T Nation

Looking for New Routine


My goal right now is chiefly strength but I am eating at a slight calorie deficit. I would like to see some fat loss too, but it need not be rapid. At some point down the road (after one or two more strength focused routines) I will spend a few months focusing on fat loss.

I just finished the 3rd week of Dan John's One Lift a Day program (as many will know the 4th week is off, so I am essentially done). I have lost 5-10 lbs, not counting what I lost in fat and gained in muscle (I have no means of testing bodyfat other than looking in the mirror).

My plan had been to move on to German Volume Training but the more I look at it (at least the versions that I can find of it) the more I question if I can complete it given my equipment. I have limited dumbbells and the pulley system I have is very limited. I don't have dip bars or a seated calf raise.

I've also looked at Coach Thibideau's OVT. The exercises work a bit better for me but there are still some that just would not work like the 1-leg back extension and the natural glute ham raise.

Another option would be the Russian Bear program. That only requires large compound barbell movements which I will have no problem completing.

Another option is doing another cycle of the One Lift a Day program.

Finally I could register for a gym (currently working out of my basement) or buy some new dumbbells (though still would not fix all my troubles) but I would rather avoid extra monetary output at the moment. I will decide on this based on the responses and my own reflections on my ideas and yours.

I look forward to everyone's suggestions. Thank you.


You have a squat rack in your basement? I can’t imagine doing any serious strength development without one.


How did the One Lift a Day routine work for you? If it worked really well and you like it, I would suggest changing the movements just a bit and going at it again.


I have a squat rack of sorts yes. Imagine a squat rack without the bars projecting out in front of it. On the other side there is a simple pulley system with a high and low point. I can do pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, upright cable rows, and seated rows (if I sit on the floor).

The bench that came with this unit adjusts to be decline, incline, or flat, and has an attachment for doing leg extensions and leg curls. There is also an attachment for doing preacher curls that I have never found reason to use.

The One Lift a Day program seemed to suit me well. I am looking more muscular (and I have not trained since Saturday now), and have lost some body fat.

The week before OLAD I had a routine that included 5x5 deadlifts, so perhaps that is a good example of strength progression.

Before: 165 x 5
OLAD Week One: 205 x 4
OLAD Week Two: 235 x 3
OLAD Week Three: 215 x 5, 235 x 3, 250 x 2

I liked how simple OLAD was and found the low reps suited my taste more than higher reps tend to.

If I were to do OLAD again, what do you think about:

Bench -> Incline Bench
Bent row -> Pulldown
Back squat -> Front squat
Military press -> ??? Behind the neck military press ???
Deadlift -> Stiff-legged deadlift

I’ve been thinking about Mike Mahler’s Customized Volume Training interpretation of German Volume Training.


I think pullUPs are better than pullDOWNs, so I’d use those if there is any way.

I’d also say no to the behind the neck military press, too. I use those with light weight just to get a good delt burn, but I don’t like them with heavy weight. It puts an awkward strain on my shoulders. Maybe just use push-presses instead.

Incline Bench, front squat, and SLDL’s would be good.


I have a bar for pull-ups that hooks into a doorframe but the problem is I am too weak and/or too fat to use get even one rep. Even back when I was in my best shape I could not do a pull up and I have been out of the game seriously for awhile.

Maybe I could do decline bench on bench day and incline bench on military press day?


Can you jump up and do a controlled negative? I’ve found those to be helpful in building chin/pull up strength.


[quote]ninjaboy wrote:
Can you jump up and do a controlled negative? I’ve found those to be helpful in building chin/pull up strength.[/quote]


You can definitely use the lat pulldown, but working up to pullups should be a goal for you. Do a few sets of lat pulls and then a set or two of controlled-negative pullups.