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Critique My Program?

Hi. I was hoping people could give me some suggestions for improving my program. I’m trying to add mass and volume. I train lower body about 3 times per week with 2 x 15 leg presses, 2 x15 squats, 3x15 each hip adduction and abduction, 2x15 dead lifts, and some step ups. I have a bad ankle so I really can’t strain it. :frowning: I train upper body also 3 times per week with a variety of exercises usually with 3x 12 or 3x15 sets. I do 20 minutes of cardio about 6 times per week on the elliptical. I eat a lot of protein ( about 1.5 g per pound body weight) and I eat at least 6 times a day.

Any suggestions for improvement? I haven’t gained as much as I’d like. I’ve been gaining slightly less than 1 pound per week with my current caloric intake.


Slightly less than 1lb/week sounds about right. Average ability for muscle gain under optimal conditions is about 1lb/week, give or take, and, given that you can’t really push the lower body hard, you’re not working under optimal conditions.

Is the ankle a temporary thing, no permanent damage? If so, you’ll see better gains once you can use intensities greater than the 12-15 rep range.


The ankle problem is a torn tendon. I will be having surgery on it in a few weeks. The recovery period will be at least a few months, so I’m definitely going to have some significant losses. :frowning: Any ideas on reducing the losses? I hope to still keep up with ab and upper body work, but that will also be difficult to do on crutches. I don’t know how I’ll even get the weights over to the bench!!

Do I need to be doing less reps and higher weights on upper body? I have not made any gains on my arms.


[quote]mj1 wrote:
Do I need to be doing less reps and higher weights on upper body? I have not made any gains on my arms.


Definitely worth a try. I trained in higher rep ranges (8-15) for the first few years, and grew like a weed after switching to a couple days of heavier lifting per week. 5x5, 4x6, 8x3, etc.
Try doing a horizontal press/pull superset (like bench variations and row variations) followed by a vertical push/pull superset (overhead press variations and pullup/lat pulldown variations).

If you still feel like you got some juice, you can do some higher rep direct arm work, although I liked to do this on a third day of training later in the week. Good luck, and be careful with that ankle so you can start squatting and deadlifting heavy and safely!

A few points:

  • When you say you can’t “strain” your ankle, exactly how limited are you? Are you doing therapy for it? I’d do what you can for now, and after everything, when you’re at 100%, return to the weights with a vengance.

  • In general, I’d suggest halving your reps, and doubling your sets on everything else. That would mean you’re handling heavier weights, which should be a nice new stimulus.

  • You said you’re trying to gain mass, so I’d bump up your calories a bit on each meal, and drop the elliptical to 2-3 times a week tops (unless it’s for rehab, in which case, forget I mentioned it).