T Nation

Designed Routine. Advice Wanted!

I’ve been training for a few years and for the past 2.5 have been training with a total body training routine that took about 2 hours to finish correctly. I’ve seen some nice gains but I began with this routine and its time to move on.

My goals are to gain strength. I’ve done some reading and the 5x5 program looks good for me. I am a student athlete and compete in short sprints this spring. My focus is on leg strength and the posterior chain, especially the hamstrings and lower back. Also, Tibialis Anterior/Calves due to repeated shin splints that interfere with track.

I’ve been trying this out heading on 2 weeks now but here is what I came up with.

Monday: Chest/Back

Flat Bench Press: 5x5
Pull ups: 5x5
Upright Rows: 3x10reps
Rows: 5x5
Situps: 4x25reps
DB Shrugs: 3x8
Incline Bench Press: 5x5
45? Sled Leg Press Tibialis (Light): 3x10
45? Sled Leg Press single leg calve raise (light): 3x10
Tricep: 3x10

Tuesday: Legs

BB Back Squat: 5x5
Cable Ab routine: 4x25
45? Leg Press: 5x5
Seated calf raise: 5x6
Dead lift: 5x5
DB Tibialis routine (DARD): 3x10
Prone Leg curls: 3x10

Wednesday: Cardio
OFF/Track Training

Thursday: Chest/Back/Shoulders
Bench Press: 5x5
Pull ups: 5x5
DB Military Press: 3x8
Ab routine: 4x25
Dips: 5x5
Between Legs BB Row: 5x5
Biceps: 3x10
Shoulder Raises: 3x10

Friday: Legs
Squat: 5x5
Cable Ab routine: 4x25
Calf Raises: 5x6
45? Leg Press: 5x5
Tibialis Anterior: 3x10
Dead lift: 5x5
Bulgarian Squats: 3x10
Romanian Dead Lift: 3x10

Saturday: Rest Day 1
OFF

Sunday: Rest Day 2
OFF

I feel it might be much and I might be overtraining, but I do not feel overtrained during or post workout. The Lower reps leave me with much more energy that when I did a 3x10 TBT routine. I feel this routine will help build my legs well and give me a stronger back. I aim for symmetry and hope this will help. I really want to strike each muscle from different angles, thats why I threw in Incline and dips with flat bench.

Tell me what you think T-Nation! This is my first post, I look forward to some great feedback!

I would say go to a upper/lower split for your workouts, and I would probably reduce your volume a little. Maybe try Mon/Thur=upper and Tue/Fri=lower with wednesday being an off day. This will give you more variety and freedom in your workouts. Also, try to pair movements such as horizontal push with a horizontal pull when possible. And if you have any weak points make sure to work on them first in your workout. An example of an upper & lower body day could be:

Upper:
Inverted Row
Flat Bench
Pull-up
Push-press
Incline rear delt fly (optional)

Lower:
Front Squats
good mornings
bulgarian squats
1-leg RDL
calves (optional)

Try to use a rep progression maybe like (week 1= 4x5) (week 2= 4x6) (week 3= 5x5) (week 4=unloading)

In the end it is going to take some tinkering with to find what best suits your abilities and constraints such as time, ability to recover, present level of fitness, etc. Also, read everything you can by the authors on this site. There is a wealth of free knowledge to be read!! Hope I could help, and good luck!

My friend, you need to lower your volume way more than a little. GENERALLY speaking, there shouldn’t be over 20 sets in a workout, particularly if you are training for athleticism.

Which brings up another point…you say you’re training for sprinting, but that you want symmetry? Which do you care more about? They are at 2 different ends of the spectrum.

No workout should take you 2 hours on purpose. Sometimes I’ll go over an hour, but that’s because I’m working up to singles in a lift, so the warmup takes 15 minutes or so. But once you hit your working weight, the session shouldn’t last more than an hour. 45 minutes is optimal even. After that, your body starts producing stress hormones which start lower Testosterone…that’s not a good thing.

What are your numbers like in the main lifts?

