The 5/3/1 Training Method: A Guide to Building Strength and Improving Human Performance

The 5/3/1 training method is a popular strength training program created by Jim Wendler that focuses on core lifts. In the case of April’s Human Performance Program its of squat, deadlift, and split-squat. The program is designed to help lifters increase their strength and improve their overall human performance.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

How it works

  • The 5/3/1 method is based on a four-day training schedule, with each day focusing on one of the main lifts.
  • The lifter performs three sets of five reps on the first week, three sets of three reps on the second week, and one set of five, one set of three, and one set of one reps on the third week.
  • The fourth week is a deload week to allow the body to recover before starting a new cycle.
  • All weights are based on a lifter’s one-rep max (1-RM).
  • Accessory lifts are included but are not the main focus of the program.


  • Simple and effective: The 5/3/1 method is easy to follow and provides a steady increase in intensity that allows lifters to progress throughout each cycle.
  • Versatile: The program can be adapted to fit different fitness levels and goals.
  • Builds strength: The core lifts targeted in the program are key to developing overall strength and increasing performance in other activities.
  • Customizable: The program allows for customization and variation in accessory lifts to target individual weaknesses and improve overall performance.
  • Encourages consistency: The program emphasizes the importance of sticking to a consistent routine, which is crucial for long-term progress and results.

Tips for success

  • Start with conservative weights: It’s important to start with weights that are manageable to avoid injury and build a strong foundation.
  • Be patient: The 5/3/1 method is designed for slow and steady progress. It’s important to trust the process and avoid the temptation to rush or make changes too quickly.
  • Focus on form: Proper form is essential for safety and maximum benefit. Don’t sacrifice form for more weight or reps.
  • Track progress: Keep track of weights, reps, and progress throughout each cycle to ensure steady gains and make adjustments as needed.
  • Don’t neglect accessory lifts: Accessory lifts are important for targeting weaknesses and improving overall performance. Include them in your routine but don’t let them take away from the focus on the core lifts.

In conclusion, the 5/3/1 training method is a proven approach to building strength and improving human performance. Its simplicity and versatility make it a great choice for lifters of all levels and goals. With consistency, patience, and proper form, the 5/3/1 method can help you achieve your fitness goals and improve your overall health and performance.