T Nation

Big boy basics


My problem is this: for years i followed HIT and W Bros routines, so even after all this time training, i can?t do a chin nor a dip and most of my bodyweight is in my waist. But i can put more effort into a set than a newbie and my poundages are somewhat higher ( your average weider trainee whose weights stale forever after 9-10 months of training). So, i suppose i rank as a newbie in conditioning but as intermediate in strength and hability to train.

Any idea about how to modify the program to fit in my situation, because the volume is going to kill me. (a 6 x 5 bench press at 70% makes me feel sore for 4 days and tired the day after training).



First, the 6x5 at 70% for bench press would only make you tired if you were really cutting your rest time down. Just taking a longer rest, and it shall work out.

Also, Chad and others stated in the past it’s okay to workout while sore if you can still lift. Unless if you’re still limping the fourth day after squatting and still shrieking in pain, then you shouldn’t lift.

I don’t consider myself a newbie but I really like Chad’s program - simple and effective. It’s not just for newbies.

Two ways to do break into. Since we know you can somewhat recover from 6x5 at 70%, even though your recovery isn’t that great, try doing 8x3 at 70% and gradually increasing the weight until you get to your 5RM, which is around 85% 1RM. 8x3 is slightly less volume than 6x5. Go very light on the 3x8 day - consider this day as just an active recovery day.

The second option is to start at 85% intensity but start at 4x3. You would then add a set each week until you got up to 8x3. Again, use the 3x8 day as active recovery.

Also, make sure you’re getting good post-workout nutrition (and good nutrition in general) and getting some decent sleep.

If you are having problems with recovery, you might want to alternate the two antagonist exercises with the same rest periods. In other words, perform chest, rest 60s, perform back, rest 60s, etc. This will help with recovery.

Thanks for the suggestions.


chad is that program designed for the inexperienced? if so, how would you change it for a more experienced lifter?


I know what a supinated grip is. But, what would a SEMI-supinaed grip be?

vcreed. palms facing each other.

semi-supinated means palms facing each other

Semi-supinated is palms facing each other. Sort of a “side-ways” grip.

Then how would you do chin-ups with palms facing each other?

with a “D” handle or some power racks and dip/chin stations have the built in parrallel handles. good luck

some gyms have chin bars that allow for the semi-sup grip.

I don?t know about a replacement but they are just like that.

The problem is getting a gym that has the facility. The gym where i train has this chin bar with different grips. Its pretty cool.

Anyway i can?t do chin still, but the gym doesn?t have a pulldown bar with this grip (which it?s easier to find…)


FWIW, here’s my $0.02:

I consider myself somewhat “experienced” and I wouldn’t change a thing. Instead, I would use this as a “base” program. I would then rotate other programs into my overall workout plan. For instance, CT’s Triple Threat for DL is a “shock” program that I would toss in for 4 weeks to bring up my DL. Once the 4 weeks is up, I would go back to the Big Boy plan.

Really, this plan is like a different version of 5x5 (i.e. volume is practically the same - 25/5x5 and 24/8x3) but the lighter 3x8 days give it “built in” periodization.

Yes, the program can be used by absolutely anyone. It’s just that a lot of newbies get lost in some of my articles, so I wrote this for them.

Chin-ups can be substituted for SS pullups if the latter is not available.

exactly mike, i to thought based on the reps and sets that it was pretty advanced. however he mentioned in the article that he uses that protocol with his inexperienced trainees, so i was a bit confused.

Any idea about how to modify the program to fit in my situation, because the volume is going to kill me. (a 6 x 5 bench press at 70% makes me feel sore for 4 days and tired the day after training).

This comment worries me the most. I believe it was in John Berardi’s “Creation of a T-Man” article that he stated that he always thought he had horrible recovery until he started eating right. You might want to check your diet, drink your surge, and get enought PWO nutrition to prevent being sore for 4 days.

In Faith,

The weights aren’t working…Do Cardio

Seriously, you should be able to start with 25 pushups and add 2 each day…till you get to sets of 200+

DO negative chins/pull-ups until you can do it…Even commando…the grip has little to do with it…



Thanks. I?m reading Berardi articles. Seeing where i can improve my diet according to my budget.

Anyway, it?s not just the diet. Even if i didn?t go as far as doing the “Consolidation Routine” doing HIT and BB mags progs doesn?t get you in shape.

I?m trying to increase my GPP and big boy basics is ideal as a sequel to the program i?m doing.