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Boring But Big: Beefcake Training

Boring But Big: Beefcake Training

Boring But Big is the top monkey for two reasons. First, it is simple to follow and truly lives up to its name: boring. Second, it does a good job of putting on strength and size. Getting bigger, even if you don’t follow Boring But Big, requires a few adjustments that are time-tested.

Your main work must be proportional to your supplemental work. In the case of Boring But Big, the supplemental work is hard (as in a lot of volume is done with a “big” movement.) Because of this, the main work (main sets of the program) must be done in a limited manner. In general, all we are doing is trying to maintain the heavy weights and using the volume of Boring But Big (BBB) to raise strength.

Your conditioning must be proportional to your lifting. The more volume and work you do in the weight room must be reflected by doing LESS strenuous conditioning work. In the case of getting bigger, you are not using conditioning for any other reason other than improved aerobic ability and recovery. Too many people try do too much of both and shit the bed on both. So your conditioning has to be such that it doesn’t break your body down so much that you can’t recover from the work in the weight room.

Your calories has to be reflect your volume and your goals. Getting bigger is no different than getting stronger or becoming a better athlete in terms of principles. You eat for performance. And if your “performance” is getting bigger (more muscle mass) than you have to eat enough food to illicit recovery and to give your body fuel. It’s that simple (in principle).

Your assistance work (this is the work that is done AFTER the main lift and the supplemental) has to be proportional also. Again, because we are doing a “hard” amount of supplemental work, you have to leave yourself some room to recover for the next workout. One thing that we’ve been experimenting with is using something like this for the BBB. Note: Main lifts are still done 5/3/1 style to preserve the philosophy of smart and progressive programming.


Squat 5x10
Assistance: Dips x 50, chins x 50


Overhead Press
Overhead Press 5x10/rows 5x10
Assistance: Ab work x 50, single leg work x 25/leg (optional)


Deadlift 5x10
Assistance: Dips x 50, face pulls x 100


Bench press
Bench press 5x10/rows 5x10
Assistance: Ab work x 50, single leg work x 25/leg (optional)

Note: All supplemental work is done with FSL weights: we generally recommend all 50 reps of supplemental work is finished in 20 minutes. This includes the rows on press/bench press day.  We do NOT program rows - just row something and get on with your life.

This is just an example but I’m sure you get the principle/idea behind it. The assistance work is not done “crazy” but you get some extra work in and aren’t totally burnt out. NO lower back work is done (back raises, for example) due to the volume work of the lower back in deadlifting and squatting.

Just remember that everything needs to be in the right proportions when training. You do a lot of one thing, something needs to come out. This is the cardinal rule of training.

If you don't understand some, most or any of the above training or terminology, I highly recommend you read the 5/3/1 Second Edition book which is available in both paperback and an immediate download eBook.  It covers all the ground work and provides you with tons of programming options from which to choose, for many years to come.  Time is going to pass and nothing stays the same; you're either getting better or getting worse.

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