T Nation

Best Damn Workout for Naturals, Shoulder Health?


Hi Coach Thibaudeau, I have been following your program from “The Best Damn Workout for Natural Lifters” since you first wrote it in July. I also recently purchased some Mag 10 and Plazma and have a budget of about 120 dollars a month to use towards supplements. I was trying to weigh whether it might be better to switch to a program with less frequency so I could have less workouts a month and therefore use more of the supplements each workout for my budget, but I don’t which method would seem better to you.

Would it be more worthwhile, supplements in mind. To just purchase two bags of Plazma a month and use a scoop for each work out for the six day high frequency program? My goal is to maximize muscle gains from the workouts and the supplementation combined. As opposed to using a bit more of the supplements with a program that has less frequency (push/pull 5 out of 8 day program)?

The other thing I am trying to prevent with this program is excessive strain on my shoulder joints. Since the six days of workouts emphasize the shoulders being used in one way or the other I want to be sure I am doing what is necessary to avoid over use injuries. Is the reduced volume with increased frequency enough to not have to worry about it? Or are there other things I should do on certain days of the week, like the “light/isolation” days where I could take it easier on that particular joint? I want to be sure I can stick with this program for a while and do whatever necessary to stay injury free as it has been the best program so far, in terms of my ability to to recover and make great gains. Especially as a natural lifter who really struggles to put on size.

Thank you,



Yes it would. One thing I found out recently, both through experimentation and talking to a lot of high level experts, is that you don’t need much carbs pre-during workout to get a good effect. I personally only use 30-35g nowadays and progress just as well. So 1 scoop will be enough to get you covered.


The program is not built around very heavy lifting and the pushing/pulling is balanced. If your lifting mechanics is good it should not be a problem. You can use band pull-aparts at the beginning of the workout if you want.


I found the same problems with push/pull splits. IMO its not a matter of balance rather its the overload of a movement pattern on the push days. I switched to the old DC 2 way. Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Backwidth, Backthickness on day one and Biceps and Legs on day two.
Worked wonders. No more shoulder issues. Everything else is the same as in outlined in the program


Hey MG are you doing this 6x a week (chest/shoulders/tri/back width/back thic day 1 alternated with biceps/legs [ham, quad] day 2?)

What sort of exercises are you doing? And warm up (only 2 sets of 7 prep? or ramping up?) curious on some of the details thanks


Hey Sigil, most of the time I do this 6 days a week. Sometimes 3 on / 1 off. Depends on work schedule. I would say it is 90 percent compound stuff and 10 percent isolation work like pushdowns and laterals. My main exercises are: Inclines, OHP, Close Grips, Latpulldown, Row, Curls, Squats and RDL. For isolation I do Laterals and Pushdowns.

I ramp up to one heavy set of 6-8 and then 2 back off sets with a 10 percent decrease. Focus is only on the heavy set. The rest is for added volume and pump. Sometimes I need 5 ramp up sets, sometimes 3. Depends on the day. If you have shoulder issues because of the pressing, do one workout heavy chest presses and light laterals and the other one OHP and light Flys. Helps a lot.

If you have further questions, please ask.


Thanks mg, very very cool. I like it a lot. It looks like you tweaked the intensification recommendations (no rest pause? and no eccentric & 6-8-10 drop sets?) in favor of a regular top set (2 back off sets, reverse pyrmd).

Was that because you found recovery hard with the original best damn style (i would imagine so, especially if you are doing mostly compounds as you suggested and i actually prefer…we will see, only 1 week in back on the program).

So would your days look like this:

day 1
After warm up, activation etc.
incline: ramp up (how may reps? 3-5 reps? or 6-8?) to a top set, -10% rep out, -10% rep out again, done
repeat for OHP, Glose grip, lat pulldown and row?

day 2 same but probably more extended ramps for squats, RDL & curls?

do you alternate the exercises? Especially day 1, where the chest & back exercises can be alternated nicely.



You are right. I do not use itensification stuff because it kills my progress. When you train with that high frequency you dont want to kill yourself. It is about progress nothing else. I dont need RP or drop sets or such sings. If I train hard and go for that muslce 48 hours later again why should I destroy him every single time?

I ramp up with 5 reps per warm up then a top set with 5-8 reps. The back offs are mostly between 5-15.

As far as alternating. You can do this. There is nothing wrong with it. But for me that always leads to a week pressing setup so I will first do my presses and then my back stuff.

Hope that helps.


fantastic really like that thank you


Hey CT thanks for the tip. I have been using the program for six months now with good success. One of my other questions was regarding de load or back off weeks. I didn’t see much written about de loading in the two program articles. What is your suggestion regarding de loading while following this program format? Or is it something that is not necessary?


Interesting thanks man. Do you find that your biceps get more sore or have any hard time with recovery since you are hitting them on the back day as well?


With the low volume I don’t see it as absolutely necessary. If you feel run down, just stop going to failure for a week


The BDW has been a godsend for someone like me who likes frequency. I think my record in 16 days straight, and that only ended because life (booo) got in the way.