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Beginner's Workout Routine Critique

So a bit of background. I decided to get in shape sometime last year and I asked one of my friends who’s into weightlifting for a good program and some basic tips. He gave me the following program and told me not to fuck with it, which I haven’t.

So it goes like this:

Workout A -
Squats, Bench, Incline Bench, Shoulder Press; all sets 5x5 ramping up in weight.

Workout B -
Deadlifts, Bent-over Row, Pullups/Chinups, Inverted Rows. Deadlifts and Bent-over rows are 5x5 ramping up while Pullups/Chinups and Inverted Rows are 3x8-10.

Whenever I’m able to do the same weight two workouts in a row (eg bench 150x5 twice), I move the weight up 5 lbs.

I’ve made some pretty decent gains. I started off at about 180ish and right now I’m just a hair under 200 lbs.

Also, my personal records have gone up quite significantly since I started this program.

My 1 rep-max (in lbs) are as follows now:

Bench - 105 to 195
Squat - 140 to 255
Deadlift - 140 to 315
Row - 95 to 180

So, my question is this, is this workout about as optimal as it gets or am I lacking something? I don’t really know enough about weightlifting to find weakspots or critique this program. My friend told me not to mess with this program until I’m benching 225x5, squatting 280-300x5, deadlifting 350x5, rowing 200x5. I’m inclined to agree with him, but then again, he’s been doing this for a long time now.

Any help would be appreciated guys.

Hey omar, welcome to the site.

The program looks ok and you’ve been making progress, that’s the main thing.

What are your main goals? Strength or size? It seems being on a 5x5 the main goal is strength, which in my opinion every begginers goal should be.

Personally I have a few issues with the program, you may not feel the same but here they are-

Bench, incline bench and press all done one after the other, for hypertrophy this may be ok, for strength it probably isn’t optimal. There is no way you will be able to have 100% effort working similar muscle groups (chest, chest/shoulders, shoulders) in 3 lots of 5x5 sets. By the time you get to press’s your shoulders would already be pretty fried. Press is one of those exercises that you’ll stall on earlier (compared to squat/dl/bench/rows) and I think doing it in this format will increase the chances of an early stall.

Ditto with DL, BOR, Pull/chins, inverted rows all being one after the other, by the time you get to inverted rows the weight you’ll be lifting will be seriously limited by the fact you’ve already exhausted your back/rear delts/bi’s.

The rep scheme is good, the exercises are good (all compound woo!), and obviously it’s been working for you. The fact that you are asking if it’s ok means that you have your doubts. In my opinion you probably would be better of doing one of the “standard” 5x5 beginner programs, such as starting strength or stronglifts.

All pressing one day and all pulling the next is definitely not optimal for strength development which I agree with tassietaekwon should be your goal as a newbie (you’ll put on muscle mass anyway).
Exercise selection is OK just try mixing it up a little differently e.g.
Day 1: Squat; Straight Leg Dead Lift; Bench Press; Bent Over Row
Day 2: Deadlift; Shoulder Press; Pull-Up

Then again your numbers have clearly gone up considerably so why change what’s working for you. When progress starts to fade then it’s time to look at a new program. Wendler’s 5,3,1 Program or Defrancos WS4SB program whould be great options to give you some good ideas on how to bring your training to the next level

thanks for the replies.

Right now, I really just want to be stronger. Size can come later, as I understand it, it’s mainly from a higher volume of exercise, so I can grab a new program once I’m satisfied with my strength gains.