Wendler's 5/3/1 is a more advanced lifting routine intended for lifters who've gotten to the point where they can't just add weight to the bar each session. If you're not squatting and deadlifting at least 1.5x, and ideally closer to 2x bodyweight, this isn't the program for you. It focuses on the four big lifts - squat, bench, deadlift, and overhead press - with the accessory work dictating whether it's a mass or strength gaining program. It's quick to get through in the gym and it's very flexible, making it a good program for people who like to tinker.

The program consists of 4 workouts in 4 waves over 5 and a bit weeks if you lift 3 times a week. The progression of the waves is shown below with the weight being the specified percentage of your 1RM.

Wave 1: 75%x5, 80%x5, 85%x5
Wave 2: 80%x3, 85%x3, 90%x3
Wave 3: 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1
Wave 4: 60%x5, 65%x5, 70%x5

Wendler suggests that the final set of each wave should be all out: you should do at least the number of reps in the program and then try to get as many more as you can. Anything beyond the 5/3/1 reps represents either the gains you've made on the program or that you've set your 1RM too low.

Each wave has four workouts:

Workout A: Squat
Workout B: Bench press
Workout C: Deadlift
Workout D: Overhead press

So the program would work like this if you're lifting 3 times a week:

Week 1: A1, B1, C1
Week 2: D1, A2, B2
Week 3: C2, D2, A3
etc.

You select your accessory work depending on whether you want to use 5/3/1 to get bigger or to get stronger. For strength, do one or two accessory lifts of 5-3 sets and 6-20 reps. For size, do three to four accessory lifts of 3-4 sets and 10-20 reps. If you don't want to do several different accessory lifts, you can just do the main lift of that workout for 5 sets of 10 reps with 50% of your 1RM or working weight.

Squat accessories: back squat, front squat, leg curls, hack squat, leg extensions, leg press, Bulgarian split squats, lunges etc.

Deadlift accessories: deadlift, DB rows, hypers, glute-ham raises, chin-ups, lat pull-downs, bent over rows, pullthroughs, SLDL etc.

Bench press accessories: DB bench press, dips, flies, pushdowns, incline press, skullcrushers, close-grip bench press etc.

Overhead press accessories: DB press, upright rows, lateral raises, curls, shrugs, face pulls etc.