T Nation

Home Gym Program Review?

135 pounds
5 feet 9 inches
18 years old

Bench- 122 lbs
Overhead- 91 lbs
Squat- 224 lbs
Deadlift- 245 lbs

I am trying to make a program that I can do in my home gym without too many barbell movements and not including deadlifts, back squats, bench press and barbel overhead presses, because of Paul Carter’s recommendations of these exercises not being optimal for mass.
I want to focus on progressive overload and also feeling the muscles working and not just lifting as much as possible.
I am trying to get the minimum effective dose using lower volume but high intensity.
Each exercise (except bicep, tricep and abs which will be 2 working sets) will be done with 3 working sets of 8-12 reps using a double progressive model and warm up where needed. The last set will go to just before form failure.
I’m asking for a little feedback on this routine and wondering if I should incorporate some intensity techniques such as rest pause, clusters or something like this to increase the intensity with low volume?
My training frequency will be according to my schedule and recovery. Most weeks I will be able to achieve 5 days of workouts but some times it will be 3, 4 or even 6 days.
I’m trying to feature 2 versions of each ppl day to cover a bit more ground.

Push 1
Incline Dumbbell Press or Dumbbell Press?
Machine Pec Deck
Shoulder exercise 1?
PJR Pullover or other tricep exersice?

Push 2
Shoulder exercise 1?
Shoulder exercise 2?
Machine Chest Press
PJR Pullover or other tricep exersice?

Pull 1
Upper back exercise 1 (Upper back pulldown or wide grip cable row or machine row?)
Upper back exercise 2 (Upper back pulldown or wide grip cable row or machine row?)
Lat exercise 1 (Lat pulldown or close grip cable row?)
Paul Carter’s style bicep 21s

Pull 2
Lat exercise 1 (Lat pulldown or close grip cable row or other Lat exercise?)
Lat exercise 2 (Lat pulldown or close grip cable row or other Lat exercise?)
Upper back exercise 1 (Upper back pulldown or wide grip cable row or machine row?)
Paul Carter’s style bicep 21s

Legs 1
Romanian Deadlift
Hamstring exercise 2?
Leg extension
Myotatic crunch (from 4 hour body, slow crunch on bosu ball)

Legs 2
Leg Press
Quad exercise 2?
Seated Leg Curl
Myotatic crunch

Which exercises do you suggest I fill in the missing ones with? And is there anything else you would change? Wherever there is a question mark is where I need help filling something in.

(@Chris_Colucci I wanted Paul Carter’s opinion on this also since i am using his principles in this workout, so I posted it both here and in his group, if there is a way to get Paul’s response without posting in his group, I’m open to it)

What about the barbell exercises he does recommend? Like Romanian deadlifts, to name just one that I remember him mentioning. I’m also fairly sure he’s a very big fan of barbell rows of various kinds.

Do you have a problem using a barbell or did you take Paul’s stance that the ‘big four’ aren’t the best for building muscle to mean any barbell exercise isn’t?

Also, why do you include your lifts for the the four exercises you specifically state you won’t be doing?

I did include Romanian deadlifts and for back, instead of using barbel rows, I focus on using what he writes in his latest article about training the back.

I’m agreeing with his stance.

Because these are the only maxes I’ve calculated and it’s the standard in measuring strength.

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Fair enough. If you eat plenty and train hard at this stage you’re going to grow almost no matter what you do.

Paul Carter has a few mass building programs on this site, so they would probably be a very good starting point for you.

If you’re dead set on using what you’ve written, it should work fine as long as you don’t get too caught up in making it perfect before starting. If it broadly follows what Paul says is best and your effort is up to par, you’ll get results.

Goblet squats are a pretty good quad exercise, and I did see Paul doing them on IG recently. A good hack squat machine will also torch your quads. I’ve generally found dumbbell presses to be pretty good for my shoulders in that I can actually feel my shoulders do them. Fromt and lateral raises too, and I think there are some cool machines for those. You could also try upright rows using a rope through a kettlebell (that’s another one I saw Paul do). Overhead plate raises are good for upper back I think. You could try back extensions for your hamstrings, they light mine up.

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I’m going to try goblet squats since I don’t have a hack squat machine in my home gym.
And thanks for the suggestions.

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If you want to follow Paul’s advice, what about one of the actual programs he has written?

Both of these two look good:


Honestly your right
But I want to stick with something that I think I will stick too.
These other programs just don’t look to appealing to me.
There’s no other reason but that.

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It’s a good enough reason.

The two programs @caesium32 posted are much better than what you wrote. Except you’re not likely to execute them, and it doesn’t matter how good they are if you don’t do them.

Your idea is more likely to work because you’re more likely to do it.


This is how shit gets whacky online. I’ve never said they aren’t optimal at all…I said not for everyone.

Second, you’re clearly a beginner and you don’t need the extra arm work. The pressing and pulling movements are going to be enough right now.

I think you’re doing way way way too many f’n movements. You’re 135 pounds with a 90 pound overhead press and 122 pound bench,. You’re doing TOO MUCH SHIT.

Pare it back to a chest press, a shoulder press, a vertical pull, a horizontal pull, a mid range quad movement (squats or leg press), and the RDL.

How you want to split that up is up to you. But you’re doing way too much shit right now.


I had a feeling you would say something about this, but I didn’t want to say “it’s not optimal based on your structure, but I don’t know my structure, so I’m just not going to do any of them.” Didn’t want to be judged for doing that.

So it would be:
Chest exercise
Shoulder exercise

Shouldn’t it be one or two more exercises, even at my level? Because I though that 8-12 sets per muscle group per week is best?

Also, for future references, what are the lifting stats based on body weight that a person should start being more picky about their workouts?

If you’re training a push twice a week you’ll be fine. Stop acting like you need to be training like an advanced guy.

Wait but isn’t ppl 3, 4, 5 or 6 days a week. Most times it would only be 4 day a week, so push would only be once a week on average?

You can chest press one day and shoulder press another day.

Stop making this so complicated.

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Try a basic 4 day per week upper/lower routine.

I’m so confused
Do you mean having two push days a week where one day is chest and one is shoulder? That’s not what ppl is, are you saying ditch ppl?

I never said to do PPL. You’re a total noob and 135 pounds. I gave you a list of movements.

Train 4 times a week. Upper body one day, lower the other day. There you go.

That clears it up.
My original plan was ppl, so I was basing it on that.
But thanks a lot as usual.