The Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Triumvirate Template | The Ultimate Guide!


Are you curious about the Jim Wendler triumvirate template?

Do you want to know Jim Wendler uses the Triumvirate template in his 5/3/1 program to build size and strength?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, I will teach you exactly how to use 5/3/1 Triumvirate to take your training to the next level!.

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Triumvirate
  • Part 2: The 5/3/1 Training Program
  • Part 3: Sample 5/3/1 Workouts

5/3/1 is one of the most popular training programs in the world.

Jim Wendler says it is one of the best ways to train for raw strength, and he has the results to back it up!

There are many different assistance work templates you can use with the 5/3/1 program. However, “The Triumvirate” is one of the oldest and most effective options!

So what is The Triumvirate, and why does it work so well for building raw strength?

The Triumvirate is an assistance work template that you can use on Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. The Triumvirate uses two assistance exercises for your upper body or lower body in each workout.

Here are some of the best Triumvirate upper body assistance exercises:

Triumvirate Upper Body Assistance Exercises:

  • Option #1: Weighted dips
  • Option #2: Pull ups / chin ups
  • Option #3: Dumbbell presses
  • Option #4: Barbell / dumbbell rows
  • Option #5: Weighted push ups

For optimal results, you should pick one “push” focused assistance exercise that works your chest / shoulders / triceps, and one “pull” focused assistance exercise that works your back and biceps.

Here are some of the best Triumvirate lower body assistance exercises:

Triumvirate Lower Body Assistance Exercises:

  • Option #1: Good mornings
  • Option #2: Leg press
  • Option #3: Back extensions
  • Option #4: Bulgarian split squats
  • Option #5: Glute ham raise

Jim says you should pick one quad-focused exercise, such as the leg press, and one hamstrings / glutes / lower back exercise, such as good mornings.

However, some individuals may want to use 2 hamstrings-focused exercises – especially if that is a big weakness for them.

Part 1: The Triumvirate

Jim Wendler says The Triumvirate is one of his favorite 5/3/1 assistance work templates.

He likes to use it on all 4 of his training days.

Here is how Jim usually like to organize his 5/3/1 Triumvirate training split:

The 5/3/1 Training Split

  • Day 1: Bench Press
  • Day 2: Squat
  • Day 3: Overhead Press
  • Day 4: Deadlift

On his upper body days, Jim likes to use one push-focused assistance exercise, and one pull-focused assistance exercise.

Jim Wendler says if you are really busting your ass, then you don’t need more than 2 assistance exercises to get bigger and stronger.

Here is what his 5/3/1 upper body days looked like:

5/3/1 Bench Press Template: The Triumvirate

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Weighted dips, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
  • Exercise B2: Pull ups / chin ups, 5 sets of 5-15 reps

Jim’s overhead press days looked very similar:

5/3/1 Overhead Press Template: The Triumvirate

  • Exercise A1: Overhead press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Weighted dips, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
  • Exercise B2: Pull ups / chin ups, 5 sets of 5-15 reps

Jim Wendler liked to superset his 2 upper body accessory exercises.

In other words, he would perform one set of weighted dips, rest 1 minute, perform 1 set of chin ups, rest 1 minute, and then perform his next set of weighted dips.

Jim says antagonistic supersets are a great way to get more work done in less time and build your work capacity.

However, they are not strictly necessary. Jim really liked chin ups, dips, and weighted dips, but you can use any push-focused or pull-focused exercises that work for you.

Here is what Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Triumvirate lower body days looked like:

5/3/1 Squat Template: The Triumvirate

  • Exercise A1: Squat, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Good morning or back extension, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
  • Exercise B2: Leg press or Bulgarian split squat, 5 sets of 5-15 reps

Jim’s deadlift days looked very similar:

5/3/1 Deadlift Template: The Triumvirate

  • Exercise A1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Good morning or back extension, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
  • Exercise B2: Leg press or Bulgarian split squat, 5 sets of 5-15 reps

The main benefit of The Triumvirate template is it simplifies your training.

You don’t have to worry about using a ton of different exercises and getting so-so results.

Instead, you just work hard on 3 exercises per workout, and get freaky strong in a hurry!

Now let’s talk about the rest of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program.

Part 2: The 5/3/1 Training Program

Jim Wendler says that his 5/3/1 Training Program is the simplest and most effective way to build raw strength.

But what does his training program actually look like?

The truth is, the 5/3/1 program is all about getting stronger over time on 4 main exercises: the bench press, the overhead press, the squat, and the deadlift.

The original 5/3/1 program uses 4 workouts per week, with each workout focused on one of these “big 4” exercises. For example:

The Original 5/3/1 Training Split

  • Day 1: Bench Press
  • Day 2: Squat
  • Day 3: Overhead Press
  • Day 4: Deadlift

Jim Wendler says you should spread out these workouts during the week.

For example, you could train on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The key is to rotate through these 4 workouts during the week so you can make progress on each exercise.

The first exercise in every 5/3/1 workout will be the squat, deadlift, bench press, or overhead press.

