T Nation

Are You Doing Your Own Thing?

So, for the first four years of working out I have always followed some kind of program. I started out with TAP from Men’s Health, then branched into people like Chad Waterbury, Craig Ballantyne, and Ian King (my personal fave).

A couple of months ago, I decided that I was ready to start creating my own programs. I’ve moved to a total body concept, and usually do a combination of push, pull, and leg exercises every workout. In addition to the knowledge I’ve gained from the other programs, Book of Muscle has been a great resource.

I’m curious how many of you are now following your own program? When you’ve done it in the past have you noticed good results? So far, I am loving it. I look forward to my workouts more, and I feel it allows me to target areas more in need of development at the time.

Yeah, right now I am doing my own thing. I hear ya on the looking forward to your workout statement. I actually have alot more fire to workout for some reason. Right now I do a push and pull on the horizontal plane, push and pull on the verticle, and a legs exercise…usually front squat or deads. Its too soon to say if I am seeing good results though since I just started this last week. Like you for the last 2 or 3 years I have been doing premade programs.

I never do any program, I just have a vague outline in my head of what kind of set-reps range I am going to use in a given day, and which bodypart to train, as well as the number of sets; the rest is given to whim.

After a year and half of serious training, I decided to write my own 8 week program. It’s an amalgam of a few different styles I guess. I have a horizontal push-pull day, two total body days, and an Olympic day. I’m really enjoying it so far!

I included the extra push-pull because I want to focus on my back and chest, now that I figured out how to really activate those muscle groups over my arms. I’ve been doing the clean and jerk for the Oly day, plus the cable push-pull.

I’m using a set progression for the first four weeks, adding in AM/PM sessions at week three, upping the volume at week five and sticking to weight progression for the last four weeks.


I’ve never used someone else’s program. I make my own and it constantly evolves due to learning new information. I make gains consistently.

I’ve always designed my own programs, beacause of a little lack of equipment and my personnal goals.

However, for the first time of my life, I am following a program of this website. I am currentrly doing the strength-focused mesocycle, by Chad Waterbury. But I have already created my next one.
Here it is:

Weighted chins
1 min rest
Clean and jerk
1min rest
Weighted dips
1min rest then I repeat this cycle 3 times then I do this one

Dumbell front squat
1min rest
Glute Ham Raise
1min rest
Hammer Curl
1min rest
3 times, then ab work.


1min R
Close grip Bench Press or CGIBP
Dragon Flag
1 min R

Bulgarian split squat

One Arm Row

One leg back extension
same as above
Finisher:Farmer Walk

The rest of my week is full of mma classes, but I’ll try to find the time for a barbell complex or a warrior challenge(ross enamait’s workout).

Currently I’m working with one of the coaches that writes here, so I do what he says. Once I’m finished, I’m going to do something based off of this template, but with a few changes.

Most of my routines are based off of Bill Starr’s routines.

Lately, I have been stealing ideas from Chad Waterbury.

I work 10 x 3 into my routines for heavy days and experiment with high reps for my light days…kinda sounds like a Kotex commercial.

Regardless of whether you’re following a program or making up your own, one thing I have only recently started doing again is KEEPING A JOURNAL…I imagine that for most T-readers this is standard practice but it has really helped to keep me honest–and improving. You see last week’s numbers in your book, you try and top them. As a wise man once said, “That which is measured, improves.”

Sometimes even seasoned guys forget the simple notion of ‘Progressive’ Strength Training.

Most importantly, record keeping answers the question: is my “freewheeling” approach really working or am I treading water?

I get ideas from wherever good ones may come. I’ve even gotten ideas in the past while watching some bonehead struggle through doing an exercise absolutely wrong. I do however design my own training regimen.

If you could call it a regimen. I have a basic framework that I’ll stick with while it keeps working, but I may change up movements/sets/reps/order/intensity, or just about anything from workout to workout. Or maybe even on the fly depending on how things go or how I feel that day.

Whatever works. If somebody has a philosophy that has produced the results you want by following what they say, who am I to say that’s not the best way for you to do it.

Yep, I do my own thing. I make sure that if I do a horizontal push, I get the same volume of horizontal pull. Same goes for vertical movements.

I do full body on Tue and Thur. One day will emphasize upper, with light lower work. The next will emphasize lower, with light upper work. Weekends I do an upper/lower ME split.

I’ve never followed a premade, and have put on 70 pounds in the last couple years.

Good to hear so many guys are having success with custom programs. I think there is a little more risk involved, since if you aren’t careful you can end up developing muscle imbalance. Overall though, I’m really liking the concept and plan to continue it.

[quote]forlife wrote:
Good to hear so many guys are having success with custom programs. I think there is a little more risk involved, since if you aren’t careful you can end up developing muscle imbalance. Overall though, I’m really liking the concept and plan to continue it.[/quote]

This is true until you know what you’re doing in general and learn to listen to your body in particular.

Although there are some sharp folks in this game who’s programs one wouldn’t go wrong in following if they continue to bring results.

I enjoy the thinking process just as much as the working process and it’s gratifying to see something you thought of work successfully.