T Nation

Looking for TB12 Like Workouts

performance

#1

Hey guys, I’m 29 and have been doing Fierce 5 for two months and I’m looking to move on. An aspect of training I’ve never paid much attention to is flexibility and mobility. I’ve always been a fan of Tom Brady, I’d like to take a look at the TB12 Method but the nearest Barnes and Noble is 35 minutes from me and I’d like to start the new program tomorrow. I was wondering if anyone here had any recommendations for workouts designed to improve flexibility, mobility and longevity, or something similar to the TB 12 Method


#2

Look up Joe DeFranco’s Agile 8.

Actually, here it is:

He also has the new version - the Limber 11, or something like that.

For upper body, do 50 shoulder dislocates daily, or at least before workouts.

That’s really all you need to do for mobility. Sorry, these aren’t specific workouts designed to increase mobility, but honestly, I don’t know what those would be. Flexibility/mobility should be a part of your training, but not something to spend an hour on.

Squat often, and you spend 1-5 minutes a day sitting in a deep squat to keep your hips mobile. Or more. Get rid of all the chairs in your house (and your toilet haha) and your hips will become quite mobile, and stay that way.

If you’re interested in Olympic lifts, or already do them, here’s some videos from Glenn Pendlay.

Consider doing yoga. It helps.

For longevity, I’m guessing you mean your joints…? Or at least partly mean them.

Keep your hamstrings really strong with GHR’s, back extensions, good mornings, and RDL’s. Your knees will thank you.

Keep your butt strong with all the afore mentioned movements, and hip thrusts (yeah, go ahead and laugh). Your lower back will thank you. Believe it or not, a strong butt does more for keeping your lower back feeling good than a strong lower back does. Obviously, your lower back should be strong, but your butt should be even stronger.

Do lots and lots of pull aparts/face pulls (like 100-200 reps DAILY) and lots and lots of rowing movements (barbell, dumbbell, bodyweight, etc.) to keep your shoulders healthy. Rear delt work, rhomboid work, mid/lower trap work, etc. All those little muscles are worked best from horizontal pulling movements and are better for your shoulder health than vertical pulling (chinups & lat pulldowns).

High rep curls and high rep band pushdowns will help your elbows.

That basically leaves your ankles and wrists. Ankles…hill sprints and not wearing high top shoes. Stretch your calves. Wrists…not sure. Don’t spend lots of time typing with your wrists in a bad position. Stretch your forearms. Try not to do really repetitive movements. Don’t get carpal tunnel haha.

Do some hard conditioning 2-3 days a week (sprints and stuff) and easy conditioning 3-5 days a week. Just walk. Ride a bike. I’m not a “cardio” fan but it does help with just keeping your body moving well.

That’s basically it man. Do a quick mobility session before workouts, and on your off days. Do yoga if you can. Stretch a little when you wake up. Sit in a squat often.

Getting the back of your body strong as fuck will keep your joints happy. Push yourself, but don’t be an idiot. Listen to your body. 5/3/1 is a great method for encompassing all these goals - strength and mobility work well together in there. So does slow progression, which keeps you healthy.

Oh, and seeing Tom Brady reminded me of this:

Kinda interesting.


#3

Thanks man! This all sounds good and I’ll likely end up incorporating a lot of this in the program I come up with! And… As much as I like Tom Brady… Some aspects of the diet are quite whack. I will NOT forgo red meat, (most) fruit and olive oil.


#4

Yeah for sure. Good luck!

Yeah I really have no idea why you wouldn’t eat ANY fruit or dairy or olive oil. I mean, I guess it’s working for him, but there’s literally not much harm in that stuff and it’s usually quite good for you.

On a side note, what’s your training focused on? Are you an athlete or former athlete? Wanna get stronger, bigger, leaner, more in shape…?


#5

Although it was years ago, I’m a former track athlete. After high school I mainly focused on powerlifting and that’s what I’ve been focused on for quite some time. Now however, I just want to work on general fitness and conditioning. For so long I wanted to gain muscle and I was marginally successful but it’s a very difficult goal. So now I just want a balanced training regimen that gives me a little bit of everything


#6

I’d really recommend 5/3/1. Not sure if you’ve ever tried it before, but there’s some great templates, especially if you’re trying to get better at multiple things at once.

