T Nation

Critique the Workout Program I Designed

I am a beginner to lifting weights and joined the gym a little over 2 months ago with little to no progress.
The reason for it was I was jumping from program to program in hopes of trying it all and not focusing on my diet enough.
I decided to create myself a program after reading lots of articles here on t-nation since I couldn’t find anything that I thought would be best for me.
I weigh 115 kgs or 253 pounds with 35-36% body fat at 172 cms height.
I decided to create a A-B-A Workout design like starting strength.
Workout A
Bench press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell rows - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Incline press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Reverse Pulldowns - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Deadlift - 2 sets of 5 reps
Overhead press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Walking Lunges - 5 minutes AMRAP
Calf work

Workout B
Squats - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Overhead press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Single leg RDLs - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Shrugs - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Incline press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lat pulldown - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Bench press - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
One arm DB rows - 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Bis-Tris superset- 3 sets of 8-10 reps

This is the first time I created a program so need some critique and what I did wrong or right so I can probably design better ones.
I was thinking of adding weighted carries too but idk if I should or not as it already seems high volume
Progression will work like following: If you can get full 10 reps without cheating on all sets you increase the weight according to exercise.
Will add a small 10 minute circuit on ab work between 2 Workouts with long walks or some cardio.
Some advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Let us know how far through the first workout you manage to get through.

Welcome to T Nation

TLDR Probably best to get on a beginner program and build a base. The program you have here is sub optimal and likely unsustainable

Everyone was once a beginner like yourself and many likely attempted to write their own programs. From past experience both personal and on this forum I’ve found that most self written beginner routines are sub optimal which is fair enough given that beginner’s are usually lacking in knowledge and experience.

Since there’s a lot I’ll go through some things in the order you bring them up.

115kgs at approx 35% puts you at a bit under 75kg lean body mass. Sorry but I think you’re being a bit optimistic given 75kg is loads at your height. In the end they just numbers so whether you gain muscle or lose fat you’ll get where you want.

It’s good that you’ve checked out starting strength and other programs too I’m assuming. What issues are present which prevent you from following these programs? e.g. can you only train a certain number of days per week or is something else the problem?

Now we look at your routine but let me state up front I don’t think your program is appropriate for the level you are at and you would be much better served running a beginner program such as starting strength to build a solid foundation of muscle, knowledge and experience. There’s much to learn and in time you’ll learn from more and more advanced programs and the principles underpinning lifting to design your own programs.

Anyways onto your program if you still insist on doing it.

Currently I run an A-B workout routine like here and found a big issue with squeezing everything in myself. After one or two heavy compound movements even unrelated body part wise like squats and bench you’d have to be some kind of real monster to not have your performance drop somewhat or peter off completely. You have 7 compounds more or less back to back. While progressively overloaded compound movements are the way to go frankly its too much. Sometimes you just can’t do it all. Not all those movements not in one workout at least.

It’s funny you should mention that your program already seems high volume. At a glance I count 18 weekly working sets for chest. Is this high volume or low volume? Is this exceeding or below your Maximum Recoverable Volume? Do you know the answer to any of these questions? In time you should be able to answer questions like these and thus be able to plan a highly effective program. For now, even though you’ll likely grow just fine given you are using beginner loads, it kind of demonstrates how there’s a lot to consider and beginner programs have that all done for you which is why they come highly recommended.

Time wise this looks long at best. I love spending time in the gym myself but when that time is counter productive and better used recovering i.e. growing or doing actual important stuff perhaps you should consider shortening your work outs.

If you decide to pursue your physical goals, this will eventually need to be addressed.

Diet is important and better to start early with small changes. Diet plans can work in the short term but the only real solution in the long run is to work towards having a healthy, consistent and sustainable food intake.

It’s daunting but it does getting easier and perhaps even enjoyable once you start to see and feel progress.

1 Like

Ok I can’t answer any of the questions you have.
So few things I learn is i don’t have enough knowledge or experience to know myself and create a workout for me.
I have looked at Starting strength, and a few programs on bodybuilding .com namely Fierce 5, Vikings bare bones and all pros routine.

The users their suggest these three.
If you would have to choose one between the 4 what would you suggest.

By diet I don’t mean following a strict diet.
It’s finding healthier options and sticking to my calorie goal.
Now I have started it strictly meeting my calorie goal with healthy foods like vegetables and fruits with whole grains and healthy fats and good protein sources.
Aiming to maximize protein since I am on a vegetarian diet with consuming most of my carbs around workouts as pre or post workout meals.
I have started to drink twice or even thrice the amount of water I used to drink realising I didn’t drink enough by a large margin

Diet is crucial. Training is only half the battle.

If Vegans can get their protein you’ll be alright. Maybe count/estimate daily so you know your hitting around about enough. Protein shakes or nah?

