Question and Answer: Instagram – Jim Wendler

Question and Answer: Instagram


Question: For someone who trains out of their own garage gym, what are some certain pieces of equipment that one should invest in besides the usual squat rack and Dumbbells?

Answer: I recommend the following pieces:

  • Squat stands or rack
  • Platform
  • Barbell/Plates

Those will take care of 100% of your training needs – squat, press, dead, clean, row. You can always add stuff later (chin/dip station) or build/purchase boxes to jump on. You certainly don’t need dumbbells. That would be one of the last thing I’d buy for a garage gym.

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Question: Can you tell us what to eat to be stronger???

Answer: Start with this list: beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, eggs, eggs, eggs, milk (if lactose tolerant), any vegetable, any fruit and add in carbs as necessary or tolerated (rice being the easiest).

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Question: Neck training for deadlift lock out - yes or know ?

Answer: I don’t know if it really helps your deadlift lockout but neck training makes a man more sexually potent.

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 Question: Which ones, in your opinion, are the most useless exercises?

Answer: I don’t know if any exercise is totally useless, however there are hordes of turds promoting supplementary movements of basic lifts trying to pass them off as “better.” The ones that eat this propaganda are those that probably need the basic movements the most. Everyone wants to be the king of something, even if it is only because no one else wants the crown.

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Question: Are there any current trends/fads in training that you would like to see die a horrible death and never come back?

Answer: Well the problem with trends/fads is that there is really nothing “new” – everything gets recycled under a different name.   And people that haven’t been around for more than 5 years get sucked in and see this shit as “new”. Diets are the worst.

However one fad/trend that has never gone away, and will never is lack of understanding of simple programming. Working hard is not programming. I see some trends as simply making a buck by promoting the guise of hard work as progress. If one is going to spend the time and effort at making themselves physically better, it wouldn’t hurt to put a little bit of thought into what they do.

With the age of the internet and the way information is spread, there is no longer an excuse for poor programming. It can no longer be passed off as ignorant – it is just stupid.  So if one has been training for a couple of years, gets the idiocy out of his system, most of the training hurdles have been cleared by others. 

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Question: Boring but big — variation 1 (65,70,75%). What to do for conditioning? Question 2 Is 15-20 minutes interval sprints twice a week too much during boring but big?

Answer: In general, 2 days of hard conditioning, 2-4 days of easy conditioning.

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Question: Hi Jim, I love your workout 5/3/1 and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. My question is what do you recommend for someone who does brazilian jiu-jitsu and also wants to strength train? Thank you!

Answer: Check out the article for 5/3/1 and MMA.

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Question: You see a lot of lifters nowadays performing the big lifts multiple times a week. Do you think that this is absolutely necessary in order to become a good powerlifter, say 400+ Wilks.

Answer: No.

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 Question: I am a tall athlete (6,4), and used to bench on my toes, about 6 months ago i found out the only federation i can compete in says I have yo have flat feet. Suddenly leg drive has become a major issue and I struggle to get super tight since I can't get my legs under my ass without my butt coming off the bench! Would love some feedback or suggestions on feet position for tall athletes on the bench press! Thanks!

Answer: I have trained a lot of tall athletes and this has never been a problem – you may want to ask Matt Rhodes about this as he is about your size.

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Question: Jim please help me! How do I program 2-3 board press as accessory for 531!!

Answer: You’d train it just like you train every supplemental movement in the 5/3/1 program: get a TM and use one of the dozens of supplemental programs (FSL, SSL, BBB, Hellhammer 5’s, etc.)

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Question: Mobility training. I have a lot of scar tissue build up in my hip starting to become a massive pain in the ass while sweating. Any tips on that would be awesome.

Answer: This sounds like it sucks – this is way out of my pay grade and you may need to see an ART specialist or something similar. The only other thing I can recommend is simply doing mobility work 2-3 times/day and see if that helps. Consistency and discipline are your friend.

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 Question: I find myself to be significantly stronger deadlifting sumo than traditional. Is it a problem to exclusively deadlift sumo? Will I miss out on something traditional only provides?

Answer: Not at all – you are picking the barbell off the ground. In the big picture, it won’t matter.

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Question: Any advice for improving Rep count for body weight exercises? I'm basically doing 5 sets to failure for my push ups and chin ups, but is there anything you'd recommend?

Answer: We have various challenges for bodyweight movements in the new book. You will be pleased.

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Question: How do you feel about dive bombing squats, does it matter of you go slow or fast on the way down?

Answer: If you can do it and do it successfully, I see no reason not to. As long as you are strong enough to handle the way it is done, which is very rare for many lifters.

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 Question: How should a relatively inexperienced lifter improve fatigue management? For periodic deloading, I have a hard time "listening to my body" because I don't know what it's saying. I've spent less than 18mos under the bar and I'm self-coaching, so I've felt my way through the dark on a lot of transitions in my training. Thanks.