I’m guessing you’re a beginner from the program that you designed. I’d suggest that you stick to a pre-written program right now as you accumulate knowledge of how to write your own programs.

So what do you want to build athleticism, or a bodybuilder’s body?

-MAtt

great posts above me. Be sure to do plenty of unilateral exercises as well as a lot of rowing. good luck.

Are all of your sets working sets or are some of them warm-ups? If you are doing 35-40 working sets then I agree completely with Matt. Your volume needs to come way down.

If you are doing 5x5 and the first two sets are warm-ups then the volume probably is more reasonable. In which case, you aren’t really doing 5x5.

My progress and the rest of my life would come to a grotesque screeching halt if it took me 2 hours to complete a single workout. 45 minutes to an hour is average depending on the days emphasis.

You don’t have to hit a muscle group with every single variable on the same day.

I disaggree with most people posting so far. I think the volume is fine. I would dump the ab routines, but I am not a fan of direct ab work. Working abs hard and frequently leads to big abs. If I am going to get a gut I will do it with beer, rather than ab work. Your abs will enevitably get worked in most routines. Work abs once a week, I say.
Other than that, let’er rip and don’t be afraid to deviate from the program if your feel froggy.

[quote]pat36 wrote:
I disaggree with most people posting so far. I think the volume is fine. I would dump the ab routines, but I am not a fan of direct ab work. Working abs hard and frequently leads to big abs. If I am going to get a gut I will do it with beer, rather than ab work. Your abs will enevitably get worked in most routines. Work abs once a week, I say.
Other than that, let’er rip and don’t be afraid to deviate from the program if your feel froggy. [/quote]

What is your reasoning to think the volume is fine? All the 5x5’s are too much.

I agree. Don’t be afraid of volume. It works.

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
pat36 wrote:
What is your reasoning to think the volume is fine? All the 5x5’s are too much. [/quote]

It’s all in the adaptation. Teaching your body to increased volumes will cause it to adapt to those volumes. Adapting to increaded work reqires more muscle, hence he will grow. That’s the theory anyway.

I don’t see his volumes as that terribly high. If you look at he training levels of football players or strongman competators; that’s what I’d call high volume. Many of there programs consist of high volumes of aerobic and anerobic movements on the same day, yet they improve and grow. Now I realize most of those guys are drugged, but I believe the body can take what it’s handed. That being said it is essential to work in time off and back off weeks, into what ever you are doing.

Bottom line, it’s ultimately his decision on what he does. I respond to high volumes, but I know people who respond well to low volumes. So long as he works his ass off that all that matters in the end.

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
My friend, you need to lower your volume way more than a little. GENERALLY speaking, there shouldn’t be over 20 sets in a workout, particularly if you are training for athleticism.

Which brings up another point…you say you’re training for sprinting, but that you want symmetry? Which do you care more about? They are at 2 different ends of the spectrum.

No workout should take you 2 hours on purpose. Sometimes I’ll go over an hour, but that’s because I’m working up to singles in a lift, so the warmup takes 15 minutes or so. But once you hit your working weight, the session shouldn’t last more than an hour. 45 minutes is optimal even. After that, your body starts producing stress hormones which start lower Testosterone…that’s not a good thing.

What are your numbers like in the main lifts?

I’m guessing you’re a beginner from the program that you designed. I’d suggest that you stick to a pre-written program right now as you accumulate knowledge of how to write your own programs.

So what do you want to build athleticism, or a bodybuilder’s body?

-MAtt[/quote]

What I mean by symmetry is I want balanced strength. My chest is strong, but my old routine didn’t have much back work and left it less developed than my chest. So as far as appearance goes, I could care less. I am training mainly to get my legs stronger, scratch the bodybuilding aspect, they’ll be plenty of time to work on that later on in life.

The routine the school gave me took 2 hours like I said above. I read about workouts reducing T Levels here at T-Nation and freaked out. Since I’ve been reading articles on this site regularly, I’ve been questioning whether the Athletic department knows what they’re doing.

