T Nation

How Much Should I Drop TM?


Hi again. I've started BBB now and recovered from injury. I visited therapist today and we found some classic problems when doing squats and DL's: such as anterior rotation in pelvis and weakness in the abs.

I did my first day of BBB (DL +5 and squat 5x10) yesterday, did not feel too rough. My dl sets we're all stopped but done with relatively poor form (I also managed pull only 5 reps at the final set). Also the squatting felt unstable, specially in the last sets. This was yesterday, so I probably used quite ugly form in squats too when I got tired.

So, how much I should drop weights in these movements compared to pre-injury now when I'm:
(1) re-learning the techniques in both movements,
(2) learning to use my abs correctly,
(3) have been avoiding heavy squatting/deadlifting for a month?

PS. And hey Jim? In the forum you said that you don't recommend BBB for beginners. If I drop my weights significantly I'll be doing close to novice level weights? Would just some FSL work suit me better then for a half a year or so when I'm catching up my old strength levels?


I wouldn't gauge your performance off a single session when you're getting back into the groove. If I've been off awhile I'm usually sloppy for the first two workouts, then start to tighten up as the week progresses.

Just be smart about it. If your form is atrocious then cut your sets short.

And about your abs... The therapist doesn't have you sucking your belly button in and hollowing yourself out, do he?


Actually she did. I didn't buy all what she said, for example these advises sounded weird: "I should drop wide stance squat because its too unstable" or "that I should not ever use such a weight that I would need a belt (I use belt for my PR sets). But she was right in many things (like rotating my pelvis too much), and I really need to strengthen my abs/lower back and rethink my techniques.


I've widened my stance from shoulder width, toes forward to sightly wider and toes pointing out and never been happier.

And your therapist sounds like my old. That's why I don't go there anymore. "If it's to heavy, it's not good for you". I am just smart about the weight. And, like you, I took some good things about what he said. I've incorporated a few exercises for warming up and it made a difference.

Best thing I did, was lower the weight and really concentrate on the movement. Didn't care about PR's, only cared about getting better. It was only six months out of my life, but now I squat pain free. It was worth it.

Do what is right for your body.


By "rotating your pelvis too much" do you mean you're excessively arching your back?


Yes. Reason for this is not probably weak glutes/ham, but lack of usage of abs and tightened hip flexors (I was lazy with mobility drills during my recovery


I've written tons of articles about how to come back from injury and how to decide the weights. Just don't be an idiot and work in 6 week cycles. Even 3 week cycles can work. BBB is not for beginners - do 5's PRO with no jokers and FSL.


Thanks for the reply. I'll do this for some time now. When I hit my old numbers again with solid form I'll take some ready 3d/week template.


5's progression is where you do the 5/3/1 program, but do 5 reps instead of the 5/5/5, 3/3/3, and 5/3/1 reps correct?


If thats the case, I might go that route. I am bad for having the tunes blasting and screwing up the reps. What is the benefit of 5's pro over 5/3/1?


The periodization.


Might be a stupid question Mr Wendler, but what do you mean.


Probably that you cannot try to push yourself all the time. You must have long time plan with different phases.


It's not stupid. The way I structure the training for Lifer (and the way I think fits best) fits the 5's PRO perfectly. The periodization (plan) is perfect.


If I remember correctly, Lifer is a template/progression/way of life Jim has written on his personal forum.

If you've been training for awhile you may have noticed that in a years time you'll probably have a few really good months and a few rather poor months with some average months mixed in, and if you reviewed your training logs you may have noticed that those good/bad periods are cyclical in nature.

Long story short, he basically maps out a 5/3 reset and teaches how to structure your training around this period using a mix of 5/3/1, 5's Pro, FSL and Jokers in a proactive manner instead of the reactive manner most of us are probably using.


This might seem counterintuitive... but it might be helpful to wear your belt more rather than less since it gives you a better feel for how your back is moving. I know some people argue that the belt makes your abs weaker but IMO that's largely BS... particularly if you're doing quality ab/low back work in your accessories.