T Nation

Help me Perfect my Routine

For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve kind of been doing my thing, not really sticking to any particular structure or rep scheme - it’s actually been ok, and I think I’ve made progress, but it’s time to get (more) serious again.

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_design_a_damn_good_program_part_1

I think the routine I’ve designed is pretty okay. Just looking to make it that little bit better, and get some ideas and suggestions for exercise variations (since I’m struggling to think up different stuff in places, I’ll elaborate at the bottom).

I don’t think you need a full background history. So here we go:

Goals: Size, whilst making decent strength gains.

Doing a 5 day body part split:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Shoulders
Thursday: Legs
Friday: Bis/Tris

Here’s the general format (sets x reps) I’m following:

  1. 4 x (6-8) : major compound exercise (bench press, overhead press, squats, etc)
  2. 4 x (6-8) : something less major (?) compound exercise
  3. 4/3 x (6-8 / 8-10) : Compound again, but less major - okay, I need to decide what I mean by “major”
  4. 4/3 x (6-8 / 8-10) : isolation, or compound, generally go for slightly higher volume on this one sometimes 3x(10-12)

90-120 seconds rest between each set, depends how long I feel I need to complete the next set without falling way more than about 2 reps under my rep quota (if I was aiming for 6-8, I wouldn’t want to do less than 4 reps)

So, the exercises:

Chest:

  1. Bench Press, Flat DB Press, Incline variations of those two
  2. same as 1
  3. Combo Press, Chest Press, DB Pullover
  4. Flyes, Cable Crossoves

Kind of feel like I’m doing too many of the same motions here, I’d like to find some exercises that use different motions to target the chest - I am getting pain with dips, so they are out for about a month or so, or until whenever the pain goes away :-/

Back:

  1. Deadlifts
  2. Wide grip weighted pullups, Bent over rows (DB or BB)
  3. Vertical Row (it’s a machine), Lat Pulldown
  4. Rope Lat Pulldown, Straight Arm Pulldown, Old time standing row

Deadlifts: I usually do low reps, and high sets. All I care about is lifting heavy. Every day I can’t wait until the next time I do deadlifts. Anyway, generally speaking (well, I’ve only been doing them about 2 weeks, properly), I’ll do 5 x (1-3). I’ll warm up a little bit doing about 5-6 reps with lighter weight a couple of times, then I ramp it up and do my 5x1 or whatever.

Shoulders:

  1. Overhead Press, Seated DB Press
  2. Vertical Row, Shrugs, Haney Shrugs
  3. Incline Bench Press (?)
  4. Lateral Raise Variations

On shoulder day, I walk around wondering what the fuck to do.

Legs:

Split into Hamstrings and Quads, not sure if I should do #1, #1, #2, #2, etc (if you understand what I mean), or do all the exercises for hams, then move to quads (which is what I do currently)

  1. Romanian deadlifts, Stiff legged deadlifts, Sumo deadlifts

  2. Good mornings, Leg Press with feet up high or something (according to CT)

  3. Leg curls (seriously, give me something better here)

  4. Back squats

  5. Lunge Variations, Leg Press

  6. Leg Extensions (again, please give me something better)

Arms:

Tris:

  1. Close grip bench press
  2. Lying BB extensions, standing tricep bar/DB extensions (I think that’s what they’re called anyway)
  3. Tricep pushdowns
  4. Tricep dips, kickbacks

Biceps:

  1. Weighted chin ups (apparently everyone says they’re great for biceps, I don’t know if they’re just anti-curl/isolation, but whateeever)
  2. Reverse Curl (I’d do a regular curl, but underhand grips are fucking killing right now since I did BB curls last week, apparently a common problem)
  3. Preacher curl (I guess I’ll put up with the pain here, I’ve got some support and EZ bars are - hopefully - going to be a little better), Hammer curls
  4. Concentration curls

Arms day is generally going to be a higher volume. I’ll do 6-8 reps on the stuff like close grip bench, but on tri dips and kickbacks, I’ll be going for around 12 reps. Most stuff in the 8-10 range.

Maybe I’m not advanced enough for an arm day, but I love going to the gym, so I’m doing it.

Anyway, basically, I need some general pointers. I think this is pretty alright - as I said before - but I’m sure there are a ton of flaws, please point them out. As well as that, any recommendations you can give me for extra exercises (oh, and particularly order) would be great. I am completely lost on some days just not knowing what to do, and if my exercises are complementing each other, or just repeating the same movement in a different variation (cough chest day).

I can’t squat properly yet - or maybe I’m just being a pussy - but my deadlift, bench press, and overhead press (actually, I’m confident I could press an “Advanced” amount in that, I’m surprised how low those numbers are), are all in the intermediate stage, at least. Using these standards: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm

I plan on changing things round (about 2 exercises for each workout) every 4 weeks.

That was way too much for me to read, but after skimming your post I have three simple pieces of advice.

