Five 5/3/1 Questions

Hey Jim, I know you get a TON of questions about your 5/3/1 method and probably hate yourself for publishing the program, but I just thought I would drop in my own question. I know you recommend Doing chins/pullups as assistance work for the Military Press. This is great. I know you like to set up the training for the program as Military Press/Deadlift/Bench/Squat in that order through the week, but do you think that the stress on the biceps from either of these movements could cause the potential for some form of trauma to the bicep when doing deadlifts if the pull is performed the day after doing chins as a result of recovering muscles/tendons? I have always been curious of this. I look forward to your reply and thank you for taking the time to read my question.

It’s not a big deal to switch the lower and upper body days – that doesn’t matter. As long as the lifts get done, that is what matters.The key to training and life is to focus on the things that are truly important and let the other crap fall to the wayside.


Jim, couple of quick questions for you:

1. I’m doing 5/3/1 three days a week and running hills after every workout. I’ve been doing that for about seven weeks now. At first I thought my body adjusted fine to the hills, but now my knees have been aching pretty good for the first couple of hills, and then throughout the week during the days somewhat too. Banded TKE’s have helped a bit but from you’re extensive experience with hill running, is this something my legs will get used to over time or should I start cutting back on the hills and substitute something else for my conditioning?

2. I’ve got about half of your top ten “All Time Heavy Albums” on my mp3 player now. Great list! Question is, off the top of your head could you list off numbers 11-20? Thanks Jim!

Ditch the frat boy TKE’s and learn how to roll on a foam roller/PVC pipe on your IT band, calves and hamstrings. This takes care of any knee pain that I have. Massive difference for me. Until then, just do some Prowler Walking, Walking up/down hill with weight vest, walking/up down stadium steps with weight vest.Other heavy LP’s/EP’s:


Burning Witch – Crippled Lucifer
Indian – The Unquiet Sky
BongZilla – Methods… and Gateway
Sleep – Sleep’s Holy Mountain
Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales


Neuroris – Given to the Rising, Through Silver in Blood, Times of Grace
Coffinworm – When all became none


That’s all I think of now because my brain is fried but there are tons more. These are some very good choices.



I’m switching back to 531 three days per week. I noticed in the book that you lay out an example for 3 days per week and have a question about the deload week.

I presume you combined military and deadlift on Monday to line up the start of the next round on the following Monday. You have Deadlift listed again on Friday, though. I figured it’s probably a typo and was meant to be Squat, but wanted to make sure I didn’t miss something in the book somewhere.

Thanks for everything, Jim!


You are correct – just take a week of deload and combine one lower body lift and one upper body lift.

Hey Jim, I was wondering on week 4 do I deload on my assistance work as well or just the main lifts? Thanks for the help with the wrist wraps question. Also just another quick product question. When should I start using a belt for lifting, I’ve never used one before but in reading the 5/3/1 manual you recommended it…should I wait till the weights get heavier? Thanks for your time and assistance on my rookie questions.


1. Deload both.2. You can wear a belt whenever…just start wearing it for your work sets if you want to get used to wearing one. If you don’t feel you need a belt, don’t wear one.


There isn’t a “right time” or “wrong time” to wearing a belt. There is just “your time.”


5/3/1 says drink a gallon of milk after doing BORING BUT BIG, I think I read some where try to work up to a gallon a day. My question is why a gallon of milk? Just started reading 5/3/1 Fotball for my Atheltes. So far great rea.

Very easy and great way to get an increase in calories and protein. Highly recommended if you are skinny and want to put on some weight.

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About the Author

Jim was employed as a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Kentucky, where he worked with several different teams including football and baseball. He played football and graduated from the University of Arizona where he earned three letters. Jim’s best lifts include a 1000 lbs squat, a 675 lbs bench press, 700 lbs deadlift, and a 2375 total in the 275 lbs class. View Jim’s Training Log HERE