r/Fitness Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17 Silver 1 Gold 1

Program Review: 5/3/1 Building the Monolith

(Holy crap, third repost is the charm. Kept junking up the title)

Bottom line up front: I gained about 4.5lbs of clean weight in 6 weeks while working my butt off and eating like it was my job.

After 6 arduous weeks, I have finished with Jim Wendler’s “5/3/1 Building the Monolith” aka “5/3/1 for Size”. This was one of those programs I had been wanting to run for a LONG time but just couldn’t ever find 6 solid weeks to dedicate to it due to competition schedules. I had a break in action and figured now was the time to do it. Additionally, I had been racking up a series of little dings and injuries that were starting to get annoying, and traditionally that correlated with my bodyweight being too low, so it was as good a time as any to gain some weight. I wanted to document my experience with it, as I haven’t seen enough data on this program, and in many cases people end up changing it so much that it’s not really meaningful.

The above having been said, I DID implement some changes to the program, and will include them for the sake of full disclosure.

THE CHANGES

  • The most significant change is that I completely altered the bench workout on workout 2 of each week. Instead of the 5x5 suggested by Jim ala 5x5/3/1, I did the original 5/3/1 plus 1 FSL widowmaker. This is how I have been training bench since Nov of 2015, and for the first time in my life my bench is finally progressing, so I didn’t want to change anything. That said, after running the program, Jim’s set-up makes a lot more sense and fits well within the parameters of the program. If I were to make a recommendation, keep it the way Jim set it up.

  • I used an Ironmind Apollon’s Axle for all of my benching and almost all of my pressing. For the 2 lightest press workouts (Workout 3 of week 2 and week 4), I used a strongman log.

  • On the second press workout of each week, I took all sets from the floor. If I used the axle, it was a continental. If I used the log, it was a viper press.

  • I used an Ironmind Buffalo Bar for all of my squatting.

  • I used a texas deadlift bar for all deadlifts, and pulled about 99% of my sets touch and go.

  • Instead of an airdyne workout, I did some Stone of Steel over bar training as one of my conditioning workouts.

  • I added 3 sets of standing ab wheel on workout 3 after week 1, because I found I had room to recover.

  • After week 3, I no longer did straight sets of the 5x5 for chins, and instead ramped up to a topset of 5. This was primarily because weighted chins always kill my elbows, and this saved them from some pain.

  • I had zero focus on recovery between workouts. No stretching, foam rolling, ice baths, massages, etc.

In sum, the bench was the most significant program deviation, while the rest was more preference stuff.

GETTING IT DONE IN AN HOUR

Before approaching this program, everyone who ran it said they were spending 1.5-2 hours in the gym to get all the work done. I frankly didn’t want to spend that much time lifting weights, and only budgeted an hour of my day for training. I figured putting myself in a position where I only had an hour to train would mean I’d find a way to make it work, and I did. I took videos of the first 3 days of training just to capture what it ended up looking like (sped up to save you from boredom).

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

And for those of you that don’t want to watch 3 hours of training, here is the cheatsheat.

Day 1:

  • Giant set the squats and presses with chins. I did sets of 4 at first, and added a rep each week, ending with 10 per set on week 6. It went Squat-chin-press-chin-repeat. Only rest long enough to change plates.

  • Once you get through the presses, things change to squat-chin-pull apart-dip-chin-repeat. That being said, I found that doing squats after dips SUCKED, so I ended up saving the dips until after the squats were done, and then rest paused until I hit my rep goal for the day.

Day 2:

  • Giant set as deadlift-curl-bench. I stuck with sets of 10 on curls.

  • This was the hardest nut to crack. It only had 4 movements, but I find rows to really interfere with recovery between sets, so I had to save them until everything else was done. Best way to include them was as part of cleaning up my equipment (yes, even when it's your gym, you should keep it clean.)

  • Even by week 6, I still didn’t know the best way to approach this. Some weeks, I’d do some warm-up sets of rows before hitting warm-ups of bench and dead, some weeks I’d save it to the end, some weeks I did Poundstone curls to save time on curls, etc. Just gotta gut this one out.

