T Nation

About to Turn 40, Time to Improve My Dadbod



jaydap is right on the money. Either a full body routine or a upper/lower will probably suite you pretty well. Here is something you can do MWF:

Full Body Routine Core

  1. Lower Compound - Squat / Deadlift / Lunge
  2. Upper Body Pull - Chins / Row
  3. Upper Body Push - Bench / Shoulder Press


  1. calves or abs

You can then break the above template anyway you like throughout the week. Depending on if you are training for strength or hypertrophy you can either select the core movement… or some variant of a core movement … so lets say I want to just switch between vertical / horizontal and push / pull for lower… you might just cycle between two workouts…

Workout A “Upper Vertical and Lower Push”
Squat or Lunge ( Lowbar / highbar / front / split squats / BSS)
Shoulder Press (DB press / behind the neck / push press)
Pullups (chin ups / lat pull down / wide grip / narrow)
Standing Calves

Workout B “Upper Horizontal and Lower Pull”
Deadlifts (sumo / conventional / hip thrusts / SLDL / RDL)
Bench Press (Db Bench / wide / narrow / dips)
Row (Kroc / Barbell / Pendlay / Bench Row)
Seated Calves

As you can see from the above there is alot of variety. Finally if you are training for strength then opt for the vanilla movement in each category (e.g. Squat would just be the normal squat) then if you want to chase hypertrophy select a movement that emphasizes the muscle you want to develop (e.g. low bar wide for posterior chain)


So for workout A, upper vertical, lower push, would you change up the three exercises each work out or keep them the same and try to progress them for a while before changing?


Also could it be done every other day, so some weeks would be 3 sessions others 4?


If you are just getting back into things I would stick to the vanilla movements until you get the technique down (i.e squats, deadlifts, bench press , shoulder press, barbell rows, pull ups, calves).

You “could” do anything you want as long as you can recover from it. The problem with high frequency is that its very easy to not recover between your workouts (especially true the older you get). To avoid this you’ll want to keep your volume per any workout rather low and only add more volume if you stop progressing. So you might have 2 or so warm up sets then 1 actual work set for any movement.


I know it makes sense to do full body as a beginner, I’ve think ive been kidding myself that the bro type split I’ve devised would be better as I wouldn’t be so fatigued doing one body part each session.


With only doing one work set on each exercise how would I progress the lifts, add more reps to the set for a few weeks then up weight and drop reps back to increase them again?


If I did 5x5 with set weight, the first few sets could be seen as warm up, and when I’m fatigued the last one or two would be the work set/s?


Can’t go wrong with 5/3/1


I’ll have a look into that, thanks.


Don’t worry about the hardgainer part it is a complete program.


Thanks for the link Chicken, am I right in thinking by the time you’ve done the agile 8, your main exercise then the 150-300 reps of assistance exercise, the whole workout will be 1hr+?


I never do the agile 8 personally. I do ok on mobilty. But it usually takes 1-1/2 hours. If I’m in a hurry I superset a couple of the assistance exercises. I can knock it out in 45 mins I get after it.


I’d have to rush every workout, only get 45 mins max in gym, or I’d have to get up even earlier!
I like the set out progression programming, it’s definitely something I’ll look at using down the line.


For now I’d use a double progression setup. What this means is you’ll first pick a target rep range (lets say 8-10 reps). Then if at anytime you can hit 10 reps you add weight (10 lbs for lower body movements and 5 for upper body). If you get 8 reps one workout and manage to get 9 in another that’s still progress.

In time you’ll eventually need more volume to progress. When that time comes we’ll want to add more effective volume (ditching the reps don’t contribute much) using clusters and rest pause training. But you won’t need to worry about that for a while.


Thanks ralphie, I’m going to look to apply this one work set and that progression to my main compound lift each work out.
Would you throw in singles after the work set of you felt you could do more, or just stop and add weight next time?


Your work set should be done for as many technically sound reps possible (generally 1 - 2 reps of failure). If you get over your target rep range just keep going and add more weight next time.


Simple, i like that.


Leg workout today:
Squat 70kgx5
80kg 2x5
Will use 80kg for working weight next and go for 8-10 reps

Single leg alternating seated extensions 35kg 3x10

45°leg press 160 kg 2x6

Calf press on above 120kg 3x10

Then tried doing some seated calf raises using
Lying leg curl machine, perched on end put feet on step and got knees under the roller, even with the 100kg stack felt very easy, tried to do single leg didn’t really work knee kept slipping out from under roller.

Felt good today looking forward to getting more weight on squat.


I used upper lower split, twice per week

Total workouts were four times per week.

I did lower reps and higher load twice per week (so once for lower, once for upper)

Then higher reps, higher volume (so once for lower once for higher)

Just concentrated on compound moves and cycled my calories while remaining in a deficit.

Hope this helps


I think I’ve put a plan together that will see me on the way to my goals:

I’m going to train 6 basic lifts once a week each.

I’m going to progress by changing set/rep ranges with total reps around the 25 mark.

I’m going to do assistance exercises but as an after thought.

If I start feeling overly tried or fatigued I’ll drop assistance exercises for a while.

I’m going to keep eating the exact same thing every day because I’m losing weight, not feeling excessively hungry and have enough energy to get through the morning workouts, my days work and the evenings family time.

I am going to post a new photo on the 3rd of March weighing 204lbs or less.