Not Recovering From BBB Deadlift Volume, Drop Volume or Try BBS?

26 yr/old
205lbs (24% BF roughly)
Priority: about 50/50 between strength/hypertrophy

85% Training Maxes:
Squat: 265
Bench: 210
Dead: 350
Press: 115

I’ve been doing BBB for about 2.5 months(using between 55% - 65% for BBB sets). My deadlift has responded very well (305x5 to 310x10) but it’s done so at the expense of my other lifts.

I just can’t get recovered from Deadlift day. I have it set up where I would theoretically Deadlift on Tuesday and Squat on Friday, but I always end up having to push back my Squat day because my back is not recovered(leading to it taking me 1.5 weeks to get through 1 week’s worth of the program). I seem to recover from the other lifts ok, but haven’t made much progress with them.

I sleep 8hrs every night (9-10 on weekends) and the quality is good
My bodyweight has gone from 185 to 205 since October so I’m clearly eating enough (too much really)
My stress level is low
I don’t know what it is, I just can’t recover.

With this in mind, I’d like to see what everyone’s (and Jim’s) recommendation is for accomplishing the following.

Decreasing Deadlift volume
Increasing Press/Bench volume, or frequency, or intensity (press is stuck, bench gains are slow)
Increasing Squat intensity and lowering volume slightly

My tentative plan:
4 day split
5/3/1 Original with PR sets (all lifts)
10x5 @ FSL (Squat/Bench/Press)
5x5 @ FSL or SSL (Deadlift)
Supplemental and Conditioning as laid out in “At The Mouth BBS” in Forever book.

I’m curious to see if switching from BBB to BBS will get my press un-stuck, and get my bench/squat moving up a little quicker while sacrificing a little hypertrophy.

Alternatively, I could just keep doing what I’m doing (BBB) but drop the deadlift from 5x10 to 5x5, or do back raises instead of Deadlift for the accessory work and see if that allows me to recover sufficiently to get all 4 workouts done each week.

Looking forward to your responses.


For DL you could try just 531 PR set + FSL PR set.

I see also that Squat, Bench, and Press are consistent with each other, but your deadlift seems much further along. If it were me I would drop the deadlift supplemental sets for a few weeks until your lower back felt better and your squat started moving ahead again, then try 5x5 FSL as you mentioned. If you are interested in 50/50 strength/hypertrophy then it won’t hurt your goals much if you let your deadlift progress slow down so your other lifts can catch up.

If your deadlift is burning you out that can hurt all your lifts.

I just finished the BBS challenge and towards the end, my assistance lifts (I wasn’t even doing all that many, just 25 reps or less in each of the categories) completely fell apart because the main lifts took so much out of me.

I also do 3 workouts a week so my ‘week’ is 9 days long and that helps a lot.

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Looking through the Forever book.

Thinking of switching to Pervertor but keeping the deadlift accessory work at 5x5 FSL.

Just a few things:

  1. Have you tried getting through the Friday squat workout even though you are sore? If so, what happened? Did you miss reps? Was there a significant technical breakdown due to fatigue? In the end you’re the judge of what your body can handle, but I only ask as sometimes you just gotta gut it out until your body adapts to a certain volume level. In the past I have thought soreness would lead to a reduced level of performance in workouts but after warming up and getting going I found no problems.

  2. Are you sure your TM for deadlift is correct? Have you run a TM Test Week before starting your last Leader?

  3. What assistance work are you doing? Typically its a good idea to cut out a lot of lower back work if you have a particularly high volume of barbell work in the squat and deadlift. Maybe try modifying assistance before changing supplemental.

  4. Maybe try cutting out the PR sets. Typically you wouldn’t do PR sets with BBB. That could get a bit hairy, especially if your taking your PR sets a little further than you should.

  5. When was your last deload? Have you run BBB in 3 back to back cycles? If so that might be all the indication you need right there. I think your plan to switch things up to BBS is a good approach, but don’t be afraid to switch to 3/5/1 with some PR sets, Jokers, or Widowmakers and test your strength.

You have the Forever book - I would check that out as it has many options. Make sure you read it because much of what you have written is NOT what I recommend. The answer is there is NO ANSWER. You are going to have to find out how each and every lift works together and why training is so damn awesome - because you can experiment and have fun. It would be boring if you couldn’t do this. And again, as mentioned several times in the Forever book, this is WHY WE PROGRAM TRAINING. SO YOU CAN EVALUATE YOUR TRAINING. The book is your answer; literally thousands of different things you can try.

If you are asking me specifically what to do - all my answers are in the Forever book. I spent two years writing that thing to allow YOU, THE READER to see all the different variations. So choose one, use common sense (as mentioned in the book several times) and the use the programming principles to allow you to evaluate.

Take Plazma as prescribed in Jim’s Beyond articles. if on a budget get some hydrolysed whey postworkout. and load up on Leucine…

Stretch hard immediatelty postworkout especially hamstrings/lower back

Try some of these the next day…

I sure do have the book. Enjoyed it so much I nearly went cover to cover in one sitting. It’s very exciting to have a lot of options tailored to each situation and I look forward to testing a bunch of different ones as time goes on.

You’ll have to forgive me if I seem a little confused. On one hand, you’re saying not to reduce deadlift volume inside of a given template because it’s not what you recommend, but on the other, you’re saying that the whole point is to experiment and evaluate your own training, I.E. making situational decisions that make sense.

