Program Review: Bodybuilder Template for 5/3/1

5 min readAug 20, 2017

After running Boring but Big for four cycles (16 weeks), I switched out to something to help the ol’ ego: Jim’s old Bodybuilder Template for 5/3/1. This is probably the second most common done template for 5/3/1, so it makes sense I’d come here next. But I also decided I wanted to look good at the beach, so I did this program to focus a bit on aesthetic gains and let my strength take a slight back seat.

I did this template for three cycles (12 weeks) and am currently in the deload week of the final cycle.

Here’s how the numbers panned out:

OHP: 140 lbs → 150 lbs

Squat: 380 lbs → 410 lbs

Bench: 230 lbs → 245 lbs

Deadlift: 405 lbs → 440 lbs

Bodyweight: 165 lbs → 171 lbs

Body fat: 12.8% → 13.3%

What is the Body Building Template?

The Body Building Template focuses on hypertrophy from a bunch of lower weight, high rep exercises that are often more isolated rather than the big, complex powerlifting movements. The goal, from the name of the program, is to get bigger show muscles.

The result is much more of a “bro-split” like program with powerlifting exercises at the start of each day. The routine went shoulders/biceps (OHP) day, back (deadlift) day, chest/triceps (bench press) day and (squat) leg day.

The one big change I did was take the as many as possible (AMAP) pushups out of the bench press day and replaced it with first set last (FSL) bench work. My bench needs the most work of all my lifts in my opinion, and I would rather add direct volume to that rather than indirectly work it with pushups. As a smaller change, I took out the Toe-to-bars on squat day and replaced it with 4x15 ab roller work. This is mostly because I’ve read that only four ab workouts are truly effective, ab roller being one of them, and toe-to-bar not so much. (The other three are hanging leg raises, hollow body holds and planks.)

On days off from the gym, I often did an ab routine with some yoga that was mostly hollow body holds, planks and various yoga I picked up from taking classes.

My Lifting Background Up to This Point

I started 5/3/1 in February of this year. I have been program lifting for 24 months. First six months of Stronglifts…


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