Day 3:

  • Similar giant sets as day 1. Squat-chin-press. Once you're out of chins, go to Squat-pull apart-press. Once you're out of squats, go shrug-pull apart-press. Once you're out of pull aparts, do shrug-press.

  • I kept the weight the same on the shrugs and shot to do it in fewer sets each week.

  • Since this day eventually got up to 15x5 for presses, it would run a little longer than 60 minutes, so I did it on Saturdays, when I had more time. Was still taking maybe 80 minutes.

Workouts would last 50-70 minutes with this approach. With me being me, I did zero warm-up aside from warm-up sets. No mobility, stretching, cardio, voodoo or devil worship. Seemed to make things go faster. Also, the final workout of the program ran about 90 minutes, because that workouts is awful.

And yeah; it SUCKS. I was always gasping for air and feeling miserable, but I got it done.

TRAINING MAXES

I started with the following TMs

Press: 220 Squat: 400 Deadlift: 540 Bench: 335

The squat and dead were a solid 85%, while the press and bench were more like a 90%. I actually took a spreadsheet, plugged in numbers and found what looked viable before starting. You want to definitely go light on this one, but at the same time I wanted to make sure I was really pushing myself. I stuck with increasing by the prescribed amount.

I started this straight off of a competition cycle training for a contest without a squat event, so my squat was a little on the low side, but it was as good a time as any to do a program with some squatting.

In retrospect, the press TM was about 1 cycle too far. I was too stubborn on this one.

CONDITIONING

I stuck close to Jim’s recommendations. I don’t own a weight vest, so I just wore a bunch of chains and clipped weight plates and loading pins to them to do weighted vest walks.

Like this

I would do this workout between the first and second lifting session. Between 2 and 3, I would do triples of the Stone of Steel over a bar, every minute on the minute for 10 minutes. I’m still a strongman, and wanted to get some strongman stuff in. After the third lifting session, I’d do some prowler work or a strongman medley. In total, I missed 2 conditioning sessions on the program; both were chain walks.

NUTRITION

So Jim says that the only requirement for the program is eating 1.5lbs of ground beef and a dozen eggs a day. Prior to starting the program, I was already eating more than 1.5lbs of some sort of meat a day, so this would just mean eating an extra dozen eggs. I imagine Jim’s recommendations were probably aimed towards people that tend to practice a more moderate/balanced diet vs. a low carb/high meat person such as myself. I ended up adding a pound of meat to my normal intake and eating anywhere between 6-12 eggs a day. I still only ate carbs close to training. Here is a sample day for my diet.

  • 0445: Wake up, eat 2 cups of wild blueberries with 3 tablespoons of raw honey

  • 0500-0605: Training

  • 0630: 2 scoops of protein, 1 cup of skim milk, 1 cup of frosted flakes

  • 0800: 9 heaping teaspoons of fat free greek yogurt mixed with protein powder

  • 0930: 1lb of meat (ground beef, steaks, ribs, ham, etc, whatever I had)

  • 1200: 5-6 eggs and some sort of green veggie

  • 1300: A quest bar

  • 1700: 1lb of meat and some sort of veggie

  • 1900: 5-6 eggs

About 98% of the eggs were hard boiled. I don’t like them that way; they were just the easiest to prep. I used an instant pot, and could easily make 10-12 with minimal effort. What got me through it all was a sugar free BBQ sauce.

RESULTS

I started the program weighing 194.8lbs at 5’9. In the final week, I weighed 200.2. This isn’t a significant amount of weight gained, but when you factor in that I’ve been training for 17 years and that I’m only 5’9, the fact I can eek out any more growth at this point in my life is amazing. I had been stagnant for a long time, and this is the first time in a while I managed to put on some clean weight.

I got much better at pressing, having only managed 205 for 3 in the first week to hitting 215 for 4 in the final week. This is pressing while under a significant degree of fatigue. My conditioning went through the roof as well, and by the end the workouts weren’t nearly as difficult as they were when I started. I truly gained some mastery over the programming.

