T Nation

Do You Follow Workouts Verbatim?


well i am just curious when you guys use CW or CT's programs, do you do exactly what is prescribed? i just recently started the pendulum program and i have been integrating my own movements but incorporating the basic premise behind the program as far as set rep and isometric holds are concerned.

does anyone else tweak the programs? is this a bad idea?

just curious.


I'm on DeFranco's westside/skinny bastards routine. I followed it to the "T" for the first three months, and got good gains. Now its getting a little stale, so I am varying the reps and sets a little more. In my instance, my legs are my weak spot. So I am concentrating just a little more on them, adding deadlifts to some upper body days.

Tweaking works for me, but only on a small basis. I trust the guys who make the routine, and if it doesn't work you'll know after a month anyway.


When you're new to the stuff it's better to perform it as written. But once you've followed a number of programs and have some years of training under your belt you will know yourself of how to tweak a program without undermining it's core principles to reap the goods.

Since you're asking means you should only perform the more minimal tweaks such as exercise selection. Just make sure the particular exercise isn't mandatory....etc


Before following a program, you must understand the logic behind it. Nothing is written in stone. I'm actually doing a modified version of ABBH


I have followed programs to the letter and I have tinkered with them.

With me it's all about having fun in the Gym! If I get into a program and it seems like pure drudgery I'm either dumping it or changing it. Training is a life long thing. It's not easy to continue to train if you have a program that is not fun.

Train hard but have fun, train a lifetime!


I rarely follow any program to a T. Some days I really push myself on some huge movement, and the later more isolated movements suffer. Other days the legs are sore, I can't nail the big movements so I'll modify reps a bit and work on other parts that aren't so fatigued. Since my arousal levels, mood, general physical status, and time all play into how my workout goes, how could I not alter the program. Obviously throwing in wrist curls in place of military press is not the sort of alternation that is to be adovcated, but doing a 7 x 5 rather than a 10 x 3 on squats is not going to hurt my gains.