T Nation

Can You Help me Create a Workout Routine?

Can you help me create a workout routine? I do home workouts and have a bike, elliptical, jump rope, ez curl bar, rogue barbell, dumbbells up to 15 pnds and a number of plates. I would like help with a balanced push/pull upper body/lower body.

My fave exercises:
band pull-throughs
Romanian deadlift
DB leg curl
one arm row
inverted row
lat pull-down
push up
shoulder press
tricep extension
bicep curls
face pulls

I was thinking
pendlay H pull
one arm row H pull
lat pull-down V pull
push-up H push
shoulder press V push
tricep extension/bicep curls

band pull-throughs Pull
squat Push
lunge Push
deadlift Pull
leg curl Pull

What advice/suggestions do you have?

What are your physical stats now?

What does your current diet look like day to day? (As accurate as possible)

How long have you been training?

What are your goals (be strong, be lean, etc…)

Are you open to not designing a program and following one that actually works?


Pick a program that is freely available, buy a book or pay for coaching/a program.

1 Like

My physical stats:
200 pnd 5’5’ female

Im new to any weightlifting and have been losing weight mainly through diet as I keep to a strict 1200 cal diet. In July I was previously doing some cardio (elliptical 30 min) and a few weight lifting moves that were mostly isolation when I knew even less than I do now about weightlifting. I lost faith in my workout routine and set out to get a more serious one so have only been doing cardio with the elliptical until I get a better weightlifting routine. I have since added a dynamic stretch routine to my workout and prehab exercises for rounded shoulders, but would really like a basic weightlifting routine that would give me a basic foundation to build on one Ive lost more weight. I cant do front/back squats yet as I have some thoracic mobility and rounded shoulder issues, so Ive just been using dumbbells, though I would be open to using a hex barbell trap bar for increasing squat weight Iw ould just need to buy one though that’s no problem.

My “stats:”
25 pnd bench press, 8 pound shoulder press, 45 pnd deadlift and 30 pnd squat

Honest feedback. You are pretty heavy for a 5’5 female. Unless you want to do pure powerlifting, I’d try to lose fat first while make lifting weights secondary. After you lose significant amount of fat, you can start make muscle building a priority. Your “stats” are very weak relative to your weight even as a female, which is an indication that you don’t have much muscle yet. Hope this helps


It takes long term dedication and a daily contribution toward your goals more than anything else (equipment, etc.). Don’t get distracted and really really try to keep your emotions out of it or at least in check.


Maybe I could give some tips.

I went from 143-205lbs within 2ish years at 5 feet. Now I’m at a stable weight at 183-184. I’d increase your calories. Just a smidge.

I’d also suggest making the bulk of your workouts compound movements. Take out over half of what you have posted in your OP. I understand they’re your favorites, but concerning progress you’d be better of switching to movements that are going to help your progress.

Rep/set ranges you choose are up to you. But I’d suggest building some sort of base of strength. 5x5 May suit you well, but I think you’d do good with 5/3/1, modified Westside, or something similar, or just using challenging weights in the 1-5 rep range. You don’t have to add them in a whole bunch at first, but establishing some type strength base slowly would help I think, let the rest of your workouts center around compound movements, that you can crank out a stimulating amount of reps for. As for cardio Maybe just add it in moderately for like 25-30 mins

Not sure what your diet consists of so I’m not sure what all I could suggest.


Well yeah, honestly I know I can lift heavier Ive carried 80 pnds when carrying concrete for a DIY project but why Im not lifting heavier is because I don’t want back injuries. Trust me, I can lift heavier I just think I have some serious weaknesses and the other reason is equipment limitations so I use what I have available. But I wanted to add some weight lifting since weightlifting augments fat loss. I just was looking for a basic simple routine. Currently Im just doing elliptical.

If you do stuff correctly, you decrease your chances immensely.

1 Like

Thanks for the reply, as stated by cyber; definitely overkill with the exercise selection, and hence why I asked my last question regarding would you considering running a pre-designed program by a professional instead of trying to create one.
They are generally better because it’s easier to track progress, it stops you from majoring the minors and you know your on a program that has worked for people before.

Do you want to continue to stay at a calorie deficit, or start to gain muscle?

1 Like

What about De Franco’s Fierce 5?

I like 5/3/1 but I also think the deadlift is kinda complex for beginners, so Fierce 5 breaking it down into RDL and Bent Over Row is a good way to work up to that. But some people can deadlift with no issue right off the the bat.
Found on another site, but I’m sure a google search would clarify:
Workout A
Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Pendlay Rows 3x8
Face Pulls 3x10
Calf raises 2x15/Tricep pressdowns 2x10 Superset

Workout B
Front Squat 3x5
Overhead Press 3x5
Romanian Deadlift 3x8
Lat Pulldowns 3x8 (any grip)
Ab work 2x15/Bicep curls 2x10 Superset (I don’t care what ab work you do)

For now I wanted to lose fat and I know that I have to have a calorie deficit for that so I wanted to use weights as a way of giving me some muscle but mainly fueling weight loss because I know I need more than just cardio for weight-loss.

I checked it out on bodybuilding.com but he was pretty adamant it had to be front/back squat and not dumbbell squat but other posters were saying I could do dumbbell squat or use a medicine ball for front/back squat. I have a pretty weak back and rounded shoulders so I wanted to build that up first before doing front/back squats and avoid injury. I was pretty excited to do his workout program and went out and bought some bands to do lat pulldowns until I found out the squat was front/back squat and not the dumbbell squat I thought it was. I also had some questions about his workout just for learning purposes like why do back first before shoulders? And why no leg curls because I thought you had to exercise quads and hamstrings with knee flexions well as hip extensions, ie deadlift and Glute-ham raise or squats and knee curls?

I thought most of the exercises were compound exercises like pendlays, push-ups, one arm rows, shoulder press, squats, ect? Because I did want compounds since I found theyre the best to use in a routine. And my understanding is, youre also supposed to go from biggest muscle to smallest like back to chest and the shoulders for upper body, right?

I’m sure that would apply somewhere, to the more advanced, but since you’re a beginner I doubt that that’s going to be of any use. It’s like, say you’re doing BB rows. You will hit the biceps to some extent. How much? Idk. That’s dependent on the person. Now you’re going to try and do pat pull downs, but say your biceps are already fried and targeting the lats is proving difficult for you. My whole point is, with compound movements, you’re going to recruit a lot more muscle fibers in various locations versus isolated movements…ergo fluff movements. You’re able to work more areas, with less movements. Essentially.

Rows, presses, and pushups are good to go. Concerning the upper body.

But the curls/extensions, you don’t particularly need at this time. You also could probably do well not doing a bunch of variations of the same movement.

Do a squat/lunge, deadlift, and two upper body movements. One for pull one for push. If anything you should look up rep/set layouts. There’s a bunch of schemes you can do with the same movement and yield good results. Meaning you don’t have to keep adding in fluff.

1 Like

Honestly, I think there’s a few things you can change to your liking, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’m sure you can start with dumbbell/goblet squats and work your way up till you’re stronger and/or more confident.

I remember somebody had an article saying it was better to do back before pressing because it’s better for your shoulders. I think it was Lee Boyce.

I also don’t think you can go wrong with adding leg curls on your own.The squats and RDL here should do enough hamstring work. I personally don’t do any knee flexion isolation, but having beefy hamstrings can be good for your knees.

Be wary of anyone who is so adamant about something as trivial as exercise selection. When lifting for fat loss and muscle preservation, you really don’t need to fry yourself every time you go to the gym. You can if you want, but you’ve figured out by now that diet is what drives your scale weight down. Lifting just helps it along and helps your body prioritize burning fat and keeping muscle. Back squats are probably one of the better tools that are out there, but goblet squats can be used to great success as well.

@planetcybertron gave some great advice and she’s walked the walk too. There’s a gazillion programs you can use and a gazillion set and rep schemes. I like the Dan John way of thinking (he’s an author you can search on this site).

Make sure your lifting covers the following movements, which it looks like you’re already thinking about.

Upper body horizontal push (bench press, DB press, push-up)
Upper body horizontal pull (DB row, barbell row, fat-man pull-up)
Upper body vertical push (strict press with barbell, dumbbell press, kettlebell press)
Upper body vertical pull (pull ups or lat pulldowns, vary your grips)
Squat of some kind (high bar, low bar, safety bar, front squat, goblet squat or even just an air squat)
Hip hinge of some kind (deadlift from the floor, Romanian deadlift, stiff leg deadlift or even kettlebell swings)
Loaded carry (farmers walk, sandbag carry, db carry, trap bar carry, lug some rocks around in a backpack)

Hit those once per week and you’re stimulating every major and nearly every minor muscle in your body too. You’ve lifted. Good job. Then do some food prep or go for a walk.

You can do stuff like train your abs directly, train your biceps directly, do leg machines or any machines. Or not. I don’t think they are necessary when lifting for fat loss and muscle preservation when dropping weight. They are great if you’re trying to add weight and muscle to your frame, but that’s not the game you’re playing.

There are lots of great fat loss articles on this site, and not all of them will have the movements I listed and that’s fine too. Also, keep in mind that you’re not a bodybuilder losing fat to get into contest shape. You’re just a regular person dropping fat, which is good news for you. You don’t need to do what already lean bodybuilders do to get into contest shape. Make sure you’re picking a program relevant to your situation.

Search around and find one you believe in and can do in your workout space, then commit to it and go. What you already laid out is fine to get moving on as well. Maybe not optimal, but don’t let perfect get in the way of good.

If you’re losing more than 3 pounds per week and/or feeling run down, eat a little bit more protein. 1200 calories seems pretty low for a 200 lb person. If you’re lifting consistently I would expect you to be steadily dropping weight at 2000 calories or even a bit higher. Eat to recover from your lifting but still drop 1-2 pounds per week steadily.


Great advice above

If you haven’t already incorporated HIIT training, then it might be a good idea to start checking out some routines. Can incorporate bodyweighted+kettlebells+dumbells into a good little workout, is a great conditioning tool that works hand in hand with a calorie deficit

Have you ever thought of joining a CrossFit box? A fair few movements you posted in your OP are incorporated in wods and are great when done correctly with good form, especially in a box environment with other trainers

Thanks! What would make it more optimal?
When learning about workouts I found even more things to consider, like one site said to consider
a carry: farmers walks
anti-lateral flexion: bird dog
anti-extension: push-up, plank
anti-flexion: deadlift, pendlays, squats
anti-rotation: one arm row
rotational/diagonal diagonal: wood chop
horizontal pull: pendlay
horizontal push: push-up
vertical push: shoulder press
vertical pull: lat pulldown
knee dominant: lunge, squat
hip dominant: squat, deadlift
hip hinge: deadlift
and then you have to do exercises in the saggittal plane, frontal plane and transverse plane

How would you program all of that? Does anyone program all of those in their routine?

What do you think of this:
So for upper body:
one arm row
lat pulldown
shoulder press

band pull-throughs
leg curl

So bicep/triceps prob arent essential? Good to know. I was going to do 3 sets of 12 reps. Do you know if you have to use equal amounts of weights to avoid imbalances? For example, use 45 pnd for squat and 45 pnd for deadlift since one exercises the quads and the other exercises the hamstrings? Should you even use same weight for different parts of same muscle, like use 45 pnds for leg curl and 45 pounds for deadlift since both exercise different parts of the hamstring?