Stats:

Bench 1RM: 225
Incline Bench 1RM: 190
Squat 1RM: 335
Dead lift (Trap Bar): 360
*Recently switched to conventional style DL.

Heres what weights I lift with

Squat: 5x5
warm up - 45 (1set 10reps)
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 235
set 3 - 245
set 4 - 255
set 5 - 265

  • Good weight to me, any more and I’ll fail on the last set.

Dead Lift: 5x5
set 1 - 185
set 2 - 195
set 3 - 205
set 4 - 215
set 5 - 225

  • I’m new to conventional style, I have good form and feel I could pull more.

Bench Press: 5x5
Warm up: 45 (1set 10reps)
set 1 - 135
set 2 - 145
set 3 - 155
set 4 - 165
set 5 - 175
*I feel I could push more

Incline Bench Press: 5x5
set 1 - 95
set 2 - 105
set 3 - 115
set 4 - 125
set 5 - 135

  • I feel I could do a lot more.

45? Leg Press: 5x5
set 1 - 290
set 2 - 200
set 3 - 210
set 4 - 220
set 5 - 230
*I feel comfortable with this weight, especially since I do these after squats.

As for a pre-written program, what kind would you suggest? Should I pick one off of T-Nation? Ask the school for one?

I don’t want a bodybuilders body, my goal is gain strength and build strong muscles. Also, I would like to throw in some cleans with my routine for some explosive training.

I want to train what will help me do best in sprints. I’ve talk to sprinters who are better and older than me and they tell me do cleans, dead lifts, and squats.

Thanks for all the good replies. Keep them coming!

[quote]Jason B wrote:
I agree. Don’t be afraid of volume. It works.
[/quote]

Yeah but this kid is supposed to be working for athletics Not for bodybuilding plus you have to factor in that if he keeps this workout he will also be conditioning and working out for his sport. I don’t know kid. u should be able to tell if ur overtraining by how you feel but it DOES look like a good bit of volume considering ur hitting legs twice in a week and all. Good luck kid.

[quote]pat36 wrote:
bruinsdmb wrote:
pat36 wrote:
What is your reasoning to think the volume is fine? All the 5x5’s are too much.

It’s all in the adaptation. Teaching your body to increased volumes will cause it to adapt to those volumes. Adapting to increaded work reqires more muscle, hence he will grow. That’s the theory anyway.

I don’t see his volumes as that terribly high. If you look at he training levels of football players or strongman competators; that’s what I’d call high volume. Many of there programs consist of high volumes of aerobic and anerobic movements on the same day, yet they improve and grow. Now I realize most of those guys are drugged, but I believe the body can take what it’s handed. That being said it is essential to work in time off and back off weeks, into what ever you are doing.

Bottom line, it’s ultimately his decision on what he does. I respond to high volumes, but I know people who respond well to low volumes. So long as he works his ass off that all that matters in the end.[/quote]

Yes the body will adapt to progressive overload. No the body wont adapt to overtraining. Jason Ferruggia recently wrote a blog on his site: http://jasonferruggia.blogspot.com/
scroll down until you find “You’re Overtraining”

Whatever volume you go with, I’d suggest wave loading your 5x5.
For example, your current squat is
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 235
set 3 - 245
set 4 - 255
set 5 - 265

Instead,
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 245
set 3 - 265
set 4 - 235
set 5 - depends on how you did on set 3.

[quote]spacepirate wrote:
Whatever volume you go with, I’d suggest wave loading your 5x5.
For example, your current squat is
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 235
set 3 - 245
set 4 - 255
set 5 - 265

Instead,
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 245
set 3 - 265
set 4 - 235
set 5 - depends on how you did on set 3.
[/quote]

whats the advantage of wave loading? I think Ian King is big on it if i’m not mistaken…

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
spacepirate wrote:
Whatever volume you go with, I’d suggest wave loading your 5x5.
For example, your current squat is
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 235
set 3 - 245
set 4 - 255
set 5 - 265

Instead,
set 1 - 225
set 2 - 245
set 3 - 265
set 4 - 235
set 5 - depends on how you did on set 3.

whats the advantage of wave loading? I think Ian King is big on it if i’m not mistaken…[/quote]

I’ve found that I can lift more weight on my heavy set if I make it my third set.