Something I’ve done is this:

Day 1: Squat & Bench (SS w/ rows)
Day 2: Power Clean & Deadlift
Day 3: Front Squat & Overhead Press (SS w/ chinups)

Do some GHR’s after day 1, back extensions after day 2, and lunges after day 3. Maybe some arm work or something “easy” on the body if you want it. Or you could just stick with the main movements and skip assistance work.

Some mobility before you start, and some conditioning a few times a week…you’ll be bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible, and, if you eat well, leaner.

Something like that tends to help those who want to improve more areas at once.


#7

Yeah, I really like the core concept of lifting heavy, keeping up on mobility with agile 8 and working on conditioning a few times a week. I found a 5/3/1 article here https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength

Are there any other templates for 5/3/1? One that uses whole body workouts?


#8

Jims books are a pretty worthwhile investment and have tons of templates, you couldn’t go wrong with one of those.


#9

Well the whole 5/3/1 thing is really just a bunch of principles, rather than a single program. He’s made a lot of templates.

5/3/1 is often just used to refer to the percentages used and the sets/reps for your big barbell movements.

The template I suggested earlier is a really good one. I’ll list it one more time:

Day 1: Squat & Bench (superset w/ rows)
Day 2: Power Clean & Deadlift
Day 3: Front Squat & Overhead Press (superset w/ chinups)

I found that program in this article:

That right there is full body. Each individual day is full body, and the whole body is worked well throughout the whole week.

Add in assistance work as needed.

The movements I listed in my first reply to you work well. Posterior chain (hamstrings/glutes/lower back) work to keep the knees and lower back healthy, upper back work to keep the shoulders healthy, and some high rep arm stuff for arm size and elbow health.

Don’t go overboard, and just do progress slow and listen to your body. This is the best way to be strong for a long time.

All of Jim Wendler’s (the creator of 5/3/1) articles on T-Nation are right here:

His website is here:

He has some articles on there. Check them out.

This one might be good for your goals:

You’ll improve in multiple areas with that one.

Conditioning is talked about here:

But yeah, doing the Agile 8 and some shoulder dislocations is good enough for mobility. The full body program I listed + some assistance work is good enough for strength.

Read some articles to see how to program conditioning. This does depend on how important this is to you. Do you want to be in really good shape and kinda strong, or in decent shape and pretty strong? Or really fat and super strong haha. They require different amounts of focus on different aspects.

On his website, linked above, he has four books for sale.

5/3/1 2nd Edition
Beyond 5/3/1
5/3/1 for Powerlifting
5/3/1 Forever

Honestly, you could probably skip 5/3/1 2nd Edition, and be fine. And the 5/3/1 for Powerlifting is not needed if you’re not a powerlifting or no longer interested in that stuff.

So Beyond 5/3/1 and 5/3/1 Forever are the two I’d go with. If you can only get one, get 5/3/1 Forever. It’s got a LOT of templates. Well worth the buy.

Jim does have a “sale” on his website at the moment. If you can afford it, you buy all four of his books for $120 USD and get a free 1 year membership to his private forum, which may or may not be helpful to you.


#10

I want to bookmark this several times


#11

I so appreciate all the advice! However, I feel like I messed up and wasted a day doing this workout https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength I can’t help but feel like the author is being a total hypocrite. “Take it easy with the assistance work.” He says, THEN he goes on to tell you to do 75 dips and 50 pull ups!!! This is taking it easy?! I bumped the dips down to 5 x 10 and even after doing that I was only able to pull off 2 sets of ten on pull ups! I still want to do a 5/3/1 template program but this one definitely wasn’t the one for me


#12

I believe that’s the Triumvirate template. It’s a pretty good one, honestly. Maybe not the easiest but it’s simple.

First off, there’s this. Yes, he says take it “easy” on the assistance, but 75 dips and 50 pullups is maybe not easy, but it’s not very hard on the body. That may be what he’s referring to. It requires effort from you, and the first few times may leave you feeling quite sore, but if repeated weekly for several months, or a year, it won’t take much out of you.

Here’s some solutions.

1). Try supersetting? Doing 15 dips, quick 5-10 seconds to catch your breath, then 10 pullups. Then rest 1-2 minutes and repeat. This may not actually be any easier but you can at least get some pullups in before completely exhausting yourself with the dips. They do mostly work opposing muscles.

I actually like this approach anyways, because I feel it requires a bit more “being in shape” to accomplish, and it cuts down on time.

