T Nation

Critique My Workout (with Questions)


(I hope the formatting doesn't get all messed up)

Let me start off by saying I am 5'7'', 160lbs(roughly 10% bf) and have been lifting weights off and on for a few years now. My job wouldn't let me stay consistent. Now I have a new job and it allows me to work out to my hearts content.

So I'm getting more serious in my approach this time. My goals are a stronger Deadlift/Squat and overall better physique(bigger). Let me show you my workout routine first:

Day 1: Chest
-Dumbbell Flat Bench -- 4-5*8-10
-Barbell Decline -- 3*10
-Dumbbell Incline Bench -- 3*10
-Flys(only one type):
-------Switch between Dumbbell Incline/Decline/Flat
-------Cable Fly's
-------Machine Fly's

Day 2: Back
-Barbell Rows(warm up) -- 3*10
-Pull ups -- 3*10
-Straight Leg Deadlifts
-------I start low to warm up and then gradually
work up to 335@4-6 reps. And then work back
-Machine Seated Row -- 3*10
-Dumbbell Flat Bench Rows -- 3*10
-Machine Lat Pull-Down -- 3*10

Day 3: Shoulders
-Standing Barbell Press(behind the head(but not too far down)) -- 3*10
-Sitting Barbell Military Press -- 3*10
-Dumbbell Front Arm Raises -- 3*10
-Dumbbell Side Arm Raises -- 3*10
-Dumbbell Shrugs -- 3*10
-Barbell Shrugs -- 3*10

Day 4: Legs
-Box Squats
-------I employ the same technique to box squats as Deadlifts. Max out at 245@4-6 reps.
-Machine Leg Curls
-------3 Drop Sets: 10*90/10*60/10*30
-Machine Leg Extensions -- 3*10 with a fourth set being a Drop Set to just about failure.
-Calf raises -- Lots!
-Weighted Lunges -- 3*10

Day 5: Arms
-Sitting Preacher Curls -- 3*10
-Skull Crushers(can't think of any other name) -- 3*10
-Concentration Curls -- 3*10
-Rope Pull Downs -- 3*10
-Standing Hammer Curls -- 3*10
-Dumbell Overhead Tricep Extension -- 3*10

Day 6: REST!!!

My diet consists of ~3.5k calories with 200g of Protein, 200-300g of Carbs(eaten during breakfast and lunch with minimal at dinner), and <80g of Fats. This is split up between 3 solid meals a day and 2-3 shakes. Plus random fruit snacking throughout the day. The only supplements I take are Labrada's Supercharge(pre-workout), Whey Protein, Creatine Mono, and Multivitamins. Now my questions:

1)  Is Dumbell Flat Bench more beneficial then Barbell Flat Bench?
2)  Should I be doing more exercises on chest day?
3)  Am I doing too many sets of Deadlifts?  Should I be doing a different type of Deadlift?
4)  Since I want to make my Squat stronger, are Box Squats the way to go?
5)  I'm not worried about "big arms", but I have noticed my triceps holding back my chest workouts;  is my Arms day sufficient?
6)  Are my supplements sufficient?  Am I missing something you would take?

Also any and all critique's are welcome(be brutal)! And, any sort of answers would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks and cheers!


3) Am I doing too many sets of Deadlifts? Should I be doing a different type of Deadlift?

I would do less reps/sets. I am on a 5, 3, 1 rep structure, but I think general consensus is very few reps are needed for growth.

4) Since I want to make my Squat stronger, are Box Squats the way to go?

From my understanding, box squats work the lower back more than regular squats. I say just make sure you are going low enough until you reach a plateau.

5) I'm not worried about "big arms", but I have noticed my triceps holding back my chest workouts; is my Arms day sufficient?

Maybe throw in close grip bench since you have a day of rest until the next bench day?

This is just my advice.


do regular deads those hit the back more and stiff legged is for hams, do box squats and front squats so at least ur doing some sort of "regular" type squatting and it hits the quads more, add glute ham raises u need to stretcht he hams not just ball them up with curls


  1. You'll be able to lift more weight on a barbell, which is better for strength and size gains. Though dumbells have their use as secondary movements.
  2. I'd combine chest and shoulder day. Especially if one of your main goals is developing deadlift and squat. You're going to want to hit the legs twice a week.
  3. I'd definitely do standard deadlifts. Using low weights and focusing on speed off the floor helps to get stronger DLs.
  4. I'd mix up box squats, free squats, front squats.
  5. If you want triceps strength on the bench, try partial bench reps. Use heavier weights than you can bench and do the top half of the rep. You can use pins on a power rack or a board to limit how far the bar can drop.
  6. Fish oil


5'7 160lbs 10% bf

you must be pretty jacked


My body doesn't really hold fat. I've never done a real accurate test, but according to some online calculators I've done they've said 9% +/- 3%. And 160 is with shorts and a shirt, so maybe take 2 pounds away. I would like to thank everyone for their reply's. I will definitely take the advice. Going to try legs twice a week and mixing squat exercises. As well as changing up the deadlifts. Thanks again!


