5/3/1 Forever was released a few months ago to much excitement, and I’ve had time to read through it and formulate a few thoughts, for those that are still on the fence about if you should add it to your library.
Some background about me:
-I have read every single 5/3/1 book so far (First and Second Edition, Powerlifting, and Beyond). I have also read through every blogpost Jim has posted, and a LOT of what he has written on his t-nation forum. I am, however, NOT a member of his private forum. I share all this so that you know what my familiarity was with the entire 5/3/1 program before reading the book. I cannot speak to the experience someone brand new to 5/3/1 would have reading this book, nor can I say if it gives you everything you need to run 5/3/1, because I didn’t walk into this blind, and I could “fill in the gaps” for anything not explicitly stated. If possible, it behooves you to educate yourself as much as possible before reading.
Quick Summary of the book:
-The book is in 3 sections. The first section provides the basic philosophy behind 5/3/1, along with explaining the 7 week protocol, leaders and anchors. Those last 2 points are pretty crucial to understanding how to run Jim’s programs, and up until this point were only available on Jim’s private forum. The rest of section one details running the supplemental and assistance work, jumps, throws, and warm-ups.
-Section 3 is all about programming conditioning and recovery. This includes some basic nutritional advice, along with ideas for what to do for conditioning and how to program it without overtaxing your recovery.
-Section 2 contains 50 different 5/3/1 programs. That isn’t hyperbole. Before each program is a quick synopsis of what the program is for (strength, size, etc) and who is ideal to run it.
-If you are a fan of Jim’s ramblings on training, he interjects little bits of this through-out the book. I actually found this kept it from being too dry, and compelled me to read through some of the more detailed sections. However, I know some people get rubbed raw by this, so be aware.
-You finally have all of Jim’s thoughts compiled in one location. Prior to this book’s release, you had to piece together little bits of thoughts Jim shared on his forum, his blog, t-nation, facebook and his books to be able to get an idea of where is programming was. Now, it’s all laid down in one location.
-Lots of different programming options. 2, 3, 4 day lifting programs, lots of different conditioning protocols, etc. You’re bound to find something.
-The legendary Krypteria program is contained here. No more mystery.
-Nonsensical organization of programming. Section 2 is pretty much the wildwest, and reading it cover to cover doesn’t really set you up for success if you’re new to 5/3/1.
-No description of how to perform the exercises. Jim had this in the first edition, but has since scrapped it. In fairness, that’s not what this book is about, but it takes away from the ability to just throw it at a trainee and say “read this and you’re set”. There still needs to be SOME background knowledge.
-Not a lot of variety of training movements. Jim really sticks with his 4 big movements these days, and most of his programming revolves around manipulating volume and intensity for these movements. However, he leaves assistance work pretty open to the user, so you’ve got that.
Should you buy it?