The Jim Wendler Beefcake Program | The Ultimate Guide! (2023)

The Jim Wendler Beefcake Program | The Ultimate Guide! (1)

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!


  • 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.

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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:

  • Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program A The Ultimate Guide!

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

Part 2: Boring But Big

(Video) How To 5/3/1 Program Tutorial, Review, and Experiences After 15 Months

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.

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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!

(Video) How to make 5/3/1 Better for Size and Strength | Program Reconstruction

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.

(Video) Boring but Big program review

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!


What is Jim Wendler 50 rule? ›

The general rule of thumb is to use 50-60% of your Training Max for the 5 sets of 10 reps. But this is not set in stone; the whole goal is to get 5 sets of 10 reps. You can choose to do all the sets at one weight or vary the weight on the sets.

How much can Jim Wendler lift? ›

As a former competitive power lifter, Jim's best lifts included a 700-pound deadlift, 675-pound bench press, and a 1000-pound squat, which, when you do the math, all totals up to 'really freaking heavy.

What is the 5 3 1 training method? ›

5/3/1 Progression

5/3/1 works on a 3-week cycle. Each week, you lift a heavier weight for fewer reps in your main lifts. So in week 1, you use sets of 5 reps, in week 2 you lift sets of 3 reps, and in week 3 you use 5's and 3's to build towards a heavy single. All of which combined give the programme its name - 5/3/1.

What is the 5 3 1 Beefcake 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.

Can I do 531 2 days a week? ›

This 4-day split works great for many athletes. However, some people find that they cannot recover from 4 heavy workouts per week. For these people a 2 days per week training split may be a better option.

How long should you do Wendler 531? ›

You should stop following wendler 5/3/1 when you can't make progress on each 3-week cycle anymore.

What percent of lifters can lift 225? ›

Though we can safely say that - based on national statistics - less than 1% of the population can bench press 225 pounds, this figure becomes somewhat more dubious when changing the sample size to only individuals that visit the gym.

What are Wendler Joker sets? ›

Joker sets are an advanced training strategy where you increase the weight on your last working set of the squat, bench press, deadlift, or overhead press by 5-10%.

Is 5x3 good for strength? ›

Generally speaking, sets of less than 5 reps are good for building power and/or testing strength, sets of 4-8 are good for building strength, sets of 8-12 are good for hypertrophy (growth of muscle size), and 12+ build/test muscular endurance.

What are the 4 core lifts? ›

In the world of absolute strength, squats, bench presses, deadlifts and overhead pressing form “the core four.” These four lifts are the ultra-basic lifts.

Is training 3x a week enough? ›

Experts recommend exercising at least three times a week to maintain good health. Many people choose to workout more than the minimum recommended number of days, but busy people should not feel guilty for exercising only three days a week.

What is the 28 method in lifting? ›

“The 28 Method” is a classic technique used by bodybuilders, but it works for any guy looking to build muscle. You'll do 4 sets of 7 reps of the same exercise back to back. But with each set, you'll tweak the speed or range of motion to challenge your muscles in new ways.

Is 531 good for bodybuilding? ›

The main movement stays the same and keeps strength in the program. This allows you to progress from week to week and actually get stronger, something lacking in about 99% of non-assisted bodybuilders' routines.

Which 5x5 program is best? ›

Madcow's version of the 5X5 is without a doubt, the best 5X5 protocol to date. What makes Madcow's version so great, is weekly progression in weight that is built into the program.
  • Weighted Pull-ups.
  • Weighted Chest Dip.
  • Lying Leg Curls.
  • Barbell Squats.
  • Barbell Shrugs.
Jan 16, 2019

What is the 5x5 training method? ›

A 5×5 workout comprises compound barbell movements — like squats and deadlifts — using heavy weights and lower repetitions per set. As the name implies, a 5×5 workout usually involves 5 sets of 5 repetitions. The goal is to build strength in compound movements by adding weight every time you do the workout.

Should I train 3 or 4 times a week? ›

If you really want to see results reflected on the scale and continue to make progress over time, you need to commit to working out at least four to five days per week. But remember, you'll build up to this. To start, you might only want to do two or three days per week and slowly work your way up to five days.

Can you do two full body days in a row? ›

Conventional fitness advice says you should avoid doing back-to-back full-body strength-training workouts. The idea is that, to avoid injury and fitness plateaus, your muscles need at least 48 hours to recover and rebuild before you can hit them again.

