T Nation

Am I Doing Too Much? Program Critique

Hey everyone, long time reader first time poster

Little about myself, I have been working out for over 14 years, my main goal always had been symmetry and aesthetics. was never really huge on strength and power. over 2012 i reached a new bench press pr and also fell in love with Olympic lifts.

I am bringing few body parts up (lat thickness, traps, rear shoulders, mainly upper back thickness)for a better symmetry, I’ll be quiet happy with my size in summer, which is 150-155lb 9% body fat. My new goal is to become as strong as i can before i have to start my cutting phase, which i am going to go about a different way this year (heavy weights low reps circuits) will start Feb 1st 2013, because of that i looked through and found something i really liked, now i am not sure if i am over training and doing too much.

my main goals are to thicken out my back, bring up my power cleans and bench press. so i am following a Russian strength program, so i figure out I’ll try it, the original was Monday, Wednesday and Friday, i tried to do bench and power clean back to back, but i don’t think i can finish it when it comes to heavier days. so i thought i split it and this is what my new program looks like now. the duration of the program is 6 weeks.

I’d appreciate some input, i am still sore from the first day of 2nd week, my hams are killing me. recovery from the cleans is already becoming a factor. i am eating well, lots of food and protein. and 8-9 hours of sleep a day. also this is all natural, without any sort of “help”

P.S. I am not doing squats because i pretty much squat clean the power clean, no DL because it will over stimulate the CNS. and no OHP because I have lot of presses and racking on the front shoulders. need to keep them healthy and not hurting.

Bench press
Band high rep tri ext 20-30 x 2 sets

Power clean
variation of either pull up, chin up, supinated pull downs or pronated pull downs. 6-12 reps x 3 sets
Rear db shoulder raise 10-15 x 2 sets

Bench press
Band high rep tri ext 20-30 x 2 sets
Seated side lateral raise 10-15 x 2 sets

Power clean
Face pulls/ high row 10-12 x 2-3 sets

Bench Press

Power clean
Rear shoulders db raise 10-15 x 2 sets
One arm DB row 10-12 x 3 sets
Shrugs 15-30 x 1-2 sets

Saturday Off

Sunday week 2 so on.

Are you maxing out every day… you didn’t really specify how your training the bench and power clean. Personally to me this doesn’t spear to be a extremely well thought out plan. I can agree with not deadliftng espeacially because of all the power cleans but, not squatting? Come on man seriously. Oly lifters do plenty of squat cleans and they still squat front and back and usually multiple times aweek. Also if you can’t power clean and bench press in same workout not to mention with a days rest back to back your not recovering right. Meaning calories need to go up, QUALITY sleep needs to go up, or intensity and volume needs to be paid closer attention to.

week one day 1 80% 6 sets 2 reps, day 2 80% 6x3, day 3 80% 6x2
week two day 1 80% 6x4, day 2 80% 6x2, day 3 80% 6x5
week three day 1 80% 6x2, day 2 80% 6x6, day 3 50% 6x2
week four day 1 85% 5x5 day 2 80% 6x2, day 3 90% 4x4
Week five day 1 80% 6x2 day 2 95% 3x3, day 3 80% 6x2
week six day 1 100% 2x2 day 2 80% 6x2, day 3 105% 1rm

I’d love to add squats, but I barely am recovering from power cleans, i had to skip day 2 of week 2, cause everything was hurting and sore. we don’t have bumper weights at my gym, so i have to semi negative the cleans onto the ground and that takes a lot out of me, so for now, squats are not the best of ideas. i originally tried it first week then i got the flu and had to start again. i was doing cleans, bench and front squats. lets just say, bench and squats were ok, but i could not power cleans the second day cause of lack of recovery. it could be because i just started cleans 2012 and more often after june, i am not sure.

