The Jim Wendler BBB Program | The Ultimate Guide!


Are you curious about the Jim Wendler BBB Program?

Do you want to know how Jim uses the 5/3/1 “Boring But Big” 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 BBB program to take your training to the next level!

Introduction

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

Jim Wendler is one of the most popular powerlifting coaches in the world.

He invented his 5/3/1 training program to give the world a simple way to get stronger and hit massive PRs in the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press.

Jim Wendler says Boring But Big is his favorite way to perform the 5/3/1 training program.

But what is it, and why does it work so well for building muscle mass and strength?

Boring But Big is a high-volume training template that you can use to perform your accessory lifts on Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program.

The goal is to perform 5 sets of 10 reps on two different accessory lifts.

For example, here is what a Boring But Big workout might look like for the bench press:

5/3/1 Bench Press Workout

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B2: Bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise B2: Lat pulldown, 5 sets of 10 reps

Of course, there are many different ways to organize a Boring But Big template.

All of this will be covered later in this article.

Jim Wendler likes to use this workout template with all 4 of his workouts.

As you may already know, Jim likes to perform 3 working sets on his main exercise for the day before performing any higher-rep accessory work.

Here is what Jim’s 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

Of course, it is possible to perform Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program while training 4, 3, or even 2 days per week. The choice is up to you.

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

Part 1: Boring But Big

Jim Wendler says Boring But Big is his absolute favorite way to train.

He likes it so much, that he invented 3 different versions of it! Check it out:

Jim Wendler’s Boring But Big Templates

  • Option #1: Boring But Big 1.0
  • Option #2: Boring But Big 2.0
  • Option #3: Boring But Big Beefcake

All three of these templates are excellent for building size and strength.

The first two options are best if you have average recovery ability, while the “beefcake” version of the program is a great option if you respond well to high-volume programs.

For Boring But Big 1.0, you are going to perform 2 accessory exercises for 5 sets of 10 reps. For example:

Boring But Big 1.0

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps**
  • Exercise B2: Lat pulldown, 5 sets of 10 reps

**Performed at 50% of your training max.

With BBB 1.0, you perform your 3 working sets on one of the “big 4” exercises.

Then, you drop the weight down to 50% of your training max and perform 5 sets of 10 reps.

This is why the program is called boring bug big – it is very boring, but it will make you very big and strong!

You also perform 5 sets of 10 reps on a second accessory exercise.

On your upper body days, this accessory exercise should be something for your upper back.

On your lower body days, it could be a leg press, back extension, reverse hyperextension, or anything else that trains your lower body.

The BBB 2.0 program is a little bit different. Check it out:

Boring But Big 2.0

  • Exercise A1: Bench 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

With BBB 2.0, you are going to perform 3 working sets on one of your “big 4” exercises.

Next, you are going to take the OTHER big upper body or lower body exercise, and perform 5 sets of 10 reps with 50% of your 1-rep max.

You also perform 5 sets of 10 reps on a second accessory exercise, as usual.

For example, on your bench press day, you perform 3 working sets on the bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps on the overhead press, and 5 sets of 10 reps on another accessory exercise.

On your squat day, you perform 3 working sets on the squat, 5 sets of 10 reps on the deadlift, and 5 sets of 10 reps on a second accessory exercise. And so on.

Now let’s talk about the BBB Beefcake template. Check it out:

Boring But Big Beefcake

  • Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Bench press, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise B2: Lat pulldown, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Abs (your choice), 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • Exercise C2: Single leg work, 3 sets of 5-10 reps

Boring But Big Beefcake is a more advanced version of the original BBB program.

The main difference is you are going to perform some additional accessory work for the other half of your body.

On your upper body days, you perform 2 extra accessory exercises for your lower body as your 4th and 5th movements.

On your lower body days, you perform 2 extra accessory exercises for your upper body as your 4th and 5th movements.

Jim Wendler says the Beefcake template is very demanding.

However, he believes it is probably the most effective way to run the 5/3/1 training program.

