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Critique My Workout

I realize this is a bit self indulgent but I would love an honest critique of my current upper/lower 4 day a week split. Saturdays lower, Sundays Upper, Tuesday lower, Wednesdays upper. That split works best with my work schedule. My days off work which Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I work 10-12 hour days so I’m lucky to get Saturdays in.

I am 5’8, currently at 162lbs around 10% body fat. I’m 34 years old and have been lifting consistently most of my life although never really had any focused goals besides maintaining a lean athletic look. Within the last several months my intensity and focused has increased and my goal is to reach 170lbs while maintaining current bodyfat level. There is a lot of room for growth in my legs so that is a heavy training emphasis, specifically on the posterior chain. There is slightly less emphases on my chest as it’s pretty well developed so I spread the energy out to the rest of my body.

I have combined several advanced hypertrophy protocols which I’ve taken from various articles on Tnation and put them together. Let me know your thoughts.

Currently taking RAD-140 and MK-667 as well as Indigo-3G, MAPS aminos, casein protein, and creatine.

Day 1
Lower body - my posterior chain is weak and quads are ok so I emphasize hams.
5x12 hamstring curls
5x12 calf raises - emphasizing squeeze and stretch

5x5 squats - last set I drop the weight and do 20 reps
5x8 romanian dead lifts

50lb kettle bell swings. 75 reps which I can accomplish in 4:30
3 sets of dumball deadlift eccentric holds for 30 seconds

3x12 leg extensions followed by a 4 drop sets totaling 20 reps

seat calf raise 100 reps no weight. Working on getting to 100 without a rest. Last workout got to 65

Level 12 incline walk at 2.5 mph for 20-30 minutes

Day 2
Upper Body
I start with a lower body anabolic burst as I call it.
3 super sets of…
Exercise ball single leg hip thrusters
Leg extensions slow and steady with a strong squeeze for 12 reps
Leg press calf raises 10-12 slow reps emphasizing stretch and squeeze.

Super set
5x5 Bench
5x12 rope face pulls

Super Set
3x6 Close grip bench - 4 sec negative
3x6 chin-up - 4 sec negative

3x6 Weighted dips - double rest/pause on the last set

3x6-10 Bent over rows

Super set
3x10-12 for all exercises
Shoulder press
Lateral raise
Front plate raises

Giant set
3 sets of 8-12
Machine incline
Lat pull down
Reverse flys
Machine rows

2x15 shoulder shrugs

Day 3 Anabolic burst
3x15-20 Elastic band flys, lateral raises, and reverse flys,
Maybe walk or cardio depending on time. But today is mostly an active rest day.

Day 4
Lower body

5x5 front squats
5x5 deadlift - double rest pause on the last set

Giant set
3x10-12 Leg press, hamstring curl, leg extension, hack squat
100 rep seated calf raise
3-4 sets 10-15 standing calf raise

Day 4 Upper Body
3x12 leg extension, single leg thrusters, calf raises

5x15-20 Close grip bench

5x 8-12 Barbell shoulder press

3x15 pull ups. Will use pullup assist on the 3rd set

3x12 Front dumbell raise, lateral raise, dumbell row

3x6-8 skull crushers 4 second eccentric
3x6-8 barbell curl 4 second eccentric

3x6-8 hammer curl regular tempo
3x6-8 dumbell skull crusher regular tempo

3x6-10 Incline curl regular tempo with 30 second mTOR activation stretch

3x6-10 skull crushers with 30 second mTOR activation stretch

100 reps calf raises
3x20 standing calf raises

Day 5
upper body anabolic burst
3x15-20 Elastic band flys, lateral raises, reverse flys, curls and kickbacks

I will do 15-30 min HITT workouts followed by steady state cardio for an additional 15-30 min 2-3 times per week also when I can squeeze it in.

As I type this out the volume looks ridiculous but it doesn’t feel like it. It takes me about an hour to complete the workout. I’ve been seeing good gains. I’m not overly sore and progress seems steady.

Thank you for your input.

I would delete this post and move it to “bigger stronger leaner” since it has nothing to do with CT.

Thanks for the input. This is my first post so wasn’t sure exactly where to put it. I appreciate it.

I went to your profile and saw it was your first post so I thought I would lend a hand. You’re welcome.

Do a tried and true 4 day like WSFSB or Westside, or Cube or 531 or etc. You’re doing a TON of stuff and most of it doesn’t seem like it has a purpose at all. If you can justify every exercise you included then try it, if not, drop the shit you can’t. Also, I would do the upper days first because squatting and deadlifts generally leave ou more banged up than presses and light pulling does.

Thanks. I enjoy a lot of volume and intensity but I like the looks of WSFSB.

