T Nation

Critique My Routine


#1

Hi!

I have only recently discovered T-Nation and am blown away by the wealth of high quality information and the number of knowledgeable forummers contributing to this fantastic website. Whilst browsing T-Nation, I came across the article, Training for Easy-Hard Gainers and am delighted that at last, I have access to information that is relevant to my needs. I already knew I was an ecto-mesomorph, but all that Christian Thibaudeau has to say about easy-hard gainers applies to me. My body responds well to weight training, yet if I cease resistance training and eating six meals a day, my muscle mass and body weight drops rapidly (I have a fast metabolism). Presently I am not training and as such, weigh only 148 lbs (I am 5'9" and 28 years old). Tailors have informed me that my limbs are disproportionately long for a man of my height and although I am naturally thin, I have always had good muscle definition. Moreover, throughout my time at a school that was renowned for sporting prowess, I proved myself to be one of the top three 100m sprinters in my year.

Having read Christian's article (and articles authored by Chad Waterbury), I now realise where I have been going wrong (as I said, previously, I was not aware of such a valuable resource as T-Nation) and the changes that need to be made to my program in order to make respectable gains. However, due to certain constraints, I train at home using a heavy barbell and dumbbell set and a flat/incline/decline bench (I don't have a squat or bench press rack). Because of the time it takes to adjust the weight for each exercise, I am only able to perform a maximum of 5 exercises (3-4 sets each) within 45-60 minutes. As such, in an attempt to follow some of the principles outlined by Coach Tibaudeau and Chad Waterbury, I have devised the following routine. Please could you inform me if it will enable me to gain weight in the form of muscle mass?

MY FULL BODY COMPOUND ROUTINE:

I plan to alternate between Workout A and Workout B on a weekly basis and perform 4 sets of 6-12 reps per exercise, aiming to increase the weight on each set. I intend to rest 1 min between each set and 2 mins between each exercise.

WORKOUT A

Monday

Barbell Deadlift (Shoulder-width stance)
Barbell Bent-Over Row (Supinated grip)
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press (30 degree angle - Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Standing Military Press (Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Decline Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 6-8 REPS

Wednesday

Dumbbell Squat (Dumbbells resting on shoulders - Shoulder-width stance)
Dumbbell One-Arm Row (Neutral grip)
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press (Pronated grip)
Barbell Upright Row (Shoulder-width grip)
Dumbbell Decline Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 10-12 REPS

Friday

Barbell Deadlift (Sumo stance)
Barbell Bent-Over Row (Supinated grip)
Dumbbell Decline Bench Press (Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Standing Military Press (Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Flat Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 6-8 REPS

WORKOUT B

Monday

Dumbbell Squat (Dumbbells resting on shoulders - Shoulder-width stance)
Dumbbell One-Arm Row (Neutral grip)
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press (45 degree angle - Pronated grip)
Barbell Upright Row (Shoulder-width grip)
Dumbbell Decline Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 6-8 REPS

Wednesday

Barbell Deadlift (Shoulder-width stance)
Barbell Bent-Over Row (Supinated grip)
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press (Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Standing Military Press (Pronated grip)
Dumbbell Decline Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 10-12 REPS

Friday

Dumbbell Squat (Dumbbells resting on shoulders - Sumo stance)
Dumbbell One-Arm Row (Neutral grip)
Dumbbell Decline Bench Press (Pronated grip)
Barbell Upright Row (Narrow grip)
Dumbbell Flat Close-Grip Bench Press (Neutral grip)

4 SETS, 6-8 REPS

Each session begins and ends with five minutes of jump roping (including stretching at the end of each session)

Although I realise close grip bench presses are compound movements, they primarily target the triceps; will performing neutral grip one-arm rows and supinated bent-over rows sufficiently ensure that my biceps and triceps are developed equally, as I am not utilising any movements that primarily target my biceps?

I have slightly varied each workout by changing the angle, stance or grip employed for certain movements (as well as rep parameters). In addition to this, if I regularly increase the weight I lift, can I stick to this routine for the foreseeable future? Furthermore, would a weekly game of soccer (or cricket in the summer) and one martial arts session per week, hinder my gains? Would it also be a good idea to take a week off from training every two months?

I apologise for the length of this post and would really appreciate any words of assistance.

Thanks, guys.


#2

Hi, Hassan. These are my thoughts:

First of all, you should invest in a pair of adjustable squat stands. They're much cheaper than a rack, and could be all you need. Apart from squatting you can use them for benching movements as well.

Regarding the program. Essentially, you're switching between two workouts and two rep schemes, 3x a week:

Workout 1
Deadlift
Row
DB Bench Press
Military Press
Close-grip Bench Press

Workout 2
DB Squat
DB Row
DB Bench Press
Upright Row
Close-grip Bench Press

Of course, you're also using different variants of each exericse. You may not need that much variety just now, but then again, it's also a way of coping with the workload.

I think you should do direct biceps work on one of the days instead of Close-grip presses.
That way the routine will be more balanced.

As for the rep schemes you proposed, 4x6-8 and 4x10-12, I would personally go heavier on the former, like 4x4-6, to get more strenght response.

One possible problem is the week where you deadlift 2 times. Recovering from DL takes more time then Squats. It may work just fine, but it could also prove to be too much on the lower back; this is from my own expirience. That's why you'll find that many powerlifting/strength routines have two squatting but only one heavy pulling day. On the other hand, pulling sumo style on Friday, like you planned, may spare the lower back. So, just be aware of this possibility.

Conventional and sumo deads can also be a problem to do for high reps. One variant you could consider on high rep day is the Romanian Deadlift (RDL).

Finally, you should be aware that tolerances to volume are individual. Generally speaking, your routine is good: big compound movements, distinct rep schemes. But, it may be that 4 work sets of 5 exercises per workout is too much for you right now. That doesn't mean the routine is bad - you just have to scale volume down. If this is so radically different from what you used to do before, a smart thing would be to start with perhaps just 2 work sets (2x6 and 2x12). It'll be much easier to add a set or two over the next few weeks, than to deal with yourself being run into the ground after week 1.

Aditional game or two shouldn't hinder your progress. After all, you lift weights to improve the quality of life. A week off after 2 months is definetly good idea. However, it maybe sooner (or later) than you think, so take the time off when you feel you need it, not when the pre-determined number of weeks have passed.

Hope this helps.


#3

Hi Slotan

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for your detailed response. You've provided me with some sterling advice and food for thought.

Having considered your comments above, I plan to substitute close-grip bench presses on Wednesdays for standing barbell curls (which I will utilise during Workout A) and dumbbell incline biceps curls (which I will utilise during Workout B). This will also allow me to introduce a further variation by changing from a supinated grip to a pronated grip when employing bent-over rows during Workout B. Are these sensible modifications?

Once again, thanks for all your help.


#4

Why dont you add step ups or front squats instead of dumbell squats. I realise you dont have a squat rack , but you could clean the weight.You can put more weight on a barbell then on a dumbell


#5

Wesstangl, you make a good point about front squats. Thanks!


#6

cleaned front squats, snatch squat/overhead squat, barbell hack squat, snatch grip deadlift, deadlifts off 4 and 6 inches platforms (easy to build), db snatches are all better choices than db squats


#7

This guys money! I'd do all the above if I were you. Dan John has a ton of useful info on how to's.Too add ,he has a great free e book!


#8

Thanks for the info, guys.

Dan John; another guru's words for me to mull over!