T Nation

More Than One Main Lift a Session?


CT, I know you recommend doing only one main lift, doing density work and then leaving the gym. However, for those that can only workout maybe 3-4x a week but want to hit all the "money" exercises how would you set it up?

More specifically would it be okay to do more than one main lift (ex. Squats and push press) in one workout ? For someone who wanted to bench, squat, deadlift, push press, and sghp split into 3-4 sessions a week what would you recommend?


You cannot do two main exercises with my method and progress optimally (well with the method you are referring to). You can do a main lift and a supplemental one. But that second lift is not trained with the same amount of work as the main one.

For example with the main one you would do the strength ramp then the density portion. But for the supplemental exercise you would only do something like 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps. This would be done between the strength section and the density section of the main lift.


Is this something that you recommend (if yes how would you pair the exercises? If not, what would you recommend for someone who can only devote 3-4x a week in the gym?

Personally I love doing ramps and wave ladders but I want to be able to hit the money exercises with some sort of frequency. If I just rotate them into a 5 day cycle I would only be hitting each exercise every 1.5 weeks. Would it be best to just reduce the number of exercises thatll cover all the major muscle groups in a week? Bench, squat, and sghp are my preferred exercises and deadlift, push press, cgbp, etc can be more of a second priority.


I would recommend having 3 main workouts:


and performing one explosive lift at the beginning of the session for activation...

For example:
1) SGHP then doing the squat workout
2) Push press then doing the bench workout
3) SGHP again, or power clean then doing the deadlift workout

I like the 5-4-3-2-1 scheme for the activation lift... that's not the 5-4-3-2-1 HDL but rather:
1 x 5 @ 82.5-85%
1 x 4 @ 85-87.5%
1 x 3 @ 87.5-90%
1 x 2 @ 90-92.5%
1 x 1 @ 92.5-95%


Thank you ct, I greatly appreciate your time. I will utilize what you prescribed until my schedule gets back to normal and I'm able to lift more days a week.


CT, what about two main lifts at different times of the day, AM and PM?


It's not just about the duration of a session, but about the total workload. If you do both lifts using the max ramp and density work, it might be a bit too much, especially if you have the carries in there.


Thanks coach!!
Do we do only one wave ?
It's enough work for the shoulders to growth ? or it need some assistance later in the workout ?


It's not a wave... and yes you only do those 5 sets. I'm not an assistance kinda guy, I don't really do much isolation work ever.


Ok thanks; i will have two bench workout (monday and friday with the push press activation),can i work the shoulders with hspu on wednesday ? and for you what the best schemes to gain mass with this exercices ? ( 50 reps total, density, on the minute, high frequency, etc). Thanks.
Or i can work on hspu on the same day as the bench?


Up to 2 daily bodyweight exercises can be used per day. I like the "X amount of total reps" approach (I often start at 50 but on some movements you might want to scale it down or increase it a bit). It has to be a challenge but not something that is gut wrenching.


Ok, 2 bodyweight exercices. Can i superset them or you prefer done them separately ? for example pullup/ hspu, dips/ pullups.
What the best technique of progression with the x amount of total reps , you do x reps, and take the time it need to be done, and try to beat that time on the next workout. Or you fix a time limit to done x reps and if you fail because you do less reps that you want. You will try in another workout to make all the repetition in this frametine.


it seems that this thread has more than meets the eye.


I prefer done separately.

Yeah, you choose a number of reps (e.g. 50) and you try to get those 50 total reps in as little time as possible. If you can get the total reps in 3 sets or less, increase either the difficulty of the movement or add reps.


Thanks for your patience and your advice coach :wink: i understand better ...but what a challenge !! the goal of less than 3 sets in strict pullups or HSPU. It will take me some times before i got it :wink:

Sorry for the readers of t-nations for my grammar/synthax, i'm french .


i tried this today:
push press
1 x 5 @ 82.5-85%
rest(bicep pump with db curls)
1 x 4 @ 85-87.5%
rest(bicep pump with db curls)
1 x 3 @ 87.5-90%
rest(bicep pump with db curls)
1 x 2 @ 90-92.5%
rest(bicep pump with db curls)
1 x 1 @ 92.5-95%
rest(bicep pump with db curls)

then the bench workout of:
ramp to 6rm (bicep pump with db curls in between ramp sets)
80% of 6rm for 30 reps- (sets of 3-5) (3 sets of bicep pump mixed in) Total 4 minutes

30 pullups, 30 dips each assisted in 4 sets each
i forgot the bear hug carries.. duh. (i did not sleep much last nite)

overall it was a very stimulating session. got wicked pumped on whole upper body.
i was surprised since without sleep i dragged my ass up the stairs into the gym. The push press activation really got me going!


One thing I noticed is that it's not unusual to get a greater pump the day after a night of bad/no sleep...

During chronic sleep deprivation it's another story but when you sleep bad once it seems to enhance the pump for some reason.


By the way.
I hope you are feeling well. You had a bout at the hospital.

My Work on the Clean Holds and Front squat has been great! Thanks to your advice.
Got my Clean Hold up to 315
Front squat up to 235
Power Clean from Hang up to 205
Going to start doing some Cleans from the floor soon.
Sorry, I put the Overhead Squat aside for now-- many reasons. Will revisit as soon as i can.


Hey CT, do you think the 5-4-3-2-1 for push press and power clean would be a better activators for bench press and deadlift than doing medicine ball throws and jump squats? Currently doing 5 sets of 4 of those at the start of my sessions but that seems like a good way those exercises in my programme without any real increase in stress/time taken

Thanks in advance as always


You should not focus on too many things at once. I always focused on solving one issue at a time, so dropping the OH squat for now is perfectly fine.

I'm doing well. Back to training full force for 2 weeks now, focusing on regaining my strength level. I'm back to 85-90% right now.