T Nation

Compound Mass Building Routine


I'm in search of a new training program. I am a beginner ( 6 months ) and currently doing a 4 day spilt. I wanna do a mass program with alot of compound exercises. Any ideas? Any thoughts about rippetoe's starting strength?


It's great and it works. Do it.


x2. Used Starting Strength for 4 months, gained 20 pounds. Very satisfied.


20lbs of WHAT? lol

Why do people always make statements like this that imply the training program is somehow the reason they gained 20lbs?

Starting Strength doesn't even have "a lot" of compound exercises in it. It's very minimal.

In my opinion Starting Strength isn't worth doing.


I've gained 25lbs in 3 months, so my routine is better imo.


U have any recommendations Mr. Popular?


U have any recommendations Mr. Popular?


Hey W00tage- care to share that routine?


I would recommend a Pull/Push/Legs/Shoulders routine.

It's simple, it's traditional, and it's gotten countless other people big.


Sure. It's a 4 day split, I call it Failing Life

Day 1: Carbs
Day 2: Protein
Day 3: Fat
Day 4: Accessory work

you want to keep carbs + fat at least a day apart otherwise you'll struggle to recover

Day 1:
Baguette Deadlifts
Cornish Pasty Rows

Day 2:
overhead chicken squat
shake a shaker with 2 scoops whey, when you get stronger you can add some milk, but to start with just use 400ml water or it'll be too heavy, shake for 30 seconds, then rest for a minute, and repeat 5 times

Day 3:
Olive Oil cleans

very difficult exercise so that's all for this day

Day 4:
Bread Slice Grips // hold on until you can't anymore
Dougnut Curls

after each set you should eat the equipment, you'll gain 25lbs in no time, I always get people fucking asking, yeah, you can add in some chocolate bar curls and stuff so the love handles don't lag, but don't let it interfere with your appetite for the main foods

you should cycle reps and sets every week, so one week you do 10 x 10, then the next you do 2 x 2, then 10 x 10, then 2 x 2, etc.. try and increase amount of food on each exercise every week


also forgot to mention to "M.O.R.O.N principle" similar to the "GOMAD principle" in starting strength, means

mice or rabbits on nights - which basically means, at night you should interrupt your sleep every hour and go eat 100 mice or 10 rabbits

anyway, you seem like a nice dude, so I'm not going to be a complete wanker, I will actually post the routines I've done if you're interested

this was the sub-optimal 3-way split I was doing for the first 8 weeks, that I didn't design, actually wasn't too bad results-wise, there were noticeable changes according to my family, lol, even though I didn't start increasing weight into at least the 3rd week since the dude told me not to...

Day 1: Chest/Tris
Day 2: Back/Bis
Day 3: Legs/Shoulders


Exercise :: Sets x Reps


Flat DB Bench :: 3 x 12
Smith Bench :: 3 x 12
Dips :: 3 x 12 *
Flyes :: 3 x 12

Tricep Dips :: 3 x 12
Tricep Kickbacks :: 3 x 12


Pullups :: 3 x 12 *
One Arm DB Row :: 3 x 12
Vertical Row (machine) :: 3 x 12
Lat Pulldowns :: 3 x 12

BIcep Curls :: 2 x 12
Seated Alternating Bicep Curls :: 2 x 12

since basically EVERYTHING is 3 x 12, I would accidentally - not that it really matters - do 3x12 on the curls, usually


Seated DB Overhead Press :: 3 x 12
Upright Rows with DBs :: 3 x 12
Lateral Raise :: 3 x 12

Leg Press :: 3 x 12
Leg Extensions :: 3 x 12
Leg Curls :: 3 x 12

Nowadays, I'm doing things fairly different. It's all in my training log. The time between doing the routine I just typed above and the one I'm sort of doing now was about 4 weeks. I would go in, do 3-4 compounds, maybe a couple isolations, and leave. I did HSS-100 for a week in the middle of it, but didn't like it.

Basically, what I do now is about 3-4 compound exercises.
If it's chest or back day, I will follow up with some tricep/bicep isolation work, even though I have a separate day for arms - there's no harm training them twice.
On the two, what I call, strength lifts, I'll do 5x5 - Squats and Deadlifts. I don't have a spotter for bench, so I stick to 4x8; and with bench I'm more interested in hypertrophy than strength.
Almost everything is 4x8. I will tend to do low rep ranges and sets at the beginning working towards more volume towards the end workout, so on the last one or two compound exercises I might do 3x10 or something. It all depends how I'm feeling.

This is all likely to change though, I really just do what works, and keep doing it until it stops - which hasn't happened yet. I try not to change too many exercises week to week, trying to at least keep 2 the same between workouts. Sometimes I just don't feel like I need to do 4 exercises one week, so I won't, and I'll stop at 3.

