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Wendler 5/3/1 Boring But Strong

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 10, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I've had great, consistent gains for the past 6 months running 5/3/1 with the Boring But Big template. I've done this with a leangains-style +20/-20 recomp. I can see my abdominal muscles for the first time in my life!

While I'm happy that I've put on so much muscle mass, even with a caloric equilibrium, I'd like to know what an assistance template would look like if one were to focus just on strength. All of Wendler's assistance examples seem to be hypertrophy based. What would "Boring but Strong" look like?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 20, 2013
at 01:31 PM

You are wrong. You listed 2 of the 3 primary ways to get stronger. The other is muscle fiber recruitment. That is how people gt stronger without getting bigger.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 10, 2012
at 09:47 PM

You're not wrong, it's simply a matter of focus; one can focus on building more mass (heavier weights and less reps), or one can focus on building physiologic efficiency (not necessarily the same as dialing in technique, but focused more on reinforcing neural and biochemical pathways).

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8

(1436)

on May 10, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I don't understand your question. 5/3/1 is the strength program. If you want, you could add heavy singles/doubles/triples as accessories.

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8

(1436)

on May 10, 2012
at 06:59 PM

BBB is the (optional) hypertrophy accessory work for 5/3/1. It consists of lifting 5x10 @ 50% of 1RM.

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2 Answers

2
8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

on May 10, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I've always thought of 5/3/1 as a strength template, rather than a size template. I know that's primarily what it did for me, and that's how I've read him describe it (at least I thought). I did put on a small amount of muscle mass, but primarily my strength increased slowly but consistently.

Did I totally misunderstand? Did you not find more strength than size improvement? I thought I was doing boring but strong ...

And the more I think about it, the more I think about Wendler's focus on building the neural pathways to improve performance, rather than simple hypertrophy of the myocytes (building mass). I know that's a big part of my experience, but I also wasn't doing much in the way of losing fat; perhaps that makes a difference?

E34fbfa1bca9ae970c9c7313bf9de9f8

(1436)

on May 10, 2012
at 06:59 PM

BBB is the (optional) hypertrophy accessory work for 5/3/1. It consists of lifting 5x10 @ 50% of 1RM.

1
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on May 10, 2012
at 06:58 PM

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that there are only two ways to become "stronger". You either (1) become better/more efficient at the movement and, hence, are able to move a heavier weight, or (2) you add muscle mass.

If you want to get stronger without adding more muscle, I guess your assistance work should focus on dialing in your technique so that you become more efficient and can move a heavier load with the muscles you already have.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 10, 2012
at 09:47 PM

You're not wrong, it's simply a matter of focus; one can focus on building more mass (heavier weights and less reps), or one can focus on building physiologic efficiency (not necessarily the same as dialing in technique, but focused more on reinforcing neural and biochemical pathways).

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 20, 2013
at 01:31 PM

You are wrong. You listed 2 of the 3 primary ways to get stronger. The other is muscle fiber recruitment. That is how people gt stronger without getting bigger.

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