T Nation

In Need of a New Program

For most of my training life I’ve done hypertrophy type workouts. Mainly because I compete in some boxing and mma, but have also had to work around dodgy shoulders.
Both being dislocated a few years ago and with minor tears in the tendon and muscle tissue. Now they just ache and clunk alot, I feel like the tendons are inflamed and don’t sit right from my lat into my shoulder and trap. Which creates awesome headaches and more pins and needles.
It’s made it difficult to effectively lift heavy and increase my strength, although I have been able to increase it.
I’m 6"1 @110kg and I’d like to increase my strength before I start a cut, but preferably without aggravating my shoulders further.
I tend to avoid bench for this reason and my upper and inner chest is lacking, as are my inner thighs.
My bench is 110kg, deads 150kg and squats 90kg. I tend to cramp alot in my hamstrings and get pins and needles in my shoulders and arms.

I’m just wondering what program would help increase my strength and Build a little mass without straining myself, and how long it would take.
Iv tried 10x10, 5x5 etc but they all hurt which is why I’ve gone back to hypertrophy.
Iv read and read and applied new methods and exercises every few weeks/ months depending on progress. Recently reading about 5/3/1 which is a new concept for me but might be worth a try.
If I’m not doing something most days I feel like im not doing enough.
Cheers for the help.

5/3/1 Will definitely get you stronger, as will many other methods.

Why can’t you “cut” and get stronger?

What specific restrictions do you have in terms of injuries?

How much training do you do for your other sports?

I could cut and get stronger. Just don’t want to fatigue myself too much, I work 12 hr shifts for 12 days then have 9 days off.
No specific restrictions just benching is unomfortable when done too heavy and causes my traps and neck and suprasprinatus to flare up for a week after. I try to do stabilising exercises for them as they “wing” a little bit but it doesn’t seem to help, my lats are sleepy.
Just need to make sure I’m activating them correctly when they’re being used.
Usually 3 times a week for other sports but I may even give that a rest for a while and just focus on this.

You could try some moves to work on shoulder stability. He’s an easy one to get started with. Use your back muscles to hold your shoulder in a strong position. Figure out how to resist the winging.

This straight arm pullover is good to “suck in” your shoulder, and wake up your lat. Like the drill above, only moving. Start with a short ROM, focus on keeping tension on your lat so your shoulder doesn’t “float away.”. Don’t let your scap wing away.

From there, generate that shoulder stability/tightness you’ve worked on. Engage your lat and control your scap. Then use these arm circles against the band to build your stable shoulder ROM. Start slow, with small controlled circles, build from there.


These both illicit hypertrophy.

You just need to get stronger in general. I wouldn’t worry about a cut or testing maxes for a long time if you really want to get stronger. Pick literally any program, follow it precisely and stick to it for at least a year.


Not a doc but Ulnar nerve prob fubar’d -Try this/stretch hard and long immediatley after every workout.

This can get you very strong with light weights(and in gym frequently)…


It sounds like you might have some legitimate ailments that need some attention. Aside from that, why do you have to bench and squat?

It’s funny to see this post because I just finished a discussion with @dagill2 about darn near the same thing. I have injuries, aches, and pains that flare up when I try to do the big three. It’s taken a really long time to come to this point, but what’s the point of doing those if they hurt?

You can push for strength on DB bench or DB incline, or even a machine press if you can do it without issues. You can improve your leg strength and size by doing single leg movements. You’re not locked into a few specific movements. Train pain free and then push yourself.


What @JMaier31 said. Unless benching heavy is the goal, there’s no reason to do it. If your goal is to get a big chest, for example, barbell bench might be a very poor choice.


While I’m a big fan of choosing the exercises that are smart for you, what you’re describing sounds like weaknesses, imbalances, and likely poor form. BEFORE you avoid stuff, work on things like what @FlatsFarmer posted, and THEN decide, once you’ve addressed those problems that will undoubtedly resurface no matter what you do (and may get worse if you avoid addressing them altogether), what works for you and what doesn’t.


Cheers everyone, il look into those stretches and exercises. I stretch and get acupuncture and massage regularly which helps relieve alot of discomfort but it’s not resolving the issue.
As for bench and squats etc I don’t have to do those movements they were just a guide as to where my levels were at.
So what other strength programs are there aside from 5/3/1 and what has worked for you guys?
Il take another look At what you all mentioned, thanks again.

I have a simple program I’ve used in the past and posted on here from time to time. Very simple and very effective. Just work. No calculator required.

Start work sets at 50% of your max. Add 10-20 lbs per set depending on strength levels. When you come to a weight you can’t get for the required reps stop there. You’ll know what that weight is when you get there. Don’t attempt it unless you’re sure you’ll get it.

Wk1 sets of 5
Wk2 sets of 3
Wk3 sets of 2
Wk4 bodybuilding only

300lb bencher example:
Wk1 155 175 195 215 235 stop
Wk2 155 175 195 215 235 255 stop
Wk 3 155 175 195 215 235 255 275 stop
Wk4 bodybuilding
Repeat cycle


Not trying to hijack the thread… but I have an occasional clunky shoulder and a flaring tendinitis like pain in the anterior shoulder. Heavy benching can irritate it, but I like to bench.

What should I be stretching? What rehab exercises can I try? Best shoulder warm up routine?

At the moment I do a heap of shoulder dislocates , face pulls, and band pull a parts.


see the video I posted above, try those stretches immediately post workout fo any session you do upper body work


Those stretches mentioned have definitely helped a little.
I’m not sure if it was mentioned in the video or somewhere else but hanging horizontal on a bar with feet on the ground has also felt amazing and helps pull my shoulder in to place while strengthening the stabilisers. It helps fire up my lat as well.
The only other thing I noticed which made a huge difference was the angle of my elbow when benching. My weaker side was often tucked in closer than the stronger side, tried a little lighter weight to not flare up my trap, and practiced kicking it out to the same position as the good shoulder and elbow, and holding it there while doing slow reps. It felt soo good, first time iv done chest and not had a fucked shoulder the next day.
Was about a 45 degree angle where the bad side was closer to 25