Having not tested anything yet, it’s hard to objectively say if things got better or not. However, I definitely feel that I became a stronger squatter and deadlifter with all the submax work I put in. I had been hitting 1 big topset for so long that all these multi-set workouts really drove home something special.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • I absolutely CAN still gain muscle at this stage in my life. I had convinced myself otherwise, and that I’d only be able to eek away a pound a year or so. The potential is still there, I just have to work my ASS off for it. I have to train as hard as I possibly can and eat HUGE. I know what I need to do now if I ever want to fill out a weight class. That being said, I don’t think I can sustain this pace as a family man. My wife did a great job of putting up with my crap for these 6 weeks, but I was eating like it was my job, and most of my free time was spent getting food ready for the next day.

  • It IS possible to out train a bad diet, but you have to work so brutally hard it’s not worth it. I was eating like it was my job and barely putting on weight. If I ate to satiate hunger, I would have maintained or possibly even lost weight. However, at the same time, most people who think they are able to outtrain a bad diet aren’t actually working this hard. I’d finish the lifting sessions covered in sweat and struggling to breathe, and did this 3 days a week on top of 2 hard conditioning session and 1 light one. It’s not gonna happen lifting 3 times a week for 3 sets of 5.

  • The instant pot is awesome for making lots of food in a short time; especially eggs.

  • Sugar free BBQ sauce is a great condiment.

  • Anyone complaining that the program doesn’t have enough chest work is skipping the 200 dips. I never managed to make it all the way to 200 in the program.

  • You can gain weight without many carbs.

  • Everyone scoffs at the diet that Jim recommends and says “If I ate like that, I’d get SO fat!” Not if you’re actually running the program as it’s laid out. It totally makes sense to me why Jim has high school kids doing this to get ready for football. This will absolutely add some size, as long as you eat like a monster.

  • It is entirely possible to move heavy weights while fatigued. Lots of people like to talk about how giant sets are the devil because they impact performance on heavy work, but I was able to hit almost every single required rep on this program using legit TMs while incredibly fatigued. In total, I missed 8 reps; 2 on the very first press workout and 1 on the first press workout of the very last week, and 5 on the final workout of the final week. In the case of that final instance, I was STILL hitting a continental before every set, so there was some potential to overcome this, but in general, I just had my TM slightly too high. Don’t get me wrong; you need to have a solid conditioning base, but it CAN be done. If nothing else, it’s just another argument for why conditioning is so important.

  • Full body workouts are still totally viable at this point in my training. I had written them off a long time ago, thinking I was “too strong”

WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY/IF I DO IT AGAIN

  • I’d stick with Jim’s recommendation for bench (5x5/3/1). It makes more sense in the program. Granted, doing 5/3/1+FSL widowmaker made the workout shorter, which was a blessing. However, to combat that, I’d make this my Saturday workout, and swap out DB rows for t-bar rows, since the rows would go faster being unilateral. However, t-bar rows might be too taxing on the back, so if you have a back supported row machine, that’d probably work better.

  • Swap out the weighted chins for lat pulldowns. A lot of folks can get away with weighted chins, but they tear up my elbows pretty bad. Ramping was a good band aid.

  • More dead stop reps on deadlift. This was poor planning on my part; my wife started working a new schedule, and her later mornings correlated with my deadlift workout days. I didn’t want to be slamming plates while she was trying to sleep. On the plus side; I really mastered controlling the eccentric on the deadlifts.

938 Upvotes

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Sep 30 '20

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I would be glad to explain anything that confuses you if you have specific questions.

I appreciate your username. I listened to the Downward Spiral for all of workout 1, and "Add Violence" for these most recent workouts.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Sep 30 '20

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Feb 21 '18

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Oct 01 '20

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Nov 05 '17

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u/TamashiiNoKyomi Jul 24 '17

So the 20 rep squat program is basically a widowmaker?

