T Nation

Need Help Optimizing Building a Monolith


#1

Right now, I’m heading towards the end of second cycle of Building a monolith - 5/3/1 for size. Before that, I’ve been unknowingly doing pretty much that (5x5 on the big 3 + press) and 3-4 sets of 8-12 of some accessory work for about 4 months.

I’ve been enjoying the program but there are some quirks I’d like to adjust without ruining it for myself. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been skipping the face pulls because I felt like they weren’t doing much for me. Also have to force myself to do the shrugs, just not a huge fan of those either. Another issue I have is that my bench press has been stalling for quite a while - started at 5x175 lbs in January, tomorrow I have yet to see if I’m able to do 5x185 lbs which feels like shit progress to me (I’m 6’3" at 190 lbs currently). So, I’m thinking of increasing the frequency of the exercise. However, I like the progress I make on overhead press and wouldn’t want to hinder that by switching OHPs for bench.

Given that I’m at the end of the program cycle, I’m also considering trying something different, since I’ve been toying with 5x5 variations for like half a year now. However, can’t seem to find anything else that’d fit my needs. Mentioning those - 2017 is my dedicated bulk year where I want to increase both muscle mass as well as the weight I lift on the major lifts, which in my mind equals 5x5 + volume assistance. I prefer weight training 3 times a week. I already have two more days of Muay Thai training (“recreational”, no competitive plans) for which I do skipping rope 20-30 mins 3-4 times a week on off days or after weights.

So, should I stick to the plan or is there something more fitting you know about? How about the bench improvements?


#2

Pick a proper, measurable goal, and train first that. Looking to get bigger, improve your bench, mauy Thai, conditioning etc all at the same time won’t work for long.


#3

Honestly I would NOT change the program, as it did wonders for my strength and muscle mass.
If there’s exercises you don’t like, you may do some other program?
My bench press was the lift to progress the most from the program - even with the frequency, so I guess you are fine doing a ton of dips, presses and only one bench sessions a week :slight_smile:


#4

Stop searching for the optimal and just do something “good enough”. Search for optimal program/way of train is a search of failure.

If you want to increase your bench NOW, do something with more bench. But in the long run the Monolith will also help your bench. Bigger muscles=bigger bench.

About the shrugs and face pulls - they are optional, as descripted in the program. Do them if you feel like it. You can make the decision during the workout even.


#5

if you like BTM, you can swap the bench and the press. So run BTM but do Press once a week and bench twice a week. The Shrugs are not required, only the first 3 exercises (leg, upper, pull) are required. The shrugs, dips and curls are not required.

I would only run BTM for it’s two cycles then move onto an anchor and then another program. I cannot tell you what that other program is - just pick one and do it as it pertains to your goals.


#6

Doing my first cycle here, and to address this I added in push-ups as accessories on Mon & Wed, so as to get Chest in every day.

How about that option?


#7

why do you think the frequency is gonna help you in such a specific and ultra high volume plan? you’re doing reps over reps of presses and dips, and you wanna add even more benching? and honestly, if you cannot bench your bodyweight for sets of five, you shouldn’t consider building THE monolith… do starting strength (which has you benching 225 for sets of 5 in 3 to 4 months if properly executed) or 5/3/1 for beginner… read the article “help a friend get stronger” on Jim Wendler’s blog and follow it minutiously to build a base.


#8

Why would you recommend only running BTM for two cycles, marc?


#9

because it’s a 6 week program (aka 2 cycles). Jim even recommends not running it for more than once at a time. Run the 6 weeks, move onto something else, come back to it in the future after you are refreshed and ready to attack it again. If this program is easy for you, you’re not pushing it hard enough.


#10

So, move on to something “easier”? I want to get awesome!


#11

People at work are looking at me funny. Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything, it would have been all over my keyboard.


#12

@ayeguy you miss understand.

Intensity is up to you. You decide how awesome you are going to be.

5/3/1 by itself will make you awesome, if you let it.


#13

I was joking too, but not really. I don’t understand why BTM can’t be run in multiples. I want to have a well-structured and periodized lifting program, so any guidance offered would be much appreciated.


#14

I can’t answer why the BTM wouldn’t be ok for more cycles. I don’t have such knowleges. And it’s exactly the reason why I tend to trust the author, which already made this experience with himself and and other athletes, probably way better than me.

If you’re lookink for a good programm, enjoy the fact that soon will the new book appear.