Wendler 5-3-1 Strength

liftingThe Wendler 5-3-1 Strength program has been around for a while. I’ve done it at other gyms and although it might be considered a bit old-school, I think it’s an effective program and a good fit for CrossFit in that it’s a short program (10-20 min / day). It focuses on Deadlift, Strict Press, Back Squat and Press Bench. These are core lifts that have carryover to the other lifts, namely the Olympic lifts – Squat Clean, Jerk and Snatch. Go here for more about the program: https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength

To calculate your 1 RM from a 3-5 rep max use the following equation:

  • Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM
  • For example, if you can squat 100 for 5 reps, then the equation looks like this:
  • (100 x 5) = 500 x .0333 = 16.6 + 100 = 115 or so


Here is the program – all percentages are based on your “Working Max” – which is 90% of your true (or calculated) 1 Rep Max.

When you see 5+, 3+, or 1+, that means you do the max reps you can manage with that weight, with the goal of setting a rep record in each workout. Week 3 will always be a bit heavy with that 1+ set. From this we can recalculate your 1 Rep Max to use for the next cycle of 4 weeks.



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