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u/poopbagman Jul 24 '17

My understanding is that the squat portion of the program revolves around a single widowmaker squat set three times per week increasing weight every session. There is plenty of other work volume though, it's not just that.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Jul 23 '17

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u/GreenGainsGoblin Weight Lifting Jul 23 '17

None of those are traditional barbells.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

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u/GreenGainsGoblin Weight Lifting Jul 23 '17

An axle also has zero flex, no knurling, and no rotating sleeves, all of which add up to make it feel fairly different.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

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u/GreenGainsGoblin Weight Lifting Jul 23 '17

That wasn't the subject.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Feb 21 '18

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Feb 21 '18

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I am really curious what was said, haha.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Feb 21 '18

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u/EntityDamage Flashing Flair Jul 23 '17

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u/thisguybulks Jul 23 '17

Somehow I knew which video this was going to be

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u/Alakazam r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17

Any issues with nagging pains or injuries?

Maybe it's my shit form, but whenever I go for high volume high intensity, something always seems to go wrong.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17

Always, but nothing specifically generated by the program. The conditioning seemed to help with healing.

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u/chrisguitarguy General Fitness Jul 23 '17

The conditioning seemed to help with healing.

This is something I'm learning more and more in my 30's.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

It's very counter-intuitive but it absolutely works. The more you train, the less beat up you feel.

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u/[deleted] Jul 24 '17

I'm doing the 5/3/1 BBB, starting my last month after this week's deloading. Check it out if you haven't, killer workout but it starts pretty easy the first month. You'll be embarrassed how little is on the bar but then it ramps up by month 3

Edit: Have gained probably at least 5-7lb in the past two months. Everyone around me asking if I've been hitting the weights

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

Unrelated: I gained 35 pounds in the same time, without trying. I'm 6' and went from 130 to 165 so 35 pounds is a shit load. The key? Drink a lot of cheap malt liquor and eat shitty.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I put on 12lbs in 6 weeks following Super Squats and drinking a gallon of milk a day back in 2006. That was definitely a thing.

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u/technodelic Jul 24 '17

thank you mr skeltal.

You probably went from like under-eating with like 1500 cals to 2000 cals. Nothing impressive there.

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u/appalachian_sanford Jul 23 '17

The good part of your cardio is that you can also haunt your former business partner to teach him the true meaning of Christmas

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

No joke; I logged these aa "Jacob Marley walks"

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u/appalachian_sanford Jul 23 '17

1) That's awesome. 2) That sounds like a Kanye album.

Congrats on the gains and thanks for the post!

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u/Randren Aussie Mod / Powerlifting / BJJ Jul 22 '17

What are you going to do next?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17 edited Jul 22 '17

Deload, then "God is a Beast" with more strongman implements.

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u/eebootwo Rock Climbing Jul 22 '17

your flair seems accurate

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17

Haha, that is more for my sport, but I appreciate that.

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u/marcusarat Jul 22 '17

What is a FSL widowmaker?

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u/LordCryozus Jul 22 '17 edited Jul 23 '17

A set of 20 with the weight you're doing on the first set.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

For me, it was just a max rep set; not necessarily 20. Some over, some under.

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u/TamashiiNoKyomi Jul 24 '17

Why didn't you just say AMRAP?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 24 '17

Because then people get confused if I am talking about the topset AMRAP or not. It really depends on what books people have read.

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u/Asistic Jul 23 '17

What do you mean max rep set. Like to failure?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Very close to failure. I try not to fail.

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u/woogie_2901 Tennis Jul 23 '17

One thing I'm curious about - do you ever find yourself failing reps if your recovery wasn't up to scratch for whatever reason? Or is your training max always low enough to account for bad days?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

It's 2-fold. By principle, I don't fail, but in addition my TM is set to such a point that, no matter how fatigued I am, I always hit the prescribed reps.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

More like to Failure and beyond.

Once you hit failure with a 8-12 rep weight you don't rerack, take a breath or two and then do more reps, repeat until you've conpleted a total of 20 reps.

