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Critique my Program (OHP, Trap DL, Weighted Chin Ups)



Hello all,

Haven’t posted in nearly 6-7 years, but I read the articles on T Nation daily.

A little background info about me that might explain some choices I made in this program:
-Regular squats and deadlift absolutely wreck my lower back, no matter how solid the form is (old injury flaring up)
-Back Squats always felt insanely awkward, no matter how often I did them or how much emphasis I put on the form (flexbility issues, proportions, etc).
-I’ve been lifting seriously since I was around 20, I’m 27 now.
-Stats are 6’0 207lbs around 13-14% BF

Current/all-time best lifts:
Chin Ups: 5 x BW(210) + 82lbs
Back Squat: 10 x 315
Front squat: 4 x 275
Deadlift: 6 x 430
Bench: 11 x 225
Trap Deadlift: 3 x 475 / 12 x 411
Press: 10 x 135
Dips: 6 x BW(210) + 110

My goal is really to focus on strength on the Press, Chin Ups and Trap DL which are my 3 main lifts while staying injury free and leaving me time for having a life.

All time goal would be 5 x BW+100lbs on the chin ups, 5 x 200 on the Press, and 5 x 500 on the Trap DL.

I focus on these 3 main lifts because honestly I don’t compete in powerlifting and they allow me to stay injury free while giving a fairly complete approach.

The program revolves around 3 days, each focus on one of the ‘‘big’’ lift: Trap DL, OHP and Chin Ups.
Following the main 5 sets (5/3/1 template), I do 1 push, 1 pull and 1 lower movement.

Day 1
Press (5/3/1 progression template)

CG Bench Press (paused) 3 x 10
Band Pull apart 2 x 50
GHR 2 x 10
Back Extensions
AB Roller (knees)
Rope jump

Day 2
Weighted Chin Ups (5/3/1 progression template)

Incline DB Press 3 x 12
BB Rows 3 x 12
Split Squat 2 x 25
Back Extensions 25 x BW
AB Roller (knees) 25 x BW
Rope Jump

Day 3
Trap Deadlift (5/3/1 progression template)

1H Band Tri Pushdowns 3 x 50
Neutral Chin Ups 4 x 10
Zercher Squat 3 x 15
Back Extensions 25 x BW
AB Roller (knees) 25 x BW
Rope jump

Do you guys see massive issues with this program? I often schedule too much volume into my workouts and then dread the actual workout because of it, then end up skipping some. Ideally I’d like to be in and out in 50 mins.

Muscle imbalances? Exercises that aren’t there that should be? I’m 100% open to criticism, have at it.

Link to my youtube page with plenty of videos of my lifts if you wanna see the form etc. https://www.youtube.com/user/jzt26/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=4&view_as=subscriber


No dips? No weighted calves?


Looks pretty solid. Not sure about the band pushdowns though. 50 reps is getting a touch high


I will offer my POV on sparing the joints and staying injury-free when lifting, especially the pressing.

Overhead Press:
I see that the ceilling is a limiting factor to doing standing overhead presses.
Kneeling overhead pressing looks like it won’t be a good thing for your knees even with a light weight over the long haul.
Although sitting overhead presses stress the lower back too, I’d consider them exclusively instead.
Standing presses are best imo, since using the glute-involvement spares the lower back and increases strength.

Bench press and Overhead press:
Personally I’d try changing the grip to a false-grip for a while and see if it works for you.

In my case, it allows to better use the lats when pressing in any direction.
Pressing overhead like you would in a powerlifting-like benchpress (regarding arm travel closer to the body instead of flared elbows) is much easier with a false-grip.

To me it looks like In both your overhead press and bench press you could use some more lat involvement.

On Any Squats and Any Deadlifts:
I can’t recommend doing these during the warm-up enough:

Dormant glutes are the worst enemy to a lower back when deadlifting and squatting.

Glute-Bridge and Hip-Thrust:

Adding Glute Bridges or Hip Thrusts for all warm-ups and even as a main assistance non-strength-focused lift works wonders for staying injury-free, helping all other lifts, etc.

On dumbbells

Some good thoughts by experienced members there.
In my personal experience, if I can do a lift with dumbbells instead of a barbell, I’ll do it.
For symmetry and to spare the elbow/wrist joints.

On Volume and The Program

To me it also looks like a lot of volume, especially if you dread the workout.

^ You exhibit signs of a workout hangover.

5/3/1 I’m not doing Jack-Shit over the long haul doesn’t look good either on the other spectrum of low volume (Wendler also mentions how it’s not something to do exclusively either).

I like this Wendler template because it has a bigger focus on warm-up, mobility and GPP.
Other 5/3/1 programs don’t focus as much on those.

But by your exercise selection, it looks like you’re doing something similar to Dan John’s 40 day program.

But Dan John’s program has much less volume than most programs.
If you are not focused in hypertrophy, the variations of the program allow for steady strength increase, low stress, short time in the gym, overall balance in exercise selection.
It’s a program that doesn’t beat you up, and lets you have a life outside the gym.

For a hypertrophy program that has low volume and low overall stress,
Thibaudeau’s Best Damn Program for Natural Lifters (which I have not tried) seems insteresting.
Hypertrophy Specific Training by Haycock (which I have not tried) also seems interesting.
Both programs are focused on low-volume and low stress.

Also, foam rolling ftw.

Hope that helps.


Funny you posted that about the dips, I was actually looking over it last night and thought I’d replace the incline DB for dips. As for calves, I honestly never trained them directly, they’re about 18 inches. I could maybe do standing calf raises, but rope jumping burns them out fairly heavily.

Also agree, I think maybe 3-4 sets of 25 would be fine. I’m just looking to get some volume on my triceps because it has always been a weak point of mine. My lockout on the bench is terrible.


Thanks for the great post and solid input. I actually toyed around with a false grip on the OHP recently and found it much more natural and less restrictive. I’m a bit less inclined to try it on the bench for safety reason though.

As for your comment on the lats, funny enough I felt them a lot the day after I did the OHP (knees) with a suicide grip, but never ever feel them on bench days or with a full grip on OHP.

Ceiling is a limiting factor, however I can always drag my olympic bar outside (winter is a bitch though) and do them standing like I did in one video. I also have a gym at work so that’s an option there.

I never thought about doing glute bridges in the warm up to activate them and prevent lower back injury… I will definitely try that out. Good idea, thanks a lot.