T Nation

Lifting 6 Days a Week?

I am new to the forum and I am 23 years old. I had an on and off relationship with lifting during my teen years and haven’t lifted for about 5 or 6 years. Back when I used to lift, my routine was pretty bland and looked something like this:

Every other day

3x5 bench press
3x5 squats
3x5 military press
3x5 rows
3x5 deadlift

And on the days I didn’t lift, I would do 30 minutes of intense cardio.

Well after losing a lot of mass over the years, my arms and legs don’t match the rest of my body anymore. Parts of my body are still big, but my arms and legs look like tooth picks. And under my doctor’s orders, I have to start lifting again. Not that I mind! So my question is – would it be a bad idea to throw in an arm and leg day on cardio days, or would that be overtraining? And what is your opinion about my old exercise routine?

I would say 4 of your days look ok, but i wouldnt devote an entire workout session to rows. You could easily add in arm work on your lift days, probably with bench and press days. Do some pullups/pushups and/or isolation work for your arms on those days, and keep the rows as accessory lifts for deadlift days if you want.

Also since youll basically be starting over you may see better progress squatting twice a week. Give it a shot and see what works for you man.

[quote]SSJKakarot wrote:
Well after losing a lot of mass over the years, my arms and legs don’t match the rest of my body anymore. Parts of my body are still big, but my arms and legs look like tooth picks.[/quote]
What’s your current height, weight, and general fat level (a description - love handles, average, defined abs, etc. - not a percentage)?

Is this a figure of speech or literal? Can you go into more detail about what happened/why your doctor is prescribing lifting?

I think there’s enough wrong with that routine that I’d leave it alone and not go back to it. Jump on basically any program from the Archives here.

If you’re doing cardio, know why you’re doing it - to burn fat, build endurance, etc. But generally-speaking, 10-20 minutes right after lifting or 15-30 minutes on non-lifting days (depending on intensity) should be fine. With a well-designed program and smart nutrition, overtraining isn’t an issue at all.

Hey Chris,

My height is around 5’3" and I currently weight 130 lbs. My body is pudgy at the moment with slight love handles. So I mainly want to burn fat and also put on more muscle.

The reason my doctor prescribed weight training is due to scoliosis. He said that a lot of the aches and pains that I feel will continue to worsen due to not doing any weight training and losing mass over the years. He recommended I make lifting a part of my daily routine.

Do you know of any good workout plans that involve dumbbells?

[quote]SSJKakarot wrote:
The reason my doctor prescribed weight training is due to scoliosis. He said that a lot of the aches and pains that I feel will continue to worsen due to not doing any weight training and losing mass over the years. He recommended I make lifting a part of my daily routine.[/quote]
Gotcha. So I’m guessing you’re 100% cleared to exercise without specific restrictions?

If all you have are dumbbells (like if you’re training at home with limited equipment), it’s definitely doable but it’s going to take some specific planning. I’d say most programs could be adapted most of the way, but you’ll obviously be missing out on big barbell lifts like squats and deads that very efficient strength and muscle-builders.

Something like a Turkish Get-up might be worth working on. It’s a big move that emphasizes total body mobility, flexibility, and conditioning. I consider it almost like a yoga move with weights.


Even something like 3x1 (per arm) at the start of each session should help.

As for a whole program, something like this should work as a template, making smart exercise substitutions when needed:

Also, use these steps to get your nutrition in order:

No restrictions, thankfully! Thanks for taking the time out to give me advice. I really appreciate it. I am looking forward to changing up my exercise habits and hopefully seeing some gains in a few months!

Most people wouldn’t be able to overtrain even if they tried. A lot of people’s problem is under recovery. Make sure you’re resting and eating properly and 6 days a week should be a breeze.