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Natty on Pennies

Merry Christmas everyone!


Merry Christmas!

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Update on my girlfriend - the bulk is strong

Well, my girl weighted in at 69kgs/152lbs today. Impressive, I must say. She has three or so weeks of this bulk left, so I believe she’ll get north of 70kgs/154lbs before we begin to cut. Her strength is improving at a great rate, at the moment she’s doing sets of five with weights that were her 1RMs just a couple of months ago.

She’s looking more jacked than any dude of her age that I’ve seen live, and she’s putting all of those guys to shame with her numbers as well. (Kinda sad really)

I’ve had to give her some leeway with her training and it seems to work. She’s getting bigger, stronger and she isn’t bored even though the program, at it’s core is very simple.

It goes like this

Upper body:
A push for 3 sets of 3-5 (barbell) or 3 sets of 6-10 (dumbbells)
She chooses two pushing movements does one of them each workout, alternating. (at the moment that would be CGBB and Incline dumbbell bench)

Whatever assistance she chooses

Lower body:
A squat for 3 sets of 3-6
A deadlift for 1 set of 3-6
Again, she chooses 2 variations for both and does one per training session. (Alternating)


You see, it’s simple. Very, very simple.

Have you ever wondered why I don’t write out programs with pre-chosen exercises, why I only give templates to you? (And some ideas and examples, of course)

That’s because everyone is different. Writing out cookie-cutter programs with 3x8 bench followed by 3x12 incline bench and chest flies is for someone who wants the easy way out. And following those programs is for lazy trainees who don’t want to put their mind into it. How could you ever get optimal results if the guy who wrote your program doesn’t even know you exist?

Templates. Examples. The trainee putting in work.

That’s what makes the program fit. I love DC because it’s not a program, it’s a template that’s well written and explained. Dante tells you how to use it and you do the rest. That’s why it works so damn well!

But back to the subject, 70kgs is coming. After that, we’ll see if it’s time to cut, or maybe we’ll push for 75.


General life update

My girlfriend reached the 70kg/154lbs mark before expected, but that’s okay, she’s still looking good.

I stepped on the scale for the first time in weeks today and weighted in at 97kgs/214lbs (in the morning)

Weight-wise it’s like I’ve only lost a couple of pounds during my military service, but in reality I’ve actually gained some upper-body thickness (nice) and lost A LOT of lower-body thickness (not nice) but on the other hand, that makes my upper body look even bigger (not sure if nice)

That lost muscle will come back quickly when I get back to my regular schedule. My prediction would be that at the time I’ve got my leg mass back I’ll be hovering around 105kgs/231lbs - and at that point I’m probably going to really start pushing it to the limit. Wouldn’t be surprised if I broke the 120kg/264lbs barrier in late 2018/early 2019.

Training - wise, after the 3-week break I went into a phase where I only did a handful of exercises on a 2 day 2 on - 1 off schedule and I may have lost myself there.

Yeah, let’s be honest here. The program I was working on - it was great. I was improving at a really fast rate and I enjoyed the workouts. But as a whole I hated it. It didn’t feel like a program of mine. Too much exercises, too much stuff. It was not really complicated but it felt like that.

But the thing I’m doing now - it feels good. It’s very simple, there’s no rush and everything is done with intention.

You can call me a program jumper if you want (and you’ll be totally right) but you know what? When you give all you’ve got every single time you step inntt the gym it doesn’t really matter what you do. You’re going to get better. I’m not saying that you should ditch your routine and just do random stuff, no. I’m saying you should work hard as hell and stop worrying about what’s goog to happen if you switch out hammer curls for reverse curls and just work hard.

I can lay it out on another post if someone is interested.

Happy New Year everyone!


Sure man! And happy new years to you to.

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Thanks, @duketheslaya

(By the way, if you are limited to a barebones gym in the future, this program may be good for you)

Here’s the outline of my current schedule. (We could make a game about this - guess when I’m gonna change it up again)

So, you pick four exercises - a n upper body push, an upper body pull, a squat and a deadlift.

