nSuns 531 LP Program Guide: High Volume Powerlifting Routine [With Spreadsheets]

By Nader Qudimat ·
Updated Mar 30, 2021

nSuns is a popular program for strength and powerlifting.

You'll find this program helpful if you're a novice to intermediate lifter.

It isn't restricted to a number of weeks and it's made with linear periodization.

nSuns is inspired by Jim Wendler's 5/3/1, however the main difference is that nSuns program uses weekly progression rather than monthly.

While there are variations of this program, including hypertrophy ones, the original program will always be the best.

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet. For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile, click here, or desktop, here. 

Recommended

5/5

Yes, the nSuns program is one of the best powerlifting / strength programs

Experience Level

5/5

Made for experienced to intermediate trainees

Periodization

5/5

Follows a linear periodization.

Reps

5/5

Uses AMRAP, one rep max and max rep training. 

Thanks to the community of Reddit, nSuns is a program that has created a huge fan base.

The nSuns program is inspired partly by 5/3/1 with a twist.

It uses linear periodization (weekly progression) instead of a monthly one that similar programs would use.

nSuns 5/3/1 was made by a reddit user named nSuns and it has turned into a popular program which even has a dedicated sub-reddit to it.

Here's what you'll learn…

nSuns Program

What Is nSuns?

nSuns is a strength program made for people who want to make serious progress in the gym.

It combines two programs, Wendler 531 (made by powerlifter Jim Wendler) and the Sheiko program (made by Russian Powerlifting Coach Boris Sheiko).

The Wendler program takes high frequency training with the 5-3-1 concept.

The 5-3-1 is for the number of reps for compound lifts during the workouts, 5 reps, 3 reps, 1 rep for each lift.

nSuns has taken this concept and applied it while designing his own program.

However the main difference starts with the progression.

Instead of increasing the weight by month like Jim Wendler's program, the nSuns program follows a weekly progression style.

Being able to add weight each week makes it a great choice for beginners because of how quickly they can progress.

Research have found linear periodization to be effective for hypertrophy. [1]

Variations of nSuns 

Like any program, nSuns has a few variations that make it suitable for different goals.

The original program is inspired by two powerlifting programs, the Wendler 531 and Sheiko program.

You've probably heard of these two programs if you've been strength or powerlifting for a while.

The Wendler 531 has two concepts that nSuns has adapted: 531 reps and linear progression.

The 531 means it uses a 5 reps, 3 reps, and 1 rep approach to the main compound lifts (squats deadlifts and bench press).

Studies have shown for maximum strength gains, you must prioritize low reps and heavy weight. (study)

The linear progression style that nSuns adapts is useful for beginners and is one of the most effective ways for strength development.  (study, study)

The linear progression that nSuns uses is done by a weekly basis, where Wendler uses a monthly style.

And the Wendler has a lower volume.

The Sheiko program is made for intermediate to advanced trainees and it has a high volume approach.

It demands trainees to use 200 lifts per week.

Beginners would find this overwhelming so it would be wise to start something with less volume.

nSuns Tools 

There's two calculations that nSuns uses:

  • INOL
  • TDEE

Intensity of reps or INOL is how intense each exercise is.

The INOL determines the intensity by exercise and the number of reps completed:

  • Too easy (<0.4)
  • Optimal (0.4-1.0)
  • Recommended (0.7-0.80)
  • Loading phases (1.0-2.0)
  • Hardest (>2.0)

TDEE is the total daily energy expenditure which is how many calories you use throughout the day, including exercise and general activity.

Without TDEE, you won't know how much you need to eat in order to gain size.

nSuns Terms

  • 1 rep max (1RM)
  • Training max 90% 1 rep max
  • Tier 1-3
  • Tier 1 is bench, squat, OHP
  • tier 2 is variations of tier 1 (front squats, sumo deadlifts, paused bench press)
  • Tier 3: accessory exercises like curls, leg press, triceps
  • CAP: cyclical AMRAP progression
  • AMRAP: as many reps as possible
  • MRS: Max rep set
  • EMOM: every minute on the minute

Progression

If you were able to complete all reps then you would increase your training max:

If you get:

  • 0-1 reps, don't increase training max
  • 2-3 reps, increase training max by 5lb
  • 4-5 reps, increase training max by 5-10lb
  • 5+, increase by 10-15

Strength Assessment

Like most established programs, knowing your strength levels will help determine how much you should lift.

