T Nation

4 -Day BBB + Power Cleans

Jim,

I own both of your 5/3/1 eBooks and want to thank you for putting out such great knowledge. I’m a bit of a minimalist, so my favorite template is “Boring But Big”.
You’ve covered how to add cleans into 5/3/1 by substituting them for deadlifts. But I was wondering how you felt about adding in cleans as a 5th day each week. My current template is as follows:

Press 5/3/1, 5x10
Pullup 5x10

Deadlift 5/3/1, 5x10
Ab Work 5x

Bench Press 5/3/1, 5x10
Rows 5x10

Squat 5/3/1, 5x10
Ab Work 5x

Pretty basic BBB template right there. Would you recommend adding in a “5th day” for cleans and if so, what type of assistance work would you add on that day?

Thanks in advance for any direction you can provide!

[quote]GraniteJack wrote:
Jim,

Pretty basic BBB template right there. Would you recommend adding in a “5th day” for cleans and if so, what type of assistance work would you add on that day?

Thanks in advance for any direction you can provide!
[/quote]

Depends on your goals, but with high volume stuff like boring but big, It’s going to be tough to make significant progress in the power clean. If clean is a priority, substitute it for deadlift 5/3/1 and keep the deadlift volume work (or actually, do something besides BBB).

If not, maybe use it as warm-up for a few sets on squat or deadlift day or simply drop it all-together for a little while. It won’t take you long to get back to your previous clean strength levels if you gain the muscle and strength that BBB can provide.

If you know what’s important to you, it won’t be hard to decide what to do.

I-Bomb: Thank you for the thoughtful response and I agree with everything you said. Another alternative I have used to get explosive hinge movements into BBB is to sub in KB swings for deadlifts as assistance work:

Deadlift 5/3/1
KB Swing 5x10
Ab Work 5x

(But I’m always looking for an excuse to get into the gym for a 5th day)

[quote]GraniteJack wrote:
I-Bomb: Thank you for the thoughtful response and I agree with everything you said. Another alternative I have used to get explosive hinge movements into BBB is to sub in KB swings for deadlifts as assistance work:

Deadlift 5/3/1
KB Swing 5x10
Ab Work 5x

(But I’m always looking for an excuse to get into the gym for a 5th day)
[/quote]

KB swings are in no way explosive enough to justify doing instead of deadlift (kb swings don’t even come close the power in the hips required for a good deadlift). The main value in bbb is the volume, so don’t mess with it too much.

I can understand the desire for a 5th day, but keep it light and in more of an “active recovery” mode if you’re going to insist on doing it. Do you want to train, or just work out?

I’m sure it sounds like I’m trying really hard to argue with you here, but I truly want lifters on this (or similar) program(s) to set themselves up for as much success as possible. My training mindset definitely comes from a place that values strength first, all other things second, so I simply do not identify with wanting to replace a superior lift with and inferior one just because somewhere along the way you’ve been told that squat and deadlift are not explosive enough. Anyone at the bottom of a heavy squat or start of the deadlift will tell you otherwise.

Clean and Press for press assistance or main lift

Just do them before you squat or pull. KB swings are not a substitution: they are an excuse.

I-Bomb: Good stuff. Appreciate the perspective. It’s important to keep goals in mind. The 531 template has served me well over the years and I shouldn’t tinker with it. My main goal now is to pull 600 raw but the former D1 football player in me wants to keep power cleans as a main lift. I’m going to stick w/ BBB as written.

JW,
Point taken. Thanks as always.

[quote]GraniteJack wrote:
My main goal now is to pull 600 raw but the former D1 football player in me wants to keep power cleans as a main lift.[/quote]

I use them as a warmup on squat/deadlift days. 5 sets, 15 reps total. I never found them to negatively impact follow on work.