T Nation

Gonna Start Building the Monolith Soon

Hey what’s up everyone. Gonna start BTM soon as i want to put on some mass and get stronger, and i was recommended the program by Emevas (not sure if he posts here).

Anyway, is it an issue if I can’t do 100 dips in a day? I’m quite shit at them, I’ve only started doing them recently. Is it alright to build up to them?

Hey dude.

I use a different handle here, but glad you are starting up the program. The assistance work isn’t required. Do what you can. Push ups would be a good substitute too.


I’d worry more about eating a lot and getting in your main sets of the main lifts.

You could superset 5 dips with the main lift and the chins, or do push ups. the dips aren’t required but I recommend them. By the end of BTM I was able to do 165 bw dips in 12 sets.

Since you have 14-16 main sets (including the squat warm up sets and maybe a set or two of press warmups) try this:

Continue until squats are done then


Finish the workout with face pulls or pull aparts.

I can tell you that BTM is a lot of work, both physically and mentally. With warming up, agile 8, jumps/throws and the lifting, I was in the weight room for damn near 2 hours, three days a week. Not to mention, I gained 15 pounds in 6 weeks eating the way it is written, and I’m 39 years old so gaining/losing weight isn’t that easy at my age. At the end I was able to press 135 for 17 reps and squat 405 for an easy 5, and could have certainly gotten more but was simply testing my TM.

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has anyone ran this template more than once? im halfway there and all i have to say its a great template.

I ran it once and probably wont run it again. I’ve decided I’m too old for 2 hours in the gym.

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Would it be acceptable to replace chins with lat pulldown and dips with push ups? I want to run this later in the year but I can’t do more than 5 BW dips or chins and I don’t want to change the program.

Just do what you can brother. Do as many chin ups and dips as you can and fill the rest in with what you want to. The accessories are not as important as the main work.

Thank you. An approach I’ve been doing is to do chins between all my squat and press sets and then make that number up to 50 or 100 or whatever with lat pull down after.

Should be fine. I think the main point is to do around double pulling what you do for pushing with whatever you want. It’s more a sighestion because Chins are one of the best pulling movements you can do which is why is prescribed in the program.

Thanks for your advice.

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Just to clarify - the dips aren’t important, but the chins are. Jim states the first 3 exercises are mandatory. If you can’t do 5 chins per set, do 3. Again, superset chins with the main exercises. Once you’re done with the main work, move onto lat pull downs. You should try your hardest to get better at chins. The same with the DB ROWs, get all the reps in with whatever weight and reps you can.

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Why though? I agree, China are an amazing full upper body exercise, but why mandatory? I wasn’t able to do pull ups for a few months because of a wrist issue, but I could do lat pulldowns so I did them twice a week for high reps with a hard squeeze between pressing sets. I went back to pull ups the other week and did a 5x10 with a dead hang. I agree he should try to do 3 instead of 5, but the program calls dor 100 the first day and weighted ones the next. I just don’t see him being able to accomplish that immediately.

In the template above, the only exercises that are required are the first three – so for those keeping score it involves one lower body movement, one pushing movement and one pulling movement.

This is from the web page. He just wants to make sure you do a push, pull and squat. He just chose chins because they are the best pull for most people looking for a template.

There are 3 main exercises - leg, upper body push, upper body pull, in each workout. That’s the program. do the program. If his max chin reps are 5, he’s not going to make it doing 20 sets of 5 reps. He may get 20 sets of 3 reps though - so get that done then move onto pull downs.

BTM isn’t a beginner program - so if you can’t get the work done I would suggest getting stronger and losing some weight before trying a program like this.

I am doing BTM at the moment, I do 5 chins between every set on mondays.

I try to do more dips each session, I started at 50 and try to add up 5 - 10 each time.

I started doing dips about 6-7 weeks ago, the first time I could barely get 25 total… Just build up you’ll be fine!

I think the chins are more important in this program to balance all the pressing. If you can do the dips for extra size/strength then that’s just a plus.

Exactly. So it shouldn’t matter what the pull is as long you are balancing it out. Doing a hundred chins in a workout is fine. The 5x5 later on may not be possible. I agree with you to just do the program. Definitely. Look back at my past posts. But if he cannot do a 5x5 weighted, why try it.

He should just body weight chins 5x5, or 6x4 etc… Make those the “heavier” ones.

My two cents…

my personal opinion is that if you cant get your ass up on a bar 10 times for a set then you probably need to lose some weight and get stronger. From the other wendler templates that ive done this one seems more of an intermediate template but not a beginner one. widowmakers are not beginner sets and 100 chins between squat sets are taxing on your CNS enough to compromise your form if you are not resting enough. im not an expert or an advanced lifter im just talking from what i have experienced, but i remember when i started wendler templates about a year ago i could not do sets of 10 chins and i had to build up to it while running beginner templates that would allow me to build up to those chin ups. However, lifting is a personal journey and no one can really give you the “best” advice that will fit you. just try it out the way you like but make sure you adjust and make changes if it doesn’t work out. Cheers.

i’m better at chin ups than dips for sure. doubt i can do 100 in a session but im confident i can build up to it. last summer i did a thing where i started with 12 pull-ups, then every session added 1. i was banging out 50-60 eventually (until school/rugby interrupted haha). the 20 by 5 makes it less daunting definitely, for dips i’ll probably work with the 20x3.