T Nation

Help with Exercise Selection


#1

Hi guys,

I've been lifting for 5 months now but have only been doing 3 exercises: trap bar deadlifts, overhead press and weighted chin-ups. The original plan was to switch/add exercises after 6 weeks but I decided to keep going with my program because I was seeing good results and it didn't interfere with Muay Thai training. This is where I'm at currently:

         Before/After

Bodyweight: 62kg/65-66kg
Trap bar DL: 100kg/130kg (2x BW)
OHP: 40kg/55kg
WCU: 100kg/117kg (total)
+38kg added at 62kg BW/+52kg added at 65kg BW (1.8x BW)
(I've been doing chin ups for several years and occasionally weighted with a relatively light weight (<20kg) but without any structure or regularity until 5 months ago)

My goal now is to get stronger while staying at my current weight (65kg) and to get a 2x BW chin-up, BW OHP and 2.5x BW trap bar deadlift, hopefully without conflicting with Muay Thai.

I have a program in mind that is similar to what I've been doing but requires 4-5 exercises spread into A and B days. I'd like exercises with the most bang for my buck and the least amount of training possible (the less complex the form, the better). My thoughts:

A:
Overhead press
Trap bar row
Front squat

B:
Weighted chin ups
Trap bar deadlift

  • Trap bar loaded carries as a finisher on some days

Would this cover most of the bases? I've been using the trap bar DL as both a squat and a DL but I think now I need a more dedicated squat movement, as well as a horizontal pull. I'll add in a horizontal push down the line somewhere if I get access to dip bars because I'm apprehensive about benching without a spotter and the gym is usually empty when I go in.

TL;DR basic questions:
1. What is the best squat to pair with a trap bar DL?
2. Is this split good or should I move some exercises to different days/switch the order of exercises? My main emphasis is WCU so they are usually first.
3. Any other good exercises to add in?

Any other help/tips/criticism is welcome.

Thank you.


#2

[quote]Iron Condor wrote:
I’ve been lifting for 5 months now but have only been doing 3 exercises: trap bar deadlifts, overhead press and weighted chin-ups.[/quote]
Why only three exercises and why did you settle on those three?

You’re probably less than three months off of hitting your press and chin goals, so that’s a good thing I guess.

A basic two day setup like this should work to get there. Depends a bit on when/how often you’re training Muay Thai.

Workout 1
A) Weighted chin-up 4x2-4
B) Overhead press 4x8-10
C) Front squat 4x6-8

Workout 2
A) Overhead press 4x2-4
B) Chin-up 4x10-12
C) Trap bar deadlift 4x8-10

However, I’m not 100% comfortable sticking with such barebones training for so long. Simplified, uncomplicated routines are one thing, but there is such thing as being oversimplified to the point of neglecting movement patterns (not even an issue of bodyparts).

I’d work towards hitting your press and chin goal because it’ll be fairly quick, and then drop those two exercises from your rotation for a while. Ditching them and working on similar movements will benefit your strength and musculature.

Does your gym have dumbbells? Dumbbell bench variations, even one-arm benching, could be an option. But there’s nothing to be apprehensive about as long as you avoid failure (which you should be doing anyway).

Front squat, back squat, goblet squat, any lunge. Lots of options are good for athletes. On a related note, are you competing in Muay Thai or just studying recreationally?

See above. There have also been several programs written for martial artists, though guys in the Combat forum seem to like the 5/3/1 approach.

Many to consider, as mentioned above.


#3

Thank you for the detailed response.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

Why only three exercises and why did you settle on those three?[/quote]

I had been thinking of starting strength training for a long time but didn’t want to do the big 3 (safety and learning technique) and didn’t really like the look of a lot of the standard beginner programs like SS and Stronglifts. I read a lot of good reviews about the programs in Tactical Barbell which are designed for martial artists, tactical athletes and people who have to balance other attributes in addition to strength, so I started doing “Operator” which is basically 3 compound lifts, 3 times a week.

I picked these exercises mainly because the technique is easy and they are relatively safe. Weighted chin-ups mainly just for fun and because it’s my favourite lift (as a skinny bastard I’ve always been fond of chin-ups). I figured I’d at least start doing something and then as I get better I’ll move on to more advanced movements, because otherwise I just wouldn’t get anything done.

[quote]You’re probably less than three months off of hitting your press and chin goals, so that’s a good thing I guess.

A basic two day setup like this should work to get there. Depends a bit on when/how often you’re training Muay Thai.

Workout 1
A) Weighted chin-up 4x2-4
B) Overhead press 4x8-10
C) Front squat 4x6-8

Workout 2
A) Overhead press 4x2-4
B) Chin-up 4x10-12
C) Trap bar deadlift 4x8-10
[/quote]

Stupid question, but how much weight should I use for this? The program I’ve been doing is basically different % of my 1RM every week (W1: 70%, W2: 80%…etc) so I’m a bit lost without someone holding my hand.

[quote]
However, I’m not 100% comfortable sticking with such barebones training for so long. Simplified, uncomplicated routines are one thing, but there is such thing as being oversimplified to the point of neglecting movement patterns (not even an issue of bodyparts).

I’d work towards hitting your press and chin goal because it’ll be fairly quick, and then drop those two exercises from your rotation for a while. Ditching them and working on similar movements will benefit your strength and musculature.

Does your gym have dumbbells? Dumbbell bench variations, even one-arm benching, could be an option. But there’s nothing to be apprehensive about as long as you avoid failure (which you should be doing anyway).[/quote]

We have dumbbells, but from memory I think the highest goes up to something like 25kg (not sure exactly). I admit I’ve just been a bitch when it comes to bench and have made excuses not to do it. I suppose I’ll bite the bullet and have a crack at it.

[quote]
Front squat, back squat, goblet squat, any lunge. Lots of options are good for athletes. On a related note, are you competing in Muay Thai or just studying recreationally?[/quote]

Recreationally at the moment, but hoping to compete down the line. I haven’t been able to train much in the last few months due to uni commitments so I’ve mostly just been doing strength work. I finish my degree next month so I should be ramping up again and training MT 10+ hours a week.

[quote]2. Is this split good or should I move some exercises to different days/switch the order of exercises? My main emphasis is WCU so they are usually first.
See above. There have also been several programs written for martial artists, though guys in the Combat forum seem to like the 5/3/1 approach.

  1. Any other good exercises to add in?
    Many to consider, as mentioned above.[/quote]