5-3-1 template

What do you think about the bfs setXrep setup?

3x3, 5x5, 5-4-3-2-1, and 10-8-6 (or 4-4-2 for the power clean and Hex bar deadlift)

I’ve only loosely used the template in times past and loosely is an understatement.

It was only used on the bench press, as I do not have my guys press overhead and we only perform RDLs twice a year and not heavy; and I no longer use percentages for the squat (I prescribe volume and the weight is up to my guys)

One of the myriad of Charlie’s teachings that I firmly adhere to is that weights, specifically general weights in my case, always follow speed.

Thus I do not prioritize general weight training; particularly because its so damn easy to develop in relation to speed, movement skill, specialized ability and neurophysiological adaptations in the form of improved speed of processing visually received information and responding to it rapidly with high coordination.

I really can’t emphasize how easy it is to develop general strength to sufficient enough levels for athletes.

I don’t mean to insult anyone by making this statement; its simply the reality of my experience in working with my athletes; irrespective of here at the university, high school level, and earlier.

Wow, you finally drop the %'s for the squat. Do you remember me asking you about that last summer? I hate %'s esp with athletes.

We are not weightlifters who only lift weights. If you were you could look at how you did last workout and adjust but instead we have other competing stressors like running, conditioning, games etc and you don’t know what they do.

If you were to talk to westside you’d realize they do it all by feel as well. there is no formula!

James, what volume/rep ranges do you prefer to work in at this time of the year? I’m assuming alactic power for the next 4-5 weeks.

Anyone wanting the full 5/3/1 ebook manual, I will email it to you if you leave me your email address. No worries.

You gonna get ban…

Yup, I reluctantly loosened the reigns with my guys in allowing them to select their weights for the squat during the pre-spring ball training and it went very well. I did the same for the bench during spring ball and it also went well.

This worked because the trainedness of our guys is finally in place and I trust, most of them, to self-regulate. I must note, that I also provide direction to each training week so they know if it’s in their interest to increase weights, reduce the load, or go into cruise control.

I did return to % for the bench this summer and it’s going very well.

The squat load is very conservative. These past 4 weeks we basically progressed from 3-4 sets of 6 to 3-4 sets of 3. For the bench, I adapted a scheme that I derived from a Russian bench press champion’s program that I analyzed a few years ago.

The heaviest load they lifted in the bench, before today, was 82% and no single set over the last 4 weeks exceeded 4 repetitions. We worked up to 90% x1 today and everyone looked great, a few guys kept going (by choice) and set PRs.

This was after performing 4x4x30yd hill sprints.

Weights follow speed.

I’m curious, How long did this hill session take?

LOL, no NCAA violation at Pitt my friend.

That wasn’t my intent of the question. Obviously a large issue in NCAA setting is total workout time and the ability to get certain qualities trained with sufficient volume and rest.

I know how long that workout takes my athletes, as I have used the same sets and reps in the past.

Not gonna speak for James but I’m sure it’s not full recovery btw sets/reps, I know last year they did long hills so this could be a sub for the long hills.

A little under an hour.

Have you already consolidated the weights onto one day, ie MWF speed/weights, TTh tempo? My understanding of your programming is split weights during alactic power and consolidated weights during alactic capacity, is this still correct?


If this is true, I’d be curious to hear more about it.

Also, you mentioned not doing heavy RDL’s. Can you expand?

We began this summer with all primary weight training after our alactic field work on Mon/Thur; leaving only auxiliary work following our aerobic field work on Tue/Fri.

I did, however, disburse some of the intensive elements over the course of the week in the form of explosive med ball throws and jumps which are performed prior to the aerobic field work on Tue/Fri.

Regarding this first block of summer, the hills sprint workload and distribution of intensive elements across the training week were pages taken directly out of Charlie’s GPP and modified according to my plan.


In Block B will you up the weightlifting to 3 or 4 days a week or will you keep weights to 2 days a week. The reason being to increase the concentration of the load. Also, would you add medicine ball extensive throws inBlock B.

Please understand that I’m only willing to provide generalities.

Extensive med ball work has been in the training in the form of the wall rebounds on the aerobic days.

Throughout the summer the alactic bioenergetic emphasis shifts from power to capacity; while the aerobic bioenergetic emphasis shifts from development to maintenance.

The training block biomotor as well as biochemical/bioenergetic emphasis (there are 3 blocks) progresses from General Preparatory, to Specialized Preparatory, to Specialized Developmental

General weight training becomes de-emphasized (philosophically) as the summer progresses while specialized strength training begins to take priority.

I have constructed a series of specialized drills by position and these will be trained first in the session on every single training day (both alactic and aerobic) as we have specialized alactic and specialized aerobic training.

The training week taxonomy will remain as Mon/Thur Alactic, Tue/Fri Aerobic and I have yet to decide if the majority of intensive elements will become consolidated to Mon/Thur. I’m finalizing the programming throughout this week and over the weekend as we begin block two this coming Monday.

I do not have my guys train the posterior musculature ‘heavy’ because I believe it can quickly become dangerously close to compromising the quality and injury potential (hamstrings) of the alactic field based training (whether it is linear sprints, or specialized movement drills)

The heaviest weights we use on the RDL are the equivalent of bodyweight + 40lbs on the barbell.

We only RDL for 4 weeks in our first off-season block pre-spring ball and again for the first 4 off-season weeks of summer training. Back raises on a 45 hyper and GHR are performed year round during auxiliary training and continue to be when the RDLs go away.

I also very much like the partner resisted reverse hyper (as Charlie demonstrated so often); however, this, as a whole, is not performed quite as frequently in the rotation because the 45hyper device and GHR device present greater logistical ease (don’t require partner).

I must also note that I do not have my skill players perform the GHR as I feel that the structural demand increases the possibility of hamstring pull.

It’s important to note that the posterior musculature may become very ‘strong’ void of the typical ‘heavy’ training; hence the value of sub-maximal efforts. I’ve had more than one skill player be able to lift me (255lbs) off the ground while performing partner reverse hypers.