T Nation

BBB Questions (Chin Ups, Assistance Cycle Etc.)


Hey there,

I know Jim loves Chin Ups and says “If you can’t do 10 chin ups do lat pulldown instead”.

  • Okay so I can do 10 chin ups but not for 5 sets. Should I do 5 sets with whatever number of reps I can do (like 10-8-6-4-2) or should I do as many sets as needed to complete the 50 reps?

Then there’s the question of cycling assistance exercises. Jim says “Keep the assistance lifts for 2-3 cycles”.

  • Is it recommended to change the assistance exercises every two or three cycles or I can I stick with the ones I feel good with for as long as I want to?

Soon I will have finished 3 months of BBB and want to try the BBB 3 month challenge next.

  • How long should one stay with the BBB setup before switching to another template like Triviumerate or the Bodybuilding template?

  1. Do as many sets as it takes to get 50 reps. If your strength level leads you to do sets like you wrote (10-8-6-4-2) I would advise never doing a set of 10 as it will probably fatigue you too much to keep going. Do multiple sets of 5 until you get there.

  2. You can keep the same assistance as long as you feel comfortable and as long as you are making progress. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But generally as there isn’t as much room for progress in assistance movements than main movements people find they stall or slow after a few cycles. And heck you’re already doing BBB it makes it more boring if everything else stays the same too. But there is no rule on when you have to change.

  3. Again if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you’re loving it after 3 months go for it and keep going. Some people just find they stall out as their body adapts. But if that’s what you want to do then do it. There’s no right or wrong amount of time to be doing it, if it’s working then keep going


For me I do the 50 reps, I simply break it down to 10 sets of 5 reps. I can grind out 8 reps for a few sets but since I do it as a superset in between benching that seems to defeat the purpose. With sets of 5 I can do good, crisp, explosive reps and still have enough to give my all to my bench reps.

I think I saw recently on his blog or a recent T-Nation article that Jim was pushing 50 reps of chins, 100 reps of dips and 100 reps of back raises. I can do all of those by breaking them down into 10 sets. This works out pretty well when I superset the sets with the main exercise: 3 warmup sets, 3 work sets, 5 sets of FSL.