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Dan John/Thibaudeau Inspired Routine - Critique please

Hello guys! I would like to share a workout template I developed using the high frequency strength training advocated by Waterbury and lately Christian Thibaudeau with some tips and thoughts from the great Dan John, whose simple and refreshing training philosophy have made a huge impact in my training life.

Well the concept is:
3 workouts per week (M/W/F)
5 exercises per workout (Zerquer Squat/Overhead Press/Pull Up/Chest Supported Row/High Pull)
5 work sets per exercise, short of failure (following Waterbury tip of stoping the set when rep speed goes down)
Only 45 and 25 lb plates, so I do 5 sets of as many reps as possible while still accelerating the bar, and keep adding reps until I manage to put another 25 plate each side of the bar.

Obs 1. You may have notice that there’s now horizontal pressing, this is because my chest is my strongest bodypart and not training them directely some part of the year in fact helps me to create a more proportionate physique. And horizontal pressing sometimes bother my shoulders as well.

Obs 2. At the end of a workout I way add a few isolation movements for a couple of sets, usualy for arms or side delts.

So this is it, any tips and opinions would be appreciated, thanks!

What is the goal here?

IMO this program is awful and you are going to have some very lagging body parts.

If your goal is to build a muscular and proportionate physique then you’re not going down the right track.

[quote]gregron wrote:
What is the goal here?

IMO this program is awful and you are going to have some very lagging body parts.

If your goal is to build a muscular and proportionate physique then you’re not going down the right track.[/quote]

Goal is strength and some shoulder/upper back mass.

  1. How long do you plan to use this in a program?

  2. What percentage of 1RM will be used with each primary movement in the first session?

  3. Why use only a 50lb. and 90lb. increase in weight? And with this load progression, do you think you’ll be able to stay within the set/rep parameters outlined?

If you like Waterbury, Thibaudeau and Dan John why not just pick one of their programs and do it as they prescribe? When you have exhausted that program move onto the next one. That gives you 3 different training methods where you can make progress.

Mixing the 3 together is not the same thing. In fact you will be missing elements of each coaches method by adding in the others. I doubt too many coaches would recommend not training chest. In fact Waterbury prefers to work chest rather then shoulders. He believes shoulders gets worked enough without direct training.

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
If you like Waterbury, Thibaudeau and Dan John why not just pick one of their programs and do it as they prescribe? When you have exhausted that program move onto the next one. That gives you 3 different training methods where you can make progress.

Mixing the 3 together is not the same thing. In fact you will be missing elements of each coaches method by adding in the others. I doubt too many coaches would recommend not training chest. In fact Waterbury prefers to work chest rather then shoulders. He believes shoulders gets worked enough without direct training.

[/quote]

Because I’ve done at least one program from each and, while they work great, I took what worked best for me from each one to make my own training style. For example, total body training works great for me, so does high frequency, but microloading and keeping the reps somewhat constant always killed my motivation to train, and when I starded using only the 25’s and 45’s, I got the best progress of my life.
I believe it’s silly to follow a program exactly to the letter when it’s was not written exclusively for you and you believe you could do some benefical changes to fit yourself.
And, if you look closely at it, and I if I hadn’t mentionated Waterbury and Thibaudeau, this could easily pass as a Dan John or a Pavel program…
About the horizontal press thing, my own experience thaught me that I do much better on vertical pressing than horizontal pressing, in fact, barbell military presses fills my clavicular chest (my weakest chest area) better than benches or incline benches. And I’m pretty sure that if I was a Chad Waterbury client and he did a program especificaly for me he would agree. Unfortunatly I live in Brazil and that ain’t gonna happen…

[quote]fncj wrote:

  1. How long do you plan to use this in a program?

  2. What percentage of 1RM will be used with each primary movement in the first session?

  3. Why use only a 50lb. and 90lb. increase in weight? And with this load progression, do you think you’ll be able to stay within the set/rep parameters outlined?[/quote]

There are no percentages or rep parameters and the 5 working sets are just a general idea of the overall volume, but it could be auto-regulated from day t day…
I plan to use it until i stop making progress.

I think all 3 coaches would recommend some form of deadlifting.

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
I think all 3 coaches would recommend some form of deadlifting.[/quote]

I didn’t include deadlifts at first because of the higher frequency. Wouldn’t the high pulls be enough for the posterior chain? If not I guess I’ll throw the deads once a week in place of the high pulls, but the training volume for the deadlift would have to be lower I guess…

To be honest I’ve never really done high pulls for any length of time so I really aren’t sure if they would hit hamstrings enough. Deadlifts do hit hamstrings so to me it’s a no brainer to include some variation of them once per week.

Thibs recommends trap bar deads as well as high pulls. He likes trap bar deads because it uses more quads and he doesn’t squat at the moment. Thibs changes his mind every few months though so I wouldn’t take what he currently says as being the absolute way. Not so long ago he was in love with ring work now he doesn’t do any and says it’s too hard to recover from.

That’s one reason why I prefer proven methods which have worked on many different lifters for years.
Also why limit yourself to just 5 exercises? I know this is what Thibs is currently doing but to me repeating the same exercise over and over 3 times per week is a sure way of increasing the risk of injury.
Squatting regularly is fine although I would be doing back squats instead of Zercher but if i did high pulls 3 x per week my shoulders would be stuffed.

