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Old 04-07-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
Mark Cheney
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Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Has anyone tried out 5-3-1 training (WFS)http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_a..._pure_strength and compared it to Starting Strength? If so, which did you prefer and why?
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:11 PM   #2
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

I prefer 531 because it allows you to set PRs every week. The primary differences between SS and 531 are that SS uses sets across of the same weight and reps for the microcycle (~1 week), while 531 increases the weight across sets, and alters the rep scheme and percent of 1RM weights used each week (while SS just increases by a fixed percent each week). I will say that sets across are generally more straightforward to perform and the later sets are actually easier, despite fatigue, as you get used to the weight and the contractions required to overcome it. With 531 it's all about building up to the 3rd set and going hard for that rep max.

SS might be better for a true beginner who would benefit from more volume under heavier weights because they can gain so much in a relatively short amount of time this way, and it's so simple even a caveman can do it.

531 follows a very precise percent of 1RM prescription, but it is still more fun to do because the last set is always a mental challenge. In this way I think it does a lot more than build strength; it prepares you for competition. However, if you have a lot of other sports stuff going on it may be difficult to follow 531 strictly because some days you'll perform badly due to fatigue, and can mess up your plan if you don't know to adjust the weights accordingly. But just remember, this is all about getting stronger not just putting up numbers.

Try both out. Do whatever you can stick to the most reliably. Strength is a game of years.
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Last edited by Mauricio Leal : 04-07-2010 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
Trevor Probandt
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Mark, I have done 5-3-1 for a while now. Great program, but it depends on what your goals are and where you are in your training history. This is just my opinion, and opinion only.

Starting Strength
1) More of a novice program, that takes full advantage of newbie gains.
2) Gets you used to movements and putting in the work.
3) Can make some big gains in a hurry and is set up to build up quickly.

5-3-1
1) More of an intermediate program, newbs can use, but will progress much quicker with SS.
2) Makes slow and steady progress month after month, but it is slow.
3) Fits better with mixing daily WODs after main movement. It also has allowed me to heal up after 4+ years of bands, chains, and maxing in two movements every week.

IMO you can't go wrong with either one. Again, DON'T FUNK with either one too much. Both these guys know way more than we do...at least more than myself.

What are your current lifts? Goals?
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:15 PM   #4
Trevor Probandt
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Mr Leal beat me to it! Good stuff
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #5
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Always milk Starting Strength for all it's worth. Much, much quicker progress for a novice.

Once Starting Strength stops working, move on to 5/3/1.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:22 AM   #6
Daniel Higgins
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Júlíus Magnússon View Post
Always milk Starting Strength for all it's worth. Much, much quicker progress for a novice.

Once Starting Strength stops working, move on to 5/3/1.
pun intended??

there are several threads on here regarding 5/3/1, just search the forum.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:36 AM   #7
Neil Bauersfeld
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Júlíus Magnússon View Post
Always milk Starting Strength for all it's worth. Much, much quicker progress for a novice.

Once Starting Strength stops working, move on to 5/3/1.
Winner winner chicken dinner. If you are a novice, use SS. If not, Wendler. A novice can use Wendler too, but their progress will be faster on SS.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:52 AM   #8
Graeme Howland
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Agree with above, you should not even consider 5-3-1 if you don't immediately know your maxes in the lifts and reasonable goals over various time periods (one month, three month, year etc). SS is faster (if you can recover, which most people can if they eat properly). I've run into people in the gym with no business doing 5-3-1 because it's the cool new thing and Wendler is teh huge (e.g. 160# males trying to squat 225).
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:46 AM   #9
Alex Bond
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

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Originally Posted by Graeme Howland View Post
Agree with above, you should not even consider 5-3-1 if you don't immediately know your maxes in the lifts and reasonable goals over various time periods (one month, three month, year etc). SS is faster (if you can recover, which most people can if they eat properly). I've run into people in the gym with no business doing 5-3-1 because it's the cool new thing and Wendler is teh huge (e.g. 160# males trying to squat 225).
Exactly. There's obviously no hard and fast rule, but if one can't squat 2xBW (or more if you are <180#) I don't think that person should be doing 5/3/1. 5/3/1 is fun for people who want to fit in a bunch of accessory stuff, but it is soooo sloooow compared to the progress a novice is capable of.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:28 AM   #10
Leslie Powell
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Re: Wendler's 5-3-1 vs Starting Strength

Especially for older lifters, important to note that "faster" isn't always better. I did SS, and got a lot out of it, but also wound up really beaten down by it. After a longish break (some minor injuries plus just tired of the grind), have resumed with 5/3/1 and effortlessly blown past a bunch of SS numbers. Mentally it is *way* easier to deal with for this over-40 lifter...

If I were 20 and had to get strong fast to be on the football team, yeah SS. Taking the longer view, 5/3/1 without a second's hesitation. I'm especially impressed by what it's done for my press, which had hit a wall at 150 (bw is 182) for quite some time (SS and then TM) but is now up to 160 in about 3 months...don't even feel like I've had to work hard to get that.
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