I am now making available the spreadsheet I use to calculate and track my weight training program which is based on the classic Jim Wendler 5/3/1. It’s a relatively simple program with increments determined by your historical performance rather than a blind drive to add plates. I’m a big fan of autoregulation in programs as progress is directly tuned to your personal performance and therefore ensures that weight progression is manageable and hopefully safe.
The free 531 Strength Training google sheets template is based on schedules from both Wendler’s original 5/3/1 book and the latest version – Beyond 5/3/1. While there are close to a gazillion versions of the 531 program in the Beyond 5/3/1 book, here I am providing you with calculated templates for just the original and the powerlifting version.
PowerliftingToWin have a fabulous review of the 5/3/1 program both the original version and a series of updates from the Beyond book. I will keep my notes more focussed on the usage of the template and suggest you read the book or go and review the PTW post for details on the history and the rationale behind the rep and set choices.
Some key features that you need to know about:
- Training max – this is about 85-90% of your competition max
- AMRAP – represented by the + symbol in for example 5/3/1+, means as many reps as possible. Or As Many Reps as Pretty because form is super important for safety.
- Minimum rep target – this is my addition but it gives you something to aim for in the amrap sets and equates to the minimum reps required to ensure that your Training Max will not drop.
Wendler’s Original 5/3/1 Strength Program
Link to 5/3/1 strength template
I’m presenting a 12 week program based on the above 4 week pattern. 3 weeks of progressive intensity followed by a deload in week 4. Your performance in the AMRAP sessions in weeks 1-3 will determine the Training Max for the next 4 week program.
I’ve set this up as a 4 sessions per week schedule with each of the main lifts forming your daily focus. It’s not too tasking from a time point of view so I recommend adding accessory exercises – feel free to amend the template and choose your own.
I have included a Target AMRAP section so that you know the minimum number of reps you should push for in the session, to ensure that your training max doesn’t deteriorate for the next round. Note that you will have two attempts to push your Training Max in each 4 week round.
Week 1 schedule – showing Target reps for the AMRAP round You start by adding your existing 1RM for each lift in the first orange row for Week 1. If you don’t know these or haven’t tested recently, you can use the estimator in the top left. You enter the weight and number of reps to get an estimate of your true 1RM. Enter these values for each lift.
Your Training Max will be calculated from this and all your weeks 1-4 target weights populated.
When you’ve done the workout, enter the reps achieved (in the orange cells) if there is an AMRAP session.
Your progression will be charted.
Wendler’s Beyond 5/3/1 Powerlifting Program
Link to 5/3/1 powerlifting template
This schedule designed for someone preparing for a powerlifting competition in 12 weeks, follows a slightly more complex pattern and spends more time pushing heavier weights.
I’ve again added target AMRAP reps so that you know what to push for if you want to stay steady or aim for a Rep Max increase. At the end of the 12 week peaking schedule I’ve also included some recommended powerlifting attempt weights based on 92%, 95%, 105% of your estimated 1RM.
Note that I’ve left Military Press in the final weeks schedule, even though I know you won’t be doing that in a Powerlifting competition.
You can view some of my other free weightlifting schedules on my spreadsheet resources page.
If you are heading for your first powerlifting competition you might want to check out my notes on what to expect.