5 3 1 Workout Plan

All my workouts involve one thing: calisthenics or bodyweight exercises. I do all my workouts on parallel bars, pullup bars, or on the ground.

I used to be into heavy powerlifting, but recently moved to a purely bodyweight training regimen.

I noticed a big change in both my physique and strength.

Black Iron Beast – Online 5/3/1 calculator; If you haven’t read Wendler’s book(s), I highly recommend getting them. I go back to it from time to time and it has some great information. 5/3/1 for Powerlifting and/or Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Book (2nd Edition), you should at least read his write up at Men’s Health on the 5/3/1 Workout.

  1. Choose a workout routine you know you'll be able to stick with for the full duration. Most workout plans are designed for a set period. 8-10 weeks for example. You're not going to get the best results if you only follow the routine for 4-5 weeks.
  2. However, while you’ll still do five sets of eight reps for the first two moves of each workout, there’s an extra set for moves 3, 4, 5A and 5B to keep the big gains coming. Jump to block 1.
  3. Back Squat 5/3/1 Barbell Lunge 3 x 6 Inlcine Sit-up 3 x 20 So my question is.that's only 6 total sets for legs (on deadlift day its Deadlift 5/3/1, Goodmornings 5 x 10, hanging Leg raises 5 x 10). So in the week you arent doing much AT ALL for legs. Would you put in more assistance? Just curious as to why M&F put in SUCH low volume.
  4. Since I released the first edition of 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Building Raw Strength in 2009, I've been asked many questions about supplemental and assistance work.The most popular, effective, and brutal accessory plan is something I called Boring But Big.The Boring But Big supplemental program is simple. After completing the strength work with the basic.

I actually felt a difference in my body; doing my unique exercises opened up a totally new door.

I noticed I was using muscles that I had never even used before.

Believe it or not, all my workouts involve calisthenics circuit routines now. Circuit training is the ultimate step to getting fast results in strength, endurance, muscle mass, and conditioning. In a circuit, you move from one exercise to the next with little or no rest between moves.

Circuit training doesn’t allow your heart to rest or slow down, it keeps it up consistently throughout your workout allowing you to burn more calories faster and to shred up.

I do hundreds of different calisthenics circuits and I never touch the weights. I’ve lost 37 pounds of fat in 6 months doing my exercises. I went from 202 pounds to 165 pounds of lean muscle mass.

I get at least 50 messages a day just on my transformation and how I did it.

The best part is, anyone can do it themselves with hard work and dedication.

I train six days a week, an hour to an hour and 30 minutes, and I never have to go to a gym.

I’m going to share four of my circuit workouts with you. One for beginners, two are for more advanced exercisers, and one is only for extreme athletes.

Find the workout that’s best for you and, if you stick to it, you will see results in less than two months.

DurationFrequencyExercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest
30-40 minutes1-2x per weekstrength traininghigh intensityvaries by exercise30 seconds

How To Stretch For A Calisthenics Circuit Workout

Follow the videos below for routines to warm up your entire body before the workout. For more tips on mobility and stretching, follow Onnit’s Durability Coach, Cristian Plascencia, on Instagram (@cristian_thedurableathlete).

Workout #1: Beginner Calisthenics Circuit Workout

Do all the exercises in the order shown, resting 30 seconds between exercises and 3 minutes afterward. Repeat for 3 rounds.

1. 10 pullups
Do these with your palms facing away from you, hands just outside shoulder-width apart.

2. 10 chinups
Palms face toward you, hands shoulder-width apart.

3. 20 dips
Use parallel bars and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

4 . 25 jumpsquats
Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and jump as high as you can.

5. 20 pushups
Lower your body until your chest is about an inch above the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Actively pull your ribs and pelvis toward each other, engaging your core—don’t let your lower back sag.

6. 50 crunches
Curl your torso up until your shoulder blades are off the floor.

7. 10 burpees
Stand with feet shoulder width and squat down to place your hands on the floor. Now shoot your legs behind you fast so you end up in the top position of a pushup. Jump your legs back up so they land between your hands and then stand up quickly.

8. 30 seconds jumping rope

Workout #2: Intermediate Calisthenics Circuit Workout

Rest 5 seconds between exercises and 8 minutes at the end of one round. Repeat for 2 rounds.

1. 5 muscle ups
Hang from a pullup bar with hands outside shoulder width and legs straight. Draw your shoulder blades back and together and arch your back to swing your body forward a bit. Then quickly try to bring your shoulders and hips together so that your body swings back and rises up until your hips touch the bar. Press your body straight up over the bar to lock out your elbows.

2. 50 pushups

3. 25 jump squats

4. 15 burpees

5. 15 pullups

6. 60 seconds leg flutters
Lie on your back on the floor and tuck your tailbone to flatten your lower back into the floor. Brace your core. Extend your legs overhead and then lower them as far as you can before you feel your lower back is about to buckle up from the floor. Begin raising and lowering both legs, alternately, a few inches (as if swimming). Keep your core braced so your lower back stays against the floor.

7. 10 pullups

8. 30-second sprint, nonstop
Run up a hill if you can, or run in place.

Workout #3: Advanced Calisthenics Circuit Routine

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds straight. Do NOT rest between exercises. Complete 1 round.