Is working out 2x a week enough? ›

Is two workouts a week enough? The answer is yes twice a week is definitely enough, and more than that can even end up being counterproductive!

Is 48 hours enough recovery time? ›

Key Takeaways. 48-72 hours is the recommended time for muscle recovery. In order to speed muscle recovery, you can implement active rest after your workout session and have the right macronutrients in your diet.

Is training 4x a week enough? ›

Strength training 3-4 days a week is usually sufficient to build muscle. You can also work out 4-5 days a week and do muscle splits (chest/arms, back/abs, lower body, for example) on different days. If you want to build muscle, the intensity of your workouts is more important than the frequency of your workouts.

Is the 3/7 method better? ›

Despite subjects performing more repetitions with the same absolute load after training, neuromuscular fatigability increased (p < 0.05) after the two training methods. Conclusion: The 3/7 method provides a better stimulus for strength gain and muscle hypertrophy than the 8 × 6 method.

How rare is a 315 bench? ›

Within numerous estimates, approximately 0.6-1% of the entire United States population is capable of performing a 315 pound bench press repetition, of which is only 5% of all resistance-trained individuals within the Western hemisphere. At a global scale, approximately only 0.3-0.5% are able to do so.

How rare is a 300 lb bench press? ›

Generally, about 1 out of every 8-10 males attending the school will be able to bench 300 or more by the time they graduate. Of course, the people attending a personal training school are more fit than the normal population, but it just isn't that rare.

Can you bench 315 naturally? ›

Can someone bench 315 naturally? As someone who has hit both of those metrics, yes it's absolutely possible, and without supplements as well. Ive done this at a fairly soft 260, but i would imagine with the right focus, 225 could get it done. At 260, I've hit 225 for 37, 315 for 16, and 405 for 5.

What is the perfect number of reps? ›

The best rep range for building muscle

Numerous research studies show that high-volume resistance training is the best method for building muscle. According to the American Council on Exercise, the eight to 15 rep range holds the most muscle-building potential.

How many Joker sets should I do? ›

Only perform them for sets of 3's week or 5/3/1 week. This boils down to “only perform them for sets of 3 or singles, never sets of 5.” Use 5% jumps when performing joker sets of 3 reps.

What is 5 3 1 powerlifting? ›

What Is the 5/3/1 Workout? The 5/3/1 workout is a powerlifting program designed by powerlifter Jim Wendler. The key concept is to slowly build strength through four barbell weightlifting exercises: the parallel squat, bench press, deadlift, and the shoulder press, also known as overhead press or military press.

How many reps should you be able to do at 85? ›

At 85%, the optimal number of reps is 12, with the rep range being 2-4 reps. What that means is that you can do 6 sets of 2, 3 sets of 4, 4 sets of 3, etc, any set and rep range that keeps the total number of reps to 12, within that exercise.

Will 8 reps build strength? ›

Research and years of training have previously shown that the rep range of 1-6 per set is best for increasing muscle strength; 7-12 reps per set is best for increasing muscle growth; and reps of 12 and higher are best for increasing muscle endurance.

Is 8 reps considered heavy? ›

It turns out that 8-12 reps is actually good advice. It sits in the Goldilocks Zone of reps and loading, it's time efficient in that it can maximize the number of tough reps per set, it's energy efficient in that it doesn't require too many reps to stimulate hypertrophy, or involve loads that are unnecessarily heavy.

What are the golden 5 exercises? ›

The five basic exercises bench press, deadlift, squats, shoulder press and pull-up are generally known as the big 5 of strength training. Due to the adjustability of the resistance, the lat pull-down is often used instead of the pull-up.

What are the big 7 lifts? ›

The 7 Most Important Lifts
  • 1 The Deadlift. The deadlift is first on the list for a reason. ...
  • 2 The Clean & Press. It's a great exercise to increase power, strength, and size. ...
  • 3 The Squat. ...
  • 4 The Chin-Up. ...
  • 5 The Walking Lunge. ...
  • 6 The Push-Up. ...
  • 7 The Dip.
Jun 28, 2019

What are the big 6 exercises? ›

Get Fit and Stronger With These Big 6 Compound Exercises
  • Deadlift. The deadlift is one of our big posterior chain hinging movements. ...
  • Vertical Press: Overhead Press. Grab the bar at about shoulder width, more or less. ...
  • Vertical Pulling: Lat Pulldown. ...
  • Horizontal Pulling: Horizontal Cable Row. ...
  • Horizontal Pushing: Bench Press.

