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Building The Monolith: Review By a Skinny Fat Guy

Hi guys, finally I had a chance to run the BTM template. I tried to stick to Jim’s Recommendations as close as possible though I made some changes to better fit my schedule and preferences.

  • First change: I skipped Jim’s Recommendations about conditioning. I made this decision because I already was hard conditioning 3x week with my soccer team.

  • Second change: I switched some exercises. Snatch grip high pull instead of shrugs and snatch grip deadlift insted of regular deadlift.

  • Third change: I switched monday workout to friday and viceversa.

I followed Jim’s diet and I religiously ate one pound of ground beef and 12 eggs a day. Obviously I ate carbs only on training days and I think this helped me to keep myself relatively lean.

I added some neck and forearms work at the end of every session.

I supersetted all I could.

My workouts:


  • Back Squat 3x5 + Widowmaker set
  • Military Press 10x5 @70%
  • Weighted Chin Ups 5x5
  • Snatch Grip High Pull 100 Reps (10x10), instead of Shrugs
  • Face Pulls 100 Reps (10x10)
  • Ab Rollout 3x12
  • Forearms Work


  • Snatch Grip Deadlift 5x5 instead of regular Deadlift
  • Bench Press 7x5
  • Dumbbell Row 5x15
  • Curls 100 Reps (10x10)
  • Neck Work


  • Back Squat 7x5
  • Press 3x5 + AMRAP @70%
  • Chin Ups 50 Reps
  • Dips 100 Reps
  • Face Pulls 100 Reps
  • Forearms work


  • monday: Press 10x5 with weighted chin ups 5x5, snatch grip high pulls 10x10 with face pulls 10x10

  • wednesday: Deadlift 5x5 with curls 5x10, Bench Press 7x5 with curls 5x10.

  • friday: back squat 7x5 and press 3x5+AMRAP with sets of 5 chin ups and 10 dips.
    I completed all workouts in 90-110 minutes.

  • Numbers:
    Age: 28
    Height: 188 cm (6-2 ft)
    Weight: 77.8 kg (171,5 lbs) - - > 81,5 kg (179 lbs)

  • 1RMs:
    Back Squat: 93 kg (205 lbs) - - > 102 kg (225 lbs)
    Snatch Grip Deadlift: 130 kg (287 lbs) - - > 153 kg (337 lbs)
    Press: 53 kg (117 lbs) - - > 57 kg 126 lbs)
    Bench Press: 90 kg (198.5 lbs) - - > 95 kg (209.5 lbs)

All my new 1RMs were tested on deload week with the 7th week protocol.

  • Conclusions and lessons learned: The program is AWESOME. The first week it was hard to get all the reps in and I finished every workout completely exhausted. In sixth week I managed it easily. Incredible change in a small time frame!

I learned a very important lesson: quality>quantity; the basics are always the best. How much time I wasted with useless exercises!

Despite my very bad genetic, I can put on some mass if I do the right things!

3-4x week is the perfect training frequency.

5/3/1=STRENGHT. (ok, I know that my numbers are ridiculous, but with 5/3/1 finally I am progressing!)

And that’s all. I’ll surely run this program again in the future!

I’m no expert but does this follow BTM, or is it your interpretation? Just curious.

This isn’t really the Building the Monolith program, so it’s not really fair to provide a review of a program you didn’t run.


The program:

  • Squat - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5
  • Press - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 70xAMRAP
  • Chins – 100 total reps
  • Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
  • Dips – 100-200 total reps

I realize you probably just omitted squats to list your supersets, but you swapped chins with weighted chins and snatch grip high pulls for dips.

You seemed to make other swaps/alterations on the other days, as well. For example, your squat and press on friday follow a different rep scheme than the program. While some alterations may be acceptable to still be considered following “the program”, I think you’ve changed it too much.

I made a error, I only wrote supersets I’ve done. I also switched monday and friday workout to better fit my schedule. I apologize if this is not clear, I’m fixing it as soon as possible.

I changed some things but basically it is BTM.

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