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Intensity of Work Sets for Phase 1 IBB?



I'm getting ready to start the I Body Builder program.

What % of 1RM do I use for the working sets of phase 1, specifically the activation cluster?

Having a hard time figuring this out.

Thanks in advance for any help.


You do 3 progressively heavier sets. Adding 10-30lbs per set. The third one should be hard, but still solid. So that would mean 90-92% of your max for a 3 reps cluster set.

So we could say 85% / 87.5% / 90%

or 87.5% / 90% / 92.5%

But start with the first option.


Hey Mr. Thibaudeau,

Thanks for getting back to me on this!

I have not lifted for 6 months; when I quit I was deep squatting 300, deading 385 for 5x5. Do you think that starting with this might be too much too soon (Volume)?

I am thinking of starting with built for bad instead, just to get back into the game.

Again, thanks so much for replying, and even more so for the detailed articles and explanations of why you structure your various workouts that you share, the way that you do.

I think everyone wants the best combo of hypertrophy/strength/conditiong/and or fat loss; you bring the best of all of them together in many of your routines, and that in a very scientific manner. Thank You...



You obviously can't use previous maxes to calculate training load. The intensity of your program (% wise) should be based on the best you can do right now not on your personal records.

Built For Bad, because it has you do the big basics often is probably better to get back into it. BUT be super conservative with the weights for the first 1-2 weeks. It's best to grossly undershoot it than to overshoot it. You haven't lifted in a while, just the frequency of the program will be hard and will stimulate growth even if the weights are submaximal.



Thanks for all of your help.

I'll tell you, I see what you mean about being conservative with the weight; I just figured my 1RM yesterday, and I am SORE, so I think I will drop my 1RM's a little to be safe.


Always better to start safer after a layoff... size will come back superfast anyway.