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Building The Monolith: Recommended TM?

I’ve been wanting to try BTM for a while now and after reading up on it, I’m just left with one question; what’s the recommended TM?

Jim says to adjust the TM after week 3, do you retest the 1RM, or simply up whatever you started with by 5% (for example)?.

I’ve heard people with TMs as low as 75% and others at 90%. I’m guessing this vastly depends on the lifter’s experience. I was thinking of 80% for weeks 1-3 and then 85% for weeks 4-6. Does that make sense?

80%-85% is recommended. Add 5 and 10 lbs after week 3 like normal

Go read the article fully. There’s a whole section at the bottom labeled “Training Max”.


I did

And it didnt answer my question.

Are you sure?


Use a weight as TM, that you KNOW will allow you to hit every single rep with confidence, good form, and proper bar speed. That may be 85%, or 80% etc, but only you can know this.

Thats what I figured. There’s no recommended TM, you just have to pick something that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

Yes, still am. I was looking for a precise answer regarding the exact TM % recommended, since ‘‘a lower than you think TM (85%)’’ and ‘‘Remember that you may have to adjust your Training Max to fit this template’’ sounds pretty vague. Perhaps it’s the way it was phrased. I was looking for something like ‘‘Use a 85% TM for this template. Add +5/10lbs to your main lifts after week 3.’’

I’ll be using 85% with the +5/10, thanks for the help btw.

85 %

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The wording is what is messing with you I think. In previous Wendler templates and such, Jim recommended a 90% training max. For this he is saying use a lower training max than you normally would, so 85%.

Yeah I think it was just a question or wording and context. Thanks for clearing it up. I’m not extremely familiar with 5/3/1.

Regarding the weighted chin ups, is there any mention of a % there as well? I looked it up and couldn’t find anything on the matter. I was thinking the same 85% TM would make most sense (based on the 1RM WChin Ups).

Just do 5 sets of 5 with a weight you can complete all sets with. Maybe 1-2 in the tank every set. You can either ramp the weight, do straight across sets, whatever. The main work in the program should always be the main focus.

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I use 45 lbs of added weight for 5x5 pull ups, and that’s about my 10-12 RM. It’s an easy weight to stick with because of the obvious 45 lb plate, and going heavier has caused problems in my elbows. If it gets too easy, I’d make it 5x6 reps rather than adding too much extra weight, or simply do a more controlled eccentric with a 1-2 second pause at the top.