The one rep max is a way to know how much weight you can lift for one rep.

As a beginner, you shouldn't try to attempt one rep max, you'll want to perform multiple reps.

Once you know your one rep max, you can use this in the spreadsheet and you'll know how much to lift throughout the program.

Another thing that the program needs to know is your training max.

It's also used in the Wendler 531 program.

The training max is 90% of your one rep max. Knowing this will determine how many reps you can perform for a given exercise.

nSuns 5/3/1 Routine

There's a few variations to nSuns 531:

  • 4 day
  • 5 day
  • 6 day squat
  • 6 day deadlift

Volume for nSuns 531

Using a 5 workouts per week frequency, the nSuns routine uses 2 main lifts with accessory exercises.

The main lifts are squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press.

The exercises after the main lifts are variations of the main lifts (front squat, close grip / incline bench press, sumo deadlift).

This is where the inspiration of the Sheiko program compounds from.

Both the main and secondary lifts have nine and eight sets respectively.

nSuns Spreadsheet

Using a 5 workouts per week frequency, the nSuns routine uses 2 main lifts with accessory exercises.

The main lifts are squats, deadlifts, bench press and overhead press.

The exercises after the main lifts are variations of the main lifts (front squat, close grip / incline bench press, sumo deadlift).

This is where the inspiration of the Sheiko program compounds from.

Both the main and secondary lifts have nine and eight sets respectively.

Complete nSuns Program: 4 Day, 5 Day, 6 Day Squat / Deadlift Variations

 

Download the spreadsheet above from here.

This is the original nSuns 5/3/1 Linear Progression Program.

It's the complete package with four different programs inside

  • nSuns 4 Day LP
  • nSuns 5 Day LP
  • nSuns 6 Day LP Squat Focused
  • nSuns 6 Day LP Deadlift Focused

You'll either squat or deadlift 3 times a week instead of twice in the original program.

This bundle is great if you're starting out.

This is the same program with a different design:

2 Suns 531LP Complete Bundle 

Advanced nSuns v2.1

This has much more details with more guidance on accessory exercises, but using the same program above.

It combines the 4 versions (4 day, 5 day, 6 day squat, 6 day deadlift) with automatic tracking.

Not only does it have a help tab on the spreadsheet, but it also features training log tracking and a macro calculator.

It needs a bit more time to set up since it's a little more complicated but in the end it provides more details.

Weights will automatically update if you log how many reps you've achieved with your AMRAP sets in the log tab.

Because this spreadsheet uses date and time, you must set it to your timezone.

First make a copy of the spreadsheet and save it to your personal drive. Then go to file > spreadsheet settings and choose your timezone.

RoflWafflez

Reddit user RoflWafflez created a 5 day variation to nSuns with warm up, mobility / prehab work, cues for main lifts and more.

It takes a fresh approach that prevents injury and helps improve lifts with cues like what should be on your mind when you're performing a lift.

The workouts are split in upper and lower tabs on the spreadsheet.

RoflWafflez dropped 70lbs and totals 1,150lbs in his main lifts over an 8 month period with this program. (Original source)

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wUYV56I91IY99inFa1RQaBk2dk-vNMzfV-ZW-X2poK0/edit?usp=sharing

A Reddit user named nSuns created this program which uses principles by acclaimed strength coach Jim Wendler.

nSuns FAQ's

You have questions, we have the answers…

How Should I Warm Up For nSuns?

The warm up for any weight lifting session should have the same goal, to make you feel a little warm, maybe break a sweat and engage your muscles and central nervous system for a workout. 

Where is nSuns from?

A Reddit user named nSuns created this program which uses principles by acclaimed strength coach Jim Wendler.

What's the difference between Wendler's 5/3/1 and nSuns?

Wendler uses monthly progression and nSuns uses weekly progressions.

Is nSuns made for beginners?

No. It has lots of volume, requires one rep max and is designed for experienced to intermediate lifters.

Which nSuns variation should I use?

Start with the 4 day program. If you feel like you can handle the high volume after a month, then move on to the 5 day program.

Final Words

While nSuns was designed for powerlifters, it can be used by bodybuilders to help increase their strength and it'll also help with hypertrophy in some way.

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