T Nation

OTS Big Beyond Belief Program


Anybody ever use this and have success with it? I purchased it several years ago, I just never had enough time to devote to it. I always thought some of the principles behind it were pretty sound.

I'm only interested if someone has experience with it and what they thought, not someone that is going to say it is just a gimmick and just train hard and eat right and no system is perfect Those are a given of course, but there are ways to optimally structure a routine. Anybody utilized it with success??? Website is www.otsdirect.com.


Modok, mind going into a bit of detail on the, say, 4times a week version?

I'm quite curious as to how that particular program is set up compared to Phil Hernon's system, DC and such.
(And why it's not being mentioned more often? I mean, it does seem to do great things for people...).


Holy shit, please do tell more.


I bought BBB back in'94 when it first came out. Brings back alot of memories. It didn't work as well for me as MODOK but back in 94 I didn't know shit about nutrition or even training for that matter. I wish I could find the book again, I still have it somewhere. If i remember correctly you train each body part 3x/week and go through different rep ranges thought the week. Like Monday you do 13-15 reps and end of the week you do 6-8 reps. There is more to the system then that but that is what I remember. Some positive reviews on Amazon.com, the BBB system has been around in some form for 15 years, damn I am getting old


Wow, I am glad to hear you had such great gains with the program. As Rocky said, it has been around for a a while, even before the internet was common place. I haven't even thought of it in quite a while, but a guy and I at my gym got to talking about it and I started thinking about it again. If I do give it a whirl, I will probably start the 4 day routine. They had some earlier versions of this which were pretty crazy, training three times a day for six days a week. Who has time for that unless you live in the gym and can eat constantly? The only thing I don't like about the four day is the small amount of sets for arms, only one per group as I recall on Thursday and Friday. Like you said though, better to do the four than not do the six. I do have a few questions if you could share your thoughts -

  1. Exercise selection - I see the ones you mentioned you used up above. For a given week, did you use a different exercise each time you trained a given bodypart (endurance, strength, power)? Also I remember it was a six week phase, you ramp up to higher volume the first three weeks and then back off the next 3, which I guess is where the real growth occurs. Did you change any exercises for the second three weeks?

  2. This is one for the six-day program, but I always wondered how bi's and tr's could get equal amounts of volume as bigger groups like chest and back. Did you ever find that to be a problem in any way? The arms are still getting worked during the bigger muscle groups. Also, did you ever work hams directly? They would always just say thighs. Did you also adjust rep ranges for abs and calves? Doesn't seem to make sense to do 4-6 reps of abs and calves work.

  3. Last one I can think of (for the six-day) is how were you feeling before weeks 4-6? It seems like it is pretty high-volume at week 3. I have heard at least one person complain of overtraining, and getting weaker. Maybe they weren't eating enough or recovering properly. The whole point of the system seems to be to get you in sort of an overtrained state and then cutting back.

I have made some decent gains the last few years. Certainly not maxed out or anything like that. Might give it a shot again with this routine, not sure. Some of the concepts still stayed with me to this day, like rep speed. I agree with the writings on not using super-slow reps. Sorry to be so long-winded, thank you very, very much for any tips.


Yeah, googled a little and came up with various logs and conversations on MM, BB.com (oh well) etc.

I'm a tad surprised though... The whole phase concept doesn't look like something Hernon would do, or at least nothing like what I've read from him.

Kind of limited in the leg-work area, too... Calves are trained every other day, but thighs only get one exercise EOD... Weird. Guess you really can't hit both hams and quads heavy EOD on a 6 on, 1 off routine and expect to go very far...?

From your t-cell thread it seems like you're pretty much still adhering to many of those bbb principles, except that you split things up a little differently and instead of doing those funny phases, you just rotate your rep ranges every month or so, right?
Any reason as to why you changed that particular part?

Seems to me as if Costa (or whomever... And hey, what did Platz contribute, anyway?) just added phases with funky names to make the whole thing seem more unique... But then again, I've never tried the program.

Best deal I can find is on amazon.com, shipping from the U.S. for like 80-100 dollars including shipping (unless maybe I were to chose the slow-as-a-snail -delivery option... duh). Bit expensive... Amazon.de doesn't have the book... Damn.

Anyway, thanks for the info Modok. I'll see if there's something worth incorporating into my own higher-frequency experiment(s).


