift weights to get stronger - to do that y
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
this could have been a really solid blog post if he'd just stripped out the judgment and condescension and gender bullshit and just stuck to explaining the routine and its variations.
Sam Caldwell
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I really don't like the overly-masculine writing affectation. The design of the programming is really undermotivated, lacking any explanation beyond "it's worked for me and others." That being said, I'm still planning on giving it a try because I do like some of the ideas behind it.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like that this book was short and to-the-point. I am already starting to implement 5/3/1 on my deadlift, we'll see if it works!

It's a bit meatheadish (out of the 10 or so success stories Wendler includes, only one was for a female) and some of the "assistance" moves are exercises I would never do (i.e. sit ups). I'm also not hoping for a 600 pound deadlift and don't need to pay attention to the straps/belt info, but the overall advice is sound: focus on the big lifts, don't start out too heav
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
As an S&C coach/trainer (NSCA-CPT, CSPS) I end up reading a lot of programming books.

There's not much I can add about 5/3/1 that hasn't already been covered. I will say this, it is one of the few strength books I use for my clients (the other two are Practical Programming for Strength Training & Tactical Barbell).

The thing that makes 5/3/1 valuable for me is that rare combination of flexibility and effectiveness. My clients have a wide variety of goals, problems, priorities and schedule
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A top book on building strength.

This is totally focused on strength and not necessarily looking good. I'm not sure I would want to look like the author, no offence. But the advice is invaluable.

There are some great routines, even routines that include all body weight exercises for the assistance exercises after the main workout.

One great time on building strength and size, wake up in the middle of the night to drink milk or a protein shake.

I personally could have done with a few more photos to h
Shawn Mccarthy
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Weightlifters, personal trainers, coaches
Recommended to Shawn by: Reddit hivemind
Shelves: fitness
Simple and brutal workouts for those focused on strength gains. No need to jump into a program like this until you've exhausted the possibilities of beginner linear gains - the kinds that Starting Strength by Rippetoe exploits - but good to read ahead.

I appreciate books that manage to be both conversational and information-dense, and Wendler's 531 fits that description.
Phillip Bost
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I used to scoff at folks who said you really need to read the book to understand the program.
I'm not scoffing anymore.
If you can get past the organizational issues & occasional (and useless) misogyny, there's a revelatory program here.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great program, but the book adds a lot of fluff to pad for pages.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it

The review is for the training program. And if this works for me, cannot be decided until I have done it for a while. Nevertheless, the principles are sound and adhere to common sense and tried and tested training methods rather than following a new fad. High hopes for this after a whole lot of doing not a lot of progress on Stronglifts 5x5. Time for a change (If I can survive the percentage calculation that is!)

Now, as a book, this is not a good one if I look at it's literary merits. Could h
Kevin Bertao
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
So when reading this book it’s hard not to make comparisons to Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”.

I read Starting Strength years ago when I first decided to start training properly for strength in the gym, as opposed to hypertrophy.

Starting Strength was an in depth look at the mechanics of each major compound lift, backed up by the physics behind making each movement as efficient as possible, and why you should do them from a physiological perspective. No opinions, just science.

Well I picked up
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exercise
This was an okay book, but nothing revolutionary.

The book was fairly offensive; emasculating men who don't push themselves hard enough. I don't remember all of the pejoratives that were tossed around but I believe wimp came up a few times (and I think p*ssy as well). This combined with the author's disdain for science made a middling book a subpar book. That being said, I am a pencil necked man of science and perhaps not in his target audience.
Michael Riely
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is glaringly devoid of the scientific method. I read it in an hour and didn't learn anything more than an hour on the internet researching the actual lifting 531 program would provide.

I'm a fan of the 531 lifting program and I've seen good results, but the book itself is not worth purchasing. It was $30 on amazon for 97 pages of large type with large spacing. He hits many areas without going into depth on anything or answer any of the "why" questions I have.
Gavin Breeden
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
A lot of helpful info in here about lifting weights and Wendler's 5/3/1 plan. Both the good and the bad thing about this book is that you feel like you're in the gym with Wendler and he's speaking very plainly and informally to you about lifting weights. I could've done without a lot of the salty talk though. I read the second edition, kindle version.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, straightforward system

Seems like just the thing I'm looking for next. This book is quite well written with a fun, enjoyable, straightforward voice. No need for a more complex book. This is just the thing.
Mike Caldwell
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a lot of new information if you are familiar with the program, but I gleaned a few new tips/variations. I mostly found it to be a funny/interesting insight into Jim's 'philosophy' for training and this program.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good to have all the information in one place instead of trying to find it scattered all over the internet, especially the accessory templates. That said, with the advent of Beyond 5/3/1, some of the info here is outdated. I plan on picking up the latter soon.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Been a couple years since I read it.
Liked reading it.
Program - in my memory - didn't work so well.
Phillip Gonzales
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short and sweet.
Mugren Ohaly
May 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I’m rating the book, not the exercise program.
He is overly condescending and rushes through everything without a full explanation as to why his way is better than everyone else’s.
Alberto Cipriani
Best book and training program.

All you need to know about training is in this book. This is simply the best program if you want to take your training to the next level.
Andrew Elsass
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book itself is only 3-4 stars but the program is so effective and simple it’d be unfair to give anything less than 5.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely conflicted in rating this book as the program itself is lauded all around, but the guy writes like a teenager convinced that any guy who isn’t jacked is therefore a girl - which is additionally very sexist in it’s own right. I’d skip the book and just take the program off the various message boards it’s already on.
Jacob Allen Kinney
It's nice guide for people who are starting to lift and have been lifting for years.
miki albert
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
there are some good ideas that can be extracted from this book (a book which is more like a long article from some website written hastily)
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A great program for strength acquisition housed in a poorly-written book.
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