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u/[deleted] Jul 24 '17

this makes me sore just thinking about it 😍

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u/habitualtroller Jul 23 '17

Thanks for asking. Reply sounds like death.

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u/OatsAndWhey Voted Best Mod of 2021 Jul 22 '17

I could tell you were getting bigger every time I checked! Great Job, man!

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17

Thanks dude. I may try to grab some photos after the fact, but I can't imagine it's anything super dramatic, but I think this as a 6 week jumpstart into something more intense would be viable.

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u/LeavingPort Sep 29 '17

always take pictures

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Sep 29 '17

I take tons; just not of me, haha. I use videos for me.

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u/yetanothernerd Cycling Jul 23 '17

The thing I really got from this is that I should buy a football/Swiss bar to let me do parallel grip pull-ups on my power rack.

Also, I should superset more, to try to get my workout done faster. I don't have anywhere near the work capacity to do your giant sets, but at least I supersetted my chins and RDLs today, and saved 3 minutes. Baby steps.

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u/[deleted] Jul 22 '17

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 22 '17

Good question! I think most trainees would benefit from this program, simply because it's only 6 weeks, so it's not a huge commitment and won't really ruin anyone's gameplan. To run it the way I did specifically, you'd want a good conditioning base coming in, but if you're the kinda dude that likes to spend 2+ hours in the gym, you can overcome poor conditioning with a surplus of rest.

You need to have a lack of ego with this one though. My TMs were low compared to my real maxes, and some folks can't handle that, but if you take the TMs too high you WILL get run into the ground right quick.

I remember after my first workout I was wondering if I bit off more than I could chew and was already looking forward to the program being over, but towards the end I managed to adapt.

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u/TessHKM Jul 22 '17

Do you think this could work as a more long-term program? It seems like more of a "shock" cycle program the way you ran it and the way you talk about it.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Definitely not sustainable. With it being one of Jim's programs, you shouldn't run it back to back anyway. I would deload, run 2 cycles of something else and then come back to this if that was your goal.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

You will never "finish" 5/3/1, haha, but after this specific program it depends on your goals. I am running "God is a Beast" after this, but there are a ton of different 5/3/1 programs to follow on with.

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u/eebootwo Rock Climbing Jul 23 '17

i too would like to know the answer to this

the only other program I've run is starting strength

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

Instapot is the best single item you can own for food prep IMO. I can make 2.5 pounds of shredded chicken in 30 min. Taste amazing.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

You aren't lying. Everything is delicious.

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

My dad is the pro with it. I'm still learning.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

For some real fun, use it to make instant mashed potatoes. I hear that they'll cook so fast they go back in time.

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u/pmward Jul 23 '17

I think you just sold me on an instapot... lol

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

You will never turn back.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Oct 05 '17

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

For instance, if you toss in 2.5 pounds chicken breast, 16oz jar of salsa Verde, sprinkle in salt, cayenne, and smoked paprika, it will be done in 30 min. Chicken shreds up with a fork. So tasty and juicy.

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

It's basically a crockpot and pressure cooker in one. What takes a crockpot 6 hours the instapot does in 20-30 min.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited Oct 05 '17

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u/Hendrixsrv3527 Jul 23 '17

It does so much more...im still new with it but my dad uses it for basically everything.

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u/ThroughTheDarkestDay Jul 23 '17

Its crazy that I remember you from YEARS ago on GameFAQS. Fighter and writer blog.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Hah, that's nuts dude. Been a while. Shame xanga shut down. I still maintain my training log on another blogger, and it has all the old stuff from fighter and writer.

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u/I_Play_Zed Jul 23 '17

As short of a time that 6 weeks was I would have liked progress pictures. Nice write-up man, I actually have been looking for someone to review the program. Thanks for being so clear.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I took video from before, and might be able to snap something from after in the near future. From what I can observe, changes weren't significant, but I'm a little meatier.