It’s admirable pursuing a healthy/clean diet but when it comes down to it sometimes those calories got to be got and as long as the majority of your diet it proper don’t feel like you can’t eat freely sometimes.

They all look like good programs but depends on your exact goals e.g. sexy af physique looking mofo, strong af or functional af, powerlifting etc… As a noob I googled and used the first thing I saw: Stronglifts 5x5 which looking back was a bit squat heavy. Just leave this topic here for a day and other users will post up and maybe add to your list.

I have decided on Vikings bare bones. And protein shakes I want to use just where I am selling fake protein powders is a big issue so I am trying to eat all natural.
Just one question. Can I add Weighted carries to the workout without sabotaging them?

1 Like

Adding is always a sensitive topic. Most people especially dudes who write the programs will tell you to stick to the fucking program. I take a bit more of a moderate stance. Practice caution when modifying programs like that. It’s probably been written that way for a reason and by changing it your kinda thinking you’re smarter than the writer. Better know what you are doing before you change things.

However being a beginner, anything will make you grow its only a matter of what and how fast and more importantly you’ll be handling weights and volume that won’t exhaust your recovery, allowing you to squeeze a bit more in. So I’ve done the thinking for you in this case. YES do them if you want but always have a think before you do.

Thank you khangles.
Appreciate it a lot
Will post my 16 week challenge results on New year’s Eve most probably.
Thank you

that on its own would be enough to completely ruin me


At that weight best get on an all-out fatloss plan off this site. Either of these work great…


Dude, that program is “designed like Starting Strength” about as much as I’m designed like Kourtney Kardashian.

The only thing you got right is to use full body workouts three days a week. Other than that, you’re using redundant exercises (multiple exercises that hit the same bodypart), which wastes time and energy; you’re under-emphasizing leg work, which means less complete development and lets you get away from hard work; and you’re giving direct attention to exercises that don’t matter for your current goal - calf raises and shrugs are unnecessary when you have so much fat to lose.

I’m not sure how you looked through the articles here on T Nation and didn’t find anything that fit the bill. There are tons. Of the programs you mentioned, Starting Strength absolutely not a good choice, because you need to lose fat. Fierce 5 also focuses on lower rep strength work, which isn’t the right approach when losing fat. And it has the hysterical addition of things like “pressdown/calf raise” supersets. Again, with your goal, that’s silly.

“Viking bare bones” looks like some dude trying to be smarter than Chad Waterbury, which he isn’t. All Pros looks like something a high school junior with no actual exercise background would design, because doing the same exercises for the same sets/reps every day needs to be approached more intelligently than they laid out.

You’re almost definitely not getting enough quality protein, especially without a protein powder. Vegetarian diets tend to be carb-dense, so I’d suggest doing a very basic carb cycling approach. On days you lift, have carbs. On days you don’t lift, have fewer carbs. This article explains a very simple way to set it up.


I walked into that one, posting before reading the whole thread. Bad Colucci [wrist slap], Bad. As I said, it looks like a watered-down version of (or let’s be generous and say “inspired by”) Chad Waterbury’s approach to total volume that he describes here.

I actually ran his “Get Lean” program using those principles earlier this year and had good results, so hopefully you do too. It’s been a few days, so how’s it going?

1 Like

It’s been going less then optimal I suppose.
I ended up trying a full body workout which looked like built upon the starting strength with added exercises and different rep range.
I tried it a couple times. Today will be third.
It isn’t that long and i feel i can do it as no prolonged soreness.
The program goes like this
Workout A
Squats - 4 6-8
Bench press - 4 6-8
Deadlift - 2 3-5
Chin ups - 4 6-8
Lateral raises - 3 8-10(light weight)
Some kind of resistance cardio for 10 minutes
He suggested something like battle ropes or Prowler pushes or heavy carries
Workout B
Squats - 4 6-8
Overhead press - 4 6-8
Deadlift - 2 3-5
Lat pulldown - 4 6-8
Incline press - 3 8-10(lighter weights)
Resistance cardio - 10 minutes
I am alternatng these Workouts with a small 5-10 minute Ab circuit on rest days with jumping rope twice a day.
Jumping rope is best cardio for me I think
I am good at it and it seems fun.
Yes protein is a problem.
I am either thinking of adding eggs or protein powder.
Protein powder is expensive for me though. And eggs aren’t something I can eat everyday due to religious restraints like on festivals. I am a Hindu so.
If I can still do something better which I can most probably please help.
Thank you!

Ill cut to the core of all this…you have no idea what your doing. Why do you feel that you need to design your own program at this stage? I repeat that again Why do you feel you need to design your own program at this stage???

Just do a pre written program for awhile and watch the diet until you know enough about how you respond along with learning basic program design.


1 Like