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Make Me Stronger


For the past few months, I've been designing my own routines. Unfortunately, I've been using too much advanced techniques, resulting in the following cluster fuck routine.

Upper body:
JULY 29th (4)

A) Bench press from the bottom position (cluster set of 3 reps) *11blocks
185x3, 192 NL, 187x2

A2) Hammer chin up *cluster reps
40x3, 45x3

B) Regular bench press
175x3, 187x2

B2) Regular hammer chins
30x3, 35x3, 40x2.5

C) Close grip BP
135x10, 155x4, 155x5

D) Speed work
135x 2x3, 105x 3x3, chin up bw 5x3

Lower body:
Snatch grip DL on 4 inch platform
217x1/1/1, 217x1/1/1, 217x1/1/1, 222x1/1/1, 227x1/1/1, 232x1/1/1

Speed Pull
185 6x1

Core work

Glute Ham raise
I feel burned out, fatigued, and desperate.

What routine should I do? I'm not advanced enough for 5/3/1, perhaps a modified westside for skinny bastards?

@160 I bench 200, squat 225x4 (no squat rack in the current gym, thus the lack of squats in my routine) and a 315 deadlift.


How is this routine?


Max Effort Upper Body

A) BB Bench Press (work up to a max set of 3 over 5 sets or more)
Keeping this as a staple to get more efficient on the movement.

B) Floor Press 3 sets of 5 (switch after three weeks)

C) Horizontal pulling/ rear delt superset 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps *different every week
Week one: DB rows/rear delt flies
Week two: Barbell rows/seated DB power clean
Week three: Reverse rows/ facepulls

D) Traps *different every week 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Week one: Cable shrugs
Week two: Barbell shrugs
Week three: Behind the back barbell shrugs

E) Elbow flexor exercise *different every week 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Week one: Ez curl bar curls
Week two: DB curls
Week three: Hammer curls


Dynamic effort lower body

A) Alternate weekly between dynamic deadlifts (50-60% 1rm) and some sort of jumps (ex. Broad jumps) 5-8 sets of 1-3 reps

B) Unilateral exercise 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Week one: Split squats with front leg elevated
Week two: BB reverse lunge with front leg elevated
Week three: One leg squats off bench

C) Hip extension exercise 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Week one: Pull throughs
Week two: Glute ham raise negatives
Week three: Slide board hamstring curl/butt bridge

D) Ab work 4sets of 10-15 reps
Week one: Leg raises
Week two: Standing ab pulley
Week three: Weighted incline crunches


Dynamic upper body

A) Bench press 8x3 with 50-55% 1rm

B) Tricep extension work 3 sets
Week one: Machine 10-15 reps
Week two: Overhead cable 10-15 reps
Week three: Tricep pushdown 15-25 reps

C) Vertical pulling 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Week one: Chinups
Week two: Parallel chins
Week three: Pullups

D) Rear delt 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Week one: rear delt flies
Week two: face pull
Week three: seated powerclean

E) Delts 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Week one: DB military press
Week two: Cable lateral raises
Week three: Lean away lateral raises


Max effort lower body

A) Week 1-3 snatch grip deadlift on 4 inch platform/ 4-6 Regular deadlift (max set of 3)

B) Unilateral exercise 3 sets of 6-12reps
Week one: Walking lunges
Week two: Reverse lunges
Week three: Backward cable drags 3 sets of 30 reps

C) Hip/posterior chain 3sets of 8-12
Week one: Swiss ball back bridge/leg curl
Week two: Romanian deadlifts
Week three: Glute ham raises
D) Ab circuit


Go buy the 5/3/1 manual or read westside for skinny bastards. Problem solved. Oh and forget dynamic work.


Someone suggested that 5/3/1 was too advanced for an intermediate like me. I based the routine on westside for skinny bastards 3, but instead of a repetition upper body day, I made it a dynamic day. Can you elaborate on why I should not add dynamic work?


Have a week off or two, simplyfy your routine (less exercises, do straight sets) and start lighter, If your not advanced dont train as though you are. You can make lots of gains on BASIC stuff, plenty of rest (sleep) and quality food.


5/3/1 would probably be ideal for you.

In regards to the evolution of a lifter, most lifters can progress very well utilizing core lifts (squat, bench deadlift) for many years. However, eventually a lifter, after many many years of training, has achieved their full potential utilizing the core lifts and they become much more reliant of progression of carefully chosen accesory movements and maniputlation of training volume.

In line with what I stated above, speed work is utilized to maximize recruitment of muscle. Typically, a beginner/intermediate level lifter has less needs for that that method of training and is better off structuring well thought out training cycles, sticking to their plan for long enough to figure it out and make it work optimally, and just focus on progression from cycle to cyle. In other words, you just need to train, eat and repeat. You don't need dynamic work right now.

Additionally, I don't really understand the routine you have put together, at all. It's like the short attention span special.

Again, 5/3/1 would probably be ideal for you right now but buckle down and do a good 8-10 cycles. Don't try it once, decide it sucks because your biceps didn't get bigger, and do something else.

Consistent, hard work with a plan focusing on basic movements is what you need at your strength level.

5/3/1 will provide that for you.


My question is who the fuck suggested that? In particular if their feedback led to the development of what you just posted.

Additionally, not to be mean but you are a beginner. You are not even close to intermediate right now.

Train hard. It will be fun to watch your progress.


I do think the 5/3/1 would be fine for you... I suggested taking out the dynamix work as I really don't think it would be of much benefit to you at your level. Looking back at my innitial comment it comes off a little bit rude, but you made some pretty elaborate posts when really you should just focus on making everything as simple as possible at this stage. Good luck.


I agree.


What are your thoughts on the westside for skinny bastards routine?


