T Nation

First Time Making My Own Program. How Bad Did I Do?


Monday-Strength Based
Bench Press- 5x3
Push Press-5x3
Skull Crushers- 4x8
EZ Curls- 5x5
Hammer Curls- 5x5
Pullovers- 3x5

Tuesday- Strength
Back Squat- 10x3
Snatch grip High Pull- 3x3

Thursday- Hypertrophy
DB Bench- 4x10
Cable Rows- 4x10
DB Shoulder Press- 4x8
DB Curls- 2x20
Lateral Raises- 4x12

Friday- Hypertrophy
Front Squat- 3x15
Hip Thrust- 4x10
Good Mornings- 4x10
Chins- 4x as many as possible

First Four day split. I usually do Total Body 3 days a week. Tried to mix strength work and hypo. Been focused primarily on strength the past few years. Want to focus a bit on packing on some size.

Like I said, first time trying to design something on my own. Hoping for some brutal critique so I can get the most out of a 4 day.

Thanks for looking.


I’d say progressively doing both 10x3 squats and deadlifts in the same workout will murder you.


Did it yesterday (first week trying this so I have no idea how the whole week will add up)
Kept my numbers reasonable to get through the volume.
285 for the squats and 315 for deadlifts. I got through it fine. Pretty dam sore today. But today is an off day so I figured id have plenty of recovery time.

Sitting at the office on sore glutes at the moment is pretty rough haha


It depends a bit on how you do those 10x3. That rep scheme is often utilized for hypertrophy when keeping the rest periods short, weights moderate and never going to failure. 10x3 isn’t the best rep scheme or way to progress if you want to develop strength however.


Ok. So in order to keep progressing in strength on those lifts what scheme would you suggest?

The way I did it yesterday was about 90 seconds in between. Last three sets on squats were pretty grueling and the final 2 sets on deadlift were rough. I had to stop and reset on the final set cause I felt my back starting to round. Took a few deep breaths to get my composure back and finished em off.

Not necessarily training to failure but I didnt have much left in the tank afterwards either.

Im all ears for your advice


Personally I would suggest some form of the max effort method mixed with volume work. For a pretty long time, you can progress on the deadlift doing just one AMRAP-set (or a pre-prescribed amount of reps and weight with a linear progression pattern like the one set of five reps + 5kg each workout in StrongLifts) per week. Squats usually either need or benefit from more volume and frequency.

You could start doing one progressively heavier set of deadlifts on Friday instead of Tuesday but keep the rest of the Friday’s workout intact. For squats you could try doing a heavy five rep max effort set followed by a couple of lighter back-off sets.


So for tuesday what would you pair with the Squats if I move the DL to friday?

And how do the other days listed look?

Sorry for so many questions. Been lifting for about 6 years now. Always followed a program designed by someone FAR wiser than I. Just thought id see if I could run on my own ideas for once.


The years you have lifted have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you should either make your own program or follow a pre-made one. I have trained for 5 years and I have made a ton of programs for other people for free but I still would not make a program for myself.

Generally speaking this is not a bad program but if pure strength is what you want, I would suggest you look into Mike Tuscherer’s RTS Manual. It not only introduces you to a whole new method of training and organizing your workouts but it also gives you the tools to either make a good program yourself or modify other ready programs to better suit your needs.

As the main assistance movement for squats, I would recommend a movement that trains your weak spots. It could be anything from good mornings or front squats to Romanian deadlifts or stuff like that.


As I said in my OP I am trying to blend strength and Hypertrophy work. If it was purely strength I was after I would just stick to my strongman style programs that I have been doing. Im trying to add a bit of Hypertrophy work because I want to bring up my physique a bit. (wife doesnt care how much I lift if I dont look like a lifter lol)

Was not suggesting my years training gave me some right of passage. I was actually referring to how short of a time I thought it was. My apologies if it came off as arrogance.

I will take your advice and play with my program some more and see if I can improve it.



