T Nation

Help on Developing My Program


I've been training for about a year. I did SS, and then I did a system developed by Precision Nutrition. Now I want to start my own program. I've lost about 20 lbs of fat over the past year (while maintaining my lean mass) and am happy about how lean I am. I want to start adding muscle to my frame (I'll add about 1000 calories a day once I start my new program).

Anyways, I plan on lifting 4 days (other days will be rest or aerobic). This is a guideline of what I was thinking:

Monday: chest (bench press variants), back (rowing variants), quads (squat variants), hips (DL or Good Morning), biceps & triceps isolation

Wednesday: shoulders (presses), shoulders and back (pull ups or pulldowns, or lats), single quads (lunges or step-ups), knee (leg curls), flys, side raises

Friday: chest (2 bench variants), shoulders (2 press variants), back (upper body only)

Saturday: lower body only (quads, hips, calves)

Am I on the right track? I'm trying to stick to around 6 exercises, with 4 being compound, 2 being isolation.


How about you use a regular 4 way split routine.

Chest and Biceps
Shoulders and Triceps

It's simple, and you can actually provide each muscle group with enough stimulation and rest to grow well.

The problem with TBT is that as frequency goes up, intensity has to go down.


Can someone tell me why everyone thinks that they can get a better program than one made by an educated trainer from this site or similar ?

Seems to me like every day a new rate my program thread pops up ?


Ahhhh, perfect question. I have read many of the articles on this site (way too many, actually!). First, I'm a beginner. So simplicity is key. I want to stick to the basics, lots of compound movements, nothing too crazy.

Second, many times, even a great program outline (such as Chad Waterbury's Total Body Training) is only a guideline. And because I am a beginner, when I take his outline, and try to 'fill it out' I start getting confused. Same goes with the Christian Thibaudeau's 'Training for Newbies'. Again, I'm trying to figure out to translate what he's said, and make a program out of it.

So it gives me the basics of what to do, but then I'm trying to determine what exercises I can do on what days. Especially groupings. I'd like to lift four days a week (that just works really well for my schedule).

My post was not a 'rate my program' thread. It's a thread asking 'am I doing this right'?


Because this game is about individualization. Sure you can follow a simple program to get you started so you can concentrate on things like form and intensity in the gym, but you have to eventually get to a point where you individualize programs to your own needs. You can't follow cookie cutter programs forever. That's why you get a basic bodypart split and tailor the exercise selection, exercise order, etc. The little things, as long as you don't complicate it too much like people who worry over getting 45 seconds of recovery instead of 60 and other shit like that.


For what it's worth, I agree with this guy.

I'm really glad Aragorn and Mr Popular convinced me to not-do Starting Strength, despite everyone else's recommendation.


so you chose against starting strength? what'd you go with instead?


My guess is WS4SB.
Did I win?:slight_smile:


I don't want to hijack this thread, so I will try to keep this short.

I was on a 3 day split designed by a fitness instructor I had a one-to-one complimentary session with (NOT a personal trainer). It worked pretty good, but had me benching on the smith machine, doing no deads or squats, so I was worried it might be a bad routine, and I should switch (this was about 4 weeks in, I planned on changing things up after 8 weeks anyway).

I continued with the routine, substituting smith machine for free weight bench; when the bench was actually free. Got some decent results. Did a few deadlifts and squats here and there to practice form, ready for my next routine. I tried HSS-100 as Aragorn had suggested I might like that - since I was used to a split - and it was sort of okay, but not for me. So after a week I stopped doing that.

I spent a few weeks or so just "messing around", trying exercises out, finding out which ones I felt worked for me - as I was planning on designing a routine soon. It gave me time to practice and experiment.

At the moment I'm doing a 5 day split (uhh, maybe 6 now since my schedule has changed a lot!). I designed it myself. I'm working through it. This is still an experimentation sort of stage, but I'm making good results, and learning what works for me at the same time. Best of both worlds!

It might be hard to realise if something is working better for you as a beginner, because you will probably make good gains on any program, but I will give some of the reasons I am glad I did not do Starting Strength, and why I am glad to be doing a self designed split:

  1. I haven't seen anyone's results (after doing Starting Strength for X months) that I've been impressed with; of course they've gotten results, they're beginners. I'm talking both appearance and lift numbers. (Except maybe Dissonance's fat loss transformation, but he still ended up being pretty small, albeit very lean).

  2. I read a lot of posts here, most of which seem are along the lines of "I'm doing Starting Strength, and I've stalled twice, now what?" If that was me, I would simply try something else for a few weeks, maybe a different rep range. Maybe taking that exercise out for a couple weeks, and doing something else (okay, let's say it was Flat Bench Press, I would do Incline Bench Press, Flat Dumbell Press, it doesn't matter, just something that might help with my Bench Press strength).

Basic point being, I would change things, and find out what works. I get the feeling a lot of people who follow Starting Strength because the program is the program. The program isn't working, now what?

  1. I want to go to the gym more, not 3 days a week!

  2. I think Starting Strength has overhead press towards the end of the routine; I know after doing Deadlifts, Squats, Powercleans, and whatever else he has you doing inside one workout, I would not do very great on that overhead press. As well as I could fresh, anyway.

  3. People act like you can't gain a "solid base of strength" doing a basic bodybuilder split. You have to do Starting Strength, apparently.

  4. This experimentation I'm doing is going to be vital to my long term success, as far as I'm concerned. Doing weird programs like GVT might be great, but what have I really learnt? I don't need to use advanced techniques, I'm not advanced. So I stick to straight sets, basic exercises, and am chugging along sort of nicely.

Okay, that was anything but short, so I'm ending it there even though I could probably have a bunch more points, I don't want to turn this into a Splits vs TBT/Starting Strength thread, or anything else of that nature.

Oh, and I hear a lot of good things about WS4SB or whatever the hell it's called - which is a split? Either way, I'm still glad I'm doing my OWN thing. If you're on a prescribed program you have the tendency to not want to mess around with it.


Smart guy.

This is the kind of mentality that allows certain people to blow past those around them.