I would definitely add fish oil of some kind to your supplement stack.

I hope someone else will correct me if I'm wrong, but:

I think DB press is just as important as barbell bench. It requires you to be able to stabilize yourself and can bring up an imbalance left/right. Regardless, I agree completely with what LiamBrady said about strength and weight on the bar.

Two kind of shrugs on top of the shoulder stuff may be redundant; I'd probably just stick to DB shrugs.

Why all 3 x 10? I'm just curious about that, really. I like to experiment with sets/reps now and then, going from 5x5 to 4x10 or 8 or whatever. There a reason you picked 30 total reps for everything?


When I first started lifting weights(4 years ago) it's what my work-out partner(who talked like he knew something) said was ideal to start out with. Since I'm just getting back into things I went with it. After a couple more weeks I plan to change up my sets/reps.

I never really did barbell bench because I've been so horrible at it. My biggest limiting factor I think might be tricep strength? Would that be the inability to lock out the elbows during barbell bench? Because, that is where I fail first when benching. However, I don't feel this problem when I am DB pressing... Any explanations for this? I'm gonna go with I should just stop being a pussy! Ha!

I just ordered some Fish Oil as well, so that should be here soon.

Today I did back and listened to some advice:

1)"Standard" Deadlift:
----Set 1: 145x10
----Set 2: 195x8
----Set 3: 225x8
----Set 4: 275x7
2)Straight Leg Deadlift:
----Set 1: 145x10
----Set 2: 195x8
----Set 3: 225x8
----Set 4: 245x6
3)Bent over Barbell Rows:
----Set 1: 145x8
----Set 2: 165x8
----Set 3: 165x8
4)Hammer Strength Lat Pulldown Machine:
----Set 1: 140x10
----Set 2: 180x8
----Set 3: 160x10(slow and controlled)
5)DB Rows:
----Set 1: 55x10
----Set 2: 55x10
----Set 3: 60x8

I finished off back with some 25 BW Pull-Ups. I seemed to walk out of the gym today with out any problems. Usually I like to kill my back to the point of "feeling" it when I drive home. Since I didn't "feel" it today, does that mean it wasn't as good a work out as I should have done?

Thanks again for all your comments and suggestions! Much appreciated.


I'm really curious about how things go for you: I'm roughly the same size/weight and around the same poundages for lifts. Keep us updated on your progress!

I don't often feel back day as much as like legs or chest.

Question: Did you scrap the seated machine rows from your original game plan? I always find those (with good form) make me really feel the work, especially face pulls.


either your weight or bodyfat is wrong. without a doubt.

if its not, you are genetically gifted.

get your bodyfat tested for real.



disregard everything i said


Nathan, what would be a good judge of body fat? Just curious. I could be greatly mistaken about my body fat %.


I didn't scrap the seated machine rows. The gym gets so packed around the time I go, sometime everything is full. I didn't think it would be a good thing to take a break for 10 minutes in the middle of my work out just to get on the seated rows. It's better to just work around instead of wait right?

After my rest day this week I'm going to change up my schedule to get two leg days in.


Does anyone see a problem with this rotation? Maybe not do back right after legs? Thanks again. I'll post tonight how my Shoulder day goes today...



You can always go with the picture-of-you-holding-a-shoe method haha


Will you use the same routine for legs both days?


Today was shoulder day.

1)Military barbell press

2)DB Shrugs
----55x10-Too light
----75x8 good ones

3)DB Front Raises
----25x10-I realized I should be using more weight
----30x10-Still not enough(I'll remember for next time

4)DB Side Raises

5)Standing Barbell Press(behind the head)
----85x7 - I was spent at this point.

One thing that I changed so far due to my work schedule being changed is the time I work out. Before I would eat lunch around 1:30pm, snack at 4:15pm, lift around 5:30pm, and bed by 10pm with at least 8 hours of sleep. Now due to my schedule being changed around, I am working out when I first wake up. How should I prepare differently for an early morning lift?

I plan to do two different sets of exercises for the different leg days. I'll probably devise a plan on my rest day. Any suggestions?

Thanks again. Cheers!


Definitely consider more warm ups. Waking up the CNS first is important, especially with compound lifts and complicated movements in the mornings.