Jim Wendler says you should perform 3 sets of 1-5 reps on the main exercise, although you can go for a rep PR on your last set if you are really feeling good. Check it out:

The 5/3/1 Training Cycle

  • Week #1: 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Week #2: 3 sets of 3 reps
  • Week #3: 3 sets of 5, 3, 1 reps
  • Week #4: 3 sets of 5 reps (Deload)

As you can see, the number of reps you perform varies each week.

You perform 3 sets of 5 reps on the first week, 3 sets of 3 reps on the second week, 3 sets of 5/3/1 reps on the third week, and 3 sets of 5 reps with lighter weights on the fourth week to deload your body.

For each workout, you are going to use specific training percentages to determine how much weight to lift. Check it out:

Week #1 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 65% x 5
  • Set 2: 75% x 5
  • Set 3: 85% x 5+

Week #2 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 70% x 3
  • Set 2: 80% x 3
  • Set 3: 90% x 3+

Week #3 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 75% x 5
  • Set 2: 85% x 3
  • Set 3: 95% x 1+

Week #4 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 40% x 5
  • Set 2: 50% x 5
  • Set 3: 60% x 5

Note: these percentages are based on your “training max” instead of your actual 1-rep max. So what’s a training max, and why is it so important?

On the 5/3/1 program, Jim Wendler wants you to use 90% of your actual 1-rep max as your training max.

For example, let’s say you can deadlift 440 pounds for 1 rep.

In that case, you would use 90% of 440 pounds = 400 pounds as your “training max.”

All of your percentages are based off your training max of 400 pounds, rather than your actual 1-rep max.

You can always go for a “rep PR” on your last set on each workout, so you will still be pushing yourself hard enough to get stronger.

So how do you progress on the 5/3/1 program?

With 5/3/1, your training max increases every single month.

Jim recommends you increase your training max by 5 pounds per month for upper body lifts, and 10 pounds per month for lower body lifts.

This may not sound like much, but if you perform the program correctly, your squat and deadlift could increase by as much as 120 pounds in a single year! Not bad!

For example, here is what your long-term progress might look like while using the 5/3/1 program:

Month #1: The Triumvirate

  • Overhead Press: 100
  • Bench Press: 200
  • Squat: 300
  • Deadlift: 400

Month #2: The Triumvirate

  • Overhead Press: 105
  • Bench Press: 205
  • Squat: 310
  • Deadlift: 410

Month #3: The Triumvirate

  • Overhead Press: 110
  • Bench Press: 210
  • Squat: 320
  • Deadlift: 420

And so on…

You continue to increase your training maxes every month until you stall, or until you can no longer hit your “3 sets of 5 reps at 85%,” or whatever the sets / reps are for a particular workout.

At that point, you reset your training maxes to a slightly lower number and repeat the process all over again!

Part 3: Sample Workouts

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Let’s take a look at some sample 5/3/1 Boring But Big workouts.

Jim Wendler really likes the “Triumvirate” version of the program, so we are going to use that template for all of our workouts.

Here is the 5/3/1 Triumvirate bench press workout. Check it out:

The Triumvirate: Bench Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Incline dumbbell press, 5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise B2: Lat pulldown (V-handle), 5 sets of 8-12 reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler performing a 5/3/1 bench press workout:

Talk about an impressive bench press by Jim Wendler!

Here is the 5/3/1 Triumvirate squat workout. Check it out:

The Triumvirate: Squat Day

  • Exercise A1: Squat, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Good morning, 5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise C1: Bulgarian split squat, 5 sets of 8-12 reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler performing a 5/3/1 squat workout:

VIDEO

Talk about an impressive squat by Jim Wendler!

Here is the 5/3/1 Triumvirate overhead press workout. Check it out:

The Triumvirate: Overhead Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Overhead press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Weighted push ups, 5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise B2: Barbell rows, 5 sets of 8-12 reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler performing a 5/3/1 overhead press workout:

Talk about an impressive overhead press by Jim Wendler!

Here is the 5/3/1 Triumvirate deadlift workout. Check it out:

The Triumvirate: Deadlift Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Leg press, 5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise C1: 45 degree back extension, 5 sets of 8-12 reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler performing a 5/3/1 deadlift workout:

Talk about an impressive deadlift by Jim Wendler!

Conclusion | 5/3/1 Triumvirate!

Jim Wendler is one of the biggest powerlifting experts in the world today, and it’s easy to see why.

His 5/3/1 Training Program really is one of the simplest and most effective ways to build pure strength!

Jim has many different assistance work templates for the 5/3/1 program.

However, one of his favorites is undoubtedly The Triumvirate!

Jim likes The Triumvirate because it simplifies your training, and forces you to train hard on just 2 assistance exercises per workout.

If you don’t know which 5/3/1 assistance work template to use, then I strongly recommend The Triumvirate.

It may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!

“The game of lifting isn’t an 8-week pursuit. Rather, it’s a lifetime pursuit.

If you understand this, then progressing slowly isn’t a big deal.

Now you can focus on getting those 5 extra pounds rather than 50.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

 
 
 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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