Part 2: The 5/3/1 Training Program

Jim Wendler says that his 5/3/1 Training Program is the simplest and most effective way to build raw strength.

But what does his training program actually look like?

5/3/1 has 4 main training days:

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

You can perform this program 4, 3, or even 2 days per week.

The most important thing is that you cycle through these 4 workouts. With 5/3/1, you start each training day by performing 3 working sets on one of these “big 4” exercises. Check it out:

The 5/3/1 Training Cycle

  • Week #1: 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Week #2: 3 sets of 3 reps
  • Week #3: 3 sets of 5, 3, 1 reps
  • Week #4: 3 sets of 5 reps (Deload)

As you can see, the number of reps you perform on your 3 working sets changes from week to week.

You perform 3 sets of 5 reps on the first week, 3 sets of 3 reps on the second week, 3 sets of 1-5 reps on the third week, and then on the 4th week you perform a deload workout.

For each workout, you are going to use specific training percentages to determine how much weight to lift. Check it out:

Week #1 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 65% x 5
  • Set 2: 75% x 5
  • Set 3: 85% x 5+

Week #2 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 70% x 3
  • Set 2: 80% x 3
  • Set 3: 90% x 3+

Week #3 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 75% x 5
  • Set 2: 85% x 3
  • Set 3: 95% x 1+

Week #4 Training Percentages:

  • Set 1: 40% x 5
  • Set 2: 50% x 5
  • Set 3: 60% x 5

Keep in mind that all of these percentages are based on your training max, NOT your actual 1-rep max!

Jim Wendler says you should use 90% of your actual 1-rep max as your training max.

In other words, if you can bench press 300 pounds, then you should start with a “training max” of 270 pounds instead.

This will make it much easier to make long-term progress using his program.

Jim says you should increase your training max by 5-10 pounds every month for each of the Big 4 exercises.

For example, here is what your long-term progress might look like while using the 5/3/1 program:

Month #1: Boring But Big

  • Overhead Press: 150
  • Bench Press: 300
  • Squat: 400
  • Deadlift: 500

Month #2: Boring But Big

  • Overhead Press: 155
  • Bench Press: 305
  • Squat: 410
  • Deadlift: 510

Month #3: Boring But Big

  • Overhead Press: 160
  • Bench Press: 310
  • Squat: 420
  • Deadlift: 520

You continue to increase your training maxes every month until you stall.

At that point, you reset your training maxes to a slightly lower number and repeat the process all over again!

Part 3: Sample Workouts

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Let’s take a look at some sample 5/3/1 Boring But Big workouts.

Jim Wendler really likes the “beefcake” version of the program, so we are going to use that template for all of our workouts.

Here is the 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake bench press workout. Check it out:

Boring But Big: Bench Press Day

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

Here is the training video:

Talk about an impressive bench press by Jim Wendler!

Here is the 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake squat workout. Check it out:

Boring But Big: Squat Day

  • Exercise A1: Squat, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Squat, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Dips, 50 total reps
  • Exercise C2: Chin ups, 50 total reps

Here is the training video:

Here is the 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake overhead press workout. Check it out:

Boring But Big: Overhead Press Day

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

Here is the training video:

Talk about an impressive overhead press by Jim Wendler!

Here is the 5/3/1 BBB Beefcake deadlift workout. Check it out:

Boring But Big: Deadlift Press Day

  • Exercise A1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 1-5 reps
  • Exercise B1: Deadlift, 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise C1: Incline dumbbell press, 50 total reps
  • Exercise C2: Barbell rows, 50 total reps

Here is the training video:

Talk about an impressive deadlift by Jim Wendler!

Conclusion | 5/3/1 Boring But Big!

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

His 5/3/1 Training Program really is one of the simplest and most effective ways to build pure strength!

Jim says the Boring But Big template is his all-time favorite way to program accessory work. He especially likes the “BBB Beefcake” template for anyone with above average recovery ability.

So what are you waiting for?

Start training like a beefcake and 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!

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