  1. Working out on five consecutive days is a bit much. Think about taking Wednesday off and pushing everything after that back one day. This will allow extra recovery time in general and give your shoulders, which will be worked via your back workout, some recovery.

  2. For shoulders, try some Olympic lifts. Your form will suck at first, but stick with it and watch/read some of the lift progressions online.

  3. This bit of advise is much less concrete and based completely on personal experience, so please take it for what it is. Think about not wasting an entire session on arms. You are working out your arms in almost every other exercise. If you want, you can always work in some isolation movements at the end of your other workouts.

I hope that this helps.

[quote]naulamarad wrote:
That was way too much for me to read, but after skimming your post I have three simple pieces of advice.

  1. Working out on five consecutive days is a bit much. Think about taking Wednesday off and pushing everything after that back one day. This will allow extra recovery time in general and give your shoulders, which will be worked via your back workout, some recovery.

  2. For shoulders, try some Olympic lifts. Your form will suck at first, but stick with it and watch/read some of the lift progressions online.

  3. This bit of advise is much less concrete and based completely on personal experience, so please take it for what it is. Think about not wasting an entire session on arms. You are working out your arms in almost every other exercise. If you want, you can always work in some isolation movements at the end of your other workouts.

I hope that this helps. [/quote]

I know that was a long post, so I appreciate the reply, thanks.

  1. I workout during lunch at work (about 60-90 minutes, although my total lunch should take about 1 hour, hah). Anyway, weekdays are perfect for me, since it’s time I’d otherwise spend sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, doing nothing.

It’s weird, but I rarely have DOMS after a workout - and yeah, I try as hard as I can. I just recover fast, maybe because I eat too much, either way, the only slight soreness-type feeling this week has been from my chest day, and even then, it was very slight.

I feel like I could go twice a day, in fact, I was contemplating doing exactly that. I managed to convince myself not to, since it’s not very practical and probably won’t do me much good.

  1. Will do. Thanks for the tip.

  2. I used to do this when I was doing a 3 day split with higher volume. I just like going to the gym too much to not go for a day. :frowning:

I would likely not have an arm day if I skipped (for example) Wednesday for extra recovery, and just add some isolation at and the end of chest and back day as you have suggested.

Would you prefer it if I moved Shoulder day to Friday, and kept Wednesday as a muck-around day. It would be a low intensity workout, where I’d just concentrate on things where I think my form isn’t great, using light weight, and sort of just doing whatever I feel like - that kind of stuff.

[quote]naulamarad wrote:
That was way too much for me to read, but after skimming your post I have three simple pieces of advice.

  1. Working out on five consecutive days is a bit much. Think about taking Wednesday off and pushing everything after that back one day. This will allow extra recovery time in general and give your shoulders, which will be worked via your back workout, some recovery.

  2. For shoulders, try some Olympic lifts. Your form will suck at first, but stick with it and watch/read some of the lift progressions online.

  3. This bit of advise is much less concrete and based completely on personal experience, so please take it for what it is. Think about not wasting an entire session on arms. You are working out your arms in almost every other exercise. If you want, you can always work in some isolation movements at the end of your other workouts.

I hope that this helps. [/quote]

Based on what I read the OP has absolutely no reason whatsoever to be doing “olympic lifts”, especially without proper coaching. This advice is retarded.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with an arms day. What do you think you mean when you say an entire session is “wasted” by training your arms? Honestly?

The OP’s routine looks fine for right now, the only pieces of advice I would add is this:

Don’t worry about being totally exact or trying to do things “perfectly”. Listen to your body, and keep your eye on the scale and the mirror, as well as the weight on the bar. Work harder each time than you did last time (more weight, more reps, etc.)

And on a sidenote, chinups are not a bicep exercise. If you are getting good bicep stimulation with chinups, you are doing them INCORRECTLY. Yes the advice comes from the anti-isolation camp. No, they do not have impressive arms. No, they do not have impressive anything.

Ditch some of the redundant exercises and increase intensity on the remaining ones.
Ex: you have flat BB and flat DB bench on your chest day. Pick one of them and do it heavier and for a greater number of sets. After a few months, if you stall or get tired of the exercise, switch to the other one.

If you are doing back squat and leg press on your leg day you would probably benefit from doing the squats first. Since you are posting in beginners I’m assuming your squat isn’t so heavy that it requires pre-exaust for safety or extra stimulation.

I agree with Mr. Popular about the Oly lift advice. They are good exercises but they do not mesh easily with a 5 day split routine due to the fact that they are all full body exercises.

Power cleans can swap for dead lift occasionally in a split routine, but snatches and jerks don’t fit well with this kind of program.

Too much volume. Choose a few solid exercises and progress on them.

For example, on shoulder day I would do:

-High Incline/other shoulder press
-Some kind of lateral raise
-A rear delt exercise

Edit: just noticed that a lot of the exercises listed in your post are just other options. My bad.