QA 10: Cornucopia of Questions and Answers – Jim Wendler

QA 10: Cornucopia of Questions and Answers

QA 10: Cornucopia of Questions and Answers Question: Whereas sub-max is the standard modus in 531, somewhere (in the book/article/interwebs/???) you talk about getting a wild hair and just going for a true 1 rep max once in a while. Just curious as to any guidance or strategy you might have on when/how to go about doing that in a semi-smart fashion. "Just effing do it" would suffice, if that's the answer. I try to diligently keep up on the stuff you put out, so sorry if you've already addressed it somewhere. Maybe you could just point me that way. Thanks man! Your work is great and actually matters in real life.   Answer:  If I were you, I’d just perform a max on the 3rd week (5/3/1) after your sets.  It’d be a perfect “warm-up” to perform a 1RM.   ___________   Question: I'm a big fan of your cut the B.S., keep it simple, bust your ass, and put in the hard work approach to training and life. I was reading in one of your 'Blood and Chalk' articles about your 'Training to be Awesome' list that you refer to periodically to recharge your batteries and set your mind straight. Could you go into that list a little more and share what kinds of ideas/things you put on that list?   Answer:  I wrote an article for TNation about this; I also wrote something in the 2nd Edition of the 5/3/1 book.   ____________   Question: Hey whats going on Jim?  I had a random question that I was wondering if you could answer or point me in the right direction of who to ask.  I had chemotherapy for cancer about 9 1/2 years ago around my chest area.  My doctor who I check up with every year at the cancer treatment facility claims that because of the chemotherapy powerlifting would put me at higher risk for heart problems and that I should only lift for high reps of 12-15.  Now the reason I question this is I haven't came across any studys that prove powerlifting is a big cause of heart problems.  If you had any input on this I would appreciate it.   Answer:  This is something that I ‘m really not sure about.  I’m guessing the doctor is referring to the stress and blood pressure that lifting heavy weights is going to put on your body.   Personally, I’d take it a bit slow but there is no way I’d let cancer or a doctor dictate my life.  Especially when you survived hell.  Congrats man and keep fighting.  And that means fighting against what people tell you can/can’t do. But then again, I’m not a doctor and can only comment on what I’d do.   ____________   Question: I have been following the ACV protocol you outlined in an earlier post. It is working well for me and I am now approaching the third month. Did you stop after 3 months, or do you continue to supplement with ACV?   Answer:  I continue with it – one time/day.   ____________   Question: BIG JIM I AM IN THE SECOND MONTH OF THE BIG BUT BORING CHALLENGE,I LOVE IT BY THE WAY, QUESTION I DO MY OVERHEAD PRESS BEHIND THE NECK FOR 531 AND ON THE 5X 10 FRONT IS THAT OK.   Answer:  I think this is a great idea if you want fucked up shoulders.   ____________   Question: Let me start off first of all by saying THANK YOU. I have been lifting on and off for about ten years now and had never achieved the size and strength as I did with your 5/3/1 program. Goddamn is that a great program! I also enjoy reading your no bullshit staright to the point articles. Liek I said, I have made great strength gains with your program and am aiming on breaking 300 on bench before the end of the year. The only problem I have right now is my gut. My belly has grown dramatically ove rthe past year and was wondering if there is anything you would recommend to help me lose taht belly without losing too much strength and size. I am currently 6,1 250lbs. Your help is greatly appreciated.   Answer:  Don’t eat like you are a fat person, move more, lift heavy and read the “Losing Weight/Getting Stronger” blog post on     ____________   Question: I was recently turned onto your program via a google search. I will preface this by saying that I haven't been athletic for many years.  I might be attending a police academy soon and recently took up Crossfit.  While it is a good workout for me (what wouldn't after being sedentary for so long?) I am looking for something cheaper and sustainable.  Plus, I am not a huge fan of some of the purely random Crossfit workouts, or the high reps of Olympic lifts. My problem is I am trying to operate on minimal cost and space.  I'd like to have my own workout setup, but have very limited space in my home.  I'm trying to figure out a space to put a bench, but it doesn't seem quite possible. I know I am asking a lot, but is there an alternative to this?  I could invest in a quality barbell, but this still excludes me from doing bench work.     Answer:  Just get squat stands and a barbell/weights.  Then build a 6x8 platform (minimal cost).  You don’t need a bench.  This is all you need (I’ve written about this many times before as well as presenting this at seminars.) If you can’t get strong, fucking awesome and celebrate great sport of training with just a barbell, stands and a platform, you have lost (or never had) the spirit of strength training. Main lifts:  Squat, Clean, Deadlift and Press.  How can you not get awesome doing these? ____________   Question: Hey Jim, I am just contacting you about adding in gymnastics type training into the 5/3/1. I would like to someone incorporate gymnastics type exercise such as; the human flag, the planche, front & back lever, and handstands. I thought about having 2 days for the 5/3/1 and one day for all the gymnastics similar to this down below. Monday - bench/squat with accessory work (not entirely sure what I'd want for incorporate for accessory with gymnastic type moves) Thursday - press/deadlift and same problem with accessory. Saturday - gymnastic training handstands human flags planches and etc. The off days would basically be what you have in the book; sprints, jump rope maybe some box jumps and stretching and some additional core work.  If you could please give me some advice id really appreciate it. Some additional information. 5'6 150 pounds 18 years old. Looking to get around 158, 165, 181 to sometime compete in powerlifting.   Answer:  Despite my awesome body, I am not a gymnast and I have no idea about any of these kinds of movements.  Why don’t you just do the main lift of the day, 4 days/week and then do these movements?  It seems incredibly easy and straightforward to me.
Got a question for Jim Wendler? Email him at or  Legitimate questions will be answered via the website/blog.  All older questions will be answered in time via  If the answer is clearly answered in any of the 5/3/1 books, your question will not be answered. • Get the 2nd Edition 5/3/1 Ebook Here5/3/1 Hard Copy on Amazon