1. Hold a handstand for 30 seconds
You can do the handstand using a wall for support. Place your hands about six inches back from the wall and get into a downward dog pose. Step one foot toward the wall and then kick your back leg up while focusing your eyes on the floor in front of you. Press into your hands and straighten your body with your heels against the wall.

2. Jump squats

3. Wall push ups
Get into pushup position in front of a wall and walk your feet up the wall behind you. Press your feet into the wall to create tension throughout your body, and perform pushups.

4. Kick up push ups
Sit on the floor and roll backward, as if doing a reverse somersault. Stop when your feet face the ceiling and reverse the direction quickly, performing a kickup—kick your feet up and forward so you launch off the floor and land in a deep squat. From there, drop into a pushup.

5. Squat position move side to side
Get into a low squat and step side to side. Take two steps one direction and then switch directions.

6. X’s and O’s core workout
Lie on your back on the floor and extend your arms and legs to form an X-shape. Crunch and draw your knees to your chest, hugging them with your arms.

7. Dips

8. Jumping lunges
Get into a lunge position—rear knee just above the floor and front knee bent 90 degrees. Jump and switch legs in mid air, landing with the opposite leg forward.

9. Hops
Hop side to side, staying on the balls of your feet.

10. Pullups

Workout #4: Extreme Athlete Calisthenics Circuit Routine

Rest 30 seconds between exercises but do not rest between rounds. Do 3 rounds.

1. 10-second back lever hold
Grasp a bar with hands outside shoulder width and curl your knees up to pass underneath the bar and over your head. Extend your legs so your body is now inverted. Bend your knees 90 degrees and slowly lower your body until you’re parallel to the floor. See this video for more.


2. 7-second flag hold
You’ll need a ladder or other object with rungs. Push onto one rung with your stronger arm and pull on a higher rung with your weaker arm and raise your legs up off the floor until your body is parallel to the floor.

3. 5-second front lever hold
Pull your body up and extend your torso back so you are parallel to the floor.

4. 15-second bent arm planche hold
Suspend yourself over dip bars and extend your legs behind you with your arms straight so that your body is parallel to the floor. See this video for more.

5. 30-second handstand hold
Hold the top position of a handstand (arms extended).

6. 3 very slow muscle ups
Take at least 3 seconds to press your body up from the bar.

7. 10 slow dips
Take at least 3 seconds to lower your body.

8. Pull up hold position for 30 seconds
Hold the bottom of a pushup (chest just above the floor).

See many of these exercises in action in the video below.

Sample Video Workout:

Not only are you going to love the results from these workouts, you are going to find out they’re fun to try too. Good luck!

Related Posts

Since I started powerlifting, I’ve had a couple workouts that I really liked. The first was the Madcow 5×5 version of Bill Starr’s 5×5 routine, and the second was Sheiko. (The Sheiko volume about killed me tho cuz I wasn’t prepped well enough for it. DOH! BUT, I loved it!)

Now the workout I’m really into is Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 workout routine. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend getting your hands on it. Even better, buy it so you can go back to it like I do from time to time. Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Book (2nd Edition): The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength.

Also, I’ve created a 5/3/1 workout spreadsheet (based on one that my workout partner had) and also created a video explaining how it works.

  • Train 3-4 days per week
  • One day will be devoted to the standing military press, one day to the parallel squat, one day to the deadlift and one day to the bench press.
  • Each training cycle lasts 4 weeks.
  • The first week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5).
  • The second week you will do 3 sets of 3 reps (3×3).
  • The third week you will do 1 set of 5 reps,1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep (5/3/1).
  • The fourth week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5). This is an easy deload week.
  • After the fourth week, you begin again with 3 sets of 5 reps.
  • Each week and each set has a percentage to follow, so you won’t be guessing what to do anymore.

5 3 1 Weight Lifting

Emphasize Big, Multi-Joint Compound Movements

For years I did a lot of isolation exercises; Curls, Tricep extensions, Leg extensions, etc etc etc… I also did a couple compound movements like squat and bench, but I never really focused on compound multi-joint movements. MAN, WHAT A WASTE OF YEARS THAT WAS!!

Mult-joint compound movements build the most muscle and work all these smaller muscles in addition. People are baffled when I tell them I rarely if ever do curls. Actually can’t remember the last time I did a bicep curl. Also, I’ve always had problems with tiny calves and hated it. Amazingly, when I started focusing on the big compound lifts, my calves actually grew. (They’re still small in my mind, but they’re better than before.)

Start Too Light & Progress Slowly

We all want to make huge gains fast, and in the beginning this is possible. However, the longer we train, the slower the progress becomes. That’s why, with this program it’s all about starting light and progressing slowly. You will hit a point where it starts getting much harder and that’s when you learn to appreciate the deload weeks.

Break Personal Records (PR’s)

Another big thing about the 5/3/1 program is breaking personal records. That could be in weight or reps. If at the beginning of one cycle you’re only benching 225lbs x 5, but then the next cycle you hit 7 reps, then you’re getting stronger…. obviously.

If you don’t buy Wendler’s book(s) [5/3/1 for Powerlifting and/or Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Book (2nd Edition)], you should at least read his write up atMen’s Health on the 5/3/1 Workout

I highly recommend taking the Wendler 5/3/1 workout program for a test drive for at least 12-16 weeks.

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a 'certified' trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

12 Week Ripped Weight Training

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