The Basics of the Wendler 531 System for Strength Gains

The Basics of the Wendler 531 System for Strength Gains

in Sportsfuel Articles and Blog
Trainer Jim Wendler's 531 power lifting system is one of the most popular training programs out there today, and it's easy to understand why. Few programs can rival its effectiveness. Those alternative programs that do bring results are often much more complicated and difficult for individuals to do on their own.

Whether you're a beginner, an intermediate lifter or an advanced pro, this introduction will help you get started with the Wendler 531 approach.

The Basics of Wendler 531

At the heart of the Wendler 531 program is the mesocycle, a four-week training program that you repeat again and again. The simplest way to approach the system is to work out four days per week. Unlike other programs, Wendler 531 focuses on just one core lift per day with assistance work used to complement the primary focus of the day. The four core lifts are the military press, the deadlift and the bench press.

Each day, you pick just one of those lifts to focus on during your session, and you must do one training session for each of those moves before starting over. That's why the simplest way to approach the program is with a four-day regimen.

While you will be performing the same four moves each week over the course of each mesocycle, the number of sets and reps that you do will change every week as follows:

Week 1: 3 sets of 5 reps each day

Week 2: 3 sets of 3 reps each day

Week 3: 1 set of 5 reps, 1 set of 3 reps and 1 set of 1 rep per day

Week 4: 3 sets of 5 reps each day

At the end of the cycle, you simply start over at Week 1.

Choosing the Weights

With Wendler 531, the key to success is really the approach used to select weights. The amount that you lift with each set will correspond to a set percentage of your one rep maximum or 1RM. Here's how it should look:

Week 1:
Set 1 - 65 per cent of RM
Set 2 - 75 per cent of RM
Set 3 - 85 per cent of RM

Week 2:
Set 1 - 70 per cent of RM
Set 2 - 80 per cent of RM
Set 3 - 90 per cent of RM

Week 3:
Set 1 - 75 per cent of RM
Set 2 - 85 per cent of RM
Set 3 - 95 per cent of RM

Week 4:
Set 1 - 40 per cent of RM
Set 2 - 50 per cent of RM
Set 3 - 60 per cent of RM

With the start of a new cycle, you add 5 pounds to your 1RM for the bench press and military press and 10 pounds to your 1RM for the squat and deadlift.

The Wendler 531 approach works because it makes big demands on your body that promote mass gains and provide strength benefits that carry over into many other types of lifts. Good nutrition is essential to getting the best results while on the program. For more information visit JimWendler.com

For advice on how to put together the right supplement program to get the best results from the Wendler 531 system, contact us today. We'll be glad to assist you.

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