Sculpting bigger muscles takes hard work, dedication, and following the right workout program. If you’ve been feeling pretty uninspired with your routine lately, it’s always refreshing to test out something new to you yet tried-and-true. For instance, men swear by the “5-3-1” workout method for bigger muscles, and fitness experts agree it’s an effective way for intermediate to advanced lifters to achieve a pumped-up physique.

Keep reading to learn all about the 5-3-1 workout method for bigger muscles, and when you’re finished, be sure to check out 10 Strength Training ‘Rules’ to Follow for the Best Results.

What is the 5-3-1 workout method?

man overhead barbell press, concept of workout for men to build boulder shoulders
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The 5-3-1 program is all about resistance training. It primarily focuses on the overhead press, bench press, deadlift, and squat, in addition to accessory exercises, explains Tyler Read, BSc, CPT, the founder of PTPioneer.com and a personal trainer who’s been involved in the health and fitness world for the past 15 years.

“The program is designed for intermediate and advanced lifters who already have made some progress in the gym and have an established one repetition maximum,” Read tells us. “The program relies on calculations to determine the exact weight you will use for each set with clear guidelines for progressing within each monthly cycle. Within the monthly cycle, the workouts revolve around five reps, then three reps in week two, and finally, single reps in week three, followed by a de-load week.”

The important thing to note about 5-3-1 is that in the final set where you’re working with the heaviest weight, you aim for a repetition maximum. Essentially, you would perform more than a single repetition on the “1” day in your last set.

RELATED: 10 Best Compound Exercises for a Fit & Lean Lower Body

How can the 5-3-1 workout method help you build bigger muscles?

middle-aged man doing barbell deadlifts
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The structure of this workout method is designed specifically for strength, but it also aids in hypertrophy—especially if you perform accessory lifts in a high-rep range, such as six to 12 reps, Read says. “The other major advantage of this workout program is how the specific numbers are calculated ahead of time so you have a clear route for progression at a steady rate,” he adds. “As your strength increases, you will be able to lift more and more weight on your accessory lifts which will further enhance the size of your muscle growth.”

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Experts swear by the 5-3-1 workout method to build strength and muscle.

Experts and fitness enthusiasts alike are major advocates for the 5-3-1 method. Adam Bradley, PhD, CSCS, SCCC (@bradleybarbell on TikTok) shared in his clip about 5-3-1, “Intermediate and advanced lifters looking to build strength, this is the video for you. I’m a huge fan of Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1. It takes a very structured, percentage-based approach to sustainably build strength over time, with built-in de-loads every four weeks.”

Another TikToker, StrengthCoachConnor, revealed in a video that the 5-3-1 method is his “favorite strength-building program.” He explains, “I love this program because of its simplicity. It’s very easy for the athletes to understand. On top of that, it only takes about three sets to really get our true work done for our strength-building movement of the day.”

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