T Nation

Full Body Workout: Strength, Days?


Hey CT,
To make it short, i need your help for a friend.

He is 17, trains since 1 year, he can't squat and deadlift. He can go 3 times per week to the gym. So he makes full body work outs. His main exercises are: chin ups(!), bench press (!), overhead press, leg press and rows.
His goal is to look better at the beach... Get bigger and stronger. I read very much about your training, but its hard to use in a full body workout.
I thought that's good for him(3 times a week ):
A: Leg Press
B: Overhead Press
C: Bench Press
D: Chin Ups
E: Rows
F: carries, arms, abs ...

Question: what loading scheme should he use?
Is it a good idea to have a strength day for example "ramp to a 3RM" a size and strength day "5*5" and a size day with "4*8 or 10/8/6/20 "?
What do you think?
Is that workout good?

Thanks in advance! Sorry for my "short" long post...


Why can't he squat or deadlift?


Hard to explain... He is just too unflexible. His heels raise from the ground and he stands on his toes... And his lower back rounded...

What do you think about my acutal question?


You're asking CT, I know. But as someone that couldn't squat or deadlift (for similar flexibility reasons) and hung in and managed to get it I'd say that'd be my number one priority. Fixing that. There's something wrong that needs fixing so nothing to be gained in the long term by working around it. Patience and a good coach will at the very least improve his movement patterns. And you can train hard and make big progress with strength gains whilst tackling this problem. 17 is too young to be just accepting it (unless of course there is some special circumstances).

That's all I wanted to say - I don't have enough expertise to provide anything useful on the actual question. :slight_smile:


The first thing to do would be to work on his mobility to be able to do a squat and deadlift. Every human being that didn't have a severe injury or malformation should be able to squat and deadlift decently. Instead of avoiding them, he should take it as a diagnostic to improve his mobility.


Agreed. You (ahem....your "friend") should spend more time working on mobility rather than allowing it to make you worse. I have never seen someone without some type of true injury reason not be able to work towards squatting and deadlifting.


Hahaha its really my friend and not me !! ... :frowning:
I already tried to teach him the lifts, but surrendered due to his lack of flexibility. He will work on his flexibility.

But I still would like to get an answer hahaha. I have read about heavy and light days, speed days, but nothing about different days e.g. size days and strength days. Is this a good idea? It looks good for me.

Thank you guys all for posting, he really need to learn how to squat and deadlift ... But he is sometimes lazy... :frowning:


Take it for what it's worth... well from someone who has coached athletes from 26 different sports including pros, olympians and pro bodybuilders and over 1000 personal training clients.

Someone who isn't willing to work REAL HARD at making his body physically able to do the most important lifts there is (when I got back to the olympic lifts my mobility sucked... I literally did 45-60 minutes of intense mobility work EVERY DAY until I could do the movements right, with no restrictions) and who doesn't want to learn to squat or deadlift because they are sometimes lazy will NEVER achieve any worthwhile results. NEVER ... unless they are freaks or use drugs. And I doubt that your friend is a freak.

Long ago I decided to stop wasting my time trying to help people who are lazy and are not hard workers... it's a waste of my time because they will never put my advice to good use and achieve anything.

So I wont give you any advice and I hope that none of my readers do either.

If he ever gets his act together, become physically capable of doing squats and deads properly (which are basic human movements that everybody should be able to do) and magically becomes a hard worker, come back to me with your question.


If the problem is not being able to squat or deadlift because you can't teach him effectively, I recommend the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I read it years ago but have returned to it recently because I'm training a friend of mine (who has never weightlifted and hasn't even worked out in any way at all in the past year). But using the book I've been able to teach him all the big lifts very easily and he is making fast progress.

I love CT's work and have learned a huge amount from him personally, but most of the stuff he posts on this site is relatively complex, for intermediate / advanced lifters. Your friend is 17 years old and basically a novice. I think doing the big lifts in a simple structure (e.g. Starting Strength novice program) may be the best thing for him.