T Nation

Looking For a Program


#1

Background:
I’ve break danced my whole life. It has gotten me flexible, aware of my body in space, and I feel i am explosive (I can do flares, windmills, air flares, 90s), and given me a relatively strong body, and has kept me lean.

There is so much information online I don’t even know where to start. None of my friends actually lift. I am only 153lbs (I’m 5’5 and 28) so I’d like to stay as light as possible while getting as strong as I can. I want to lift 3x a week and continue break dancing 3x a week.

I eat pretty healthy, I eat whatever I want as well. I bboy(breakdance) 6x a week for 1.5-2 hour sessions so I’m constantly burning calories. From what I’ve read it seems there are 2 categories:

MAJOR LIFTS:
power clean
back squat
deadlift
bench press/incline bench press
overhead press/push press
front squat

ASSISTANCE:
rows
dips
pull ups/chin ups
push ups
ghr/rdl/hip thrusts
abs
back extensions/hypers
curls
db work

How can I do a program that incorporates all of this, or is that even necessary? My hope is to pick a program that’s both rigid and flexible and do it for the entire 2017 year. I’m like a crock pot, set it and forget it. I don’t want to deal with percentages and all sorts of crazy math. I hope there is just a program that I just try to do better than I did the workout before, whether that’s more weight or reps or whatever criteria is needed.

I’m new to all of this so I apologize if I seem clueless.


T Nation and Dan John Changed My Life!
#2

You can get away from not programming all the mentioned movements at your current level …I assume your a novice?

No need to at this point linear progression is fine until you reach a certain level and even then it depends on your actual goals

your posting in the Beginners forum i think advanced guys will over look that unless they are total asses.


#3

I am a complete beginner in the weight room. I mean I have worked out here and there, but it’s been the typical chin ups, dips, push ups, abs, curls.

I’ve read about linear progression. Do you progress with weight every session or every week? Is it just weight or can it be reps as well?

Thanks for your reply!


#4

Bulldog has it right. Do a variation of 5x5 until it stops working, then move on. By that stage you’ll have a better idea of where you want to go and what best suits your goals.

My entire lifting career (about 3 years) has gone as follows:

  1. bastardization of 5x5:
    bench, squat, overhead press, deadlift. Start off with a weight you can do for 5 sets of 5 reasonably solid (not too slow) reps in the case of the first three, and one set of 5 in the case of the deadlift. Increase either the weight or the reps on each lift every session until progress stalls. I did an upper body and a lower body lift every session. So a week might look like this:

Monday: squat 50kg 5x5, bench 35kg 5x5
Wednesday: deadlift 60kg 1x5, overhead press 25kg 5x5
Friday: squat 52.5kg 5x5 OR 50kg 5x6, bench 37.5kg 5x5 OR 35kg 5x6

etc.

As to whether to increase weight or reps, I basically went by feel. I never went above 5x8 reps, I increased the weight when I got to that point. Note that this is not the way the program is meant to be done at all, and I’m sure I’m going to get flak for recommending this approach to a novice. On the other hand, it worked for me for nearly a year.

  1. 531
    I’m still at this stage. I’ve strayed from it occasionally to mess around with something else, but I always end up coming back to 531. There are a huge number of variations to suit pretty much any goal. Start with this article if you’re interested, and buy Wendler’s book.

Hope that helps man. Anything I can clarify, just ask. All the best.


#5

A good idea is to always work compounds first since they work multiple muscle groups then hit accessories after if you really need it, there is really no right way of working out there are many ways, rep ranges, angles to hit your body so anything that helps put your body into shock is usually good, what i mean by that is that the body obviously gets used to the same movements and workouts so when you do something new you feel sore or really feel it in the muscle next day because you normally do not do it.

Also 5/3/1 is an awesome program especially to break plateaus.


#6

Thanks for input guys!

So the one thing just browsing through programs/training logs is it seems that for a 3 day program - workout sessions only has a handful of exercises.

Example:
Some sort of squat (Back Squat)
Some sort of press (Push Press)
Some sort of pull (Rows)
Another pull (Chin Ups)
Some sort of core work (Decline Situps)
Some direct arm work (Curls)

Is this enough work? When I’m on certain sites, there’s like 10 exercises in one day.

I’m also seeing a ton of contradictory information such as back squats are unnecessary and front squats will work fine. Flat bench pressing is bad for your shoulders and use DBs instead. You need more back and core work compared to everything else. You need lots of exercises and some sites say you just need a minimal approach. I even saw this video that Elliot Hulse on YouTube said all you need is front squats, deadlifts, dips, and chin ups.