What’s your typical diet on a daily basis and be honest. I personally feel you should be able to recover pretty well with this routine as long as calories and sleep are there.

meal one pre workout: one cup of musli. quarter cup of flaxeed, grounded, mixed with one scoop protein powder with milk or water and banana. comes to about 800 calories.

meal two post workout: scoop of protein, with a banana, wait an hour before having a meal, cause my appetite is usually suppressed.

meal three: something with rice, with at least 150 grams of chicken half a breast cooked or six whole eggs, something with al teast 30 grams of protein and about 2 cup of rice.

meal four: usually same as meal three, difference is if it was eggs, it will be chicken. cup of rice.

meal five: usually rest of the chicken breast or tuna, with olive oil and fruits or sweet potato.

i snack here and there if i see something i like. not too picky off season. peanut butter here and there. i did gain 20lbs since sep, so calorie surplus is high, i do walk 2+ miles most nights at very fast pace. 30-40 minutes.

some night have things like green curry, which packed with calories stacked full of chicken and rice.

Diet looks good for most part. Do you feel really sore the day after training or are you just run down kinda thing. I honestly don’t have any idea really if calories are good sleep is good you should be recoverying… if not then the only thing you can do is add a rest day. I suggest using a 2 days on 1 day off.

thanks for the input, lets me know if you would take or add more exercises. I feel run down and feel like i am about to pass out, i rarely get sore, just the negatives(not dropping the bar) on cleans are killing me. half the time i can’t clean is because i can’t really jump, the upper back feels fine, legs are just not there lol, chest is good, i went through day 3 of week two super easy, finished it under 15 min, and came home. fyi previous to this, i had 2 legs days a week, took about 2 weeks off, one was sickness one was actually rest week.

I guess 1 day off can work, thing is, the program calls for 6 weeks, maybe i got too greedy and added and extra major lift. adding an extra day will make it 18 extra days. i guess that would be for the best, long run, just don’t want to waste time. there is another program i want to go through before feb.

If you think you’re doing too much then maybe back off on bench. Reduce the training weight for bench and keep power cleans the same. Your bench won’t get weaker if you’re training it that frequently. If you do this, you can also consider going back to 3x week lifting since you should be able to hit all your lifts. It’s better to consistently hit all your reps then push too hard too quick and not make progress.

Even though you are splitting between movements every other day, that high frequency may be affecting your recovery. Have you lifted 6x week before? How would you rate each day from easy, medium, or hard? I recommend that you balance the number of easy, medium, and hard workouts. I mean easy as in having at least 2-3 reps in the tank, something you know for sure you can get.

Power cleans are a new thing, I learned it around feb, started doing them heavy since sep, i never had to do such complicated lift with such heavy weights so frequently before. maybe that is why. i did my entire cutting phase this year with oly lift complexes/intervals, just not at 80% plus of my 1rm. one of my major goals is to get my power clean to two plate before feb, sitting at 200lb right now.

Yes i actually had 13 sessions a week days, split of working out and cardio/hiit, am pm. i’ve been around the block for 14 years. i am even used to hardcore bodybuilding splits with lots of volume.
hardest days are recovering from the higher rep power cleans. bench has not been hard so far, and that used to be my worst lift both strength and recovery, hoping to hit 245 by end of this cycle, i was always a big fan of everything BUT biceps and barbell bench press training lol.

Hmmm, that seems odd that you’re struggling so soon. Typically programs are designed to be a bit easier at the beginning. I think it’s okay to add a day of rest here and there if you really aren’t recovering but I don’t recommend skipping workouts. Did you estimate your training max or use an actual 1RM. It probably would’ve been a good idea to be more conservative with that training max if you’ve never lifted power cleans at this level of intensity and frequency.

If I were you, I would reduce the amount of assistance work and maybe even do only the main lifts for the next week to see if I would be able to get back on track. If I’m not able to, I would face the reality that I used a training max that was too high and restart. This has happened to me so many times and it sucks but I’ve learned.