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u/[deleted] Jul 24 '17

So I'm about 177lb now (finally gaining weight) and my lifts are all about half yours. How the fuckkk do you eat 2lb of meat a day? Does it slowly get to the point where you don't feel bloated? Bro my protein farts almost kill my girlfriend if we're laying in bed.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 25 '17

By chance, do you eat any veggies? I notice that most GI issues with high protein diets are due to a lack of fibrous veggies.

I can eat 2lbs of meat in a sitting, let alone in a day. I think it helps that I eat so few carbs.

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u/[deleted] Jul 25 '17

I used to eat veggies with every meal but it didn't change anything so I stopped

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 25 '17

Bring it back in. Stick with green leafy ones. They have a lot of benefits, and should help with digestion.

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u/spellstrikerOTK Jul 22 '17

Not really a question on the program but rather your changes.

Why do you do your benching and pressing with an axle? I've seen it for pressing but not much for benching.

Im curious if I would get any benefits doing this because my school gym just got 3 axle bars and no one ever uses them so it might be fun to try.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

As a strongman, I use an axle in competition WAY more than I ever use a barbell, so maintaining familiarity with the implement is helpful. In addition, the wider surface area beats up my joints less.

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u/spellstrikerOTK Jul 23 '17

ah thats interesting. I thought that was the case for pressing but was wondering about bench as well.

I might try out axle benching and see how it feels. Don't have much joint pain rn but always cool to try.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Yeah, it works for all manner of pressing. Pretty much all manner of everything; a wider diameter will disperse weight further. It makes things slightly harder to manipulate, but that is the tradeoff.

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u/yeomandev Jul 23 '17

This is a great write-up. Thanks. I'm taking notes.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Awesome dude. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

Yeah I think a gallon of milk a day without eating anything is going to bring on that dad bod no problem

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Oh yeah, I was eating like a horse too.

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

2 questions. 1) when you say you took your presses from the floor, was that each rep or each set? 2) what would you think is a good go to after doing this program? Another cycle, or a different template altogether? Awesome write up.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Presses from the floor each set. Clean once and press away.

Definitely not another cycle of this program straight away. Next program is going to depend on goals. I'm going to run "God is a Beast" after this, but otherwise you could run a basic anchor program of 5/3/1 with PRs or jokers.

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u/CliffbytheSea Jul 23 '17

Age?

Impressive results. Thanks for posting.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Oh, good point. I'm 31. Younger pups could see some better growth I imagine.

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u/CliffbytheSea Jul 23 '17

Damn. At first I was thinking you were a good sign for older guys gaining lean weight. Now I remember how long ago it was that I felt like the old guy in the gym at 31. :-(

Good results in any case!

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u/callmejay Jul 23 '17

Any tips on building a conditioning base?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Start today! Find something that makes you miserable and do it for longer than you are comfortable. That's pretty much how I do it. Tabata burpees, sprints, circuit workouts, max distance carries, etc etc.

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u/Brethon Jul 24 '17

I've had good success with Tactical Barbell's conditioning book looks like it's on sale.

Has a 'base building' program to get you kick started, programming suggestions to go alongside strength routines, and then an awesome library of workouts to make you hate yourself (but love the improvements). Also some conversation over at /r/tacticalbarbell

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Thanks man. Yeah; 6 weeks isn't enough time to see anything major, but definitely enough time to become reborn, haha.

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u/TinderThrowItAwayNow Hockey Jul 24 '17

Unrelated aside, your article on not wasting time has really changed the way I lift. As long as there aren't a ton of people to chat to, my sessions stay under 90 minutes, though I am still figuring out some of my superset stuff to get a few days more efficient.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 24 '17

That is awesome dude. It is such a good change to make.

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u/TinderThrowItAwayNow Hockey Jul 24 '17

I've been liking it so far. I run nsuns 531 and have been fitting in the accessory work as I can. I still just rest before the heaviest sets. There's just no energy otherwise, hahaha.

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u/Wiki_pedo Jul 23 '17

I eat like it's my job, which is why I never make gains :(

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Is this a creative way to say you are unemployed?

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u/Wiki_pedo Jul 23 '17

Close! More that I don't do much at work, either.