There is just an crazy amount of information so I don’t even know where to start.

Based on what I’ve been reading about exercises and workouts the one thing that stands out/appeals to me is Front Squats. It seems they give you strong legs, abs, back and will fix posture. That seems like a overall great package in one exercise. But if Front Squats do all of that and are so great, why are people back squatting mainly? I’ve been reading some Rippletoe stuff, but he is against it. One thing that stands out about him is that I have not been able to research anyone strong that he’s trained. I’m sure he has strong guys in his gym, but that just seems odd to me. I’ve read some Dan John, Glenn Pendlay and they seem to have produced some strong guys that I can actually see, but their philosophy seem really different.

I will have to look into 5/3/1 because I have not read about that yet. But I feel like reading more is just confusing me lol.


#7

That’s a very easy trap to fall into. Thing is, there is in fact more than one right way of doing things. Some of what you read is bullshit, and you get better at recognising it as you gain experience. Anything on T Nation is almost certainly good advice, even if some of it seems to contradict other stuff (seriously there are like 100+ coaches contributing material here. You can’t expect them all to agree with each other all the time). My advice is to pick ONE approach and follow it for a solid six months before you change ANYTHING.

Any program that isn’t completely stupid will work on a beginner. The program itself matters much less than consistency and effort on your part.


#8

As for this, my guess is it’s a combination of the powerlifting mentality that’s seeped into the general lifting community and the fact that most people can lift more weight on the back squat than the front squat.

I’m a front squatter myself. I actually don’t understand why the back squat is the holy grail of legwork. It’s a great exercise, and I have nothing against it, but I don’t think it needs to be revered as much as it is.


#9

Thanks man for the advice I appreciate it! I just want to pick something that I can just pick now and just stick to for the next 1 year. Based on the logs I’ve seen here, its seems there is not too much exercise variation. Just squats (front or back), presses, pulls, abs, and then once those are taken care of anything else is extra.

Do you think it’s smart to have a “program” to follow or would it better for me to do something 3x a week that has just a

  1. squat
  2. pull
  3. press
  4. another pull
  5. abs

And just keep trying to do better each workout.

For example:

workout 1
front squat
chin ups
dips
deadlift
decline situps

workout 2
back squat
rows
bench press
pull ups
sit ups

etc…

Then in week 2 just try to do more reps or add more weight to whatever i do? So sometimes I use DB bench or military press but make sure to keep a log of it so the next time I get back to that exercise I try to beat what I did last time?

Or is it better for me as a complete novice to just follow a “rigid” program that I just go and do. Like for the first year I just use a barbell and bodyweight exercises only and then after 1 year then I can add DBs and some other exercises?

Don’t you need to switch up exercises constantly so your muscle gets “confused” or is that not even a real thing?

Sorry for all the questions but working out just seems like it’s so complicated. I’m sure it’s not as complicated as I feel it is.

Even in breakdancing you just stick to a few basics and keep doing them until you get really good at it before adding anything new or variations. For examples you start off with a basic windmill. Once you can do windmills very well then you can add variations and other moves. This in a sense sets your foundation.

I’m sure that’s why a lot of these 3 day programs I see only have 4-7 total movements per day and they seem to be repetitive. All I see is squats/lunges, bench/overhead press/dips, deadlifts/rows/chinups, and some abs. Is that all I really need for my first year training?


#10

It happens…just keep it simple at this point.


#12

No worries mate, happy to help.

Pretty much. As Jim Wendler would say, “don’t major in the minors”. If you’re doing your squats, deads, presses right, then anything else you do doesn’t matter (much)

Yes it’s definitely smart to have a program, but the other approach could work too. Although in effect, that’s another type of program. Given my time again, I wouldn’t mess with the 5x5 template the way I did. The smart thing to do would have been to accept that it was written by someone who knew much more than I did and follow it to the letter. Instead, I fucked with it, but I was lucky enough to fuck with it in a way that got me results. Be very careful when fucking with programs. :slight_smile:

Looking at your examples, I wouldn’t squat and deadlift in the same session, and I definitely wouldn’t deadlift that late in the session. You should put your more taxing exercises first; generally that means lower body before upper body, and compound before isolation.

Forget about muscle confusion. I’m pretty sure it’s bullshit, and even if it’s not it’s a thing for advanced bodybuilders who have maxed out their progress on every other training template known to man.

No need to apologise, we all started out where you are.

This. 90% of your results come from getting good at the basics. Focus on that.