The program is a basic upper/lower split with a slight twist.

(Now before we go further I must say that this is the first time I’ve written a program that is based on percentages, usually I tell my trainees the weights based on experience - what they can be pushed to do with a given weight.)

What I’m about to describe is the “building” portion of the program. Remember “storage strength” we are building it here. The work we are going to do is rather light. After building phase there would be an intensification phase - higher percentages and less reps. After that well start pushing it with even more weight and fewer reps. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

With this program you are going to use an changing max weight - your estimated max from the last workouts PR set.

(I promise this will all make sense in a while)

In addition to PR sets you have plus sets that you do with your hard variation work, these two are not to be confused. You will base your hard variation work weights off of your estimated max on the “regular” variation.

But now let’s get to it, shall we.

sets x reps x % of estimated max
Both PR and plus sets are AMRAPS and to be taken to absolute failure

You use the estimated maxes from your last workout with every movement, do not calculate a new max after the first exercise’s PR set. So if you’re doing close grip bench and your estimated max was 300 pounds based on last times PR set you’ll use 225lbs for your 75% work and 195lbs for your 65% work (hard variation work) or if CGB is your second (70%) exercise, you’ll use 210lbs for that. I’ll show you how the progression goes later)

Day 1

1 Upper body push
4x3x75%, PR set with 75% (so 5 sets total)

2 Upper body pull
2x5x70%, PR set with 70% (3 sets total)

3 Upper body push (hard variation)
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65% (3 sets total)

4 Upper body pull assistance
2-4x8-25 reps depending on the exercises

optional hypertrophy work - delts and arms - max 6 total sets, nothing too heavy

Day 2

1 Deadlift variation
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%

2 Squat variation
2x5x70%, PR set with 70%

3 Deadlift hard variation
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%

4 Lunge/squat variation 2-4x8-25 depending on the exercise

optional hypertrophy work for abs/calves, don’t exceed 6 sets

Day 3: rest

Day 4

1 Upper body pull
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%

2 Upper body push
2x5x75%, PR set with 70%

3 Upper body pull
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%

4 Upper body push assistance 2-4x8-25 depending on the exercise

optional hypertrophy work -chest and arms - max 6 total sets, nothing too heavy

Day 5

1 Squat variation
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%

2 Deadlift variation
2x5x70%, PR set with 70%

3 Squat hard variation
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%

4 Posterior chain/hamstring assistance exercise 2-4x8-25 depending on the exercise

optional hypertrophy work for abs/calves, don’t exceed 6 sets

Day 6: rest


Now don’t get fooled when I wrote “variation” you will use the same movements every time you train. If you choose close grip bench to be your upper body push, you’ll only do that and the hard variation (which could be close grip with a pause)

This program is about specificity and skill mastery. That’s why there is such a high number of sets. Now you may wonder why you are using so low weights. Yes, you could do triples with 90% of your max. By in this phase it’s about force production (aka. Speed) and we are lifting without any gear. The only time you should belt up and strap up is for your PR sets. (I don’t use any equipment for my plus sets either) Apart from that you won’t be using any gear. So in reality the percentages are a lot higher (you are calculatung them off of you PR set which is done with belt and straps)

Now, to clear up the progression model confusion you probably have:

You are performing a PR set every time you do the movement, either with 75% or 70% of your estimated max.

So, let’s say it’s day 4. You are doing CGB as your second movement (so it’s 70% work) on day 1 you got 10 reps with 225lbs (75% work) that’s an estimated max of about 300lbs. So now you are doing the movement with 210lbs. You’ve already done your 2 sets of 5 and it’s time for your PR set. You manage to get 14 reps. Nice. Now your estimated max is about 308lbs so next time you are going to do your 75% work with 231lbs and your hard variation (65%) work with 200lbs

You’ll calculate a new estimated max based on your PR set with 231lbs and then calculate your 70% weight for the next session from it. So let’s say you get 11x231 - an estimated max of 313lbs. Your next session will be 2x5x219lvs and a PR set with 219lbs

It’s rather simple really and thus far I like it.

