Modok, with your other "How do you train" article a year old now, I know you said come new year you were going to give the BBB training a go at it again. Just wondering if you are doing that or something tweaked to your liking? If you could lay it out for us that would be great?
Start by reading that thread. It's a training program that some of us on the forum like. It's not really of the stature of 5/3/1 or DC training--I guess it's more on the second tier. It was a lot more popular on this site in 2009 or so, when the above thread was written. MODOK used it for an 18-month period and had a lot of success with it.
To give a one-paragraph synopsis: To put it basically, BBB is a hypertrophy program that works in 6 week cycles where you spend the first three "ramping" yourself into an acute state of overtraining then spending 1-3 weeks in "supergrowth" cycles where you are doing different repetition ranges. The program manipulates frequency, volume, and rest periods to create the effect. There are 6 and 4 day variants, but in any case you train each body part 3x/week, one day in the 13-15 rep range, one in 10-12, one in 8-10. The rep ranges are lower in supergrowth phases. You have a prescribed # of worksets, and you train at or near failure for all worksets. Note that it's a hypertrophy program--i.e., gaining size. Not made for cutting.
I hear you on the 2nd ramp, lol, but I didn't necessarily mean making huge changes. I remember you once talked about a period where you basically took BBB's template and doubled the volume (keeping everything else the same). Just thought I'd ask since it's sorta what I do, lol.
Had a go at BBB a while back. Made some very nice strength gain off it. But I had to eat a lot to sustain that training. Unfortunately all that gain was lost when I was dumb and decided to go on a cut shortly after and severely restricted my caloric intake.
I switched to this program 5 weeks ago after about 6 months of doing some full body routines.
I couldn't decide between the 4x version of this and a 'traditional' BB split but as this was similar to what I had already been doing and after searching around on here for what I should do next, I saw the original BBB thread. I thought I would give it a try and it's great. Put on quite a bit of size on chest/back and thighs and already about half an inch on arms.
The only problem I have had though is a touch of bicep/shoulder tendonitis in the right arm. I may just take a week off at the end of the first supergrowth phase just to let it heal up.
As a disclaimer, I almost never give advice about training because I don't think I'm advanced enough. I will contribute my .02 to a discussion of BBB, though, because it's the one training system that I've done and know a good bit about.
Your exercise selection leaves a lot to be desired if you're open to changing it up a bit. Tricep overhead extensions for sets of 13-15 with often small amounts of rest aren't going to do wonders for your elbows (or probably your whole upper arm integrity). They also don't really fit within the exercise selection scheme talked about in the book, though they're okay. Maybe move the pushdowns to your 13-15 day and add in weighted dips to your 10-12 day, nixing the overhead tricep extensions.
Regarding your shoulder, it could also be the Hammer Strength Shoulder Press. I've never used that specifically in a run through BBB, but I've tried a chest hammer strength press, and I ended up having shoulder pain (granted, this was during Ramp2 on the 6x/week, which sucks anyway). One other thing that would potentially help is if you have a pair of Fat Gripz, which I always use for shoulder presses. Just from my own limited experience and from having read all the BBB threads on this site, joint integrity issues almost always fundamentally stem from exercise selection.
Just as a general comment, really give some thought to moving your squats to the 13-15 day. I'll say for my part that I consider hitting that first set of high rep squats to be the highlight of my BBB week.
MODOK has talked elsewhere about using days where you're doing leg press or other exercises that are either quad- or ham-dominant to add an exercise that stresses the other muscle group. So, e.g., adding SLDL on to your leg press day. You don't absolutely have to do the SLDL BBB style.
This is just IMO, but I think that there's also a lot to be said for doing exercises that involve standing over ones that involve sitting: standing OHP, standing BB curls, etc. Exercise selection is crucial for the system because you're doing so few exercises. Each one needs to be money.
I'm completely open to changing things up, any advice and feedback is appreciated.
Just about to start the last week of supergrowth 1 so I'll finish up with what I have been doing and then change things around beginning of ramp 2.
I actually switched to the Hammer Strength shoulder presses as I was originally doing overhead dumbell presses on that day but that was starting to cause me pain, not in the actual lift itself, but in 'getting the dumbells to the start position' so I thought I would try something to take that out of the equation.
I forgot to add the calve work in there too, but it's just standing and seated calf raises.
I've been interested in trying BBB, but one thing I am not sure about is the load progression. Is it as simple as just adding when you can? If so, what is a reasonable rate to expect, and is not progressing in load (or slowly progressing) a warning sign that something is not going right?
The book mentions all the different variables that can be used to progress, and all the other ones seem to be programmed in, except for load, so I am not sure where it fits in or how important it is to the program (other than 'try as hard as you can').
I'm obviously not MODOK, but he hasn't been frequenting the boards as much, so I'll share my experience:
Load can be tricky depending on how your exercise selection works out.
First off, my load is always determined by a +1/-1 principle. So today was a 13-15 rep day. I chose a weight that I felt that I could do 12 reps with for my first (top, maximal) set, and I try to hit the 13-15 range. As long as I am within 1 of the rep range, then I keep the weight for the next set. If I'm further off than that, then I either drop or add weight accordingly.
Now, to choosing load:
IF you do an exercise more than once a week, then it's pretty easy. So with squats, which I do 3x/week, I will often just take the weight from my 10-12 day and move it to my 13-15 day the next week. In other BBB threads, one guy (SmallToBig) advocated using the 8-10 day weight for the 13-15 day the next week. I just don't find that I progress at that rate.
I really like doing exercises more than once a week. Working one exercise in the 13-15 range and, say, the 8-10 is a useful way to progress. If you don't do it that way, then go off the indices that you see from your other exercise choices during the week. If you get stronger on a lift, then expect to be better with the other.
Warning signs that something is not going right:
First, focus on your top set--i.e., that first set. If your top set isn't where it was the week before, then that should be a concern. HOWEVER, this has to be put in context. If you're on the third week of Ramp2 6x/week, then you might see a drop off in weight that week. Just power through the week for SuperGrowth, and eat a lot.
If you feel like you don't want to go to the gym during the first week of a ramp, then you should probably do SG for a couple more weeks.
The 'try as hard as you can' mantra is expected to do a lot of the work. You should always be really pushing the issue, using the SG periods to get some rest and allow for the supercompensatory effect.