T Nation

Few Changes in BBB

I know, I know… Do the program as written and don’t change anything… But after 6 cycles of BBB it’s getting a bit… boring :wink:

Today I came across the following article and surprise surprise my gym finally got a trap bar!

  1. I really want to use the trap bar but I’m not sure about the following:
  • should I use the trap bar for all sets?
  • or just for the BBB sets and keep doing the heavy sets with a barbell?
  • can I transfer the weight of my barbell DL 1:1 to the trap bar?
  1. I’m bored with dumbbell rows. Jim says the barbell row is too taxing for the lower back when doing heavy squats and deadlifts.
  • the same goes for T-bar rows I guess?
  • chest supported rows seem to be fine. Maybe I could use one of these chest supported rowing machines?
  1. Bench press and BBB
  • can I switch the standard flat bench BBB sets for incline barbell bench?
  • can I transfer my BBB weights 1:1 to incline?

Many tanks for your opinions

  1. yes
  2. no
  3. no
    5-7) just row something
    8-9) yes
  4. no

I would keep the main lift the same. If you look at the very wide variety of things Wendler has recommended, they nearly always (with few exceptions) keep the big four the same. It is the supplemental and assistance work that changes. So, standard main lift for the 5/3/1 sets, followed by 5x10 trap bar or whatever.

Probably not. You will likely have to take a bit of time to sort out the weight. Maybe work up to a 5RM with trap bar, then use 50% of that (recall Wendler’s principle of starting light) as a start for your 5x10 work. See how you do with that, and increasing in future weeks as appropriate.

Seems legit.

Probably not. I would again recommend finding your 5RM, then use 50% of that as a start.

Seems legit. Personally, I just stick to dumbbell rows, chins, and horizontal/fat-man rows, basically just changing things like weight and rep ranges. It does not seem to be a big deal.

If you’re bored of BBB why not try another program? You’ll be able to find plenty of options on this forum, or from the articles Jim has written on the website if you don’t have the books.

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It’s not the program itself that bores me. I’m making constant progress from cycle to cycle so I want to keep it as long as I can. But you know a few small changes can make a huge difference in long term motivation.

Yeah that seems to match what Charles Staley said about it:

Since trap bar deads involve a more upright posture than conventional pulls, you can recover from them faster. They don’t wreak the same havoc on the spine as compared to conventional deads. This means they’re a good pulling option for higher-rep sets for building volume. In my own training, I’ll often work up to a heavy 1-3 rep set on conventional pulls, then switch to the trap bar for back-off sets of 6-10 reps.

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What are your goals?
If you are making constant progress than you should think long and hard about changing things. I’ve made that mistake many times as I’m sure others have. What you have proposed amounts to big changes that may affect your progress. Don’t be motivated to just try new things, be motivated to make progress. Stay disciplined. If you absolutely must change something (really think about it because you are making progress right now) than start small. Change your assistance work a little but leave the main and supplemental work the same.


You can probably do a similar amount on them, I’d say. Some claim much higher lifts on the TB, but I’m pretty even. I like the idea of doing the TB DL’s for higher reps, and I’m considering that myself. I have a recent thread asking for options, as high rep DL’s tend to be hard for me to recover from.

I’d suggest a different pulling variation than these. I think chest supported DB rows would be better, or inverted BW rows (fat man pull ups).


Yes that’s another point. I’ll give the trap bar a try for the 5x10’s.

I’ve never seen anyone doing chest supported DB rows and didn’t know about them until now but thanks to T-nation I do now. I think I’ll give these a try and skip the machine row. Thanks mate!

Yeah I guess you’re right about it too. Stay disciplined.
For now I’ll change BB DL for TP DL on 5x10 because I really need to give my lower back some kind of a break. And that chest supported DB row seems fine too. Will keep the flat bench 5x10 in.

Thank you too!


In the forever book Jim gives a list of exercises you can sub the main lift for in the supplemental. Trap bar can be used for the deads supplemental and incline can be used for the bench supplemental.

I’m using close grip for my bench FSL and front squats for my squat supplemental. I’m also using the push Press as my main OHP and using the regular press for BBS supplemental but that’s not in the book and I’m not saying you should do it, I just like it because I love the push press

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