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Late Beginner Program with More Variety


I am basically looking for a lifting program with more variety than 5x5. Goals are to be bigger, leaner, stronger, but main at the moment would be fat loss and strength (kind of equal on these).

I think I should really be able to increase my squat and deadlift maxes without much weight change.

Current Stats:
25-26% BF (based off my home scale)
Bench 195x4
Squat 215x3
Deadlift 285x3
Military Press 125x3

I have quit SL 5x5 and Madcow only 1-2 weeks in a few times. I just can't stand the same exact reps for everything, every day.

I am basically looking for something that will help me increase strength and allow for some cardio without compromising the lifting (I hate cardio anyway).

Also, I prefer 4 days/week (I have fun lifting weights) if that works, and I don't have access to machines. I have a barbell, dumbbells, squat rack and flat bench at home.





Pick some assistance that suits your goals. And if it bores you, change it in 3 weeks.


You might like the Greyskull LCI program. It's 4 days a week, 1 big lift per day followed by a 2-4 movement circuit and a short interval session. Each session should take 45 minutes to an hour. It's designed to be a recomp program that also builds strength. There's lots of ways to change the movements if you get bored easily.




My experience:
- pick ONE goal; strength, mass or fat loss
- with 25% BF I'd say fat loss

  • to loose fat: track calories!!! A good target is a 25% deficit - probably around 600-700 cal/day. Lifting more than 2x/week (full body) is a waste of time on a deficit. Read Fat Loss Bible by Colpo.

  • to gain strength: train the CNS. That means low volume, high frequency with specific lifts. Read Beyond Bodybuilding by Pavel.

  • to gain mass: high volume, varied weights, varied lifts, varied rep range, calorie surplus.

  • Cycle: 6 weeks "on" two weeks "off". For example if the goal is fat loss, 6 weeks calorie deficit then 2 weeks small surplus and lift more. Other way around for "bulking"


Oh yeah... you wanted a program.

I've tried a couple and came to the conclusion that they're all pretty much OK. Just try different programs out until you find one you like. Everyone likes different stuff. A friend likes splits. I like full body short programs. I do this right now:
- each workout is 3 lifts. One upper body press (OHP, bench or dip), one upper body pull (chin, row or high pull)and one lower body (squat, dead or lunge)
- i do six sets of each. The first 5 are ramped sets of 5 to a top set of AMRAP then a drop set of AMARP for 20-30 reps.

The combination of ramped sets and a drop set is something many, many programs have in common. 531, DC, mass made simple, pavel's bear, etc.


Thanks for the replies all!

If I should focus on one goal at a time, it will definitely be fat loss.

I'm thinking about doing 5/3/1 for the lifting routine. The lifting seems pretty straightforward. It looks like hill sprints are a big recommendation by Wendler also. The street I live on is a moderate hill, I could fit these in at the end of lifting sessions on lifting days. Should I try to do these all 4 days I lift?

As for the diet, should I aim for higher calories on lifting days, or just keep it the same?


Maybe check this one out... Just a thought.



Well, there are diets that cycle calories/macros based on training day, but I've never tried one out. My understanding is that the only thing that matters for fat loss is a calories deficit. When I'm on a calorie deficit my lifts all get weaker and I tire more easily, so my focus is a short workout with the goal of retaining muscle. 531 three times a week should do the trick. Cardio is a bit unclear. I've read that some people just can't get below 10% or so without cardio, but others can. It seems like geting to 15% is no problem with just diet. I've done one of sevel things a) nothing b) lots of jogging c) conditioning like kettlebell workouts, all on off days. Regardless of what cardio program I did I lost weight when I had a deficit. Personally I don't do conditioning on lifting days... After lifting I'm pretty drained, and if you're not you're probably not lifting hard.