The volume wouldn’t be as big of an issue if he was training for bodybuilding, but in training for athleticism, it could present a problem.

First off, I’d suggest testing using a vertical jump test and a broad jump to measure your progress in addition to monitoring your sprinting speed.

You say you want a balanced program but your chest is already stronger than back. This would mean you’d need more back work to make up for the lack of strength. So while the program may be “unbalanced” in terms of volume (you’d do more sets for back) it will eventually balance you out. Hopefully, that’s not too complicated.

If I were you, I’d buy Cressey’s “Ultimate Off Season Manual”.

Other than that, check out Mike Robertson’s “Building the Designer Athlete” article on here.

All lower body lifts should be done explosively on the concentric.

Not sure what your bodyweight is, but if your strength levels are low relative to your body weight (which I’m assuming is the case), you may not need a huge emphasis on plyometrics. Just concentrate on relative strength. Gaining weight for the sake of gaining weight won’t help you in your sport.

You should attempt to set PRs every week if you can, particularly in your lower body lifts like squats, box squats, deadlifts, etc.

Good luck.

-MAtt

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
pat36 wrote:
Yes the body will adapt to progressive overload. No the body wont adapt to overtraining. Jason Ferruggia recently wrote a blog on his site: http://jasonferruggia.blogspot.com/
scroll down until you find “You’re Overtraining” [/quote]

Read the article, and relooked over the work out. The reason I do not believe he is over training is that he is moving the load over his body. He has 39 set total on monday, but 9 of those sets are in his calves and 4 on his abs. He is only doing 10 sets for chest and 16 sets for back and sholders. I suggested he lift the ab work that is minus 4 sets and calf work just doesn’t tax your nervous system all that much. Especially tibialas work has a range of motion of like and inch and a half. Also, he has youth on his side. If he eats right I think he’ll be fine.
I do aggree he’ll have to include extra rest after 3 to 4 weeks and throw in a back off week. But if he has the time to spend in the gym I say go for it. I wish I could, I miss those 2 hour work outs with an hour in the steamroom after words. Life just doesn’t permit me to do that anymore.

Problems ahoy,

Straight off the bat.

drop the upright rowing
too much volume+high intensity+ long duration= bad.

Too much Horizontal pressing motion.

drop the shrugs. If anything, I’m guessing you’ve got raised scapulae coupled with internally rotated humeri (shot in the dark here, if your training is representative of your previous work). You need to gain a better scapulohumeral rythem via strengthening your mid and lower trapz and rhomboids. Basically more horizontal pulling.

Use either incline press or flat press for 5x5, not both (IMO).

Drop the dips.

Drop the calf raises.

drop the lateral raises.

Why so much isolated biceps and triceps work (3x10) ALONG with all that volume? You’re no bodybuilder (even that would be too much for them).

Why are you performing diferent variations of deadlifts?

[quote]Omega_Red wrote:
Problems ahoy,

Straight off the bat.

drop the upright rowing
too much volume+high intensity+ long duration= bad.

Too much Horizontal pressing motion.

drop the shrugs. If anything, I’m guessing you’ve got raised scapulae coupled with internally rotated humeri (shot in the dark here, if your training is representative of your previous work). You need to gain a better scapulohumeral rythem via strengthening your mid and lower trapz and rhomboids. Basically more horizontal pulling.

Use either incline press or flat press for 5x5, not both (IMO).

Drop the dips.

Drop the calf raises.

drop the lateral raises.

Why so much isolated biceps and triceps work (3x10) ALONG with all that volume? You’re no bodybuilder (even that would be too much for them).

Why are you performing diferent variations of deadlifts? [/quote]

I agree with the above, except dips are ok with people whose shoulders are healthy. Good analysis.