Answer: This is easy – he sticks to a program written by someone who has been training/coaching for 20+ years and let’s the program work for him. How can a beginner listen to his body when he doesn’t even know what it is saying? Trust the program and understand that there is bad days, good days and a lot of average days. He who perseveres, wins.

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Question: When building a garage gym on a budget the absolute must haves for pure strength and lungs of iron.

Answer:

  • Squat stand/rack
  • Platform
  • Barbell/Plates
  • Running shoes

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 Question: I hope this can be 5/3/1 specific. I have returned to lifting after a two year layoff. I have running 5/3/1 since February. I started off with very conservative training maxes this time because I was aggressive and reps got to be a struggle real quick. I am getting 8-12 on all four of the main lifts on week three. I add 5 lbs each cycle. You I try 10 or 15 to pick up the pace or ride it out.

Answer: Ride it out – you are getting stronger and that is how you make progress. EVERY SINGLE LIFTER I’ve coached hits at least that many on each week, if not more. I’m not concerned with bowing to rehashed dogma; I’m only concerned with making people stronger. There are so many different elements of “start light/progress” slow that make sense and WORK that I shouldn’t be surprised that no one wants to listen. Be smart, stay the course and reap the benefits. Anyone that tells you differently, about this program, is full of shit.

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Question: From your experience as a strength coach can you give some advice for a young strength coach just coming up in the industry?

Answer: Train your balls off, train others and learn from an internship. You’ll learn more from those three things than you will online. Experience is the best teacher.

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 Question: I was recently diagnosed with an L4 & L5 herniated discs, how can I continue training without further damage? I don't want to stop and I probably won't, so what's the safest bet? Lighter weight? Approach training for the recovery period like a deload? Thanks for your time.

Answer: Way out of my pay grade. Best thing I can tell you is to find a way to work around the injury and work harder than ever. For example I had a back injury. As a result, I had to do a ton of sled, prowler, hill and weight vest work during my recovery. Just pounded the shit out of it. The last thing you want to do is be weaker – strength is the key. Just find a way to get stronger on the “areas” you can’t work “normally”.

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Question: I do full body fsl 5x5, chins/pull ups between each sets, templates advocates minimal assistance (rows, dips, curls). Let's say I need to do abs/ back work/traps do I need to put them on a separate day or can I put them on top of this? Thanks

Answer: I have no idea as this depends on the 5/3/1 program you are doing and what exercises you choose as assistance. I don’t know what “Full Body, FSL” means.

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Question: Jim my girlfriend want to start Lifting weights, what do you think is the best program to start?

Answer: Whatever one she wants to do. I have no idea what she wants, her training background or what kind of personality/attitude. My best advice is to talk with her, ask her these questions and run some ideas by her. A good program done consistently is better than a great program done sporadically.

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Question: Hey Jim, can you please talk about how to train when you are injured. When to stop training, how to train around injuries instead of through them. This would be great. Greetings from Germany, Chris

Answer: This is the third question I’ve answered about this question today. Training when injured is very simple as the principles remain the same, regardless of the injury.

 

  1. Get diagnosed. This involves going to a specialists. Never, ever take advice on an injury over the internet. Think about how many dumb people there are on the internet. Just really think about that. Now think about asking these same dick-beaters a question involving an injured area. It’s like asking a shark for a blow-job.
  2. Make plan and execute plan to get better.   This is also known as “rehab”.
  3. Worry ONLY about what you can do, not what you can’t. So whilst doing the rehab, get strong on what you can do. And never, ever half-ass this stuff.

 That’s it. There is no secret to training around or through an injury; you just do it. If in doubt, train around and be smart. And to reiterate: get strong as fuck on what you CAN do. Too many people get a boo-boo and then their attitude goes to shit because something didn’t go right and they just stop lifting.

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Question: Can 5/3/1 be used for olympic lifts?

Answer: Yes. There are many variations of the program you can do – just pick one of them that suits your program/needs and have at it.

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Question: When one should consider cutting weight?

Answer: I’m not sure what you mean by “cutting weight”? Before a meet? For wrestling? If you are just like me, an guy who likes training but is no longer competing in sports, cutting weight is only for those that don’t have the discipline to do things right, all the time.

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Question: What advice would you give to a person that is so obsessed with training that he/she put other priorities aside(for example career,job and so on).

Answer: Expand and balance. Evolve. I have three things I love/obsess: training, my family and blistering music in the name of Lucifer. But within life, as part of the development of the total person, other avenues and interests need to be done. I don’t know any other advice other than to strive for a “classical education”. Learn to love the process of learning new things.

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Question: At what point one should consider using elbow/knee sleeves for training?

Answer: For a normal person, I don’t think it matters at all. For an older lifter (40 or so), I think knee sleeves are a great way to have some insurance on the knee. Preventive medicine, so to speak.

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 Question: I work construction push my hands to the point where where my grip strength breaks down instead of getting stronger what active recovery therapy do you recommend? I need to fix this problem before I can progress current weight 195lbs. Bench 240x5/O.H. 150x5/squat 315x5/deadlift 430x5.

Answer: I have no idea what you can do for you hands other than let them adapt. The body can do pretty amazing stuff GIVEN enough time.

