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Recommended BBM program for 40y/o lifter with ~3 years of experience?

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  • Recommended BBM program for 40y/o lifter with ~3 years of experience?


    I'm looking for a BBM program recommendation:
    I'm a 40 year old male (married and father of three)
    27% body fat per my digital scale
    I eat 200 grams of protein spaced out at least every 3 hours. (I set a timer)

    I have been lifting in my home gym for 3 years.
    lifts are:
    215lb bench
    305lb squat
    385lb deadlift (ok I have done 405lb once)
    last 12 week squat program: Monday = volume, Wednesday front squat, Friday intensity, plus I have a leg press so I would do 3x12 once a week.
    This is the second time I have I have run this program and my squat did not improve.

    What would you recommend (I'd like to get stronger)? Power building 1?


  • #2
    The recommendation would be strength if you're looking to increase specifically those 3. In terms of which level, it depends on how you respond, but I think I'd start with I and see from there after running it.


    • #3
      42yo father of two here. I've been running BBM programs for a couple of years. The focus of each one is pretty clear, so it's a case of choosing the one that best suits your own goals. If you're currently training three days/week, any of the Strength I, Powerbuilding I or Hypertrophy I programs would be good. I usually train four days/week so I have to speak to the "II" version of each one, but: Hypertrophy has lots of high-rep sets and dumbbell variations, Powerbuilding has a lot of volume and mainly uses barbell movements, and Strength has more of a focus on the big three powerlifting movements and builds to testing heavy singles. If I wanted to get better at squat, bench press and deadlift then Strength I is probably what I would choose.


      • #4

        How long are the workouts on the four day templates?


        • #5
          HansAndFranz Time for each workout in the four-day templates varies quite a bit depending on the template and the week of the program. During the highest-volume weeks of Strength II, sessions were taking me around 100 minutes whereas the low-stress weeks would take about 45 min/session. I use 3-4 minute rests, and a fairly short warmup period.

          The Powerbuilding II template has some myoreps programmed for some sessions, which saves time. The Hypertrophy II template has some extra supplementary movements programmed in addition to the main lifts, so that can take a bit longer (if you can't just superset them with other movements).


          • #6
            This is helpful feedback. Thanks guys!

            where do you fit your GPP? Do you do the GPP in those 100 min workouts?


            • #7
              I find my performance and recovery are better when I split them into their own days.


              • #8
                Strength for showing better strength numbers, no question.

                I've been doing the Hypertrophy I programming for other times. Once I started doing this, I've found that I'm terribly unexcited about the Powerbuilding (legacy Hypertrophy template). I'm doing it now, between Hypertrophy runs just to get some heavy singles which is the best part but otherwise it just feels unfocused in terms of strength and there's less variety compared to Hypertrophy. So I'm bored. One more week.

                From my experience, the four-day templates don't have longer workouts than three-day. Just an entire additional day of volume. Maybe some template groups are different. My workouts vary from 75-150 minutes depending on point in the cycle and if I'm time crunched or not. Lately, I've been supersetting my first two lifts (squat, press, rest, repeat; deadlift, bench, rest, repeat) to cut down on time during the nice weather. You need two bars to make this work. I don't think I'd do that at the end of a Strength focus period.

                I usually do the GPP on a different day. I drop the cardio if I've been especially active that day.


                • #9
                  I tried powerbuilding 1 with the thought of trying to shed a few pounds before doing strength 1. I lost a solid 2 pounds. Not great. ( I weigh myself the same time every day.) So lesson learned I hope.

                  I am sure I didn't make any strength improvements. I am not surprised about that. What I am surprised about is I could barely make it through the last week. The lifts of the last day were brutal. Weights that were usually rpe 6s felt like 9s.

                  I tried to start a program the following week. But, weights that were "rpe 7" 11 weeks ago felt like rpe 9.

                  Thoughts on how to get back into the groove? Just get going again and stick to the RPE in the template? Or Take a recovery week of some sort?


                  • #10
                    The last week in PBing IIRC is pretty heavy and there's no peak in the template (again, from recall) so you might not hit PRs on it and the other work is a bit higher (pretty high number of intervals on HIIT, long AMRAPs, etc.), so it's not necessarily surprising that you didn't hit PRs while on the template.

                    As for transition, pick a program that aligns with your goals and then stick with RPE which definitely sounds like you need to take weight off the bar. Most of the programs start with a low stress week but even if they didn't, you will recover with RPE--think of it this way. If you re-ran the last week in the PBing template but instead of squating 250 x 5 you just used the empty bar, you'd feel confident in your ability to recover. While you don't have to go to the empty bar I imagine 205 x 5 might do the trick.

                    I've definitely had sessions that I've had to adjust planned weights dynamically but honestly I have yet to have to do that 2 workouts in a row, maybe it's that I took weight off the bar for that one session, or maybe something else but I can't imagine taking weight off the bar made my recovery harder.

                    Missed the demographic portion of your post--44 father of 3 here


                    • #11
                      I am trying to do Strength 1 and after each week, my lifts get weaker. e.g. what was once RPE 8 is now RPE 10+. I think BBM programs have too much volume and/or intensity. I think 3 squat session per week averaging RPE 8's may be too much.

                      I might just unilaterally change the program to one day sets @ RPE 8's, another day @ RPE 6's and do split squats on the third day.


                      • #12
                        I think the standard BBM advice in this situation is to go ahead and finish the program, validating the results at the end and then make changes based on the outcome. The program is periodic and it's not an unexpected outcome to take weight off the bar during the heavier weeks.

                        None of these might not apply to you but some of them have definitely applied to me/others in this situation:

                        1) Especially on bench, I tend to be stubborn about taking weight off the bar and hit the RPE and end up in an RPE 9.5/10 situation too often.

                        2) It took me a couple of months to acclimate to squatting 3 times a week.

                        3) If you were peaked at the start of the program (i.e. you had low volume for a few workouts prior to PRs), your development blocks are very likely going to have lower E1RM than that number

                        4) Some people generally have to make fitness adaptations prior to being able to recover from higher volume and that initial investment can result in, temporarily, lower numbers. Without developing additional work capacity, almost by definition, a plateau will be hit.

                        I'm not qualified to analyze my own programming, let alone someone else', so what you're proposing may be the best way for you to go.