T Nation

3 Month Challenge, Only Increase 5x10 Sets?


Just doing the 3 month challenge at the moment and wondering if after the first three weeks I know I have to up the 5 x 10 sets by 10% but do should I add 5 pounds to my upper body compounds and 10 to the leg compounds like you do in the normal boring but big or shall I leave them as they are for these 3 months and just increase the 5 x 10? Thanks!


You increase the TM and take the percentages off the new TM.


If that’s the case ( which is exactly what you do in the normal Boring but big version ) then what is the point of doing boring but big instead of this?


You do 50% for traditional BBB. The 3 month challenge has you work up to 70%. And in traditional BBB you’re still setting rep PRs on the final sets, whereas with the challenge you just hit the prescribed reps.


Yes but even with setting PRs on the final sets you still only increase your max by 5 and 10 pounds each cycle, so wouldn’t this one be better since you’re doing more for hypetrophy? Or does the other one have advantages too


I don’t know which program you are referring to when you said this one versus the other one.

Keep in mind, one is a challenge, this other is a method of assistance work. One is more sustainable than the other. You run the challenge for the duration of the challenge and then you are done. The other can get rotated in and out as needed.

I don’t quite understand your critique about how even with setting PRs you only increase your training max by a certain amount. The training max increase is irrelevant to how strong you can get. Example.

Let’s say on your first cycle, on your 5s week, you’re deadlifting 600lbs, and you pull it for 8 reps.

Next cycle, you upped your training max by 10lbs, and you pull 610lbs for 16 reps.

You only increased the TM by 10lbs, yet you were able to get in much more work on the AMRAP set. This wouldn’t be the same if you were only hitting the prescribed reps.


Dave, it all depends on your goals… You can run 5/3/1 BBB standard, or take the challenge. The standard BBB template keeps you at 40-60% of your TM and it meant to address a weakness and also help put on size. Some exercises you might find are easy to do 5x10 @ 50% while others you might find need to be more or less than that.

The challenge, however, is to hit 5x10 @ 70% by month 3 - which is not easy… Let’s say you have a 405 pound training max on the squat and by month 3 that training max is now 425, your 5s week looks like this:

Squat 5s week:
Warm up

work sets

BBB 70% 10x5 @ 295 - that’s 50, 300 pound squats after your main work sets.

If you left it at 50%, the BBB sets would be 215 pounds - a lot easier to manage than 295.

So it’s up to you, take the challenge, or stick with the standard. I’m 38 years old and run the standard, but I’ve done the challenge before and believe me, month 3 takes a huge set of balls and even more food to get through and recover from.