T Nation

Does This Work?


Hey all,

Love T-Nation, been lurking for awhile. I've been lifting for around 3 years and made alright progress. I've focused on compound lifts (squats, deads, weighted chins, etc) but having some trouble with chest and arms. I have almost done no direct isolation work for my arms in 2 and a half years. Friends of mine keep commenting I should be focusing on these areas as they look like weak points. Can you guys tell me if this is a decent program for bringing up chest and arms? Thanks

Bench 5x5
Barbell Rows 5x5
Squats 5x5
Preacher Curls and Skull crushers

Power Cleans 5x3
Weighted Chins 5x5
Military Press 5x5

Deadlifts 5x5
Bench 5x5
Close-Grip Bench 5x8
Power Shrugs 5x8
Preacher Curls and Skull crushers


Looks pretty tough, but if you can consistantly do it, you should see improvements in your overall physique and not just arms and chest. This will especially hold true if you haven't done a routine like this.


Look up CW's TBT. It encorporates both full body, compound movements and some isolation work.

Im doing it currently and I love it.


looks like you have been influenced by bill starr in some way or another, not a bad way to go.

One thing I would change about your program is do some sort of incline bench pressing. I currently do a routine similier to what your doing, but day one is 5x5 squat-bench-row 2x12 incline dumbell press, and day 3 is either higher rep bench or incline bench. My chest seems to be growing well. Also you could change shoulder press for weighted dips for more chest work.


Cool, thanks for the feedback everyone. I'll let you know the results after two months or so.


I like your routine quite a bit. A suggestion though would be to determine if your delts are dominant over your chest. If so, do dips instead of military press and declines instead of flat bench. Basically the more the angle between your arm and your spine, the more delts get involved. So dec. is more chest than flat, etc.



Pardon my ignorance, but what are power shrugs?


I was wondering the same thing.


Mastermind- I like your ideas on not utilizing shoulders and focusing on chest. I think I'll work that in after a couple weeks.

Basically, a power shrug is a normal shrug except that you lower the weight to right above your knees and then explosively shrug it up.


It was actually a mix of Bill Starr and a routine nate dogg was talking about. I kinda combined what I liked from both.


i would expect a pretty fast burn out from this program. i do like the lifts. i do like each of the days on its own. and i do like the 3 days per week attack. but i think that program (specifically that many exercises @ 5x5 in the same week) repeated for more than a few weeks is going to FRY you. that's a lot of volume at (i assume) a pretty high intensity. i recommend mixing up the set/rep parameters. if you do proceed with your program, eat like there is no tomorrow, and sleep the rest of the time!



I kind of agree, I'm doing something similar to what the thread starter is. It's kicking my ass to say the least. I pretty much gulped down some Surge when I got back from the gym today and collapsed in bed. After about an hour I soaked in an epsom salt bath and did some cryotheropy.

I've been eating like a machine all day and I still fell like shit. I've been at it for about 2.5 weeks. I would drop the curls, skull crushers, and direct ab work from the routine. If the load is sufficient, you are working the muscles plenty with the routine you have outlined.


This is generally true, if we're talking 5 sets of 5 reps with same weight around 80-85% of 1RM.

However, in Starr's programs, 5x5 refered to doing each set with progressively heavier weight, with last set being near your 5RM. So, MultiMan, I think it should be better you start with this protocol.

Another way around it is to use submax weights to allow your body to get accustomed to all the volume. So, instead of using 85% on your first week, you start with 65%-70% and increase slowly week by week. But, you'll eventually need to take a week off and unload with less volume.


lose the curls and skull crushers and add chins and dips instead-much more bang for your buck