5/3/1 and Crossfit

Somebody asked me recently if 5/3/1 “works” for Crossfitters. Obviously, it does. Ideally the CFer would quit CF and follow one of the templates outlined in the book – that would work. Work well too.

531-shirt 400

But the question has another answer. That’s the hugest NO WAY IN HELL you’ve ever heard.

Why is that? Isn’t it a great program? Yes it is, if you follow it. Problem is – most CFers want to be good at 87 different things (duh, they’re CFers) and thus program 7 lifts to follow the 5/3/1 percentages, add assistance work AND conditioning. Obviously the rep to the death. Then they wonder why the program isn’t working… If you’re one of those guys, I suggest you read the fucking book instead of just pulling the percentages from the internet.

I have three important points to make on how to implement 5/3/1 for a CFer:

  • Read the fucking book – Wendler writes about using the split for CF.
  • If you absolutely have to change it – do LESS, not more. Using the 5/3/1 progression on the squat and press for example could work.
  • This last point is in the book too: you can’t push strength and conditioning hard at the same time. Set your maxes low and/or don’t rep out aggressively (if at all) if you’re doing tons of other shit. For every push there’s gotta be a pull.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with using the percentages as a CFer. There is something wrong with being a clown. Clowns think they can get stronger in 15 different lifts at the same time, while dropping weight and increasing conditioning.


As a CFer it’s imperative that you learn to focus your energy on the lifts that have the biggest carryover. That means the squat, the press and the deadlift (and arguably the bench press). Pushing the front squat hard is wasted energy – energy better spent on the backsquat. Get that up and it’ll boost your front squat, and pretty much all your other lifts too.

Finishing note: read the damn book, don’t push everything at once and most importantly – SQUAT.

See ya soon.

Famez <3

5 thoughts on “5/3/1 and Crossfit

  1. Så smukt at læse, efter man selv endeligt har lagt stilen med 100 træningstimer om ugen om. Det så sindsygt hvor meget stærkere man bliver ved at lave mindre, men mere kvalitativt arbejde.
    Er selv lige gået igang med 5/3/1 kun med squats og dødløft, så håber det kommer til at gi pote, at den kun står på 4 gange træning om ugen hvor af den ene er Hill sprints efter den fremragende artikel om dette 🙂

    Keep up the good work, det fantastisk at følge med og lære noget nyt hele tiden 🙂

  2. Jeg følger (well, følger som i “træner sporadisk, når jeg har tid om morgenen og ikke er træt”) en modificeret version af 5/3/1, som er tilpasset atleter. To work-outs om ugen med hhv. squat/bænk og død/press som hovedløft i hver. Supplerer med lidt chins/pullups/dips/t2b som accessory work. Fungerer meget godt som supplement til min sport (ikke Crossfit), synes jeg. Men det er fandme svært at spise nok.

    Her er lidt mere info skrevet af the man himself: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most…/531_and_athletes

    • Hey og velkommen til
      Tak for det gode link.
      Problemet for CFere er at deres sport er lidt mere CNS-intensiv end de fleste andre sportsfolk. Det stiller ekstra krav til god programmering. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Jim Wendler “Beyond 531″ a review | Blog of Fame

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