T Nation

Coming Off of BBB 3 Month Challenge


For those that completed the BBB 3 month challenge, what template or 5/3/1 program did you transition to after you completed the challenge? How did you feel said template worked for your goals after completing the 3 month challenge?

I'm just looking to hear from others on what they felt was a good program for the next step in this game. I am definitely sticking with 5/3/1, and I have the book, but there are a lot of choices and I enjoy the variety and the challenges that each can offer. I have two more weeks before the end of month 3/cycle 3. I've previously run the standard triumvirate program, as well as FSL/AMRAP prior to starting the present 3 month challenge.

Thanks in advance.



Have your goals changed since you started?

If BBB is still in line with your goals there's always that 26 week? BBB program in the book. Maybe just start at 80%


No, and I have looked at that option too and was really leaning towards considering the 26 week venue. However, I'm always open to hearing what other venues some might have tried that have perhaps worked for them, bearing in mind that their choice of program may be relative to their own unique goals too. I do like the challenge of continuing on a longer-term trek, but I also liked the FSL/AMRAP of the standard 5/3/1 too, so I'm sort of undecided on which template to pursue next.


Ah I see. Well if you want a combo, there's always BBB variations 1 & 2 which use fsl weights. There's also rest-pause. Variation 1 took a while in the gym, whereas rest-pause which as you probably know also uses fsl weight, can basically done in half an hour if time is a constraint.


I'm seriously considering the BBS template after reading about it here in the thread yesterday then reading the details on Jim's website - seems like a very good 'next step' challenge, so right now am leaning towards that. The FSL or R-P variation could be an option after the BBS challenge too.


I thought BBS looked pretty badass as well. Good luck!


I can only recommend BBS. I am just starting the 2nd cycle, but it feels like I am going to benefit from it.

Its the first challange that I am doing though, so i can't really compare it to anything else :wink:


I am a big believer in BBB as a provider of the volume of training that my body needs. I have used it in some form for the last couple of years, and never get very far away from it. I would consider simply starting the challenge over with your new training maxes. I promise, it won't feel the same as your first time through the challenge. You'll learn new things about yourself.

That being said, I compete as a power-lifter, and after running the challenges "as-is" a few times (this is important, as if you never run the programs as written, you don't really know if they work for you), I'm learning how to tweak things even more to my advantage.

Over the past 4 years or so, I've started to realize which version of 5/3/1 works best for each of my big 3 lifts and will be testing my current theories at my next meet in April:

Squat: Good ol' 5/3/1 going for extra reps and/or jokers (depending on how close I am to a meet). I also utilize a second squat day late in the week with a safety squat bar in which I am on the BBB 3-month challenge (this will end a week earlier than my other cycles to allow for accumulating some strength). Something about the lighter weights and high volume really helps my squat.

Bench: I simply do the original 5/3/1 and some heavy singles thrown in occasionally- my shoulder can't handle a ton of barbell pressing, so I do a lot of bodybuilding-type stuff twice a week to put on the muscle I need. This has worked well my last 2 meets, so have stuck with it. If I do any BBB 5x10 work, it's with a football/swiss bar using the inside grips.

Deadlift: The 13-week challenge was money for my deadlift (went from 385 to 410 in just those 13 weeks). I adjusted the percentages (lowered them 5-10%) to allow me to pull from a box, and the 5x5 through 5x1 weeks made a big difference in my speed off of the floor in normal depth efforts. The soreness every other week from the assistance weight moving up was pretty debilitating, but well worth it.


Good insights - thanks for sharing. I'm at a similar point where I want to start finding templates that work well to suit increased strength gains this calendar year, but I have no plans to abandon the core 5/3/1 program anytime soon. There are quite a few options to choose from in the book.

I hadn't thought about doing the challenge over, but I ran into a problem after cycle 2 where I had to reset a few TMs, though I didn't honestly foresee this as a problem in Nov when I started, as I felt comfortable going in with the TMs that followed the cycle I was on prior to BBB. If you've run the challenge back to back, did you repeat it as written, going back to 50/60/70% TM for the 5 x 10 assistance lifts, presumably upping your 90% 1 RM TM as required each cycle?


If you ran into the problem of having to reset your maxes to achieve the reps last time, I would suggest starting your TM at the same point you started the first time through. Now that you know what you're in for, challenge yourself to handle moving the percentages and TM's up as written every cycle. This challenge is what drove the point home of the importance of an appropriate training max for me. I wasn't able to move up my TM up the last cycle of my first challenge either, but the second time through I was smarter. 70% of a TM 20lbs heavier than the starting TM will be pretty gnarly, but that's what's awesome about it, too. :slightly_smiling:


Good point, I was't having any issues with completing the 5 x 10 assistance work at either 50% or 60% of the set TM, but I did stall on a few of the main lifts for the 5/3/1 core components. However, I had been progressing nicely without the previous need for a "5 forward, 3 backward" reset, so I figured I would just keep moving along until the lifts on my 5+, 3+ and 1+ lifts were at or barely over the minimum reps. That happened abruptly on the second month of the 3-month challenge, which forced be to re-evaluate the core TMs sooner than expected, as I was hoping to get through the challenge and then reset before the next template.


Did the 3 month challenge (thank you mr. Wendler for one of the worst but also challenging training months of my life grrrr :wink:). Transitioned to the high frequency template since I had the time and felt with my increased workload I might just pull it off.

Well... that did not happen. Tried it for about 2 weeks. Felt like sh*t, did not recover anymore etc. etc. For me it was too much. In hindsight I should have taken a deload + week or so off after the challenge and start easily again.

Actually transitioned to Juggernaut for a cycle, maybe 2. Now half way through but is what I needed. Just the high volume, instead of heavy lifting + volume. Still do 531 accessory lifts though. Half way through the cycle (it's 4 months) and going back to 531 after. Not sure what template, maybe the strenght challenge.


I've run variations on the 3 month challenge periodically over the last couple years. Basically, I switch out the 5x10 movement for a variation (typically leg press, DB bench, SLDL, and DB press) and follow it with 3 sets of a finisher for assistance (leg curl, ring push-ups, GHR/back extension, shoulder raises).

That said, I'm currently running a template called Building the Monolith and I'm getting great results.


Where is this template? Just curious (next hypertrophy phase is next fall).


I'd recommend that you purchase an electronic copy of Jim's book and read the detailed version of the BBB 3 month challenge section, but that aside, here is an abbreviated version from T-Nation: http://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/boring-but-big-3-month-challenge

However, again, get the book and read all the finer details, because he goes into more of the nuances there, plus you get access to a myriad of other templates for added 5/3/1 variety. It was available on here from the store, and also was available for purchase off of his personal site last time I checked.


That template is on Jim's forums over at his website. If you can afford it, I believe it is worth it. There is a lot of great ideas on there.