T Nation

Cycles to Alternate with Building the Monolith

So I’m just finishing up my first cycle of Building the Monolith and I’m all about it. The volume is great and I’m responding well to it. But it is my understanding that BtM isn’t meant to be done more than 1 cycle at a time. So my questions are:

  1. How many cycles of something else should be done before jumping back into BtM? Is 1 cycle of something else enough before staring BtM again?

  2. I really like the full body workouts - essentially everything about BtM works really well for me. What would be the best templates I could cycle in between BtM cycles? Triumvirate from the first 5/3/1 book is one that comes to mind for the full body aspects. Were there any templates that are particularly well paired with BtM to make a full year plan?

(My goals are size primarily and then strength)

In the article Jim wrote on it, he said you could run it again once you are done with it.

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Oh, when I read that I took it to mean that if you started with a lower TM, then you could do one more cycle after the first. It isn’t meant to be run repeatedly though right?

This is word for word out of the article


If you feel good at the end of it (which you say you’re responding well to the training), run it again. Use your best judgement.

Okay I gotcha. So as long as I’m still responding well, keep doing it. But when I do stall at some point, should I switch to a few anchor cycles?

I was thinking 5/3/1 PR/BBB Beefcake or 5/3/1 PR/5x5 FSL with the same assistance work as Beefcake?

PS - Thanks for your thoughts by the way.

I’m not intimately familiar with many templates from experience, but just to encourage thought I’d say that once you stop progressing with a size-oriented program/template to do a stint of higher intensity work to realize the strength improvements.

To use the available terminology: run an anchor.

Thus, with regards to

the latter seems to be the better choice.

You are also not first to ask this question,

to with Pwn replied,

Here’s another thread that’s on topic: What to Do After 1 Cycle of Building the Monolith?

Just tic-toc between building your body by adding size while improving your strength and interleaving that with higher intensity work when necessary.

(Picture from CT’s articles on Pendulum Training)

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Thanks for the super thorough response!

Yeah I read through those previous posts first and it felt like the responses were so different between them and I still felt unsure. But now going back and looking at them it suddenly clicked with me that BBB is really more of a leader and doesn’t make much sense. God is a Beast (anchor) is, in many ways, similar to 5/3/1 PR / 5x5 FSL and both seem like logical anchors to BtM.

I’m slow I guess haha.

No worries. Sometimes it takes reading something a few times before it clicks. Sometimes it has to be read in other words for the whole picture to crystalize too. It rarely does until one finds the terminology that portrays the relevant information in a way that is intuitive to whomever consumes it. That’s why it is valuable that there are so many authors, even when their material overlaps.

I still sometimes have to look-up “leader” and “anchor” as I forget which is which, but as long as I can remember one of the proposed ratios between them (2:1) I can figure it out in reverse.

And with regards to running BtM several times I’ll quote something I read recently,

It’s important to note that unless your experience dictates otherwise, if
a program/training strategy continues to be productive (without signs of
slowing down), then one is often best served to ride the program out: Don’t
switch programs just for the sake of doing so, but keep in mind that the law
of diminishing returns will apply to some degree.

— Dr. Scott Stevenson

i.e., you don’t have to switch to an anchor just because you’ve done BtM. So this

Assess and adjust and run it again if you feel good

applies just as well the second time you complete the program as the first time. Presumably.

I actually ran the leader: not the anchor. After 1 leader, I ran the anchor.

Oh gotcha! My bad =X