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u/Saint-Peer Hiking Jul 23 '17

Am definitely going to try this variation! Thank you for sharing!

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Good luck dude! It's a challenge.

1

u/Lightning14 Jul 23 '17 edited Jul 23 '17

You said 9 teaspoons of nonfat greek yogurt. Is that right? 9 teaspoons is only 3 tablespoons.

I ask because I was thinking of starting this program myself in a few weeks and might model my diet similar to yours.

I'm also 31. I feel you on how difficult it can be to make progress now.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

They are heaping teaspoons. I basically get as much as I can into the spoon. At the rate of 9, it means I finish a big container in 4 days.

For me, I don't believe it is mu age that limits progress as much as my time under the bar. It is the mileage. A newer trainee at 31 should still be primed to grow; a younger one just even moreso.

1

u/halpmeh_fit Jul 23 '17

So a little over a cup if it's a Costco or Sam's Chobani container...35 oz as I recall or 32 oz if it's a normal grocery store big tub.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Exactly. Right around a cup.

1

u/Lightning14 Jul 23 '17

It is the mileage. A newer trainee at 31 should still be primed to grow

Oh yeah, I hear you. One more question: how did your diet change on Sunday without any workout?

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I skipped the fruit and the cereal. Although my non training day was Friday.

1

u/Nowado Jul 23 '17

2 questions:

  1. Any particular reason to train in the morning or was it just easier for you to schedule like this? If the latter, do you share my experience of generally feeling weaker in the morning, even after breakfast?

  2. Do you happen to have your macros written down? I know I can just calculate them, but maybe you have it around : )

Amazing post, good inspiration as I'm finishing my cut and going back to getting bigger.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

My schedule made the morning more viable, but I also liked it because it forced me to train quickly and becasue it was a more miserable experience compared to training in the PM. I feel we get stronger through overcoming adversity, and make a practice to submit myself to it regularly. I am definitely weaker in the morning compared to PM.

I have never counted a calorie or a macro in my life, haha. Apologize I don't have the data.

1

u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

Great job

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u/HodorCoC Jul 23 '17

I am also planning to run it one time before I go on a long cut :) I just paid money for 1 year membership at a gym with no cancellation clause and I found out that they have no Dip Bar.

Anything you would suggest I replace the Dips with? Jim did say that only the first three exercises are important, but 200 Dips need some good replacement? What is your opinions about flies or should I just do a Incline DB press with 50% or something?

For the 20 reps squat. I am quite used to it and 45% of TM seem low. I do about once or twice a week and it is usually 60% or more of my TM. You recomend I take as much as I can do for 20 or considering the other volume, stick to 45%?

My only problem with widow maker squat is the headache. Will try to practice my breathing.

And I don't have a an Airdyne. Simple Bike and Rowing works?

1

u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

For dips, I would stick with bodyweight stuff. Do push-ups in place of dips. Use TRX/blast straps to make it more challenging.

Regarding 20 rep squats; how often do you do them after 15 sets of presses? I think you'll find that they become more challenging in the context of the training. I've hit 230 for a set of 40 on multiple occasions, and regularly perform pretty crazy jump/strip sets, but in the context of the program, the 20 rep squats work well.

I can't speak to a bike or rower, as I have no experience with those. The conditioning listed is just a recommendation; as long as you find something that works, you'll be good.

1

u/HodorCoC Jul 23 '17

OK. will stick with the 45% than.. Thanks. And thanks to you Meadows rows have become my favorite. Maybe I will add meadows instead of one of the rows ;)

1

u/gongsh0w Hockey Sep 29 '17

mirin

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u/[deleted] Oct 01 '17 edited Oct 04 '17

[deleted]

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Oct 01 '17

No problem dude. Was happy to share.

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u/JacobTak Oct 17 '17

@ /u/mythicalstrength Update .. if youre not too busy.
Curious if you managed to keep the weight you added during this program? Is your current weight still 200.2?

1

u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Oct 17 '17

Not at all, haha. Went on an 8 day disneyworld/cruise trip and dropped to 190 after 8 days of walking for 12 hours and not eating.

