T Nation

Best Damn, Waves, and Periodization

Hi Christian

I am a huge fan of your work. I have been following the Best Damn Workout for the last 6 weeks and I have got some good results, thanks! It was quite a refreshing change after years of powerlifting training…

I would now want to make the training a bit more ‘methodical’ in that I would like to start tracking progress, etc. (so far I have been only training ‘by feeling’ in these past 6 weeks). I would like to incorporate some periodization and potentially also some other techniques. I have read through the forums here and you mentioned somewhere that you are combining Best Damn with Jim’s 5/3/1. This would probably be an overkill for me, especially if you also do boring but big routines with the main lifts, but I was wondering whether there is any way how I can incorporate the other technique that you are a heavy proponent of and I’ve had good results with - the waves. I would ideally like to follow 4-week mesocycles with waves (switching between 5-4-3, 3-2-1, and 7-5-3 wave systems) for the main lifts (back squat, deadlift, benchpress, military press). I would replace the heavy lifting technique (rest/pause, clusters) with waves for these main lifts only.

Does this make sense? I am just a bit worried that this would introduce an extensive volume to the workouts - I would aim for doing 3 waves, which worked quite well for me in the past, hence 9 sets as opposed to 3 (or 3 + warmup sets for the big lifts, which I have done so far with Best Damn). I would still like to keep the trainings as short as possible though (and 6 trainings per week). This means that I would do waves 4 times per week for heavy quads (squat), lats (deadlift), pecs (benchpress), delts (military press) and the rest is as per the Best Damn template.

Also, I have noticed that you don’t specifically suggest doing deadlifts or back squats in your Best Damn Workout articles - is this because they are too taxing on the nervous system? If so, I would replace them by other variations, but then would it still make sense to do waves with variations of big lifts (e.g. front squats as opposed to back squats, or romanian deadlifts as opposed to deadlifts?).

If this is not a good idea, I would be most grateful if you could suggest a different way how to do the mesocycle periodization, or just some kind of a sustainable long-term planning using Best Damn philosophy.

Many thanks!

No I am not, where do people get these things? They red something and change it based on what they want to hear.

531 is a solid program but PERSONALLY I could not do it (I tried) or elements of it. It doesn’t fit my profile. I hate having to follow a pre-planned loading for my lifts.

What I said was that it was possible to use the 531 approach for one big lift per workout and “the best damn” approach for the assistance work.

I also wrote this program which is of the same line of thought: https://thibarmy.com/optimal-strenght-training-for-the-natural-athlete/

It might work. But that does increase the volume significantly and you would likely have to decrease the weekly workout to 4, maybe 5

Thinking that I would recommend that is dumb and it pisses me off that people misinterpret what they read.

531 is the loading scheme for the main lift of the workouts (squat, bench, overhead press, deadlift). The assistance work is, as you know, selected separately.

The only time I ever recommend 531 and Best Damn is when I said that you could do the “heavy lift” of a workout using the 4 big basics (1 lift per workout, 4 workouts during the week) using the 531 scheme and AS YOUR ASSISTANCE WORK you do the best damn approach.

I would NEVER EVER EVER recommend doing 531, then some form of recommended 531 assistance work THEN best damn… it is completely idiotic.

You CANNOT simply add up two programs

Thanks for your quick replies Christian and for providing the link to your other article, which I am going to read with interest now.

I apologize if I have misinterpreted your posts from October 2016 from this thread: Strength Requisite for Natty’s? (“Best Damn Workout...”?). You did say in there that you were at that point mixing 5/3/1 main lifts with assistance work following the Best Damn techniques and then in another post there you said that you did this 4x per week with another 2 trainings in a week (one covering olympic lifts and the other one hypertrophy). So, my, ‘idiotic’ brain put these two things together and I have wrongly assumed that you were doing 5/3/1 for main lifts, complemented with Best Damn for the assistance, while doing 6 trainings per week. But now you are saying that you personally could not do it, so forget it. :slight_smile: Anyway, I didn’t mean to spread any false information whatsoever.

I also apologize for being imprecise with the used wording in my original post - I didn’t assume that you would be doing boring but big with 5/3/1 lifts, it was just me “thinking out loud” on what would likely be an overkill in terms of the volume (mixed with best damn for the rest of the workout and with 6 workouts per week). No need to immediately jump on me and get mad, use expressive words, etc. :slight_smile:

To me, the real added value of this forum is to correct misinterpretations and false thinking - I hope that you agree that it is always better to ask when unsure than not ask and then do some stupid shit in the gym (and life). However, your rather direct/aggressive answers may put many people off from actually even asking. Anyway, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and as I said above, I highly appreciate, value and respect all your work, your results and knowledge. You are one of the best publishing coaches I have had a privilege to read (and now exchange few messages with). Peace.

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From your original post I understood that you thought it would be too much because doing 531 + asssitance THEN best damn assistance was too much. You said: “you are combining Best Damn with Jim’s 5/3/1. This would probably be an overkill for me, especially if you also do boring but big routines with the main lifts” … which assumes that you thought I meant doing 531 + ASSISTANCE (boring but big) + Best damn

No, that’s not what I meant. I suppose, using correct English, one would replace “…, especially if you also do boring but big…” by “…, especially if one would also do boring but big…” That’s what I meant. Anyway, I would blame language gap here (I am not a native speaker), so apologies once again. I am glad to see that we have cleared this misunderstanding. Thanks again.