Jim Wendler In Season Training | The Ultimate Guide!

Jim Wendler In-Season Training

Are you curious about Jim Wendler in-season training?

Do you wonder how the creator of 5/3/1 designs his in-season workouts for youth, high school, and college football athletes?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to use the Jim Wendler in-season football program to the next level!


Jim Wendler is one of the most popular football coaches in the world today.

He competed for many years as a high school and college athlete, and he draws on this experience to level up his athletes.

Jim says that the football offseason is the best time to make your athletes bigger, faster and stronger. However, the in-season is completely different. Instead, he says the competitive football season is completely different!

Jim Wendler Stats

  • Date Of Birth: February 13th, 1975
  • Height: 5 Feet 10 Inches
  • Weight: 240 Pounds
  • Body Fat: About 15 Percent


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Jim Wendler’s In-Season Football Program

Most football coaches know that in-season training is all about maintaining your current level of size / strength / conditioning, and Jim Wendler is no exception.

During the offseason he has his athletes train up to 4 days per week using his famous 5/3/1 program. However, during the in-season he likes to perform just 2 strength training workouts per week. For example:

The Jim Wendler Football In-Season Training Split

  • Monday: 5/3/1 Workout
  • Wednesday: 5/3/1 Workout
  • Saturday: Competition Day

Jim says that 2 workouts per week is more than enough to maintain your current level of strength. Performing 3-4 strength training workouts per week during the in-season is a foolish idea, as you will not be fully recovered in time for game day.

Jim says this training split works perfect if you are competing on Saturday.

If your game day is on Sunday, then you would want to perform your 5/3/1 workouts on Tuesday and Thursday instead. 

So what do the actual strength training workouts look like?

Jim has provided 2 in-season workout templates at his personal blog. The first template has you train your lower body on Monday and your upper body on Wednesday. For example:

Saturday Morning (After Game)

  •  Calisthenics/Mobility/Stretching
  •  Very light lifting/movement work

Monday – Lower Body

  • Exercise A1: Trap bar deadlift, 3 sets of 1-5 reps**
  • Exercise B1: Pull exercise, 50-100 reps
  • Exercise B2: Push exercise, 50-100 reps

Wednesday: Upper Body

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps**
  • Exercise B1: Pull exercise, 50-100 reps
  • Exercise B2: Push exercise, 50-100 reps

For this template Jim Wendler has you use the trap bar deadlift, rather than the regular squat or deadlift. Jim says the trap bar is much easier to recover from, so it is a great choice for in-season youth football athletes. 

Jim Wendler has another template where you perform 2 full body workouts per week. Check it out:

Saturday Morning (After game)

  • Calisthenics/Mobility/Stretching
  • Very light lifting/movement work

Monday – Full Body

  • Squat: 5/3/1
  • Bench Press: 5/3/1
  • Assistance Work

Wednesday – Full Body

  • Deadlift: 5/3/1
  • Press: 5/3/1
  • Assistance Work

Note: both of these templates were taken directly from Jim Wendler’s blog. 

This template is significantly more demanding than the previous one. You are going to perform 2 major barbell exercises per workout, including the squat and bench press, or the deadlift and overhead press.

After that, Jim says you should perform 2-4 accessory exercises. For example, you could perform 1 “pushing” exercise, 1 “pulling” exercise, and 1 lower body exercise at the end of your workout.

It’s hard to say which template Jim Wendler favors these days, as he has written about both of these templates at his blog.

Your best bet might be to check out his new book “5/3/1 Forever” for more information. 

So what do Jim’s in-season workouts actually look like? Jim says that he likes to break down his in-season workouts into three separate parts:

5/3/1 Workouts For Athletes

  • Step #1: Warm Up
  • Step #2: Strength Exercises
  • Step #3: Conditioning

Jim has has his athletes perform a thorough warm up, the main strength-building exercises, and some conditioning work at the end. Let’s start by looking at the warm up phase.

Step #1: Warm Up

  • Part 1: Mobility work
  • Part 2: Joe Defranco’s Agile 8
  • Part 3: Medicine ball throws
  • Part 4: Jump training

Jim says a proper warm up is extremely important – especially for football players and other competitive athletes. He likes his football stars to perform some general mobility / stretching work and Joe Defranco’s “Agile 8” warm up to get started.

After that, he has them perform some explosive medicine ball throws and box jumps.

Step #2: Strength Exercises

Next Jim Wendler has his athletes perform their major strength building exercises, such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and all of his favorite assistance exercises. I will provide a very brief overview of the 5/3/1 program here.

If you want more information, then check out the following article:

Jim Wendler’s original training program was designed with 4 weekly workouts in mind:

The 5/3/1 Training Split

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

Of course, it’s almost impossible for an in-season football athlete to recover from this much training volume. Instead, Jim recommends his athletes perform 2 strength training workouts per week to maintain their current level of strength and conditioning.

Jim has his athletes cycle their heavy strength training workouts using the normal 5/3/1 set and rep scheme. For example:

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)

Jim says cycling your weights this way with 2 workouts per week is an effective way to maintain your current strength levels during the in-season.

Of course, Jim also has his athletes perform 2-4 assistance exercise at the end of the workout after the main barbell exercises.

Step #3: Conditioning

Jim Wendler says that conditioning work is absolutely essential for in-season football players. With that in mind, he ends all of his strength training workouts with some type of conditioning work.

That may include, regular sprints, prowler sprints, sled pulls, and so on.

If you want to learn more about his favorite conditioning protocols, then check out the following article:

Of course, you can also check out Jim Wendler’s new book “5/3/1 forever” for more information. 

Conclusion | Jim Wendler In Season Training!

Jim Wendler is one of the most popular football coaches in the world today, and it’s easy to see why.

He knows how to organize in-season workouts that help his athletes maintain their current strength and conditioning level, while getting ready for their weekend “game day.”

If you are looking for a new football program, then you have to give the Jim Wendler in-season program a shot.

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

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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