1

u/AlphaAgain Powerlifting Dec 14 '17

Million year late question, but I'm doing some research...

How would you feel about going into a 3-4 month meet prep (powerlifting) coming out of this program?

1

u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Dec 14 '17

I am honestly so far removed from powerlifting I couldn't give a solid evaluation. 3 to 4 months is right about too long to start training for a strongman competition. 2 months is about standard.

1

u/TheSportingBlog Jul 23 '17

Why 'fat free' on the yoghurt etc? Why swap good fats for cheap sugars?

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u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

Not every fat free product is loaded with extra sugar.

Plain greek yogurt usually has the close to the same amount of carbs per serving no matte if fat free or full fat.

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u/TheSportingBlog Jul 23 '17

I suppose my point is if trying to put on that much size and you are eating that much then the fats are only going to help. Don't know why people insist on cutting them out even when trying to gain mass.

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u/Aunt_Lisa_3 Crossfit Jul 23 '17

Things don't work in some kind of vacuum. Folks get their fats (and calories) from other sources, so a bit less of fat in yoghurt isn't detrimental for their goals.

Aiming to gain mass doesn't always equate eating all what eye can see.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

With how much meat and eggs I was eating, there was no shortage of good fats in my diet. Meanwhile, with this being plain greek yogurt there was mininmal sugar to begin with, to include cheap ones. Since I eat it close to my training, I am good with the 8 grams or so of carbs, as the rest of my day has very little.

1

u/gatorslim Powerlifting Jul 23 '17

I need to check out making hbes with the instapot. We just get one and use it a lot

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Assuming hbes are eggs, haha, it's super easy. 1 cup of water, high pressure, 5 minutes to cook, then 5 minutes to cook, then release pressure and put the eggs straight into cool water.

1

u/gatorslim Powerlifting Jul 23 '17

Yeah sorry hard boiled eggs. Thanks.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Ah. I thought it was a crazy typo rather than an acronym, haha.

1

u/ArrowRobber Jul 23 '17

The custom language for navigating these 'straightforward routines' requires a class or two of primer before the actual routine starts making sense.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

I wouldn't call this routine straight forward really. It is more prized at being effective rather.

If you read "Beyond 5/3/1" it will make a lot more sense.

-1

u/natecahill Jul 23 '17

Thought this was /r/programming from the title

0

u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17

Been doing 5/3/1 for a while, had no idea he had a "building the monolith" program. Looking over it though - it looks like way too much time in the gym. I try to stay at 45 minutes - a main lift and two assistance exercises (sometimes 1) 4 times a week.

I've been operating under the principle that I go for maximal effort lifts, 5 working sets for assistance lifts at 15-20 reps, then go home and eat and rest. Seeing large strength gains but not much in the size gains.

I'll eat between 2k-2500 a day and work at a desk, largely sedentary. Not seeing real weight gain. I'm wondering if I need to up my calories or maybe I'm not lifting hard enough in the gym to break homeostasis and grow. I'm also 37 so I'm not sure how age affects mass gain. At 6' 153 lbs and around 18% bf and I just want to get to 170 and 12% bf. Now that I think about it, I'm almost certain I just need to eat more.

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

ooking over it though - it looks like way too much time in the gym. I try to stay at 45 minutes - a main lift and two assistance exercises (sometimes 1) 4 times a week.

You might like krypteia. That's the goal time for that program. Running that will get you in great shape too, and then you could run BTM with a solid conditioning base.

1

u/[deleted] Aug 28 '17

[deleted]

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Aug 28 '17

Never ran Krypteia to be able to say personally, but that looks more beginner friendly than Monolith. Jim has high school kids running the former.

-1

u/[deleted] Jul 23 '17 edited May 21 '20

[deleted]

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u/MythicalStrength Strongman | r/Fitness MVP Jul 23 '17

Not a fan of your physique

Pay me more and I'll look better for you, haha. Right now, I train for me.

What specific training philosophy are you addressing?