In this case, where the deadlift is causing issues, it seems logical to reduce it’s assistance volume. I realize this is NOT what you recommend in the sense that there are no specific programs for it in the book, but I suppose I’m not clear on why I should continue doing something that appears to be an issue or switch to another program on all my lifts just to fix an issue with one that it appears could be solved with a simple volume reduction.

That being said, The Pervertor seems like a solid alternative. I just got the book last week so these templates are still new to me, but it looks as if it would provide for much of what I’m seeking. The idea of using 5x5 FSL on the Deadlift the first week instead of the 5x10 BBB just seemed like a good substitute to keep me from having the same issue I’m having now.

The idea of using some BBS variant for my Deadlift accessory work actually came from reading a section of the BBS chapter where you mentioned BBS was easier to recover from than BBB.

I am not specifically asking you what to do, but I would appreciate a little clarification regarding deviations from the templates in instances like this. I’m making progress and having fun with the others lifts on BBB, and I sense I’d enjoy Pervertor in a similar way, but I think the DL needs some dialing back.

  1. Yes and no. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, depends on the state of my back. I’ve got good enough body awareness to now when my back would be up to the task or not. I haven’t missed any lifts, but I’ve been having some mobility issues that I’m still working out so I’m not pushing the squat super hard at the moment. I’ve just been hitting the minimums, doing the BBB sets, and getting out. No PR sets or anything like that. My squat shoes just arrived today however, so this is about to change.
  2. I haven’t. I got the book last week and am mid-cycle so I haven’t tested yet. I pulled 345x3 last cycle on a PR set, so I plugged that into the EXRX 1rm calculator and then took 85% of that to get my TM.
  3. No low back assistance. In addition to BBB sets, On Press day I do chins and shoulder external rotations. On Bench day I curl and do underbars. On Squat day I will either do 1 set of leg extensions or get the fuck out. On Deadlift day I do DB rows (supported on a bench).
  4. As I read it, you don’t do PR sets in the BBB challenge, but you DO do PR sets in the traditional BBB template which is what I’m on. I do take the PR sets a little far on Press and Bench, but am pretty conservative with them on Squat and Deadlift.
  5. I did an un-official deload from like the 22nd of December to the 31st because I was out of town. I did no training in this period.

Your on the right track I think as your fairly aware of all your training variables. But like Jim said in an earlier post we can only suggest so much.

We are starting to get into the realm of paralysis by analysis, but there are definitely a lot of things you could try. Whether it be running a lower volume supplemental plan, or perhaps switching your supplemental lift to Trap Bar Deadlifts or maybe switching your deadlift style to sumo etc.

Like Jim said in his post, go through the book it will pretty much answer all the questions you have.

Well, it’s not really analysis paralysis because I’m still doing. Just considering a change.

I’m going to take a few days and verify all my TM’s. It’s possible that my Deadlift TM is too high and I’ve just not verified any of them anyway, so it’s something I should do.

From there, I’m probably going to try Pervertor for a couple cycles(haven’t decided on an anchor). Jim says in Forever that BBS accessory work is easier to recover from, and Pervertor looks to have a solid mix of Hypertrophy and Strength.

Umm, yeah if you only got three reps on a PR set, your TM is definitely too high. You should usually be able to do five reps with your TM.

This was a max out between cycles. Not a TM.

When I do BBB I drop the sets to 3 for DL and OHP, also can do more reps on the last set which makes a good drop in volume but with similar difficulty.

No, I didn’t say that. Look at what you have listed and it literally violates the BASICS of the programming. I don’t know how else to say this; I talk about this programming basic throughout the entire book. You have the WRONG MAIN WORK WITH THE WRONG SUPPLEMENTAL WORK.

Do whatever you think is best.

O I see. I didn’t realize BBS was programmed with 5’s PRO instead of 5/3/1 until I went back and re-read it.

I was coming from the standpoint of running BBB as programmed in the original book, but just dialing back the volume in exchange for some intensity since you said BBS was easier to recover from. Seemed logical to me. I literally thought BBS was just BBB with 10x5 instead of 5x10.

At the wise suggestion of another member, I took the opportunity yesterday and today to test my training maxes. I had originally used rep PR’s (that I had pushed hard, not “leaving one in the tank” as you now recommend), plugged them into a 1RM calculator, and was using 85% of that number. Today I applied the new standard for testing a TM as laid out in Forever (5 reps with good bar speed) and it turns out my TM for Deadlift was way too high(others were close but need minor adjustment too). I was using a 350 TM when I really should be using 315 according to the bar speed standard.

It all makes sense now. The TM being too high AND running PR sets was just too much for my back. Eh, I fucked it up haha. It happens.

New plan:
Run Pervertor as written with the new TM’s I’ve established.

Thanks for sticking with me. It’s always funny when you do something stupid trying to be smart haha.

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Another option you might consider is to flip/flop your squat and DL days - squat on Tues and DL on Fri. This would give you an extra day for your lower back to recover.

This is, of course, in addition to the other corrections mentioned above.

I prefer to keep the supplemental movements and main movements together.

I squatted yesterday and benched today and I can already tell you I’m FAR less sore than I was before.

I dicked up the TM’s, that’s all there is too it. haha.

Not what I meant, but you fixed it, so cool.

I can’t deadlift 5x10 or 10x5 after my main set. I do all my top set DL as singles,resetting after each rep.
I mix in SSB good morning or SLDL as the second lift. 5x10. If I’m feeling a little fried 5x5. I work up to a heavy set of 5, that has good form, then take that weight as 95% of my TM for that exercise. I then calculate the weight I need to use. I like 5x10 at 50-60%. At the end of the cycle add 10 pounds and repeat .