2). Do less. If someone asked you at this exact moment, “Hey, think you could do 75 dips in about 10-15 minutes right now?” do you think you could? If no, then you probably couldn’t do them after doing some overhead presses. (By the way, how did those go? What weights did you use? What have you overhead pressed before? How much experience do you have with the movement?)

So do less. Do say, 40 dips, and 20 pullups. Add 2-5 reps weekly, or even biweekly, until you get to 75 dips and 50 pullups. There’s no need to rush it. If you’re not strong enough yet, regress a bit, and get stronger. You have all the time in the world. You’re only 29. If you’re smart, you could potentially have 50 years left of lifting in you. No need to worry right now.

Something Jim Wendler has mentioned a lot, is simply picking a number of reps for a push and pull movement, and doing it however. Say, 50 reps of each. You can do dips, pushups, some dumbbell movement, or whatever for pushing, and chinups, rows, curls, whatever for pulling. Just pick one movement for each (push & pull) and complete 50 reps, however you need to break it up.

You can do that. For example, it says 5x10 chinups, but if you need to break it down a TON and do 25x2, you’re still getting 50 reps done! But if that’s the case, I’d just do less than 50, like 20, and work up to 50.

3). Pick easier movements that work the same muscles if you get tired. Dips too hard after 40? Finish it out with pushups. Pullups too hard after 10? Finish it out with inverted rows. Or bodyweight rows. Or fat man pullups. They’re all the exact same movement. Set up a barbell in a rack, or hang some rings from something and row out the remaining reps.

Also wanted to address

Don’t sweat it. It’s one day. Take my advice, don’t beat yourself up, and pick a different apporach next week when you do this workout again.

Also, note for day 2, you are doing 5x15 for hanging leg raises. If you know you won’t be able to do that (after doing deadlifts and good mornings), think of a different movement to finish out with, like situps or ab wheel rollouts, or, pick a number, like 5x8, or 5x10, to start out with and plan on how you’ll work up to 5x15.

And in the end, if this wasn’t the right one for you, oh well. It’s still work. It is 4 days a week. If you want a 3 days a week one, the one I’ve given you is good, or there’s others. Read his articles on here.

I think you can change this one to 3 days a week. You’ll just do

W1D1: Press
W1D2: Deadlift
W1D3: Bench

W2D1: Squat
W2D2: Press (new week technically starts here)
W2D3: Deadlift

etc.

It just won’t line up exactly but it still works.

I’d give it a shot for at least four weeks. Give something a month, if not 2-3 months, before you decide it doesn’t work.

Oh, and getting your conditioning up to par, will help a lot. I’ve always found that especially for bodyweight movements after some barbell stuff, the better shape I’m in really helps with how much fatigue I accumulate during my bodyweight stuff.


#13

If you think doing the assistance work in supersets would work best, I’ll take your word for it, in addition to that I’ll also drop the amount of reps from fifteen to to ten. The fact he in the article explicitly states not to customize worries me a bit about doing so though.

The shoulder presses? Went great! Wendler states that lifters have complained about starting too light, I didn’t mind. My reps were crisp and my form was perfect as I have plenty experience with it. My max is 145, so my weights used were 85lbs,100lbs, and 110lbs.

I’ll likely still do the hanging leg raises and look to progress in sets and reps as I go through the program.

Thank you for all the advice! I had just wrote my last post after the workout and was really frustrated.


#14

What Jim means is that hitting your prescribed reps on the main lift is the overwhelming priority. Just do roughly 5x10 on lat pull down and dip machine then -as long as they are solid compound moves its not make or break stuff.

Even better do the template in ‘Letter to young Wendler’ already posted above, it is the ‘go to’ for football training round here and took Jim from a middle of the pack athlete to playing Division 1 ball for Arizona

Recent video series also has some gems…


#15

@recoomekick

I don’t necessarily think supersets is best, just that it would probably ensure you get some of each movement done before fatigue sets in. But if you are also lowering the reps, you should be fine supersetting. Once you get the reps up to higher numbers, if you are used to supersetting and continue to do it, that’s good. You’ll be pretty strong and the workout will get done even faster.

Way to go on the presses. That’s an awesome lift, and getting strong on it is one of the more impressive things I think you can see in a gym. Everyone benches, but if you have a good press and a good deadlift, that’s what I like to see.