How long does it take to see results from working out 3 times a week? ›

That being said, Hughes explained that if you stick to your workout regime and you're training between three and five times a week, you can expect to see results within a month or two. “However, certain variables will affect this,” she added, such as your body's starting point and obviously your nutrition.

What happens if I lift weights for a month? ›

One of the most substantial benefits of weight lifting is improved strength. Although 1 month is quite a short time frame, you probably will already notice this improved strength quite early on. Doing daily tasks might start to feel easier and you'll likely find you have more energy throughout the day.

How long does it take to see results from working out 4 days a week? ›

While seeing results from working out heavily depends on the person and their current level of fitness, "My [clients] generally see initial changes within four to six weeks, and actual results within eight to 12 weeks," Wilson explains.

What is the 80/20 rule lifting? ›

This means that pushing yourself too hard may not be a good strategy for reaching your fitness goals. According to the 80/20 rule, 80% of the results (like losing weight or building muscles) that you achieve through your workouts come from 20% of the time (effort) you devote to training.

What is the 2 by 2 rule in lifting? ›

The 2-for-2 Rule suggests that if a client can perform 2 extra repetitions on 2 sets with perfect form, then they should be progressed.

Can an 80 year old man still build muscle? ›

“Research shows that, even into your late 80s, your body still has the potential to build muscle mass,” Stacy Schroder, director of wellness at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, said.

What is peak age for bodybuilding? ›

The late 20s to mid-30s is considered their “prime.” Any player or competitor that is still competing at a high level at 40 years of age is often considered a marvel.

How much does a 5'5 bodybuilder weight? ›

Steve Reeves' height and weight chart for a bodybuilder (natural)
HeightIdeal Weight
3 more rows

How much does a 5 7 bodybuilder weight? ›

The ideal weight for someone 5 feet, 7 inches is 170 pounds and for 5 feet, 8 inches it is 175 pounds. Ideal weight increases by five pounds per inch until you get to 5 feet, 11 inches.

Will 5x5 get you ripped? ›

Get Ripped with the 5x5

The 5x5 workout is an effective bodybuilding program that can be done seasonally. The barbell back squat, barbell bench press, overhead barbell press, the deadlift, and barbell row put together is enough to push your muscle growth up to the next level.

How many times a week should you do 5x5? ›

It consists of compound barbell exercises like the Squat, Bench and Deadlift for 5 sets of 5 reps. The goal of each 5×5 workout is to increase the weight over time. You do three workouts a week, with at least one rest day in between.

What is the Texas method? ›

The Texas Method is a three-days-per-week training regimen that emphasizes volume on Mondays, active recovery on Wednesdays, and intensity on Fridays. Rippetoe was inspired by an old bench press workout from Canadian strongman Doug Hepburn, in which Hepburn would do 5 heavy 1-rep sets followed by 5 heavy 5-rep sets.

What is the 24 50 Principle? ›

The 24-50 Principle as it Applies to Hypertrophy

If you want muscle growth, the stimulus must be sufficient without overkill. A minimum set/rep volume of 36 is required for hypertrophy, but such volume must be matched with proper load selection.

What does Liift 50/50 mean? ›

50/50. If you see 50/50 pop up, it means you'll be lifting 50% of the time and the other half you'll be doing HIIT. You'll finish with core work. For example, you'll do a quick 2-minute warmup, focus on 2 moves like rows and bicep curls and repeat those 2 moves 3 times.

What is 5x5 approach? ›

As the name implies, a 5×5 workout usually involves 5 sets of 5 repetitions. The goal is to build strength in compound movements by adding weight every time you do the workout. You'll only do these workouts 3 times a week, as the rest days in between workouts are crucial to encouraging muscle growth.

What is 5's pro Wendler? ›

5's Pro (aka 5's progression) is a rep scheme used in the 5/3/1 training program. This rep scheme calls for performing 5 reps for all three working sets each week of a given training cycle. It first appeared in 5/3/1 Beyond and is utilized in the latest 5/3/1 publication, 5/3/1 Forever.


1. Wendler 5 3 1 Workout Spreadsheet Update
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2. First week of 5/3/1 BBB done.
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3. Over 50 Wendler 5/3/1 program review 5 cycles
4. Building the Monolith 6 weeks Progress
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5. 5/3/1 Boring But Big - Deadlifts - Month 2 - Week 3
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