My routine has alot of accessory exercises that switches weekly, just like the way they do it at westside. I'm still tempted to give this program a run though... But now Ill change the dynamic upper body back to the original repetition upper body day. I'll probably keep doing the same supplementary exercise and switch it when I stall.


Dude, stick with a routine and stop worrying about what they do at westside. I'm doing ws4sb and love it. Don't switch any movement, main or supplementary without giving it a few weeks to see if it works. Get in the gym, bust your ass on a few basic moves, try to add weight or reps whenever you can [this does not necessarily mean every workout] and eat to fuel growth. Stop making shit so complicated man.


Sorry, I just wanted to make sure the routine Im doing now is fine. Alright, I'll give it a go and bust my ass. Thank you, I needed a wake up call =)


If you're dead set on doing WS4SB, and it sounds like you are, then why are you changing it up? Judging by what you posted above, you just need to find a solid program, stick with it, and don't change things all around. Something simple that focuses on the basics would be good for someone at your level.


No worries man. Not that I'm an expert, but if you have any questions or want to bounce ideas off of one another I have a log in the logs section. Good luck.


Me. I don't see knocking 10% off already weak maxes and then doing max reps with varying %s being the best option for this guy, he's squatting 225x4.... A plain jane powerlifting split would probably offer faster progression. Maybe even a run through of coan-phillipi. I'm not going to try and stop him from doing 5/3/1. However I feel at that point in my own training that there would be faster ways to get to where he wants to be. 5/3/1 would be great when he gets closer to that 300+ pound squat and 400+ pound deadlift.



No offense man, but you're a beginner.

And whoever told you that 5/3/1 was geared more towards advanced lifters is probably a beginner too.

I recall I tried ws4sb at some point 3-4 years ago maybe. There was something about it that just didn't quite work for me. I don't want to talk shit about the routine, because so many people have great success with it, but I recall by about week 3 I had just had enough. Again, this was just me personally!

As for 5/3/1, it can and is used at all levels from beginner to advanced (elite even). I can't say enough how good I think it is. I started it as an "intermediate" lifter, and now I'm a stronger intermediate lifter, and I will keep it as a mainstay well into and beyond becoming an "advanced" lifter.

Btw, check out the 5/3/1 threads on here (1+2), and you'll see that there are lifters of all levels using it.

And if you decide to run with ws4sb right now and leave 5/3/1 on the shelf, you should at least give the 5/3/1 manual a read. It's 20 bucks for some very good insight into lifting that you'd be very smart to implement into your training when you decide you're ready.


Thanks for the advice. I'll first give wsfsb a good run for about two months, and then depending on the results I might 5/3/1 program a go. These advanced techniques are probably whats holding me back for so long.

Heres my new routine for all that matters

Max Effort Upper Body

A) BB Bench Press (work up to a max set of 3-5 over 5 sets or more)

B) Floor Press 4 sets of 5 (switch after two to three weeks)

C) Barbell rows/seated DB power clean 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps

D) Cable shrugs 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

E) DB curls 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Dynamic effort lower body

A) Broad jumps 5-8 sets of 1-3 reps

B) Split squats 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps

C) Slide board hamstring curl/butt bridge 3 sets of 8-12 reps

D) Leg raises 4sets of 10-15 reps on swiss ball

Repetition Dynamic upper body

A)Low incline DB Bench press 3 sets of max reps/4x12

B) Chinups/ rear delt flyes 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

C) Lean away DB raises 4sets of 8-12

D) Barbell shrugs/ tricep machine 3 sets of 8-10

Max effort lower body

A) Snatch grip deadlift (max set of 3)

B) Reverse lunges 3 sets of 6-12

C) Romanian deadlifts 3 sets of 8-12

D) Ab circuit


I can't say I agree with this very much. I think lots and lots of sub-max reps is exactly what he needs. He's a beginner -- he just needs time under the bar. And, because he is a beginner, I might even have him drop his percentages even further.

I'm not saying 531 is the magic solution, nor am I saying it's the fastest way to reach his goals, but it is a simple program that focuses on the big lifts. And that's exactly what he needs.

For the record, I would probably suggest he give the old Madcow 5x5 a few runs simply because of the frequency of the lifts. (I think Rippetoe's program is similar, too.) But he seems to have his heart set on WS4SB.


Do you have any experience training or training someone with 5/3/1?

It's basically the antonym of advanced. It's simple and effective, provides focus on a handful of solid, compound movements, and outlines training progression very well.

At a 225x4 squat, he needs to put on muscle. I have coached 17 year old girls who could do that with a years training under their belt.

He needs to deemphasize accesory movements and pick a handful of compound movements and seek to progress in them.


Currently doing 5/3/1 right now. I totally agree with everything you're saying, especially about the basic progression on basic movements. However I'm disagreeing that using %age waves are necesary or even optimal at his point in training. Speaker from experience my bench was behind my squat and pull because of shoulder issues. I've had ZERO problem adding 10 pounds a cycle to the pull/squat, and may even add 15 next cycle. However my weaker lift is struggleing to progress at 5 pounds a cycle. BTW my raw numbers are 375/225(x3)/455. So I'm not nearly as experienced as you, and I'm willing to admit that. However I'm drawing on experience from when I was in his shoes. Do you think he would make faster progress working with 5/3/1 or a typical squat/bench/dead/bench assistance type of split, working in the 3-5 rep range on the competition lifts? I would take the latter for the time being. and move on to the former after some gains have been made. Why do people keep saying I said it was an advanced routine? I said I don't think it's worthwhile until you're in the 300+ squat, and 400+ pull range. That isn't advanced. That barely entering intermediate. If even.

Eagerly waiting a reply, I rarely don't learn something from your posts.