Remember, I'm a complete beginner and any advice should be taken as such (except for my MORON principle, that's genius).


thanks. Any other suggestions?


always the same question it seems, even i asked it a couple days ago, and the best always seem to come from the same couple routines that have you doing a lot of the compounds. Even though in a post a week ago I said 5x5 may be 2 many squats for me, after a week i believe this program will be a huge mass builder for me. EAT ENOUGH FOOD , AND TRY EITHER A 5/3/1 ROUTINE VARIATION BY JIM WENDLER... or try this.


^ will get you mass, and is built on all compounds


Unless you start to come up with actual reasons why you don't like Rippetoe's SS, I'm just going to continue to suggest the programme to people.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've gained 30lbs in the last 11-weeks. Thanks to a minimalistic programme that focused solely on the most important lifts in weightlifting while advocating an eat big and clean diet alongside the GOMAD principle...
And shockingly enough, the stories I read from people here and the Strengthmill forums are pretty damn similiar

But your right, it probably had nothing to do with ''Farting Strength'' as you once referred to it.
Your main arguement against it seems to involve something about muscle imbalances. Again I can't speak for anyone else but SS has seemingly cured a severe muscle imbalance that existed between my legs. But that's probably just me :wink:


I have discussed my problems with the routine several times on this forum...

It neglects entire muscle groups, lacks accessory work, and in my opinion is too heavy for beginners still learning good technique. Every story I've ever seen in regards to Starting Strength "success" is people left with lagging bodyparts, and/or stagnated and lagging lifts.

You didn't gain 30lbs in 11 weeks because of a program. You gained 30lbs in 11 weeks because of the food you've been eating. How much of that 30lbs was muscle?

And if your profile is up to date, I'm not impressed that you managed to do the program and eat enough weight to reach AVERAGE bodyweight for your height. Sorry.


I'd approximate a 2-3% increase in BF%, and seeing as I started at 11%, hitting up to 14 or 15% really doesn't bother me.
I don't expect you to be impressed, I realise that is the average weight for my height. And unsuprisingly I don't expect to stop gaining here.

Lack of accessory work...? You haven't read the book have you...? There dozens of them recommended in the book, and hundreds more people can use if they apply a bit of common sense.
And the neglected body parts can IMO be easily addressed by said accessory work.

I have no interest in becoming ripped, I just wanted to add some mass to my frame. I'm not bothered by gaining a bit of fat. If I do gain so much fat that I'm unhappy, I'll take the necessary actions to shed it.
I'm interested as to why you expect people to only gain fat whilst on this programme.

You do have a point about the starting too heavy though.
If I recall correctly, Rippetoe recommends starting off fairly heavy in the book, even in the first workout. I totally disagree with this as a week or two spent on form would be time wisely spent.
However this is also an easily remedied problem as most people on this site recommend spending time practicing form before hand anyway.


Great. It still doesn't surpass just training NORMALLY.

The issue isn't that you can't tweak the program to make it work better. What perplexes me is that if you changed everything wrong with the program, what you'd arrive at is an ordinary bodybuilding routine. Fancy that!


man there is just too much info on this site. what should a newb do then? where to start? i have asked that multiple times and gotten starting strength as the most common answer. also people say "design a split routine." well thats fine and dandy but if you've never designed one before how do you know you are doing one correctly. i have read Thibs article on "designing a damn good program" and it gets damn complicated for me personally. you seem like you're pretty knowledgable in this subject so thats why i'm asking.


this is very true, I know that when I started I didn't even know any exercises, or at least, what muscles they worked... you'll get Starting Strength as a common answer, because it is what most people do, and if you post "Do Starting Strength" most people will agree with you

Thib's article is really good, but yeah, when I started out it would have been fucking hard. If mr popular, CC, or any of the guys like that write up a basic split to start from I'd consider yourself damn lucky. You need to give some info about your schedule and such though, so people know what they're working with. How many days can you go to the gym? How long per session? What are your goals? I think you already made a thread when you first joined, you could bump it if you want some extra advice/etc.

you can always have a bash at designing your own split, post it up here, and people will make it non-shit for you - if it is pretty bad however, and even if it isn't, you'll likely get a lot of people saying "Stop making things complicated and just do a basic program like Starting Strength," it's your choice if you want to listen to/ignore them.

at the end of the day though, the main thing is to be lifting hard and eating right, don't get over obsessed with whether or not you're doing the correct routine - consistency and hard work is the important thing


Could you post what you consider to be a normal Bodybuilding routine?
I'm not saying this just to be a smart-ass, I'm just curious as to what you consider a 'normal' routine to be. I've heard you call the programme ''non-traditional'', yet I'm of the opinion that this programme is VERY traditional, as Rippetoe explained in his interveiw for this site(going back a few months methinks)

And what do you consider to be wrong that you would fix?
I know you think the programme is minimalistic(and it is, but it is for a reason) but tbh I barely have time to fit in some chins, dips or pull-ups at the end of a workout(Maybe that's just me though)