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
To be honest I’ve never really done high pulls for any length of time so I really aren’t sure if they would hit hamstrings enough. Deadlifts do hit hamstrings so to me it’s a no brainer to include some variation of them once per week.

Thibs recommends trap bar deads as well as high pulls. He likes trap bar deads because it uses more quads and he doesn’t squat at the moment. Thibs changes his mind every few months though so I wouldn’t take what he currently says as being the absolute way. Not so long ago he was in love with ring work now he doesn’t do any and says it’s too hard to recover from.

That’s one reason why I prefer proven methods which have worked on many different lifters for years.
Also why limit yourself to just 5 exercises? I know this is what Thibs is currently doing but to me repeating the same exercise over and over 3 times per week is a sure way of increasing the risk of injury.
Squatting regularly is fine although I would be doing back squats instead of Zercher but if i did high pulls 3 x per week my shoulders would be stuffed.[/quote]

I agree a 100% with you about not taking what a coach says as the absolute way, that’s exactly why I don’t always follow a program exactly to the letter, but, to be honest, I think the reason Thibs changes his mind often is because he’s always experimenting with new things, wich is actually a good thing in my opinion.
I will have to disagree with you about the injury risk, since I’m not maxing out 3 times a week or taking each lift to failure.

I chose only 5 main exercises mainly because of the simplicity…
The Zercher Squats are mainly because I like them… Any shoulder pain so far, but I will take note on what you said…
Just out of curiosity, which spill can I find Thibs current training routine?

OP it just reads like you want to be told your program is good.

Its pretty clear your mind is set to do this so just go and get on with it. If it doesnt work go and try something else.

Christian Thibaudeau writes on the livespill every day. This can be found on the main page on the left hand side. It is now called Indigo-3g program support.

He hasn’t released his current program officially yet but if you read through a few of the spills it’s very easy to piece together how he trains.
He gets asked about it every single day. Why they just don’t release the full program is anyones guess as it would save him from answering the same questions over and over again every single day. It must drive him nuts but that’s what he gets paid for I guess.

When the program does finally get released you wont be able to view it unless you have bought some Indigo 3g but like I said if you read through a few spills it’s very easy to see what he is currently doing.

[quote]SpiderDan wrote:
OP it just reads like you want to be told your program is good.

Its pretty clear your mind is set to do this so just go and get on with it. If it doesnt work go and try something else.[/quote]

No dude. This is by far the best bodybuilding/strength training site there is, and it’s readers are most likely intelligent when it comes to training. What I’m doing is sharing a training idea that I had and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of it with experienced people, based on solid training principles and a bit of creativity.

Now, if you read TNation only to follow blind the training exemple set in the end of most articles, you’re completely missing the point.
The routine I showed here may be awful, but I will only say it’s awful once I try and see how it goes for myself. It would be stupid to read the first negative feedback and say: “Sorry guys, this is bullshit, I will never do that routine again,”

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
Christian Thibaudeau writes on the livespill every day. This can be found on the main page on the left hand side. It is now called Indigo-3g program support.

He hasn’t released his current program officially yet but if you read through a few of the spills it’s very easy to piece together how he trains.
He gets asked about it every single day. Why they just don’t release the full program is anyones guess as it would save him from answering the same questions over and over again every single day. It must drive him nuts but that’s what he gets paid for I guess.

When the program does finally get released you wont be able to view it unless you have bought some Indigo 3g but like I said if you read through a few spills it’s very easy to see what he is currently doing.[/quote]

Ok thanks! Just found something about him saying that he does two lifts per workout, but only one is the focus… Interesting…

Why don’t you autoregulate the program itself? My lower body lifts are weak, but I started reading Dan John’s writings the last few weeks and it’s absolutely helped. I also follow his big message to not overcomplicate things, which I think you’re missing by being stuck with a set MWF zercher/OHP/blahblah program.

For me, I alternate high bar squats, front squats, deadlifts, and cleans whatever way I want. If I get 275 for 3x3, I’ll try for 3x5, increasing the sets and/or reps until I’m confident I can hit 315 for some fast singles or doubles. My thinking is that I’m weak, and that this gives me a good way to quantify real progress.

[quote]browndisaster wrote:
Why don’t you autoregulate the program itself? My lower body lifts are weak, but I started reading Dan John’s writings the last few weeks and it’s absolutely helped. I also follow his big message to not overcomplicate things, which I think you’re missing by being stuck with a set MWF zercher/OHP/blahblah program.

For me, I alternate high bar squats, front squats, deadlifts, and cleans whatever way I want. If I get 275 for 3x3, I’ll try for 3x5, increasing the sets and/or reps until I’m confident I can hit 315 for some fast singles or doubles. My thinking is that I’m weak, and that this gives me a good way to quantify real progress.[/quote]

Your training is great in my opinion. Since right now I don’t have a particular area that I think needs to be strengthened the most (just want ovearll strength and a bit more of shoulder/upper back thickness) I find simpler and easier to quantify progress doing the same few lifts that work better for me a few times a week. That doesn’t mean I can’t throw a new exercise once in an while or remove one, it’s just a general guideline.