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Help with a Routine Please


Hey guys I'm making the switch to Push-Pull only meets. A back injury to my L5 and S1 disks allows me to Dead Lift ok still, but Squats are just agonizing. I honestly never wanna hop back under the bar. Due to college and other commitments, lifting on the weekends is basically out. So I need a lifting routine to do only on weekdays. Problem is I have a huge mancrush on the Bench Press and hate training legs the day before it, as they cramp up when I arch and it hurts my performance. Then I get caught in not being able to Dead Lift the next day due to a sore upper back that I train on bench press days. So the traditional Upper/Lower split appears to be out too. Anyway, here's the routine I'm thinking of running. Any help, input, or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

Bench Press 5/3/1
Close Grip Bench Press 3x5-10
Incline Press 3x5-10
Dumbell Rows 5x10-15
Lateral Raises 3x8-12

Dead Lift 5/3/1
Dead Lift 5x10 (Boring but Big)
Leg Press 5x6-8
Dumbbell Split Squat 5x8-12 (these don't hurt my back)

Shoulder Press 5/3/1
Dumbbell Bench Press 4x5-10
Tricep extensions 2x8-12
Glute Ham Raise 5x8-12
Weighted Pull ups 5x10

Thats the best I've been able to come up with. Major drawbacks I see are that my quads only get hit once a week, and my hammies might be a little sore still on Friday. Let's see what you guys think.


If you're concerned about being sore, then learn to do a lot of recovery work. Stretching, foam/PVC rolling, contrast showers, etc. Just do it and you'll feel better.



To me that looks pretty unbalanced as far as pushing vs pulling.

I would set it up more like this:

Bench 5/3/1
-Pressing (could be close grip, incline, dips, db bench ,etc.)
-Pulling (could be chins, db rows, chest supported rows, etc.)
-Shoulders (various raises)

Deadlift 5/3/1
-Quads (leg press, lunges, split squat)
-Hamstrings (Good mornings, back raises, GHR)
-Abs (situps, ab wheel, leg raises, side bends)

Press 5/3/1
-Triceps (easy stuff like pushdowns)

You could also do a set of chins between your main Pressing work and/or the assistance pressing work.


I'd just like to echo what Chris87 said - whatever you end up doing you should definitely add in some more 'rowing' movements to balance out all the pressing you're doing.


As a question, have you tried doing any other squat variations? Front squats, zercher squats, etc?


when my back sucks I can usually front squat problem free


Thanks for the input so far guys. I'll add some more upper back volume for sure. Front Squats are a hit and miss. Some days they're ok, sometimes they suck. I just find it weird that squatting hurts, but dead lifts are fine. My chiro friend said he'd just lay off squats for a long time. My back gets a little better each week, but its been bad for several months. Do you think legs only 1 day a week would still drive my DL ok? I do a few bench only meets/year, but I do like to do push pull when an unequipped meet rolls around for it


When in doubt, stay on the safe side. Lifting is fun and all, but there is no need to fuck yourself up even more.

1 lower body day a week should be fine to keep improving. Tons of people make progress on 2 days of lifting a week total, so you should be fine. Worst comes to worst, you could always add an accessory lower body day if you needed to.


I would say train lower body as often as you can as long as it doesn't hurt.


Cool, thanks for the advice guys, especially your comments Chris. People on this site are a lot more helpful and understanding than the trolls and e-thugs on many other lifting websites I'm sure you're aware of. I'm more of a lurker than a contributer to most places, but I always like learning from others. Think I'll restrict my lifting-related activity to here from now on. The posters and authors here are genuinely informative and seem to actually wanna help people out.


Never limit yourself to one source of information.


I would highly advise you not to use the 531 template for the deadlift. It's a great template, but max reps on a shearing force exercise when you've already got a pretty serious injury sounds like a bad idea to me. You're going to lose form to grind out extra reps or your blood isn't red.

I'd take the sheiko deadlift portion and do that, it's all around 80% and you get exhausted, but never so much that you lose form.

My one question for you is what steps are you taking to fix your back?

Louie Simmons fixed his with a reverse hyper, my girlfriend fixed her herniated disc, tho I'm not sure how... Stuart Mcgill has found that lifters will have a herniated disc but other muscles have picked up the slack to keep the lifter healthy and pain free.

Also, I'd much prefer to see you doing something with compressive force as opposed to shearing force.

If you want to talk about steps to try to fix up your back let me know... I'm not perfect, but I've got a good idea what it would take.


I would second this