Ah, right. Hmmm. Maybe I'll get it after all...

At your stage, age and with the weights you are using now... Think that would be a good idea? I dunno man, I'm getting pretty pounded on that 6-day thing I'm on at the moment, as it is... And that has way less volume than BBB already... Just saying, muscle-wise it would probably be possible, but it's them joints and tendons again...

That being said, do you plan to get up to 220-230 in the same condition you're in now, at some point?
You've gone this far, you could probably do it if you wanted to...


Thanks for going into detail. I do full well remember the NMA levels, it is something I still kind of partly borrow from to this day. Interesting that you sometimes used one exercise twice in a week. I can definitely see where it makes sense to keep the same exercises for a six-week period and then maybe change it up again. When it comes to something like chest, I guess dips are supposed to be superior to bench, but like most other guys, I love benching. As you mentioned with the point about arms, I sometimes overthink things.

Just to clarify, I seem to remember that weeks 4-6 reps would go as low as 4 to 6. You would work your abs with that low of a range? Of course, that whole thing about high reps being required for abs is a myth, I get much more out of a strict set of 12 reverse crunches.

Lately I have been training longer sessions with higher volume but very infrequently. Gotten decent gains. I had a spiral fracture to the right humerus last year which I received surgery for, so I am just now getting somewhat close to my pre-break strength. Might give this a go again when I think the body is good and ready and if I can find the darn thing.


I had the book, and it never really went into warm-ups. Can someone go into how warm-ups are performed.


I can't find the e-book on the ots website.


www.bigbeyondbelief.com has the e-book for $19.99. You do have to scroll down all that verbiage in order to find the Order page.

But if you're lazy, here's that link: www.bigbeyondbelief.com/Order_Big_Beyond_Belief.html

Strongly considering buying this book myself.


just out of curiosity, how experienced would one have to be to do this program, it seems a lot of discipline is required but doesnt appear to have the "experienced only" disclaimer tagged with other styles such as DC, i am newer to lifting but lately i feel like a sponge and have been trying to gather every bit of info that i can. (also helps that i tend to be a bit impatient but also can be extremely motivated)

so yea, long-ish story short, what do you recommend your gym experience be before trying a program such as this? i would assume more experienced as well however Modok, you said you did this at around 20 yrs and it worked extremely well for you.


hey thanks a bunch for the quick response, i do appreciate it, and yea i will look more into it, i think at this point in the game i am still learning how to push myself further, physically and mentally. i do not want to commit to something with any bit of doubt (this is starting to change, i can already notice more self drive at the gym over the last 3-4 months) and i like to understand everything i do pretty thoroughly. thanks again


One thing I'd like that add here... With such a high frequency and all that, make sure you are able to do all exercises in a way that doesn't cause any pain in the wrong areas.

Of course bodybuilding is a journey anyway, during which you also constantly strive to improve your technique and all that... But I think a good base-level of proficiency would be useful... Else you'll likely get hurt.
For example, getting the whole "retracted scapulae, shoulders locked down and stay on the bench" kind of thing right instead of just lying down on the bench and pressing with your shoulders rising off the bench at the top of the movement etc...

At least always make a conscious effort to improve technique whenever something feels "off".
Don't ignore the wrong kind of pain and certainly don't try to get used to it.

All that being said, it sounds like this system would be a great way for a beginner (with common sense and a lot of room in his stomach) or intermediate to get to a good level of size and strength "quickly"...


yea, i am noticing more and more the little tweaks yet to be made in my lifts, since i have "fixed" my bench i have been able to lift more and feel it much better in my chest, rather than just arms or some shoulder issues, and a bit of trail and error is helpful too, if it is completely foreign to me i try it light and do what i think was right from what i have seen or read, and then go back and reread about it and i seem to learn best that way. but yes, the warning about injury is well heeded. no point fucking up the last rep just to do it only to find that i cant lift for 2 weeks after that from injury. anyways, thanks for all the advice and OP sorry about the slight thread stealing here.


BTW, got myself the ebook.

If I read/hear the words "eastern block" one more time, I'm going to go berserk :wink:

Is it just me, or did they, while writing about how to rate exercises, completely forget to mention whether trainees are supposed to do the same exercises throughout the week or use a double rotation or what?