Starting light is the whole point. It’s good that you immediately recognized that and appreciated it. If you can do each rep with solid form, and without too much difficulty, you’ll be in a much better place a year from now than a guy who goes in and tests his very sloppy max once a week. Don’t test yourself, train yourself. I think you’ve already got a handle on this though, which is great.

What @RampantBadger said is great too. I didn’t even think about assisted dip machines or lat pulldowns. You can do those, and/or pushups and rows like I said. Really makes no difference. Just always work on progressing.

Overall, sounds like you have a good idea of what to do. If you ever want any more help, let me know. And there’s tons of other much more experienced lifters than I who could give advice. I’d check out @isdatnutty 's log. He’s made a lot of progress over the past couple years, and has learned a lot in the process. His log is one of my favorites on this site.

Consider starting your own log too. It helps keep you accountable, and there’s tons of people familiar with 5/3/1 on here who can help. Sometimes Jim will even answer questions himself if you post them on his subforum.


#17

Yeah, I just have one more question before I think I’m all good to go. Someone mentioned the “Letter to a Young Jim Wendler” and I was wondering if either program was inherently better than the other? Full body workouts have big appeal to me but I also feel like I’ve already started the triumvirate and that I should stick it out for a couple months


#18

Yes, that article has been linked. Here it is again, just for your ease.

It really comes to how much time you have to spend in the gym. That program is 3 days a week, the one you are doing right now is 4 days a week. Unless you decide to change it.

What I like about the “Young Jim Wendler” one is that it includes front squats and power cleans. I think, provided you can do them properly, those are both fantastic movements to do.

So that’s #1. Can you do them properly? If yes, go ahead and do it. If no, learn how before adding them in.

#2. Do you mind doing two “big” movements a day? If you feel you’ll do best with one big movement a day, stick with what you’re doing now. If you feel you can handle two, go ahead and switch to Young Jim.

The nice thing is that squats won’t interfere too much with benching, and front squats won’t interfere too much with pressing. It’d be a different story if you wanted to squat, then front squat. That wouldn’t work, but a lower body movement followed by an upper body movement is fine. Day 2 is power cleans followed by deadlifts, but since power cleans are inherently lighter and faster than deadlifts, you can almost view this as a warmup for deadlifts. You’ll be fine.

So that’s basically it. Can you power clean and front squat? Do you mind doing two big movements a day, since they won’t really interfere with each other? If yes, Young Jim might be good for you.

If you do choose to do Young Jim, I always think it’s a good idea to superset some type of rows, probably DB rows, with benching, and chinups with your pressing. Don’t worry about going super heavy - if you want to do barbell rows you can use the 5/3/1 numbers as well with that, but if you’re doing DB rows just go heavy and high reps. Kroc rows essentially.

Chinups depend on your strength levels. I don’t think 5/3/1 works awesome with chinups (weighted chinups) so I’d just do as many as you can. Once you can consistently hit 15-20 reps every set without much difficulty, you can start adding weight. Don’t worry about using certain weights just add 5-10 lbs every time you feel you’re ready.

I like high reps for back work (rows and chinups). I feel like the back muscles respond best to that. But it’s up to you. If you don’t want to superset any pulling movements with your pushing movements, at least do some pull aparts in between all sets. Like 20-50 reps between EVERY set, including warmups. It won’t tire you out at all, or take away from your pressing.

I belive in Young Jim, he lists some assistance movements. You can follow his suggestions or pick your own. I believe if you are benching, you should also be doing pushups. I think it helps keep your shoulders healthy.

I also think GHR’s are fantastic, for everybody.

Really, any bodyweight movements (pushups, dips, chinups, bodyweight rows, situps, back extensions, GHR’s, lunges, etc.) are just fine for assistance. I think it helps keep you accountable. If you get too overweight, your bodyweight movements will suffer haha. So that’s nice. Also they’re sometimes slightly easier on your joints.

You can make the switch. If you feel it’s right for you, it’s not wrong to stop a program, provided you have one set up to take it’s place, and you don’t switch every single program you ever do.


#19

Okay, the full body program it is then! I’ll start Monday as that’s what the program recommends and in the mean time, I’ll just do some hill runs, jump rope and elliptical work. Once I start the program I’ll throw in two conditioning days a week with hills and the elliptical. Hopefully in six months I’ll see a ton of progress! Thanks again for all your help and suggestions!