Originally Posted by LtL
I'm writing from my phone so I'll be brief. I used 5/3/1 for more than a year and then switched to Westside which I am still using 15months later. In my opinion the pros and cons for both are as follows:
Easy to set-up and understand
Lots of practice on core lifts (especially on the BBB template)
High volume and sub maximal weights so low risk for new lifters
For a competitive lifter the weights are too low
For a novice lifter who will make gains through technique and CNS adaptation very quickly so the planned progression can be too slow
Lots of variation so boredom is unlikely
Weekly work at 90%+ of your maxes
Use of accommodating resistance to allow more frequent lifting on core lifts
Improves both strength and speed
Works very well for equipped lifters using squat suits, bench shirts, etc
High volume assistance for hypertrophy
A LOT of the literature around how to set this up is written for lifters who are already well conditioned and quite possibly using PEDs
If you're a RAW lifter a lot of exercises and templates need to be changed to make them work for you without gear
You have to be a proficient enough lifter (or have access to a coach/someone who is) to be able to accurately assess your lifts and decide what your weaknesses are and how to attack them
I may think of more but that's a good starting point.
Very, very good post LtL. I would like to address your CONS on the 531 side though. In and of itself, in the basic template, I agree with you that for a competitive lifter, the weights are too low. I've found though that the 531 lends itself very nicely to the incorporation of heavy single work. That is currently how I'm lifting.
As far as progresion being too slow, that may be true at the outset, but as one gets three or four cycles into the template, shouldn't you be getting into unexplored territory? So, yes, I would agree with that statement as it applies to beginning the program. If one were to carry it out for six months or so, progress should be made each workout. At least that's what I think. I've never been able to run it for more than 4 cycles without getting cancer or something.
Another CON I would add is that if you're not careful, the rep ranges on your terminal sets could become absurd. I remember needing to deadlift 315 x 13 just to push my projected 1 RM by a few pounds.
A PRO for 531 would be absolute flexibility of programming. As long as the target lift is being addressed each workout, any auxilliary work is completely optional. If you only have time to do the main lift, then go in and hit it hard. Otherwise you can pretty much design your own auxilliary program (BB style, PL style, HIT, doggcrapp, etc.), as long as its relatively consistant.
My humble opinion is respectfully submitted.
P.S. This is an excellent thread, by the way.