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BendtheBar 09-20-2011 10:59 PM

Interview with Jim Wendler
Interview with Jim Wendler -

Hi, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I am Jim Wendler, father to Mason Wendler, son of James Wendler, brother to Laura Wendler. Iíve been involved with training, weight lifting and programming for about 23 years. I played football and graduated from the University of Arizona. After graduation, I began to powerlift competitively.

I am probably best known for my contributions in articles and the Q/A at

When all is said and done, Iím just a guy that loves to train, loves to write and loves to pursue his passions. Thatís about it. I have things to do in my life and I always want to move forward and get stuff done.

Obviously youíre an advocate of 5/3/1 but if you had to sum it up in a sentence, what is your training approach?

Simple and effective programming with large, multi-joint exercises. I think that sums it up as best as I can in one sentence.

How would you recommend younger lifters approach diet, is a cut/bulk approach a good idea?

Just depends on the individual, but reallyÖwho lifts weights to get smaller? Follow a base programming template that involves mobility, strength, hypertrophy and conditioning and adjust the diet to fit your needs. A young lifter just needs to learn the basic lifts, learn basic programming and understand that this is not going to happen overnight. I wish someone would have screamed those things at me when I was younger. At least the last part.

What does a typical day for you look like?

I am fortunate enough to work from home so much of it depends on what family stuff I have going on. But every day I try to set 3 basic goals for myself Ė things I need to get done. Anything after that is icing on the cake, so to speak. So at least I know I am 3 things better than I was yesterday.

What is the worst thing you see people doing? Keep it fitness related

Novice lifters listening to novice lifters on message boards Ė itís like two Navy recruits running a nuclear submarine. Nothing good can happen.

Youíve had much success in powerlifting, what do you feel are the biggest mistakes that you have learned from?

You have to remember that for the first 13 years of my training life, I trained for football and other sports. This was harder and more complicated than training for powerlifting. Most of the mistakes that I made were made then, not powerlifting. Powerlifting is an easy sport to train for as all you have to do is get better at the squat, bench and deadlift. Training for a sport like football is much more complicated.

The biggest thing that Iíve learned over the years is that this is not an 8 week, 6 month or 1 year pursuit. It is YEARS. When that is realized, anything becomes possible.

How important do you feel individualisation is when training and is there ever such a thing as a size-fits-all program?

ďIndividualizationĒ is a way for people to think that they are special and different, really a symptom of how important people think they are in a world of billions. You put a hand on a hot stove, it burns. You squat, your legs get bigger and stronger. Everyone thinks they are special until they become accountable. So to answer your question, yes there are programs that ďfit allĒ. They just have to be rooted in common sense.

A skinny/underweight young male approaches you, seeking to gain weight, what kind of approach would you advise to him?

Lift weights, run, eat more than normal and take your time. You canít push an oyster in slot machine, and you canít force much of this. I donít recommend becoming a fat, awful turd either. Thatís why you have to run or push the Prowler. The strongest, most explosive people I know are throwers and they all run and jump. So there is no reason why you canít either. There are no secrets to any of this Ė you have to be smart and be patient.

What is one tip that you would give anyone who is looking to get into powerlifting?

Donít worry what others are doing around you. Seek your own path and do what you think is correct. This goes for life too. Powerlifting is simply about being strong. If what you are doing isnít making you strong, drop it. If the path you chose is weak, veer another way.

Thanks a lot, Jim.

Hazzard 09-21-2011 05:39 AM

Great interview mate, I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Fazc 09-21-2011 05:41 AM

He's a good writer, for me his writing was far more accessible and easy to read than anyone else writing for EFS at the time.

Hazzard 09-21-2011 05:46 AM


Originally Posted by Fazc (Post 173118)
He's a good writer, for me his writing was far more accessible and easy to read than anyone else writing for EFS at the time.

Agreed, it's very casual, and yet somehow intellectual. Very enjoyable to read.

Off Road 09-21-2011 08:41 AM

Good stuff. Some guys do try to make this stuff too complicated, while Gym Wendler makes it so simple.

Aurik 09-21-2011 08:52 AM

Jim is always a good read. Straight, simple, and to the point.

Shadowschmadow 09-21-2011 09:22 AM


Originally Posted by BendtheBar (Post 173080)
Novice lifters listening to novice lifters on message boards Ė itís like two Navy recruits running a nuclear submarine. Nothing good can happen.

Favorite part of the whole article. :D

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