T Nation

Feedback on Starting a Program


Hi guys,

I've been training for about a year with bodyweight exercises, pullups, handstand pushups etc etc, but recently I managed to get a dumbbell set with 80kg of weight plates. Hence, I'm planning to start hitting the plates with a basic program.

After reading around on T-Nation, I'm planning to go for the 5x5 program with the following exercises

  1. Squat
  2. Deadlift
  3. Military press
  4. Bench press
  5. Dips
  6. Weighted pullups

Some questions

  1. Should I get a barbell, or are the dumbbells sufficient for the exercises I plan to do?

  2. How often should I do each exercise? 2 or 3 times a week?

  3. Can I do all six exercises in a single session, say on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or is it better to split them up. If its better to split them up, how should I split them up?

TIA for any feedback


get a barbell or go gym


Weights are weights it makes no difference if its a barbell, a dumbbell or a filled bag. As long as it keeps getting heavier.


That's pretty good, nearly the same as my first program and I made awesome strength and mass gains on it.

  1. If its possible, get yourself a barbell as it will be better overall for compound lifts.
  2. 3 times a week, Mon/Wed/Fri, that's what I did.
  3. Don't split them up, this is a beginner FULL-BODY routine, do it 3 times a week.

I can also tell you that it would be a good idea to switch up the weighted chins once a week with plain old bicep curls and also the dips with a triceps press down or another isolation exercise for the tries. You don't have to as your arms will be good anyway, but they will have more definition with an iso exercise switched in once a week. I didn't add any Iso work for biceps or triceps until about the 3rd month, but in hind-site, I would of added it from the start.

Also 5x5 is good, but I made more muscular gains doing 4x8, and still nearly the same strength gains. I trained heavy with compounds for a year, and when I look back at my 5x5, I would now start with 3x8 than go to 4x8, just thought I'd throw that out there. But I still think 5x5 is a good way to go if that's what you wanna do, psychologically it was allot easier to go really heavy and just do 5 reps, it took me a while to accept the extra 3 reps mentally as it feels like so much more. But that was just me, you may be able to adapt very easily to any rep range.
Good luck with it mate.


get a barbell it opens up to so many other exercises, like rdls and such.
at that point id just go straight to a beginners bodybuilding routine if thats your goal. having a barbell and dumbbells pretty much let you do anything you want with exercise selection. if your still going to do a 5x5 id add a row and higher rep direct arm work imo

btw on dips and chins/pull ups id do slightly higher reps, i found it hard to progress well on those till i did them in the 8-10 rep range


it does make a difference if its a barbell, dumbell or a filled bag


getting a barbell will make your life and exercise selection broader and easier.


Thanks for the feedback guys, will get a barbell.

I've been reading around, and it seems that the general recommendation is workout A, workout B, workout A, workout B, workout A, workout B over two weeks, with only the squat getting trained more often. Won't 3 times per week on all exercises be too exhausting? I would classify myself as having moderate recovery rate

Looking forward to more responses on this.


id split it up like this:



Maybe throw in some random ab, arm, and rear delt work every now and then, just dont get carried away


So I should do it like

Monday - workout A
Tuesday - rest
Wed - Workout B
Thursday - rest
Friday - workout A
Sat and Sunday - rest
Monday - workout B
Tuesday -rest
Wednesday - workout A
Thursday - rest
Friday - workout B





Get a barbell, or go to a gym. Dumbells can be useful, but a barbell is better for stuff like this.

Dont guess on the program, follow one that is pre-made and proven, such as the Starting Strength/Practical Programming routines, Pavel 3-5, etc. Here is a link with some info: