New Year, New Program: The Holy Mother of Volume

My goals are pretty straightforward this year: try to add a 75 pounds between the three lifts while making improvements in my physique where I can. To that end, this program still incorporates Wendler’s 5/3/1 and is still 5/3/1, it is just more of it. A lot more of it, and its not a bro-split either. Yep, that’s correct, I am incorporating more full body workouts and while I hesitate to state this is a DUP or Bulgarian  approach to 5/3/1 (lest the purists call for my head for bastardizing it)  it did inspire me quite a bit.


  1. Bench and squat. Three times a week and pair them together where I can for better meet crossover.
  2. Full body. No bro splits. (And this is not to impugn the split, they are still quite effective and have their place.)
  3. Volume. Big But Boring was simply not enough volume for me — but running that as an assistance prior was great preparation. AMRAP last sets.
  4. Variable. Use 5/3/1 training max percentages to establish three levels of training intensity. Light. Moderate. Heavy.
  5. Self auto-regulation.  Know when to run the full program as designed, or alter variables as needed for time or for fatigue.
  6. Conditioning: Push-ups and chin-ups.


Holy Mother of Voume Training Block 2016

With those principles in mind, the program pretty much wrote itself. Essentially what I did for bench and deadlift, I made one day LIGHT — up to 60% of TM, one day MODERATE — up to 80% of TM, and for the heavy day I’d run 5/3/1 — and in my case 3/5/1. Basically, just added two deload days for bench and squat. For example, squat:

  • Squat (L): 135×7, 150×5, 185×5, (60%) 225×12 AMRAP. 185×10,10,16 AMRAP.
  • Squat (M): 135×7, 150×5, 185×5, 225×3, 260×3, (80%) 295×10 AMRAP. BBB: 185×10,10,13 AMRAP.
  • Squat (531): 135×7, 150×5, 185×5, 225×3, 295×3, (90%) 330×9. BBB: 185×10,10,10,10,11 AMRAP.

The rest are accessories will be increased by 5 pounds per week, which includes BBB work, deficit deadlifts, RDLs, dumbbell work, etc. All BBB and lighter work is kept at a rest of less than 90 seconds, a minute is best. Workouts are contained to 75 minutes sans warm up and cool down stretching and foam rolling.


I need this badly. Reps start at a modest 30 first week, but for me, those chin-ups are difficult to hit 30 reps. I was going to start at 15, but when I ran the pre-flight last week 15 wasn’t quite challanging enough. The key above demonstrates how the reps increase.


This is the really cool thing. Let’s say I walk in for my moderate day squatting on Thursday and I am just too blown out by Wednesday’s work. Do I skip it? Nope. I can do several things. I can 1) work up to 80% and do minimum reps; 2) Run the light day up to 60% and then decide if I can do the 3×10 sets, or: 3) just do the 3×10 sets at 50%. Same goes for bench press.


You had to ask, didn’t you! I’ll get back to you.


I am excited about this program for the next 8 weeks. I hope that my bench (especially this lift) and squat will improve and I will grow all sorts of gnarly muscle. I already have in mind the next program, but I won’t start penning that out until I run the first 4 weeks.

At the end of this program, I will write up my experiences. Did I make this ambition plan work? Am I dead? But you’ll be able to follow along on the blog to see if I am idiot or savant.


EDIT: After the first week, I’ve decided to remove that second Rack Pull to Shrug and instead add in another Push press for a better bench press crossover. 


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