Ah shit I missed that one. Sorry. If blending it is what you want, your program does look sound. I believe what I suggested would make it a bit more doable and beneficial in the strength department but it’s a sound all-around strength-hypertrophy split. You could also look into Layne Norton’s PHAT routine which aims for that as well.


haha Its all good. I misread all the time.
So does your advice about splitting the deadlift from the squat still stand?
I loosely modeled this off of an article I read on here a while back

My main goal is to maintain and (if possible) improve strength while hitting hypertrophy work hard and getting my ass in shape.
Until now Ive always done strongman and powerlifting style workouts. (hell monday was the first “arm day” Ive had in years lol)


Yeah I’d still recommend doing it that way. Doing both squats and deadlifts for strength on the same day is overkill and not a good way to build strength. Many powerlifting programs have squats + deadlift variation or deadlift + squat variation on the same day but then the variation movement is a lot lighter.

For that specific goal, this program is a good one.


I can’t envision a scenario wherein doing 5x5 EZ curls, 5x5 hammer curls and 3x5 pull overs would be of benefit to any goal.

I feel as though your thought process is that things get stronger by using low reps and bigger by using high reps, and that you applied this mentality to some movements. You may want to consider instead picking 2-4 movements that you want to make stronger in total (squat, bench, deadlift and press are classics) and tailor training around these movements getting stronger. This can satisfy the desire to get stronger, and additionally, getting bigger will help get you stronger on these movements as well.

Pretty much any decent program will build size and strength at the same time, usually without any real need for gimmicks or sorcery.


5x5 with any isolation move seems dumb to me


5x5 strict form heavy curls and hammer curls has worked very well for me in the past. Personal preference. Low rep heavy curls has increased my curl strength significantly. And I was taught that strong biceps are less likely to tear on stones or mix grip DL.
As far as the Pullovers, I look at them more as just a finisher to complement the Bench press at the beginning of the workout. I go very heavy on them as well and It feels great at the end of everything.

No sorcery skills here I’m afraid. If I could use magic to get strong I wouldn’t be asking for help haha.

I have spent the past few years working primarily all the big lifts. I know their benefit. Just wanted to try a new approach for a little while.


Well good luck with all that.


I’m willing to concede it is flawed. Didn’t mean to make it sound like I wasn’t willing to listen to advice/criticism. I did ask for help after all.
I’ll post my corrections based on what I have learned here and see from there.
Thank you all for your input.
Perhaps I should have just stuck with what I was doing…


First time I’ve tried to put direct emphasis on arms. Between my job and compound lifts I’ve managed to build decent arms but I wanted to specialize them for a bit.
Other programs I’ve been on treat arm work as an accessory it seems to me.
If 5x5 is worthless than what rep range would you suggest?
Light weight high reps never seemed to do much for me other than a good pump. Maybe I just didn’t push it hard enough?
I’m all ears to info from ppl who know more than me.


I think everyone’s covered everything but here’s my two cents in the form of what I think would work. Double progression would probably work well.

Bench Press- 5x3-5 @80%, add 2.5% when it’s 5x5
Skull Crushers- 5x10
Hammer Curls- 5x10

Squat- 5x3-5 @80%, add 2.5% when it’s 5x5
Snatch grip deadlift-10x2
EZ curls-5x10

DB Bench- 5x8-10, add 5 lbs when it’s 3x10
DB press-5x10
Rows- 5x10
Lateral raises-3x20

Front Squat- 5x8-10, add 10 lbs when it’s 5x10
Leg press-5x10
Back extensions-5xAMRAP


Have you tried a program that would allow for a lot of flexibility?

I’m thinking something like 5/3/1 or westside for skinny bastards.

Yes, its someone else’s program. But you can custom tailor them a lot and then once you tweak those to your liking and get some substantial results, you can make your own program.

There’s been some very strong lifters on this site who stuck with 5/3/1 with no to only small modifications.

If you’ve been doing something starting strength or any of its more advanced variant, the variety might be a nice change of pace.

As far as what you have there, I personally would have more knee dominant leg work in there. The only exercises like that are front squats and back squats and arguably depending on how you squat your back squat might be more p-chain dominant. The balance is good if you’re already too knee/quad dominant. I might do either deadlift or snatch grip high pull, but not both and replace it with some heavy Bulgarian split squats or a squat variation a lot more knee/quad dominant than the first one in your training session.

I agree with TP on all his points. If strength is what you’re after, TP has some good advice and has been there, done that so I make a point to prioritize his advice when I have it.

I didn’t mean to type so much… Well, I hope you enjoyed the novel!