T Nation

Hows This Routine?


On the second week of a new routine, just seeing what you guys think:

Monday: Chest/Back superset
Tuesday: HIIT/Abs
Wednesday: Bicep/Tricep superset
Thursday: Off
Friday: Shoulders/Traps, legs
Saturday: HIIT/Abs
Sunday: Off

I used to not do any cardio other than some pickup bball games, but I felt I needed to burn some more fat. I typically do 3-4 exercises for each body part, with reps of 8-10.


What exercises are you doing? Also, how long have you been training and what are your goals?


Monday: Chest-Bench press, cable cross, incline DB press, pec dec

Back- Lat pulldown, cable row, t-bar row, iso-lateral high row

Weds: Bicep- dumbell curls (sometimes hammer curls), cable curl, concentration curl, machine preacher curl

Tricep- cable one arm tri extension, cable pushdown (sometimes with rope), cable overhead tri extension, Seated dumbell extension

Friday: Shoulders/traps- Smith machine press, DB seated lateral raise, cable side lateral raise, shrugs (using DBs, machines, barbells)

Legs- Machine Squat, leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, donkey calf machine

Training for about a year, goal is to get bigger, and a little leaner. Used to want to just get big, but I noticed an increase in body fat ( I measured about 5'4" and weighted 150 lbs when I started lifting, 170 around last month-perhaps due to creatine usage; and as of today around 162 lbs.


Uhhh... honestly? On a scale of 1 to 7, 7 being olympic caliber or pro-BBer worthy programs I would rate this program a 1.

Ill outline some of the more important reasons for my decisions and leave out some of the less important ones.

1) not only does your leg day not have either front squats or back squats or deadlifts, it is diversified with a shoulder day as well. I don't know if you do the two parts in seperate sessions or the same one but...

Your legs need their own day I'd say. If you have the balls left to train shoulders after truly training your legs with the appropriate intensity needed to get legitimate results then you are a circus freak and should take up some professional sport. I know that after a day of real HARD training with weights doing major leg/hip movements I could not get a proper shoulder session done with decent intensity. I could play sports or some such but not train with weights again with comparable intensity.

2) How the hell does "Abs" (one of the smallest major muscle groups) get 2 of its own days while legs (the largest muscle groups all put together) must share with shoulders (one of the hardest to develop muscle groups for many men)?

Let me know if i don't make sense?

3) HIIT can be done at the end of every training session. Vary the timing scheme to keep from draining the CNS. It will greatly improve your work capacity.

4) most of your lift choices are a tragedy on wheels. I can pick out less than 5 lifts that I would have an ordinary beginner do in the first 2 years of training for size/muscularity.

Cable row
Leg press

I honestly tried to find some other quality lifts in your scheme but found none that a beginner needs. You have decided to use a long list of "accessory lifts" when the reality is you onyl need a short list of "basic/main/classic/big lifts" such as


These basic lifts have made monsters out of boys and always will. The smaller lifts are good for correcting imbalances and providing stimulus variation for advanced lifters and contest bber's who need to shape their body a certain way for judging..



Listen to Avocado's advice, it is pretty sp;od. Once you are strong enough on the foundational lifts, then you can consider some of those assistance exercise which make up about 80% of your current routine.


I appreciate the advice, what kind of a routine then would you recommend?


Sorry. If you're in a position to really take advice, Mark Rippetoes 'Starting Strength' is pretty much anassailable. It's rife with heavy compound movements at rep intervals that let you go heavy without depleting yourself. It's a great routine for beginners and intermediate lifters.

Workout A:
Squat 3x5
Bench Press 3x5
Deadlift 1x5

Workout B:
Squat 3x5
Military Press 3x5
PowerClean 5x3

Lift M/W/F, and alternate between workouts A and B. And that's it.


Yeah rippetoe's is good stuff. you might want to replace the power clean with something like pull ups just to keep the movements easy and doable with metal plates and not platform.

But yeah. just do the basic lifts for 5-10 rep range.



machine squat?


If you are a pussy, sure.


Or if you're Lee Priest or Kevin Levrone.
I feel like I should just bring that up.

I should also bring up that both Priest and Levrone used the Basic Barbell Squat in order to build the foundation of their physiques but adopted Hack Squats and Machine Squats later in their pro carriers. Levrone believes that you need to build with the basics before you can do a program like his. He also ate like 40 pounds of meat a week.

So if anyone tries to argue that Machine Squats and Hack Squats can replace squats, they can when you're a pro getting ready for a contest who is just trying to retain muscle during the cutting process and can't get an effective Squat workout with 50 grams of carbs in your daily diet.


If you are already have a top tier build, then sure you can do some isolation exercises to refine small details. But these are the details that come last. The fallacy that many make (not you) that they should do the same routines as professional body builders without building any foundation.

Also, from the angle of a strength training athlete, I don't really see a use for a 98% of machines except for rehab purposes.


Here's my split, it's similar to yours except it doesn't suck:)

1)Chest/tris: DB incline press 3x8-10, DB flat press3x8-10, decline BB press3x8-10, cable crossovers 3x10-12, dips 3x8-12, Skullcrushers 3x8-12 (if I still have gas left in the tank then I do 3 sets to failure on the chest press machine)
time aprrox. 55min

2) Back/biceps: weighted chins 4xfail, bent-over rows 4x8-12, shrugs 3x8-12, standing BB curls 4x8-10, back extensions 4x12-15, straight arm pulldowns 4x10-12, hammer curls or preacher curls 3x8-12
time approx 50-60min

3)shoulders: standing military press 4x8-12, rear delt row 4x8-12, seated DB overhead press 3x8x12, upright row (shoulder width grip) 4x10-12, push press 4x5-8, lateral raises 3x10-12, front raises 3x10-12
time approx 50min

4) legs: W/U with hip mobility exercises and stretching then...
back squat 1 w/u set then 4x8-10, Romanian dead-lift 1w/u then 3x8-10, leg press (sled type, wide stance, full depth) 4x10-12, calf raises 4x20-30, leg curls 3x8-12, leg extensions 3x8-12
time approx 1hr

The general progression varies, but is usually something like this:
Mon 1)
Tues 2)
Wed abs and cardio or rest
Thu 3)
Fri 4)
sat Abs and cardio or rest
sun Start over with 1) or take an extra rest day

My schedule is flexible, so if I feel up to it I can get an extra wo and if I don't then I can take extra rest.

Notice how compound movements comprise the bulk of the exercises and how they tend to precede the iso stuff.

It might not be the best but it works for me.


While I agree that Starting strength is an excellent beginner program, I think Madcow 5x5 or a split are better programs for intermediate lifters.


Ah, I mixed up my pronouns. But I think you know what I mean.
I think there's a short list of machines that are worthwhile:

Good Rowing Machines. If you're gotta save your lower back for Squats and Deadlifts, then you don't want to do Barbell Rows. You can't do Dumbbell Rows and Chins all the time.

The Belt Squat Machine.

The Reverse Hyper.

I could see cases for a few others.


madcow has programs for both beginners and intermediates


the op is clearly a beginner.