Critique My Program

I don’t see many critique posts despite that being a subject in this forum. Below is my program. I have been suffering from no shoulder size increases. I also have some injuries that are very limiting due to pain, on the squats. I think 1 or 2 sets might work, but I have so many injuries that i’m not sure about pushing that exercise.

(I occasionally change an exercise to add variety)

DB bench x5
Cable pull x5
Lat pulldown x4
ab wheel x1
flat DB fly
incline fly OR SGL cable cross-body “fly”
DB Row x3 OR face-down on incline bench db row
Skullcrushers x4
cable pushdown x4

Squats x2 (looking to find a replacement)
DB shoulder press x5
lying leg curl x4
cable lat raise OR DB lat raise
upright row x4
Reverse crunch OR reg crunch
leg extensions x4

Wed - very limmited
side leg raises x1
DB side bends x1
calf raises x3
10 min heavybag

Sorry OP but this Coronavirus has pissed me off so don’t take this personally.

You don’t see many critique posts for a reason

They’re ridiculous.

They’re usually created, in my opinion, so we can all swoon, pat your back while telling you how awesome your program design is and how it’s going to lead to legendary gains.

Go and read @The_Mighty_Stu posts in the BB forum, particularly the natural thread. He’s dropped some gold in there which I’m sure will serve you well .


What are you trying to accomplish? Are big shoulders your #1 goal?

How many reps are you doing in your sets?

What’s up with this limited A/B format? Are you always sore and fatigued are are you recovered and ready for workouts?

If squatting is a problem doing it twice per week seems not great.

Here’s my take on it, OP: If you’re a beginner lifter, you have no basis (ie, experience with successful training) upon which to draw in designing a program. And if you’re an advanced lifter (ie, someone with extensive/significant training success), you won’t need any advice in this regard (other than perhaps suggestions for minor program tweaks).

Without going into detail (because the problems are many), your program is bad to the point of incoherence (ie, there’s no apparent rationale underlying it). I will give you one example: You’ve indicated shoulders are your worst bodypart. Why on earth aren’t they prioritized in the program as written?

My advice: Find a program template (there are dozens available free of charge on this site) you think you’d enjoy, and run it as written. Or, hire a trainer. In that regard, I worked with @The_Mighty_Stu for a while, and can attest that he provides an excellent service. (I have no financial relationship with him, other than being a former client.) Best of luck on your fitness journey.


Thanks for feedback.
EyeDestist: I am more in the moderate range. I’ve never done an A/B week but I found a program similar to this out there. It was upper/lower 2x each per week. I had to move shoulders though to keep upper short enough. I am making gains in all other areas besides shoulders. Any tweaks/suggestions are very much appreciated!

FlatsFarmer: Yes squats being a problem I did recently lower to 2x wk 2 sets. I am trying to push myself since squats are one of the best exercises for growth. I am however curious about some suggestions to replace them: lunges, leg ext/leg curl single leg dips(back leg on bench, other leg do single squats. I welcome any further comments and ideas!

p.s. The basic started as push pull. tri, then press(OHD) lat pull-down, bicep, then abs and shoulders, legs. I had to modify due to workout time.

Edit for forgotten answer: Yes, I feel rested when time for next same-body-part day. I am not sore even next day. I enjoy the volume, honestly.

Do a program written by a professional.

Coronavirus has also pissed me off.

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Do the 5/3/1 Boring but big 3 MOnth challenge… twice. You’ll learn good stuff, build good habits, and be able to adjust from there.

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Thanks all. I’m going to try a prefab program, for now.

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OK, clarification question.Infound thisprogram by Clay Hyght
(A Tried and True Bodybuilding Program Template)

I started day 1 yesterday. I amstill seeing lots or articles about hitting each body part 2x/wk and that the 5 day split is more for beginners who can grow by just walking in the gym. So please give me some input on personal experiences between the 2x/wk or 1x/wk hitting each on own day and with lots of intensity.

Thanks for the clarification and opinions. I don’t pretend to be a Clay Hyght, but I wanttopick a good program for intermediate.


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There’s contradicting information all over the internet, especially about lifting, because most everyone is gonna promote their training methodology as the best ever and/or the ONLY way to make gainz. They do this because they need to convince people to buy their shit or follow them, so that they can make money. The truth is, a lot of different methodologies will work, as long as they cover the important bases - compound movements, balance across the whole body, including cardio, etc. You need to find a tried and true template, which most of the templates on here are, and do it consistently and correctly, without modifying, for 6 months to a year. Worrying about which one really is the best will just result in you not progressing.

