Building the Monolith was created by Jim Wendler, who wrote the 5/3/1 programs and inspired other programs like GZCL and NSuns, Building the Monolith is designed for advanced athletes looking to break through plateaus, not novice or intermediate lifters. For a bench-focused variation of this program, check out Benching the Monolith.
- 6 weeks in length
- 3x training sessions per week
- Each training session incorporates a lower body, pushing, and pulling movement
- A Training Max of 85% of a “true” 1RM is suggested – this helps when you’re supposed to hit 90% for multiple sets of 5 reps
- You need to eat, sleep, condition, and stretch with the same dedication used in training
For the full breakdown of the training, nutrition, and recovery needed , please see Jim Wendler’s Building the Monolith 5/3/1 for size. The spreadsheets here are not officially endorsed by Wendler in any way. They are interpretations of content he has shared publicly, linked above.
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Building the Monolith App on Boostcamp
Prefer an app to a spreadsheet? If so, you're in luck!
Boostcamp has a free app version of the 5/3/1 Building the Monolith that you can use directly from your phone.
It tracks your progress and calculates your lifts, just like a spreadsheet.
Works on iOS and Android.
Building the Monolith Spreadsheet (lb + kg) – July 2020
New as of July 2020! Thanks to Lift Vault user Josh Planting for sending this in!
Building the Monolith Spreadsheet by /u/NoodleWeird (lb + kg)
This is probably the “cleanest” version of Building the Monolith I’ve found. If you go with one spreadsheet, make it this one.
Building the Monolith Spreadsheet (lb)
Building the Monolith Spreadsheet (kg)
Building the Monolith Reviews
From Jim Wendler’s site:
“This program is amazing. To hit the reps, you have to find something in you that just doesn’t give a damn, but that’s okay because, by the final week, you’ve stopped caring: you’re hitting that 20th squat even if you burst into flame. The best part of the program is how simple it really is… it’s one of the most straightforward roads to size gains that I’ve used. The only time my back has gotten noticeably bigger like this was following the six weeks of Spinal Tap II with deadlifts. The surprise of the program is how much stronger this made me across every lift. I hit a new squat PR two days ago and (as I mentioned) the bench press PR yesterday. The confidence this program gave me also surprised me; when I walked out of that gym after each workout, I felt like I’d just climbed Olympus without a safety belt and bitch slapped Zeus.”
From Mythical Strength:
“I started the program weighing 194.8lbs at 5’9. In the final week, I weighed 200.2. This isn’t a significant amount of weight gained, but when you factor in that I’ve been training for 17 years and that I’m only 5’9, the fact I can eek out any more growth at this point in my life is amazing. I had been stagnant for a long time, and this is the first time in a while I managed to put on some clean weight.
I got much better at pressing, having only managed 205 for 3 in the first week to hitting 215 for 4 in the final week. This is pressing while under a significant degree of fatigue. My conditioning went through the roof as well, and by the end the workouts weren’t nearly as difficult as they were when I started. I truly gained some mastery over the programming.
Having not tested anything yet, it’s hard to objectively say if things got better or not. However, I definitely feel that I became a stronger squatter and deadlifter with all the sub-max work I put in. I had been hitting 1 big top set for so long that all these multi-set workouts really drove home something special.”