T Nation

Is This a Viable Routine?


Hi, new guy posting.
Been training for 5 months, of which 2 of them has been anything other than bench press and biceps curls. Now that summertime has arrived, I made a deal with one of my classmates that I, when school start again, will be weighing 225 pounds. My current weight is 198 pounds.
My nutrition is about as good as it gets under the current circumstances and the only problem is my program. I will outline below what I had thought about doing.

Squat 5x5
Bench press flat 5x5
Pullups 3xFailure

Deadlift 3x5
Military press 5x5
Bentover row 5x5

Squat 5x5
Incline bench press 5x5
Cleans 8x2 - I have been experimenting with these, and I believe they are effective.

Is this viable? If it isn't, then please suggest what you would do instead.


It looks solid. I would change a detail or two; here's what I'd do:

Squat 5x5
Bench press flat 5x5
Pullups 3xFailure (add weight if you do more than 12 reps on first set)

Deadlift 3x5
Military press 5x5
Bentover row 5x5

Cleans 8x2 (I found that explosive drills "awake" me for the subsequent exercises; you can also consider them a warm-up for squat)
Squat 1x5 (meaning to work up to the max load you can lift in good form for 5 reps, and try to beat it next week)
Incline bench press 5x5

Throw in some ab work...ops, I meant some "core" work (see some recent articles...)!


Fantastic. Thanks for the help! :slight_smile:


I'd advise against a 1 day program 3 days a week, if your intensity is at least half way decent and your truly doing 5x5's which are done with 75% of your 1rm then your going to encounter "overtraining" fairly quickly unless your one of those gifted few.

To streamline your program and maximize your actual mass gain which it sounds like your doing, you'd be better off going A,off,B,off,c,off,repeat and keeping your rep range between 6-8 in a pyramid fashion with 1-2 sets of warmups or a isolation exercise to warm up the involved joints prior to the actual exercise at hand.

Dumbbell Flyes 2 x 8
Flat Bench 5 x 8
Incline Bench 5 x 8
Dips to parallel 3 x failure
Barbell Rows 5 x 8
Hammergrip or Narrow grip pullups 5 x failure
Decline Situps 5 x 15

Deadlifts 1;2 tempo 5 x 8
Deaflifts 1;1 temp 5 x 3
Front squats to parallel 5 x 8
Back squats to pitt (Olympic) 5 x 8 or 1 x 25

Powerclean from Thigh 5 x 3
Pushpress 5 x 8
Arnoldpress 5 x 8
Widegrip T-bar rows 5 x 8
Widegrip Pullups 5 x 8
Hyper extensions 5 x 15

This gives your body sufficient time for each muscle group to heal back up between workouts. Using a 48 hour recovery period is only really effective if your body has already been subjected to heavy weight training for years on end and if your dosing whey protein 2-3 times aday.


I guess I should have mentioned a few more things.
I only have about an hour to workout each time, and I need to maximize the gains I get from this. I also do not know how to perform front squats without making it look like I'm falling forwards. I have no access to a T-bar.
The last, and most important thing, I train primarily for strength. Muscle is something that is secondary to me.


For front squat problem, work on ankle, hip and thoracic spine mobility (use the search function): increased mobility will help your back squat too. You can do one-arm DB row instead of T-bar row.

By the way, I still think that a Bill Starr-like routine (like the one you posted) ain't that bad for strength and mass gains. If (as Lj said) it should be too much to recover from, just cut off a bit of volume (3x5 instead of 5x5, 1x5 instead of 3x5).


When I say 3x5 deadlift, I mean 2 warmup sets with increasing weights and then an all in set of 5 with 95% of 1RM.
One of thing that struck me about Lj's example is the deadlifts(5x8, 5x3). How does that work?


1) Good idea, but probably with 95% of 1RM you'll only get 3 reps, at least at the beginning;

2) Actually I think the numbers he put beside ate tempo prescriptions, so the first exercise (1;2) should be with the bar resting a good two seconds on the floor, the second one should me more of a "touch and go" tempo.

Anyway, I'm interested too in the rationale behind the routine he posted...there are many unusual aspects I'd like him to enlighten.


1 hour to workout huh? when i had this problem I tried a variation of Jim Wendlers 5/3/1... its called "boring BUT big". This is also the best gains Ive gotten on any program, and its the least time Ive spent in the gym. 45 minute workout if you hustle 3 days a week, all big lifts. Those programs you linked above.. which resemble bill starrs 5x5.. take a lot longer to do if your actually lifting correct. Big lifts on heavy weight require a lot more downtime.


I meant between 90-95% of 1RM on the deadlift, sorry about that. And the deadlifting that confuses me is that I do not see the rationale behind doings 5 sets of 8 and then 5 sets of 3. It seems counterintuitive.

I, somehow(I have no idea why), have no need for much downtime. I do eat a lot of fish if the creatine from that counts :D? (Oh the joy of working in a fish shop).


About deads, I don't see it as well...

Just like Xanax, I'm doing Wendler's 5/3/1 at the moment: it's very good, but it is meant to be a long-term program. If you want to get some "fast" gains, maybe you've better doing something more "intense", as long as you're recovering enough.

You'll need longer rest period as you get stronger, no matter how much fish you eat (lucky bastard, I really like it!!! :slight_smile: