T Nation

Changing From Full Body to a Split


#1

(skip down if you dont want to see my past lifts/programs and nonsense)
I have been doing a full body program that has been helping me make gains but i dont believe that it is very good. It looked something like this:

A: Bench (Max and then 135 x max for 3 sets)
Squat 3x5
Two Accessory Exercises (dips and pullups normally)

B: Military Press 3xmax (low reps , usually 2-6)
Squat 3x5
Rows (DB OR BB) 3x max (in the 6-10 range)
Pullups or DB bench

C: Bench Repetition (6x4 or 5x5 with ligher weights, using speed)
Squat 3x5
Pullups or dips

Obviously, this program was not very good but i decided to stick with it because i was making decent gains and because i am a begginer and it was working. I got my bench up 45 lbs and my military press stayed pretty much the same, maybe went up 10 lbs. My squat went up 20-30 lbs, which is pretty good because i started this program after my knee was injured which had prevented me from working out for around 3-4 months. I wasnt able to do more then 2 pullups, now i do wide grip for sets of 10.

Now i want to change my program to something more effective because i dont feel as if this program is cutting it. I am still a beginner and have only been lifting seriously for a year and a half or so. ( i have been lifting for 2 years but the first year was just bench and curls, as you can tell from my bench to squat ratio)
My lifts and goals:
Bench 175x2 (decent form, no bouncing)/225x1
Military Press 3x5 90 lbs/135x1
Squat 3x5 165 lbs with strict form/225x5
Deadlift (dont do very often but i'd say around 225 lbs with not very good form =)225x10
Row 3x8 115/135x10
Pullups Wide Grip 1x10, 1x7 (After fatigue)/2x10-15(stay the same would be fine at my higher weight)

I am 17 years old at 5'10 and weigh 150-155 lbs. My diet isnt very good but i am working on that.

I am basically debating whether i should do a body part split, push/pull, or wsfsbIII. I am leaning towards wsfsbIII, but i would like to hear your guys' opinions. Thanks.


#2

It depends mostly on your goal.

WS4SB is a good overall template, best suited for trainees looking for strength, athletic performances and mass (in this order).

Body part splits have been working for half a century, they're a safe bet when it comes to mass gaining; you'll also get stronger (probably at a lower rate than with WS4SB).

Push/pull is great, especially if you want to hit each bodypart more than once/twice a week, but smaller muscles are often neglected (try to work hard on BB curl after deadlift, chins and row...).

If you're already leaning towards WS4SB, do it! It will work, as long as you put effort in it (and actually start eating a lot, with a good amount of kcals and proteins EVERY DAY).


#3

My main goal used to be just strength, but I sort of want to get some muscle mass. Theres just one problem though... squats leave my left knee in pain (yes i know, you have probably heard of this before as a lame excuse to not squat).

My physical therapist said i should never squat using high weight low reps, especially anything under 10 reps, but i still try and do 3x5. I havent had much pain, but my left knee doesnt feel "right" after squatting and sometimes there is slight shooting pain, but nothing compared to a couple months ago.

I want to get stronger and bigger, and dont care about athletic performance at all because i have given up on sports because of my knee.
I'd like to do WSFSB but the only thing that is making me think twice about doing it is the fact that i have to do heavy squatting in the 1-5 RM range. I dont think that would be too safe.


#4

First of all, your very lean and very young. Which means that the from this point, you can only improve :slightly_smiling:

Think about your diet. It's not that hard to plan those 6 meals a day. You're lean, growing and working out - you can basically eat everything. Just make sure it's done consistently.

Your knee issue - I'd be carful here. Try deadlifting - if it's fine for your knee, I'd make it my main lower body exercises and get to some respectable numbers. It's an excellent exercise.

Also, don't be afraid to customize your routine. Routine is not an aim in itself. Routine, if you stick with it, should give you a chance to make progress with weight.


#5

Your physical therapist may not be saying you should do low reps because of the condition. Doctors/and other similar professionals say things like "Squats will ruin your knees" all the time. I don't think I've seen one instance where they've said anything other than do "light weight for high reps rather than heavy for low."

If I had knee pain when I squatted, there's no way in hell I'd do high reps. I know that would aggravate it for me, although certainly impossible to tell without having the issue, I'm pretty sure. You need to do whatever exercises aggravate it the least until you get it sorted. Dropping squats isn't the end of the world, better that then aggravating an injury imo.


#6

You should definitely look at the book â??Scrawny to Brawnyâ?? by John Berardi and Michael Mejia. This is a complete guide and covers everything you need to know about getting bigger and stronger and even improving your health. The training consists of total-body workouts that really work, and youâ??ll be amazed at what you learn about nutrition and just how much food you really need to grow, and more importantly, to keep on growing.


#7

Knee pain when squatting mustn't be overlooked, especially at your age...

Try some sets on a leg press: if it doesn't hurt, the problem is in your technique; if it hurts, have it checked (rx, IMR...).


#8

I had physical therapy for around 4-5 months, the problem is all because of my lack of an arch which screwed up my posture. I had to stop all leg workouts and do bodyweight rehab exercises. It never fully healed and he said that i should just continue doing those rehab/prehab exercises until i am better and that i can incorporate leg lifts in my workout but that i should aim for endurance rather than building strength. He loves squatting and said that its not bad for your knees if you have the right technique, he just said that it wouldn't be a good idea to squat in the lower rep ranges for a while.

As for switcihng deadlift with squat, my deadlift form isnt very good but im going to take your advice and learn how to pull more.
I was thinking of doing WSFSBIII, but tweaking it a little bit to make it less volume. There are some exercises that i think are a waste of time.

