T Nation

BBB After Plateau Instead of Reducing TM?


#1

I’ve been doing the original, simplest 5/3/1 template for just over 4 months now and I’ve seen incredible progress so far. I’ve just begun my 8th cycle for each lift, and I’m still getting 10-12 on my 5+, 8-10 on 3+, and 6-8 on my 1+, so I don’t think I need to reset my training maxes anytime soon.

I understand that to some degree (large or small, I don’t know), muscle size affects your ability to gain strength. I’ve seen it stated as “hypertrophy potentiates strength,” which makes sense logically. I know how to do BBB, but I recall Jim saying in one of his books or article on BBB that you won’t necessarily get stronger on BBB. I believe this is because you aren’t pushing the highest weight of each session to failure, but rather we are only prescribed to do 5, 3, or 1 rep.

This is my question after all that rambling: Once my maxes stall out, is switching to BBB for a few months a viable alternative to lowering my training max? I’ll be fine if I’m not getting stronger immediately while on BBB because that’s not the purpose of it. But if hypertrophy truly does potentiate strength, would 3-4 months on BBB be sufficient for me to grow enough to then test my maxes, get back on classic 5/3/1, and see strength gains again? Is it advisable to alternate every 4-6 months between one of Jim’s powerlifting templates and one of his bodybuilding-type templates? If anyone has experience doing this, please let me know how this worked for you. And Jim, if you’re reading this, sorry for the lengthy post. I know I will stall out at some point, and I’d like to have a plan in place for when that happens. Switching to BBB would be more fun for me than lowering my training maxes, because everyone loves a good pump, which 5x10 @ 50,60, and 70% would definitely provide.

Thanks guys


#2

Your main work dictates your TM, not your supplementary stuff. So I wouldn’t use a change if program if you stop progressing.

This is a poor lesson from those linear progression style programs. You don’t want to drive into a wall then consider a air bag.

Instead, change your program every 3 - 5 cycles.


#3

My TM is based off of my main lifts, I’m sorry if what I wrote was confusing

So should I change my program at some point? Are you saying I should alternate between BBB and classic 5/3/1 every 3-5 cycles (since those are the programs I’m interested in) or is it better to just reset my TM once I stall?


#4

Have a read of Jim’s responses in this thread:


#5

Thanks man


#6

Yes its not a bad idea to dedicate large parts of the year with certain training goals. As someone said 2 cycles of BBB then another cycle of PRs. However if you have been making good progress doing longer blocks then keep doing that. If you can do months of BBB and still see some type of progression then do it, don’t switch just because some people only do it for 2 cycles. Also if you feel you progress better with that type of training it can make a majority of your year. Some people might do 3 months of the year for hypertrophy and 9 for everything else, there is no reason you cant’ do the opposite if it works.

From what I have seen personally from beginners to more advanced lifters is your body has a ceiling for how much muscle it can hold (assuming “supplements” don’t change) and when you get close to that there is diminishing returns. Top athletes are closer to this so their time might better be spent on technique and strength and only a small portion of the year for hypertrophy, its not like they are losing muscle the rest of the year or anything. Beginners/intermediates still have more potential for muscle gain so time spent on that is worth it, sure their strength/technique can be improved but if you look like you can only bench 315 or less you won’t be touching 405 anytime soon until you add some size.

Also you can divide your training year any way you want, when I say 9 months hypertrophy and 3 strength that just means 75%/25%, you can do it in shorter time frames like 4 months and repeat. The new 531 forever does this kind of.


#7

Great response, thank you. Good point here:

I’m smack in the middle of intermediacy imo at ~385/~310/~445. I’ll definitely be throwing in a few months of BBB at some point, although the actual length is TBD. I’m thinking it has to be 2 months at a minimum to actually add any mass, but I don’t want to run it for so long that I overshoot and start wasting time that could be used to be getting stronger.

Thanks again man


#8

I love OG 531 with the PR sets.
If you want to add som hypertrophy/Volume to this, you could simply do FSL something like 3 sets of 5 - 8 reps.
At the moment Jim says that to what he learnt over the many many years as a coach, this is superior:
appropriate TM 85% of 1RM or the weight you could do for 5 strong and solid not grinding reps. (I quess that is where you actually are, and why you progress so well).
2 cycles where you do:
5’s pro on the main lift (5 reps on all lifts, no pr)
Supplemental 5 sets of 5 reps FSL
Assistance is around 50 reps on the 3 categorys push, pull, single leg/core.
Ex: 50 pushups, 50 chins, 50 lunges or 50 DB (bench)press, 50 DB rows, 50 hanging leg raise.
then one week deload called 7’th week deload, work up to TM for ONE REP only then some light assistance.
1 cycle of OG 5/3/1 with rep pr on main
3 sets of FSL 5-8 reps
A little bit more assistance up to 75 - 100 reps.
The assistance is what it is assistance. The real stuff lies in the main work and assistance. Give it all you got on the main, then some effort on FSL. If you still feel you need to do a lot of assistance you have not put enough into the main lift.
Do your mobility, do some jumps and throws. Do some light cardio and do some sprinting.
And remember to enjoy live too.
To end this rambling :slight_smile:
Keep doing what you do, as long as you progress, you’re fine.
If you want to add muscles EAT.
A LOT. And don’t dirty bulk okay, then you’ll end up fat.