I got tired looking at day 1, then saw day two…

How has it been working for you so far?

I really enjoy it. I did the “best workout for natural lifters” for about 3 weeks but with 3 kids and a full time job my schedule won’t allow a daily workout. There was a couple weeks there where I combined push/pull days of the same workout but I didn’t want to bastardize the workout.

I generally enjoy high volume, high intensity training. I get bored by things like 5x5. It seems that anytime I focus on strength, size seems to suffer. Not that I’m huge by any means.

For this current routine My focus is on form and rep intensity not weight. So I’m not concerned if I have to keep things light. That said, my strength doesn’t seem to be suffering. I feel like I’m recovering well and not getting all that sore.

My arms had been stuck in the 14’s for way too many years of non-focused lifting and now they have passed the 15 mark.

I have noticed that many workouts look use similar rep schemes and approaches. I wanted to create a workout that focused on my weaknesses like heavy hamstring focus and higher rep shoulder complexes while also putting in some lower rep compound lifts. And why not get more bang for your buck by ending a set with a burn out, drop seat, pause rest or mTOR activation to make it that much more effective?

My main focus is adding 8lbs of muscle and maintaining a lean aesthetic look. But I am very open to suggestions which is why I posted this.

I appreciate your response.

To clarify, I meant that many workouts will take all of the muscle groups and lump them into similar set and rep ranges. I wanted to make it more specific to the muscle group I’m working and for the goals I want to acheive. So for things like shoulders and rear delts I want to do more higher rep super sets. For legs I want to get stronger and put on size so I’ll finish with double rest/pause or end with a 20 rep squat. To maintain an athletic look I’ll do 75 kettlebell swings for time. etc.

5x5 is volume and heavy weight though. Magazines, websites, and other bullshit sources have made it out to seem like anything that isn’t 3000 sets of a million reps is low volume. If you’re squatting 500x5x5 you’re going to be strong and you’re going to be huge. 5x5 can work forever for some and it can’t for others. It just depends. I would focus your efforts on compounds, follow it up with a similar exercise and finish with isolation or accessory work.

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It just seems like you are using a bunch of add ons. mTor, 5x5, flush, drop sets, etc.

That is the equivalent of throwing everything and see what sticks. If you enjoy it, go for it. You will always progress faster with knowing what works for you though. Just keep that in mind.

Good luck.

Normally they dont go together…

Out of curiosity… do you have any idea what your 1 RM is possibly? and if so what type of working weight are you using on your 5x5 sets on squats?

I haven’t done a 1 RM in a very long time but it’s also terribly unimpressive. Probably all the more reason to do something like 5x5. I would guess its around 200lb.
For the 5x5 squats I did 95 warm up, 135, 145, 150, 155, 165 and dropped to 95 for 20 reps.

To add to that. Part of my plan with the 5x5 squat was to start light and add 5lbs to my starting weight with each workout so I intentionally kept it lighter. Every single time I try to go all out and increase the weight each workout I tank at 3 weeks and feel like I have to start all over. So I was doing kind of an intentional micro- progressive overload with that squat. That is also my approach when I do 5x5 bench.

I mean this constructively. If you think your 1RM is “terribly unimpressive” wouldn’t it make sense to follow a proven plan?

Yea you are right. I feel like I fall into this intermediate/beginner paradox. I’ve been lifting consistently since I was 13 yet am hardly larger than I was as a senior in highschool. So perhaps some focus on just getting the big lifts heavier would make the most sense. It’s just so god damn boring to me.

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What if you kept the main lifts simple (like 5x5), then got jiggy with the extras? Slot them to manage volume. Like one at 4x6 and one or two at 3-5x8-12.

My wife frequently changes up the lunge/curl/plank variations, but pretty much always squats, deadlifts, and presses using very similar rep schemes.

I could live with that I think. Start around 60% of 1 RM for all lifts and progress 5lbs each workout from there? I feel like that may even be a bit too fast a progression given my history of feeling like I tap out at strength after 3 weeks of progressive overload. I know Stronglifts recommends starting with an empty bar. I don’t think I have enough discipline to go to that extreme.

Have you considered the original 5/3/1? It gives you a base to work with, yet with the consistent rep PRs it keeps things interesting.

If you really want to design your own plan, think about progression like Paula Abdul would: a few steps forward, a couple steps back.

This is because of this:

If you continue to lift roughly the same weights in roughly the same way that you have since you were a teen than you won’t get closer to your goals.

I think you need to get on a program where you are progressing on a few good compound lifts. It may be boring and you may not like doing a program without altering it but it seems to me that you are trying to get results out of something that stopped giving you results years ago.

It’s easy to maintain but if you want to progress than I would hand over the programming to a tried and true system. And not a linear progression.