T Nation

Modifying Volume of Building the Monolith to Suit a Beginner?


Hi guys, i like the look of building the monolith template, the extra OH pressing instead of Bench, the accessory work, it just really appeals to me but im not sure if its suitable for a beginner? if it is great id do it as is, if not could anybody please help me adjust the volume to make it suitable?

Squat - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5
Press - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 70xAMRAP
Chins – 100 total reps
Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
Dips – 100-200 total reps

Deadlift - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5
Bench Press - 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5, 90x5
DB Rows – 5 sets of 10-20 reps
Curls – 100 total reps

Squat – 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 45% x 20
Press – 10 sets of 5 reps @ 70%
Chins – 5 sets of 5 reps (weighted)
Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
Shrugs – 100 total reps

Obviously each consecutive week theres an 5% increase in weight.

Side note, has Jim mentioned when his new book is out? i have his previous 2, skipped his old Power lifting one though.

Thanks guys


I was ready to punch you in the nuggets but this isn’t bad.

If you can’t do 10 reps with your TM, you will fuck this worse than your first “bra dismantling” experience. Trust me on this - don’t take people’s advice on the TM that is based on 2 months of dicking around.


Thanks for taking the time to get back to me personally Jim. So if i use a Low TM which allows me alot of room to keep progressing, Building the monolith will be suitable for myself as a beginner? as you wrote it?

In regards to the Accessory work, i dont think im going to be able to do 100-200 dips and chins ect, what would be an acceptable number to reduce these too?

PS will your new book be hardback? im old fashioned id rather hold something in my hands, never been a fan of Ebooks. Thanks for the help Jim


I think the reason it “isn’t bad” is because it’s the actual program without modification.

OP I’d just go ahead and do the program. If I’m not mistaken, the little assistance stuff is optional, so I’d just do as much as you can/feel like. Focus on the big lifts. Use a low TM. Nothing wrong with bagging a bunch of reps if you’re trying to get bigger.


Quick Question, i was reading Jims original article on this template and after the first 3 week cycle, Jim says adjust your TM before going into the second cycle week 4. Does this mean add the usually 5 pounds to upper body lifts and 10 pounds to lower body lifts? or increase the weight in total per lift 5%? i cant find the answer im looking for. Thanks lads.


The former. Increase the TM by 5lbs for upper and 10lbs for lower.


Not to be a jerk, but if youre asking this you need to go back and read a good chunk of one of the books


Ok, if I can put it a way that some newer guys could understand. When you first ride a bike you have training wheels, theres no need for you to balance the bike your self. You just steer and peddle. Now, being new/newer to Jim’s programs you still have training wheels on, just steer and peddle (just do the program as written). Later, maybe later after having a good grasp of things the training wheels maybe come off, until then just steer and peddle.


You don’t necessarily have to add weight to your TM. BTM is a size gain program. You will get stronger, but its steered more towards size. If you bench 225 for 5 in week one and stay doing 225 the whole time and by week 8 your set of 225 for 5 flies up, you’ve gotten stronger. Getting stronger isn’t always about numbers.