Wendler’s Building The Monolith – Day 1


It’s the “off-season” and that means it’s time to gain some size!

I’ve been using Wendler’s 531 for the past 6 weeks and have had some nice strength gains, but it’s time to ramp it up and start some serious hypertrophy training and eating.

I’ve been priming my body for a good offseason since the last show. No supplements. Clean food. Getting my body used to eating lots of calories again and really focussing on nailing my sleep and recovery.

In a future post I’ll talk more about what I’ve been doing for sleep, but I’m getting 8-10 hours of solid shut eye EVERY day – a number that’s practically anathema in this day and age.

I’m going to start blogging with more consistency again too. The neck is still killing me and because I’m sleeping away those extra hours, I don’t get as many early as much late night disposable time anymore.

Building the Monolith


Today I started Jim Wendler’s “Building the Monolith” program which uses his 5/3/1 template overlayed with a shit load of hypertrophy work + calories to (hopefully) create an end product that resembles something fucking huge.

After finding the program on Wendler’s page 2 weeks ago, I’ve since noticed that he’s taken it down and totally revamped his site. No doubt, we will be seeing it reappearing soon with an obligatory price tag and lot of fancy marketing attached to it, but thank god for some foresight and good old “Shift C + P”.

For those wanting to run the program, you can still find the framework on Black Iron Beast’s Calculator page, which is a neat tool for calculating your programming using a number of templates.

The program involves training 3 days per week utilising the regular 4 core lifts from Wendler’s original 531 program. However, rather than working up to a top set of a single power movement for a rep max you can be doing multiple sets at 90% of your 1RM on one or two power exercises.

The program lasts for 6 weeks so I’ll be charting my progress on this biog with the intention of adding 5 pounds in that time along with some respectable strength gains.

In the lead up to this program I completed 6 weeks of regular 5/3/1 programming and then took a 8 day deload.

After completing the first day of the program, the workout took almost 2 hours and was pretty brutal, but lots of fun. I’m sore as hell today in the upper body after all the chins and dips.


WEEK ONE – starting weight 79.6kg

(Percentages of Training Maxs)
Squat – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5, 90×5
Press – 70×5, 80×5, 90×5, 70xAMRAP
Chins – 100 total reps
Face Pulls/Band Pullaparts – 100 total reps
Dips – 100-200 total reps

Front Squats

5 x 110
5 x 125
5 x 125
5 x 125
5 x 125
5 x 125kg

10 x 20 reps x BW

10 x 10 reps x BW

Leg Curls (added these in)
5 x 10 x 70kg

Face Pulls
5 x 20 reps x 10kg

Scrape the Rack Presses
5 x 70
5 x 80
5 x 90
10 x 70kg


kai kitchen

Wendler suggests a sample diet template that totals somewhere in the range of 5000 calories for this program with the minimum stipulation of 12 eggs and a pound and a half of meat per day.

Although 5000 calories isn’t hard to consume, I will work my way up to that figure and lay off the daily suggested double cheese burgers and fries, replacing those calories with clean ones unless I feel like a cheat.

(Today’s meals were thrown out of whack because I had to fast for some blood tests and didn’t get out of the doctor’s office until late.)

Meal One
2 Quest Bars

Meal Two
550 grams chicken
5 sweet potato wraps

Meal Three
1tbsn Peanut Butter
1 Quest Bar
1 serving Vitargo
1 serving Peptopro

Meal Four
300g chicken
1 cup rice
3 spinach pancakes

Protein – 231g – 27%
Carbs – 253g – 30%
Fat – 161g – 43%
Calories – 3768


  2 comments for “Wendler’s Building The Monolith – Day 1

  1. Matt
    July 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    8-10 hours of sleep per night? We need that write-up ASAP my man! lol.


  2. Schimi
    July 17, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Hi Shawn,

    Long time no see:-) I’ve had a lot to catch up on reading your blog and boy did I miss it! Also massive congrats on your placing in your contests,seriously well done and was very impressed with your conditioning and defo think you could have easily stepped on stage at 75kg bodyweight 😉


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