T Nation

Helping A Friend


One of my friends I go to the gym with is starting to take things a bit more seriously and wants advice on what to do. I wanted to help but I don’t think I’m qualified so I wondered if anyone else could.

At the minute he comes with me and basically does whatever I do for as many sets as me with whatever weights and reps he feels like. He’s only really interested in increasing his bench press and getting bigger. I’ve convinced him to squat and he’s just recently started overhead pressing but he really doesn’t like deadlifts so they’re out. Strength wise bench is around 50-60kg, squat is about 10kg higher and overhead press is around 30-40kg. He weighs about 70kg and is about 6’ tall.

The only thing I could think of so far was WS4SB with squats only for lower body.


Jim Wendler’s help a friend get stronger would be my go to.
Adjust it a bit then go from there.


The problem with 5/3/1 is the deadlifts though, how would you do it without them?


How many times has he done them to come to the conclusion that they are not his thing?


You could force him to do the 3 months of Stronglifts then make him assess whether or not he wants to do them with 5/3/1.
Or do them with variations like trap bar to make him like them.
Or do the 3 month Stronglifts phase without them all together, but add in posterior chain work.

If I were you I’d tell him to take the Supplement Tryactin so he Deadlifts.


Not many but he’s only really going to the gym because he enjoys it and it’s difficult to get someone to do something they don’t enjoy when that’s the reason they do it. I’m constantly trying to convince him to try them everytime I do but he never wants to.


Like my last post he’s just doing it for fun he doesn’t care if he can deadlift the bar or not. I’ve already tried trap bar but he didn’t like those either.


Fair enough, forcing him to do it won’t help his motivation.

I’d get him to do Stronglifts 3 months phase but instead of Deadlifts for 1 x 5 do something easy like GHR with body weight. Then adjust from there for 5/3/1.


Yeah that’s a good idea. It’s kind of a hard question to answer because there’s a lot he wants to do and not do but I want to try and help. I think if he does stronglifts then throws in some light assistance after he may be happy.

Thanks for your advice.


“Back Day” instead of “Deadlift Day.”

Show him T-Bar Rows, or barbell rows or Kroc rows or something heavy and fun. Then maybe some back raises or something.

I know it’s unbelievable, but lots of people aren’t into deadlifts.


As per Jim’s recommendations:

  • Limit the extra stuff to body weight oriented stuff.

  • I think you do Agile 8 but can’t remember from your log, (If you don’t Wendler will get you lol) make him do Agile 8 too and enjoy and understand the purpose of it.

  • Do some fun conditioning stuff, make it competitive if you can so they enjoy it.

  • Get him to get better eating habits.

Also I second the back day Idea, backs the best.


@FlatsFarmer that’s a good idea, I’ve recently got him into dumbbell rows so I could get him to push the intensity on those. I think back raises will definitely be something he will do.

@hugh_gilly I don’t do agile 8 I just do my own mobility stuff, it’s easier with the space I have. He’s recently started running on the treadmill so I could probably take that further. He already eats pretty well.

Thank you both.


Good luck with that. So few people who begin lifting actually lift long enough to see any progress. Most quit, and that’s a fact. I can’t imagine forcing what you want to do down another person’s throat will increase the odds that he’s lifting one year from now.

Great. It is my opinion that the best lifting for a beginner is the lifting that the beginner does. So whatever gets him enjoying his time in the gym is a great start. If your friend can become a consistent lifter who wants to fit lifting into his life, you will have done him a great service by helping him get there.

I don’t think it matters all that much in the long run if he isn’t deadlifting right now or if he wants to do decline dumbbell bench press instead of flat barbell bench. It all works when you’re a beginner. Just help him have fun with it and nudge him towards making lifting something he does.

If your friend wants to get more serious with his lifting, he will. That’s always going to be on him, not you.


Thank you that’s a great reply and summarises how I’ve tried to approach it so far a lot better than I could.


I’m horrified that there are people in this world that don’t like deadlifting… sick, sick bastards…


I hate deadlifts.

I figure, if you like them, you aren’t pulling heavy enough.

I second the back day suggestion.