The Jim Wendler Beefcake Program | The Ultimate Guide!


Are you curious about the Jim Wendler beefcake program?

Do you want to know how Jim Wendler uses the “boring but big beefcake” template to build size and strength?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, I will teach you exactly how to use the Jim Wendler beefcake program to take your training to the next level!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The 5/3/1 Training Program
  • Part 2: Boring But Big
  • Part 3: Boring But Big Beefcake

Jim Wendler is one of the biggest powerlifting coaches in the world today, and it’s easy to see why.

His 5/3/1 program really is one of the simplest and most effective ways to build raw strength!

Jim Wendler says there are many different ways to program the assistance work on his 5/3/1 program. However, his all-time favorite template is the “beefcake” version of boring but big!

So what is boring but big beefcake, and why does it work so well for building size and strength?

Boring But Big Beefcake is a high-volume version of 5/3/1 where you perform 4 assistance exercises per workout for your entire body.

Jim Wendler says these full body workouts create faster strength gains, because you are hitting each muscle group up to 4 times per week.

But before we talk about the Boring But Big Beefcake program, here is a quick overview of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program.

Part 1: The 5/3/1 Training Program

5/3/1 is a simple strength-based program invented by Jim Wendler.

The goal of 5/3/1 is to slowly get stronger on 4 key exercises: the bench press, the squat, the overhead press, and the deadlift.

Jim says these are the key strength-building exercises, and if you get strong on all 4 movements, then you are going to be a big, strong dude.

With 5/3/1, you train one of these “big 4” exercises on each training day.

Here is what the original 5/3/1 training split looks like:

The 5/3/1 Training Split

  • Day 1: Bench Press
  • Day 2: Squat
  • Day 3: Overhead Press
  • Day 4: Deadlift

As you can see, there are 4 main 5/3/1 workouts.

On each day you perform 3 heavy sets on the bench press, squat, overhead press, or deadlift.

After the 3 heavy sets you perform some assistance work for your upper or lower body.

To make things as simple as possible, the heavy sets are based on training percentages. Check it out:

5/3/1 Programming

  • Week #1: 3 sets of 5 reps @ 65%, 75%, 85%
  • Week #2: 3 sets of 3 reps @ 70%, 80%, 90%
  • Week #3: 3 sets of 5, 3, 1 reps @ 75%, 85%, 95%
  • Week #4: 3 sets of 5 reps @ 40%, 50%, 60%

The percentages increase for the first three weeks, and then on the 4th week you perform a deload.

This is how Jim Wendler gets people to get consistently stronger over long periods of time.

If you want to learn more about 5/3/1 programming, then make sure you check out my article:

Now let’s take a closer look at the Boring But Big template!

Part 2: Boring But Big

Boring But Big is Jim Wendler’s most popular assistance work template.

He says it is the most effective way to use his 5/3/1 program for building size and strength. Here’s how it works:

Boring But Big Template

  • Main lift: 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Main lift: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Accessory lift: 5 sets of 10 reps

You perform the start of the workout just as you normally would.

You warm up, then perform 3 working sets on the main exercise using your 5/3/1 percentages.

So far, so good.

After the main set, you are going to perform 5 sets of 10 reps on two exercises: the main exercise that you performed first, plus a second assistance exercise.

For the main exercise, you perform your “back-off” sets with 50% of your training max.

For example, if your training max is 200 pounds on the bench press, then you perform your back off sets with 100 pounds.

Here is what a Boring But Big bench press workout might look like:

Bench Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise B2: Barbell row, 5 sets of 10 reps

Jim Wendler says this is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to train when you are looking for a nice blend of size and strength gains.

However, there is an even more effective way to do it… Boring But Big Beefcake!

Part 3: Boring But Big Beefcake

Boring But Big Beefcake is the next evolution in Jim Wendler’s Boring But Big assistance work template.

It is exactly the same as the original BBB template, but with one major change: you perform two extra assistance exercises for the other half of your body. Check it out:

Beefcake Training Template

  • Main lift: 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Main lift: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Accessory lift: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Secondary accessory lift: 50 total reps
  • Secondary accessory lift: 50 total reps

If it is an upper body day, you perform 2 extra exercises for your lower body at the end of the workout.

On the other hand, if it is a lower body day, then you perform 2 extra upper body assistance exercises at the end of your workout.

Jim Wendler says that these full body workouts are the fastest way to build raw strength, as the higher training frequency helps you build size and strength at the same time.

Here are some sample 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake workouts that you can try. Check it out:

Beefcake Bench Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise B2: Barbell rows, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Single-leg work, 25 total reps
  • Exercise C2: Abs, 50 total reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler bench pressing:

Talk about a huge bench press!

Here is a sample BBB Beefcake squat workout that you can try:

Beefcake Squat Day

  • Exercise A1: Squat, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Squat, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Good mornings, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise D1: Dips, 50 total reps
  • Exercise D2: Chin ups, 50 total reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler squatting:

Talk about a huge squat!

Here is a sample BBB Beefcake overhead press workout that you can try:

Beefcake Overhead Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Overhead press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Overhead press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise B2: Lat pulldown, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Single-leg work, 25 total reps
  • Exercise C2: Abs, 50 total reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler squatting:

Talk about a huge overhead press!

Here is a sample BBB Beefcake deadlift workout that you can try:

Beefcake Deadlift Day

  • Exercise A1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Deadlift, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Leg press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise D1: Push ups, 50 total reps
  • Exercise D2: Face pulls, 100 total reps

For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler deadlifting:

Talk about a huge deadlift!

Conclusion | The Jim Wendler Beefcake Program!

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program is one of the most popular training programs in the world, and it’s easy to see why.

It works extremely well for building raw strength!

Jim Wendler says the “Boring But Big Beefcake” template is the best way to use his program… but only if you have the “guts” to survive his high-volume full body workouts!

If you are up for the challenge, then you have to give 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake a shot.

It may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!

“The game of lifting isn’t an 8-week pursuit. Rather, it’s a lifetime pursuit. If you understand this, then progressing slowly isn’t a big deal. Now you can focus on getting those 5 extra pounds rather than 50.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

Recent Posts