In short, pick a program from here, commit to doing it correctly for a long time, and stop researching completely, otherwise you’ll just over-analyze and mess yourself up. Trust me, I did it a bunch in my late teens and early 20’s. Then I found 5/3/1 and have been doing it for years, while consistently making progress.

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It’s really a matter of personal preference.

Your 2 way split had you doing like 4-5 sets per body-part per week, divided over 2 days. Hyght’s plan has you doing 4-5 sets per body-part per week.

Maybe, maybe the higher frequency is a little better for “strength.” Like you practice the moves a little more, so maybe you’re more skilled and lift a little more. But who gives a shit about how much weight you use for dumbbell flies and leg curls?

I guess age and experience matter too. In my youth I could do big compound moves like squats, presses and cleans 3 times a week and be like “Linebacker Big.” Not a BB physique, but big back, shoulders and legs.

Now I’m 40 and I’ve been getting better results with once a week frequency, more small lifts and a more focused approach like Hyght’s.

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That’s actually very helpful. I am 43 and my body is trashed from my accident a few years back. I’m going to try the Hyght plan from here and just see how it goes. Shoulders arent really any more important to me than anything else, just that they are stagnated right now. I am suspecting that my body just doesn’t have the steam.

As far as patting me on the back, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m still here despite some nay-sayers. Why, because I genuinely want insight. Not looking for atta-boys. but I also expect some honest, non-vindictive responses.

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Honestly man, that’s really the Best thing to do. Try some program, take a test drive and see what it’s all about, and if it works for you. If you do it for 6 weeks and it sucks and you hate it, at least you know that it’s not a great match for you.


I’ve read lots that talks about twice a week being better than once per body part but for me, doing an upper/ lower takes too long with warming up, swapping exercises and didn’t give me enough volume that I felt worked.

So I’ve moved back to a traditional BB 4 day split. What I must say, is that if you want to look like a BB, then you should train like one. I think mighty Stu said that (or quoted that).

On another note, 5/3/1 with BBB assistance does work well.


To @rugby_lifting’s point I think for both training and diet, practicality is the key. Something can be “perfect” on paper, and eek out .02g more muscle in a study (by the way, look at the individual variance in participants in these studies with n = 18; it’s hard to really say what was what), but if it doesn’t fit into your life, it’s not where it’s at.

So, like @FlatsFarmer said, if volume is your driver for hypertrophy, you have to realistically be able to get volume in. Maybe it’s better if you do that with more frequency, but if you can’t spend 3 hours in the gym 6 days a week, then it’s not “optimal” for you.

Anyway, there’s plenty of smart people that write programs for this site. I see no value in trying to outwit them and make my own - just pick one that is for the goal you want (hypertrophy) and can fit into your life/ you think looks cools, and do it.


When you look at studies and graphs of results often 1 way gets better results than the 2nd best way, and then maybe there is a shittier 3rd method that gets the least results.

But after awhile, maybe like 9-12 weeks the gains from the Best Way kinda slow down, or the results level off. Or you reach a point where you’re working harder for less results. From there you can switch to the 2nd best method and get some results for awhile.

For example I was going upper/lower, 4 days a week for awhile. Then my schedule changed and I tried a less frequent, lower volume push/pull/legs, 3 days week style for awhile. With more rest and more focus on fewer lifts I was able to lift heavier and push through some plateaus in just a short time.

Then gains started slowing down and I was getting lots of strains and muscle pulls and stuff. So now I’m doing less weight, more exercises and more sets.

As during their heyday Arnold and the boys lifted twice a day, 6 days a week, working every bodypart 3x/week*, I think it would come as a surprise to them to learn that hitting everything once/week over four days is the ‘traditional BB split.’

*Edit: Except forearms and calves, which were worked daily.

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I’m not meaning to be rude but the most commonly traditional body building split referred to on this site is a 5 day one body part per day routine. I’m not disagreeing about what works or what Arnold did but everyone on this site when talking a traditional BB split seems to agree with the single body part one.

I’m not meaning to be rude either, but as I seriously doubt you (or anyone else) has been keeping track of the number of references various splits receive on the site, I don’t see how you can make this assertion. Further, even if your assertion is accurate, it would only mean that such splits are currently popular, not that they are in any sense traditional.

Well maybe a should have said typical BB split. Thank you for picking at my post, great addition to the thread.