I know I’m spitting out training principles from 5/3/1, which I’m using right now, but they work for me. Maybe they’ll help you get back on track.

there is an actual calculator that gives you the numbers. called russian strength program calculator. i found my actual max. by doing them good form on clean and perfect form on bench. but it literally took 80% of my actual max, i assumed it will take an extra 10% off, there was no information on that, i assumed it was the actual max that i had to put in. makes sense since last day of the six week you have to do your 105% which is your new PR.

i did 5/3/1 last year, it was great, got me to 230 bench from 190, 315 squat and 400dl, 160 OHP.
Just before this russian one i was doing 5/3/1, it was around the 2nd weeks of the 2nd cycle; so basically i did 3 weeks of the first cycle. did not go into deload for the first cycle, i jumped into 1st week of the second cycle, and by the time i finished my second week, i knew my max was exactly the same after 5 weeks. i chose the rest pause path. i generally really love rest pause, not sure if it jacks you up, cause i never did rest pause bulking cycle, but during cutting cycle, it really comes in handy with recovery and strength gains.

i don’t think is the assistant work, my upper back is extremely strong and resilient compare to any other body parts, and i mainly put most the work near the two day rest period and i don’t think my rear shoulder work is making or breaking the power cleans. so far i have not had a bad chest day. so it just has to do with the power cleans. maybe you are right, i should reduce by 10% and see. even wear a belt. and go to the gym when it is dead so i can drop the weight lol,

Yeah I bet the training weight is a bit high. I use 1RM calculators as predictions but always adjust the numbers based on experience. The adjustments are different for each lift and it depends on the rep range too. If I were to start a new program, I would use a max that I know I could for sure hit if I were to max in 2-3 weeks.

with any serious or “russian” program, use a real number, don’t calculate it unless you have years of experience unless you plan to undershoot what you get. I.E. when I did smolov base cycle last time around, I calculated my squat 1RM, undershot it by 10lbs, and ended up adding 35 lbs to my caculated number when i maxed out finishing the program.

Also, if you’re training that often, you may want to ingest a significant amount of creatine and caffeine pre-workout.

I also find supplementation is key for training more than 3x week. check out L-leucine, L-glutamine, magnesium and zinc as far as peoples experience goes. I supplement with a lot more, but those keep me from getting too fatigued.

i think i found out the main reason i was not recovering, as i suspected it was the negatives of the clean, today was my 6x5 day, and was not exhausted to the point of death, i just dropped the weight, problem as i said is we don’t have bumper weights, so i have to find the gym empty.

too much caffeine with cleans probably not the best of choices, cause you can get dizzy and your heart beats too fast and start throwing up in your mouth and not finishing the lifts lol.

Not the biggest supplement fan, just whey, and that is more for insurance over actually performance.

i am not really sure what this says "with any serious or “russian” program, use a real number, don’t calculate it unless you have years of experience unless you plan to undershoot what you get. I.E. when I did smolov base cycle last time around, I calculated my squat 1RM, undershot it by 10lbs, and ended up adding 35 lbs to my caculated number when i maxed out finishing the program. " so use 10 under or don’t use 10 under?

I think he means that he subtracted 10lbs from his estimated max.

Anyways, that’s good to hear that you found out what was wrong. I’ve heard that with Olympic lifts you can lift more frequently since there is no eccentric portion, which is the portion that does the most damage to your muscle fibers. Maybe you were adding in the eccentric portion of a romanian deadlift to each rep. I can see how that adds more work lol.

i meant that calculating an RM usually isn’t accurate for me… maybe it is for you. I find that when i train with multiple heavy singles often, my 1RM will be higher than estimated, whereas with a higher rep style of training it is usually lower. Knowing this, i was able to use a program comparable to yours in intensity and had a hell of a PR after only a month of training.

sounds like it, that is great gains for you, as long as i hit 245 bench and 225 power clean by end of this program, i will be happy. and excluding deadlifts, i like to find out my actually max by trying to do the 1rm.

[quote]Acyren wrote:
i did 5/3/1 last year, it was great, got me to 230 bench from 190, 315 squat and 400dl, 160 OHP. [/quote]

You’ve been lifting for 14 YEARS and these are your numbers?

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:

[quote]Acyren wrote:
i did 5/3/1 last year, it was great, got me to 230 bench from 190, 315 squat and 400dl, 160 OHP. [/quote]

You’ve been lifting for 14 YEARS and you’re 155lbs!!![/quote]


Lol calm down black_angus1. Acyren seems interested in both powerlifting and bodybuilding. Although those numbers aren’t high for an experienced powerlifter, it’s probably a good strength base for a 155lb bodybuilder.