T Nation

Last Set and Boring But Big


Hi Jim, before I get into my question I just wanted to say thanks for the program, I'm just about to start cycle 5 and things are going very well for me. Steady progress on all lifts except for my deadlift which was my own fault for having awful technique.

Question: In the 3 month BBB challenge, you say to not push the last set on any of the main lifts of the day. In Beyond 5/3/1, you wrote (in regards to the 6 week BBB challenge):

"This is similar to the Boring But Big 3 Month Challenge but done over 6 weeks. Here is the 6â??week program mapped out in its entirety. Push the last set of the 5/3/1 sets (the work sets) every week. Remember the percentages for the â??5x10â?? work are all based on your training max."

But in the actual 3 Month BBB challenge you had written to just hit the minimum reps on the work sets. Since the 6 week challenge is pretty much the same thing as the 3 month one, with the difference being the timeframe, would you recommend people to push the last set on the 3 month challenge now? Just wondering if you had changed your mind on it because in the new book you seem to have a slightly different mentality about training.

Thanks Jim, I hope everything is going well with you.


I have done the challenge twice, both times I pushed the last set of 5/3/1 and never had a problem. Sometimes, you just have to sac up and push yourself. This last time I did it, I also incorporated the first set last and while I was beat up by the end, I gained a fair amount on my lifts. One note, I do the opposite lift bbb. So for instance, on my squat 5/3/1 day, I do dead lift bbb style


Thanks for the reply, good to know that you had success with it like that.

That's pretty much how I was planning on doing it, except using some variations of the lifts to take the boring part out, and leave the but big. Would look something like Squat 5/3/1, High Bar 5x10, Bench 5/3/1 Incline 5x10, Deadlift 5/3/1, Squat or DL variant 5x10, Press 5/3/1, Close Grips 5x10.

Tricky part is choosing a DL variant, I think something like Block / Rack pulls would work well just to build up the back, especially with the volume. I am planning on doing Stiff Legs / Front squats after the 5/3/1 and BBB work as well for something like 3x10.


After 5/3/1 squat (I do front squat), I do snatch-grip deadlift 5x10. Killer on the quads, upper back, grip... just about everything. It seems to have good carryover to deadlift, at least for me.



We always try to push for PR's! That's one thing I have learned.


Thanks a lot Jim, setting up my template for the 3 cycles now. Appreciate the response.


It it ok to do FSL with BBB? can't remember if it was advised not to.


Do one or the other.


Or both - works for me


You do 5 sets of 10 and 5 sets of 5-8 in the same workout?

like this?
Set 1 5@ 65%
Set 2 5@ 75%
Set 3 5@ 85%
Set 4 5-8@ 65%
Set 5 5-8@ 65%
Set 6 5-8@ 65%
Set 7 5-8@ 65%
Set 8 5-8@ 65%
Set 9 x10
Set 10 x10
Set 11 x10
Set 12 x10
Set 13 x10

That sir, is nuts...


Please don't do both. Unbelievable how bad training advice gets passed around.


Thank you. Wasn't sure if you could do the one set FSL (Not the volume FSL) then BBB sets.


Is that what FSL is meant to look like? I must've misremembered what the book says, and assumed that what I was doing was FSL.

I have done it a couple of ways (opposite lift for BBB sometimes), but basically I do the 531 scheme for the week, hit some Jokers if it feels good, then pyramid back down through the 531 weights hitting minimum reps only, but usually paused (not actually sure how I got this confused with FSL). Then I'll do 5 sets of 10. THEN I'll do some smaller accessory moves.

Squats I don't do the pyramid, and deads I just drop the weight after the Jokers and do some relevant assistance work.

Looks like a lot when I write it down, but I've never had issues finishing a workout. Obviously in later cycles the Jokers and pyramiding back down (especially paused) get harder, and I phase those out before it gets to the point where I fail.

It's helped me get stronger up until I stopped doing it recently when equipment became more limited (bench went from 100kg to 120kg in 3 months, press from 60kg to 70kg, squat 165kg to 185kg, deads from 170kg to 200kg stood on a plate).
That being said, I appreciate the reminder (from you and Jim) that I can get a bit carried away with volume, even if it doesn't feel hard at the time. I'm still unhappy with both presses, and when I get back to 531 I will be reassessing how much I need to be doing on those movements.


Talk to Csulli :stuck_out_tongue:


Lol, ya dude is crazy nuts with the volume too.


I knew if I kept looking through this forum I would find my question. Just finished my first cycle of 5/3/1 and wanted to use the BBB template. Setting rep PR’s is genius, I still get the nervous feeling I get when going to hit a load PR…but every workout so far I’ve hit a rep PR…definitely get that fuck yeah feeling. I’m more excited about training than I have been in the last 3 years. Thanks to Jim for being willing to have a forum like this where we can pick your brain.


It’s unbelievable that how much volume some individuals can handle. I’m used to do just FSL work + assistance OR some heavy work (jokers etc.) after 5/3/1 sets. I could not see myself doing combined FSL BBB for several weeks.

I’m currently finishing 6 weeks of 3/5/1 + opposite movement BBB (rule of 50) + light assistance and feeling that I’m at time to time really sore and have difficulties to recover for the next session.


You could do both but you will likely let the bar drop on your neck from boredom rather than go through will all if that.