Because hmm. If you go from, say, 12-15 reps to 10-12 to 8-10 over the course of the week you could keep the same exercise and just add some weight from session to session to achieve the lower rep goal... And then start next week (provided we're in a phase where amount of sets are kept constant from week to week) with +2.5 or +5 or howevermany lbs on all sets...

Ok, sounds complicated I guess. I just mean... They've planned everything out, from rest-periods to increases and decreases in volume and whatnot, but they leave it up to you whether you want to do a completely different exercise everytime you train a certain bodypart, or do the same, or rotate between two or what?

Bit odd.

There are also references about a discussion on level-4 training... Yet there is no such discussion/chapter in the ebook. Maybe it was in the actual book, but they cut it out for some reason?

Anyway... Modok, you trained several exercises twice per week... I'd do that too, but how'd you arrive at that decision? Was there any instruction to be found in the book you own, or did you have to figure it all out by yourself?


In the e-book, instinctive training is level 3... So that's why I was wondering. Ok, platz training, I guess I'll reach level four once I can squat 500x23 atg. Fat chance of that happening :wink:

Ahaha, those were amusing as hell. "yeah, so the supplement industry is really just making shit up and tricking you/don't know what they're doing. Erm. Try OTS supps instead" <- ahaha

Did you ever do the level 2 stuff?

Wish we had enough good fat sources available in Germany. But no, it's pretty much all carbs you get to buy over here. I'm roughly splitting meals up 50/50 between p+c and p+f, but any less carbs and more fat is practically impossible for me, it seems...

Haha, looks like Hernon's and DiPasquale's stuff was the good stuff in the book... And the rest was all shit that Costa dreamed up after sniffing too much glue (while on a trip through romania, of course).

Another thing I'm wondering about... They never explain the rationale behind the amount of sets used.
Sure, the phases where you try to get almost into overtraining need some increase in sets and all that, but the regular training phases... Why not 2 instead of 3 or 4? Etc. Shouldn't that have even more of an effect after basically revving the body up in the ramp phase? 1-2 sets allow for greater weights than 3-4 and are easier on recovery, so the body has even more resources available for hypercompensating (using their lingo here).

They also never discuss joint/tendon health, as if muscles were all you have to worry about.

Guess Costa really took the routine from Hernon and doesn't really understand it himself lol, that's probably the reason why he's not mentioning progression and lift-variety much.

Edit: Btw, squatting and benching twice a week due to lack of exercise choices doesn't seem to have hurt your progress any, more like the opposite?


I'm going to do the program...I'm starting it next week...

Probably the only major change I would make is to do 1 set...but the basic premise of training 3x a week and getting ridiculously strong on a couple key exercises will remain...

If I burn out...then so be it...But, I have to try....


If you consider DC or 5/3/1 (or even most pro routines), then I'd say it could definitely work. How about keeping sets on the ramp's the same... But reduce them on the supergrowth (haha) phases? I think it should work... Might allow you to stay in the growth phase for much longer...

That actually makes me wonder... Did you go through the whole 18 week level 1 program like 4 times in those 18 months, or did you, for example, stick to ramp 1 + supergrowth 1 ? (those phases seem to make the most sense to me compared to the others).

Out of curiosity, how well did your chest and quads grow compared to your arms and shoulders?

There is another thing I keep wondering about:
You mentioned problems with shoulder stability in another thread and the whole pressing vs. backwork thing.

Now, I keep thinking... You added hams in to quads, so well... Why not make back work 1 backthickness exercise (row variant usually, in this program) for 3 sets... And add 1 backwidth movement in for just, say, 1 set?

Or split sets up... 2 thickness + 2 width...

Something like that. Basically you train thickness every time you train back that way, to balance out the pressing to some degree.

I don't like meddling with pre-set routines like that, but that shoulder-stability thread got me thinking...
Before I send any of my trainees on the bbb journey, I'd rather address that particular issue at least.


(I got your pm, but you should ask Modok that, actually. He's the BBB expert on here :slight_smile:

Well, on the ramp phases you still need to do more sets at least in order to get near-overtrained before you do the growth part...
Might also want to try the original setup for at least one ramp+growth phase to see whether it works for you or not, you know? Then you could basically do 1 set less every time you get to another growth phase maybe, until you're down to 1.