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 Question: Hey Jim. Been running 531 for about 3 years now, love it. One thing that hits me is my one rep maxes aren't equating to my projected maxes that well. For instance; I pulled 520 for 5 reps on my last week in the cycle 3 weeks ago. We took a few weeks off and tested maxes today and I couldn't hit 565 for 1. Difficulty getting that first 4-6" off the floor. My squat is similar but not as bad. Any advice to correct this? I pulled 579 in competition about a year ago. It seems I have gotten extremely strong in the '4-6' rep range but struggle with anything outside tear parameters. I'm sure this has a lot to do with running the program as it is and not working with heavier weights/low reps but wanted your advice.

Answer: As pointed out numerous times in the book, the projected max is about comparing rep maxes, NOT about guessing your 1RM. This is pretty clear.

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Question: Also, can u give me the absolute best 2 exercises I can implement in my training to build lower back strength? Reverse hyper and good mornings? Ideal rep ranges on these exercises would b great as well, I feel like I am doing these but usually after a heavy dead or squat day and probably not pushing them as much as I should. Thanks for all the help!

Answer: GM’s and back raises. The sets/reps are entirely dependent on what exact program you are doing – so for example, the NTW program has a different set/rep combo than BBB. We work ONLY on total reps for each of the three categories for assistance work so it’s impossible to say what is right for you.

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Question: I am using 5's progression on the main lifts. Is it ok for one to use rest pause for the deadlift on the main working sets to hit total 5 reps for each set? Or one need to hit straight 5 reps for each set otherwise it would would consider as stall?The only gym in my area doest not allow chalk so my grips tend to lose out when I am near 5 reps so I use rest pause way to get the total 5 reps. Would like to hear your opinion on this Jim.

 Answer: You can do that but it is no longer the program and it isn’t 5’s PRO. Use straps or smuggle in chalk.

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Question: Thanks in advance, Jim. I've seen great improvements with 5/3/1, and I am currently on my 5th round. At a bodyweight of 177, my bench has gone from 225 to 265. Overhead press started at 115, and is now 180. My deadlift went from 315 to pulling 425 two weeks ago. All of this since March, so I am beyond happy. My question is with squats. I seem to be stuck in the 300-315 1rm range since the beginning. 90% of 1rm first round was 270. 90% of 1rm now is 310. My 5+, 3+, and 1+ sets, I am just hitting the minimum reps now. I didn't expect to infinitely add weight without hitting a plateau, but I wonder why my other lifts are climbing consistently, and my squat is stalling. Is it common for some lifts to stagnate while other ones are shooting up?

 Answer: Completely normal. Happens to everyone, all the time.

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Question (cont.) To help this, I have changed from using leg press after squats to doing the BBB, varying stance, tempo, pause. Any advice in getting un-stuck, or do I need to practice some patience? Overall, I love this program, and the results I have achieved so far. Thanks for your time, and for a great program, Jim!

 Answer: There are four or five main things that people fuck up with the program and one of them is not using the correct TM. If you are getting only the minimum reps, you have the wrong TM. The new book will have a dummy proof part of program where NO ONE will EVER have any excuse to have the wrong TM.   Along with that, we never do templates anymore, only total programs. This will help people learn how to program their own training and not get caught doing burpees because their trainer is a fucking moron.

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 Question: Would doing 531 coupled with intense 20 min cardio sessions after get me ripped?

Answer: There is a lot more than getting ripped than lifting and being a hamster.

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 Question: I am on my 4 cycke of 5/3/1 for hardgainers. Is there any changes you would make for females?

Answer: Maybe make adjustments to the increments but I don’t see why you need to change it.  My wife does the program and the "main ideas" are all the same. The only thing that she does differently than me (or someone like me) is some different assistance work. She follows the exact assistance template for each program, she just does "girl" stuff like hip thrusts for her ass.

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Question: Doing 5/3/1 with added box squats and front squats to squat everyday, doing the military press on front squat day, bench on squat, deadlift on box squat. I repeat last AMRAP sets twice on front and back squats, instead of big but boring, I add some accessories too, I do one amrap set of deadlift with chalk and a second amrap set with straps. Also divided the weight added by month by ratio to maintain the same monthly progress but the cycle are more like 3 days instead of week, I retest some lift every 2 or 4 cycles as 531 for powerlifting... Am I fucking this up? I got the feeling 531 is a expendable and customizable program as long as we get the main idea. I also add HIIT and other hard cardio and conditioning.... Is that N.O.V? (is N.O.V some kind of hardcore cardio lifestyle?)

Answer: I can assure you that you are not doing the 5/3/1 program. And that is fine – there are many ways to shave a pussy. N.O.V. is more of people shutting off the static and noise of this industry, not basing their training decisions on the fear-mongering and personal hatred disguised-as-motivation that plagues many “experts”. You eat, you train and you do things in a logical manner with a tremendous effort. And then you go do other shit in your life that is based on same principles: Action, not reaction. Leader, not follower.