I also have another question, in wsfsbIII, the original program says that on Dynamic-Lower Day, their is no main lift. Would it be fine to do deadlifts for sets of 2x5,3x5 instead of doing jumps and such? I dont care about athletic performance, and im getting the feeling that this program isnt right for me. If anyone has any other programs that they recommend,that would be nice.


#9

Very good you're rehabing your knee!

As far as deadlift, learn the good technique: search "Mastering the deadlift" articles in the article archives, google for excerpts of Starting Sterngth online, or go to www.crossfit.com and wacth their tutorial vids (especially those featuring Rippetoe). If you can, make a video of your deadlifts for form critique. Trap bar (if your gym has one) would be great for you.

You can just ditch Dynamic Lower Day, and train three days a week.

Which exercises are a waste of time, in your opinion? As long as you keep main lifts, you can adjust assistance lifts to suit your needs. The same holds true concerning volume.

As a rule of thumb, anyway, it's better to run a program exactly as it is written, at least for a cycle (4-6 weeks), then you can tailor it to your needs.

Of course, if you don't feel like doing it...it's up to you! At the moment, I'm doing Wendler's 5/3/1 (fourth month on it, and enjoying every work out); read the latest article, and if you like it, just PM me for more details.


#10

I have made a program that i believe is decent, i would appreciate if some of you guys could point out the things that i did wrong.(its more like wsfsbII, just with a couple changes)

A: ME Upper
Bench Press 2-5 RM
DB Rows 3x8
Incline DB Bench 2x10-15
DB Shrugs Superset w/ DB Curls 2x10

B: Lower
Deadlift 2x5-8
Bulgarian Split Squat 3x8
Hyperextensions 3x10 (or GHR Progression and eventually 3xmax)
Ab circuit (2 exercises weighted)

C: RE Upper
CGBP 4x12
Wide Grip Pullups 3x max
DB Shoulder Press Or Lateral Raise 3x8
Hammer Curls 2x10

D: Legs
Back Squat 3x5
Bulgarian Split Squat 3x10
Hyperextensions 3x10
Abs


#11

A: ME Upper
Bench Press 2-5 RM
Incline DB Bench 2x10-15
DB Rows 4x8
DB Shrugs Superset w/ DB Curls 2x10

B: Lower
Deadlift 5-8 RM (set the bar on some plates or in the power rack, so that you start from a mid-shin position; it should be easier on knees)
Bulgarian Split Squat 3x8
GHR 3x10 (slowly work up to ten reps, even starting from 3 set of negative-only)
Ab circuit (2 exercises weighted)

C: RE Upper
CGBP 4x12
Wide Grip Pullups 3x max
DB Shoulder Press 3x8
Bent over Raise 3x8 superset w/ Hammer Curls 2x10
Facepulls 3x12-15

D: Legs
Wide Stance Low Bar (easier on knees) Squat 3x10-12
Bench step up (or step down, according to strength), or Reverse lunges 3x8-12
Hyperextensions 3x10
Abs (plank or roll-out, depending on strength)

Just my suggestion, aimed at removing some redundance/overlapping on Lower Body days and balance things a bit on Upper Body days.


#12

Alright thanks for all the help man, i appreciate it. This program is also better because by making the reps higher on the squat, its basically a repetition-type day, so now i can just switch B and D, and that would be basically like the basic wsfsbIII.

One last thing though, i dont have a GHR machine at my gym, and i dont have a spotter/friend who goes to the gym with me regularly ( i can get spotted on bench, but i doubt someone will help me do ghetto GHR's), are there any other substitute exercises that would suffice?

Btw, i did a really bad upper body day yesterday that didnt go very well because i didnt have a game plan, but today i did my lower body and i did basically what is on Day B, and it went really well. I was exhausted from the back extensions because i did them weighted, and had never done them in my life, actually felt a little sick.


#13

1) Well...if it ain't broken, no need to fix it :wink:

2) Unfortunately, GHR machines are almost unknown in regular gym (and not everebody can train in a PL dungeon :wink:. Never mind, just do some goodmorning or romanian deadlift, same set/rep.

There is a weird way of doing GHR by putting your shin on a Lat pull down seat, facing away form the machine...but I've never found gym owners letting me doing it more than once!

3) Good lesson to learn: when trying new exercises, take it easy, give yourself the time to understand them (and your body the time do adapt)

Have fun with your new program, man...and EAT LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW :slight_smile:


#14

Alright, sounds good. I also wanted to incorporate dips into this program ( but unfortunately in the WSFSBIII template, dips aren't an option)because from past experience, when i stop doing body weight exercises (push ups, dips,and pull ups mainly) for more then 3 or 4 weeks, i end up not being able to do many and i have to work on them later on. I guess i could cycle them in later on, but i was wondering if it would be a bad idea to include them in my ME Upper day, or would having a main triceps exercise on both RE and ME Upper be a bad idea.

A: ME Upper
Bench Press 2-5 RM
Incline DB Bench 2x10-15
DB Rows 3x8
DB Shrugs Superset w/ DB Curls 2x10

B: Lower RE
Wide Stance Low Bar (easier on knees) Squat 3x10-12
Lunge Variation 3x8-12
Weighted Hyperextensions 3x10
Abs (plank or roll-out, depending on strength)

C: RE Upper
CGBP 4x12
Wide Grip Pullups 3x max
DB Shoulder Press 3x8
Bent over Raise 2x8 superset w/ Hammer Curls 2x8
Facepulls 3x12-15

D: Legs ME
Deadlift 5-8 RM
Bulgarian Split Squat or 1 Leg DB RDL 3x8
Weighted Back Extension 3x10
Leg Raises 3x10 + Decline Ab Crunch 3x10*

Ill make the ab workouts optional on ME day because after deadlifting, im pretty worn out.