I've been following 5/3/1 with the boring but big assistance template for about 3 months now. I hurt my knee playing soccer a couple of weeks ago, which got me thinking about the following.

I would really want to get into some calisthenics stuff (L-pull ups, typewriter pullups, muscle ups, etc). The ultimate goal being able to do at least one muscle up. Does anyone have any suggestions for a 5/3/1 template that includes calisthenics say? Assuming my knee heals and I can train all 4 movements properly, my idea is this. "Bbb" stands for boring but big.

  1. Bench 5/3/1, overhead press bbb, dumbell bench, calisthenics.

  2. Squat 5/3/1, squat bbb, calisthenics

  3. Overhead press 5/3/1, bench bbb, calisthenics

  4. Deadlift 5/3/1, kroc rows, calisthenics

How do I implement this calisthenics stuff in such a way that I can track my progress? The great thing about 5/3/1 is that I can track progress, and I would like to be able to do the same with the calisthenics stuff.

Edit: I don't do 5x10 on the deadlift because many people have advised me not to. In theory I should be substituting this with a more back friendly variation, such as RDLs or GHRs.

  • As long as you don't let fatigue get the better of your form, 5x10 on deadlift isn't inherently a bad thing to do. An alternative is to do the volume work with sumo deadlifts so as to shift the load more onto your quads.
    – Alex L
    Mar 16, 2016 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


Exercises at the end of the workout improve the least. That doesn't mean they don't improve, they just improve more slowly than things put earlier in the workout.

If a muscle-up is your goal then I'd find a way to do bar pull-ups, bar dips, ring dips, and false grip ring pull-ups as close to the beginning of the workout as you're willing. Doing those instead of or before the BBB assistance is my first thought.

However, be very wary of "goal accretion". There is a good way and a bad way to add more goals to your accomplishments. It's good to set new goals after achieving a milestone, and then put your old work into "maintenance mode" while doing the new work. But simply adding goals without removing any previous work can lead to distraction and lack of focus.

  • Thanks for your answer. I feel like if I'm just doing 5/3/1 and the 5x10, that I still have a lot of room for other assistance stuff. Nowadays I'm careful not to set too many goals at once (like you say). I'll see how my body reacts to the calisthenics stuff. How can I track progress on the calisthenics stuff on monkey bars (isometric holds, etc)? The simplicity of 5/3/1 is that I find it very easy to track progress.
    – user13379
    Mar 15, 2016 at 6:25
  • @BenLim When I did similar programming I kept it very simple: max # of pullups, max # of dips, then transition to false grip ring work and hit high-quality rep maxes of pull-ups and dips there, then start workouts by repping out muscle-ups before transitioning to either high-rep, high-weight, or ring versions of pullups and dips. I found that adding additional calisthenic movements didn't really work for me alongside lifting; I was too fried. Mar 15, 2016 at 6:31

Not sure how much you insist on training calisthenics and 5/3/1 in the same workout. But if not:

What are you looking for is the "grease the groove" training. Train the calisthenics in the rests days in the easy way that does not screw the resting.

For example, if the your max for exercise (or its progression is 5), then do few sets of 3 reps evenly trough the day. If you can do 10-20 sets evenly during day without any problems in your 5/3/1 training (it becomes the part of your "easy" daily routine), you can move to harder progression/exercise. It takes time, but it is not messing the main routine if done correctly.

If you insist in doing the exercise together with the 5/3/1 routine (in the same workout), then you should accept that if will most like slow done your progress in calisthenics and 5/3/1 (as it is explained in the answer from @daveliepmann).

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