In a nutshell, yes.


#13

What are some of the 3 day programs you guys would recommend?

I’m looking for something simple and that I can simply plug and play. I want to pick something that I can literally not even think about a “program” for the whole 2017.

My goal is to set a strong foundation. Based on the numbers and lifts its seems a strong foundation is:

4 plate deadlift, 3 plate squat, 2 plate bench and 1 plate overhead press and 15+ chin ups means your are in pretty good shape strength level wise. Is this doable over the course of a year? Even if it’s not, I’m sure I’ll be further along in one year just being consistent than anything else.


#14

Lift 2x a week. Day one OH Press, Squat, and rows. Day two deadlift, bench, and curls. Throw in some core work and you should be good. [quote=“timetoball123, post:1, topic:224443, full:true”]
Background:
I’ve break danced my whole life. It has gotten me flexible, aware of my body in space, and I feel i am explosive (I can do flares, windmills, air flares, 90s), and given me a relatively strong body, and has kept me lean.

There is so much information online I don’t even know where to start. None of my friends actually lift. I am only 153lbs (I’m 5’5 and 28) so I’d like to stay as light as possible while getting as strong as I can. I want to lift 3x a week and continue break dancing 3x a week.

I eat pretty healthy, I eat whatever I want as well. I bboy(breakdance) 6x a week for 1.5-2 hour sessions so I’m constantly burning calories. From what I’ve read it seems there are 2 categories:

MAJOR LIFTS:
power clean
back squat
deadlift
bench press/incline bench press
overhead press/push press
front squat

ASSISTANCE:
rows
dips
pull ups/chin ups
push ups
ghr/rdl/hip thrusts
abs
back extensions/hypers
curls
db work

How can I do a program that incorporates all of this, or is that even necessary? My hope is to pick a program that’s both rigid and flexible and do it for the entire 2017 year. I’m like a crock pot, set it and forget it. I don’t want to deal with percentages and all sorts of crazy math. I hope there is just a program that I just try to do better than I did the workout before, whether that’s more weight or reps or whatever criteria is needed.

I’m new to all of this so I apologize if I seem clueless.
[/quote]


#15

Either of these, all laid out here…


#16

I’ve been reading a TON of Dan John articles. His philosophy really appeals to me. My only question is:

He states: Okay, just use 45s and 25s. Yes, it is going to be harder and heavier and you’re going to be nervous sometimes making the big jumps, but once you begin doing this you’ll notice that you’re becoming bigger and stronger.

Has anyone ever used this approach?


#17

I have found my singular goal. I want to be able to Front Squat double my body weight.

This is over 300lbs.

What do I need to do in order to achieve this goal?


#18

You will need to lift more and do less cardio/dancing. Front or back squat 3x a week till your pushing heavy weight. Then drop down to one day a week. Start with a 5x5, then 6x3, then 8x2, and Then work on singles.


#19

You’ll have to get very strong and get a bunch bigger. I’d suggest aiming for a 400 lbs front squat at 200 lbs bodyweight. Breakdancing would need to take a back seat, maybe once a week tops.

Here’s the first thing: a double bodyweight front squat is a big lift by any standards. It means your whole back is strong as shit, your legs are strong as shit and your abs are strong as shit.

Here’s the second thing: anyone with a double bodyweight front squat has made it their primary focus to be strong, not breakdance.

I absolutely think you can achieve this, but only if you do the necessary work. At a guess, maybe three years if you focus on that and nothing else. Could take a bit longer. You’ll probably reach a double bodyweight squat much faster, because you won’t be limited by your upper back.


#20

I havent used that approach -I can kind of see what he’s getting it at but he’s written a ton of content over the years so theres bound to be contrary stuff here and there.

One thing he talks about a lot is punch the clock workouts/“they cant all be gems” ie you cant and (dont have to) kill yourself in the gym every session and always be pushing for small PRs.

-To hit big goals its going to take time no matter what,so some times you just need to keep turning up and bank a lot of moderate workouts before you go for large jumps and balls out record breaking sessions


#21

Thank you for the advice. So breakdancing is my cardio. I never get sore and it keeps me limber and lean. I can definitely just do it 2x a week since I’m just at a point it’s just for fun and I’m maintaining all the skills I’ve developed.

So I’m willing to put in the work, but how do I setup my program or a program for the first year. Should I just front squat only? I read this Dan John article where he says fRont squat heavy but do back squats for high reps, so I should always fs first? I was thinking 315lbs @ about 175lbs. Is that doable?