For chin ups/pull ups I don’t use this progression model, I just use linear progression.

I’ll give you an example program here (this is what I’m doing at the moment) this should clear up the way you’re supposed to choose your exercises.

Day 1

1 Close-Grip Bench
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%
2 Chin up
2x5,PR set (see note above)
3 Paused Close-Grip Bench
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%
4 Rear delt flies

Day 2

1 Deadlift
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%
2 Front Squat
2x5x70%, PR set with 70%
3 Pause Deadlift
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%
4 Alternating Reverse Lunge

Day 3


Day 4

1 Chin up
4x3, PR set
2 Close-Grip Bench
2x5x70%, PR set with 70%
3 Dead-Hang Chin up
2x5, Plus set
4 Overhead press with a pause

Day 5
1 Front Squat
4x3x75%, PR set with 75%
2 Deadlift
2x5x70%, PR set with 70%
3 Front squat with a pause
2x5x65%, Plus set with 65%
4 Lying leg curl

Day 6


For assistance exercises I follow a linear progression model - no, I don’t change them up either. So, in total I do 13 different exercises.

So that’s that - if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I can cover the remaining two phases when I get to them myself - so that’ll be a few months probably.
(Of course I could write them out now but I’d like to test them out myself first)

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Can you please explain this part further? I dont understand how to estimate a max from reps at a certain percentage. How does it work? How do i determine if my estimated max is 315 from repping 225?. How do i determine my weights for the next session from the previous sessions pr set?

Whats the rep ranges for this

So your #1. Front squat is a speed rep? Then variation #Hard is like paused etc

I think we are kind of similar when it comes to training. I’ve also adopted alot of your philosophies as well such as eating Alot of Clean food/ even like when i started eating super high carb ( im talking about 300-500 grams a day here). That worked well for me and surprisingly it made me leaner and strength gains were coming faster then normal. Also im surprised not much people on here dont follow similar methods to you and i get confused because i read some peoples logs and they " start gaining chub from 3k calories and like 200 grams of carbs a day" wtf?.

To me 3k calories is nothing. The most i got to eating was 4.5 k calories a day and in a few weeks noticed id lost weight / had a surge in strength. I know you’ve gone through stages where you ate alot more

I also notice you change how you train quite frequently and i do too - i just stall and get bored.

Also the way you train and programs you write like the one you just posted appeal to me.
I’ve looked at alot of programs on tnation and they all seem so boring and useless.( there not useless, but just not how i like to train) Yours doesnt, i like the look of it so far.

I also hate doing millions of variations of crap but i dont like doing too minimal otherwise i feel unsatisfied , i also hate “fluff” work and machine work etc.

Il be following along to see when the rest of the program comes out lol. I think when i can return to training i will run this program.

Tbh your log is one of my favourite logs.

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It’s rather simple maths - bear with me.

So, you take the weight you used (let’s say 200lbs) and add 0.03 times reps performed times weight used to that

So 12 reps with 200 =

200+0.03 * 12 * 200 = 272lbs single

If you don’t feel like doing maths but you can work with the Finnish language, try this site:


First you choose your movement
*some other movement
(It’s in that order on the site, just in Finnish)

then put in reps (1-30)
Then weight

After that click on “laske sarjapainot” and it’ll tell you what weight you’ll be able to use for a given number of reps

In the program I’ve laid out what percentage of your estimated max you should use for your sets on any given day, so using the last examples 272lbs single, you would do

75% work with 204lbs (272 * 0.75)

70% work with 190lbs (272 * 0.7)

65% work with 177lbs (272 * 0.65)

As you see, you just multiply your estimated max by zero point the percentage you’re supposed to use

Hopefully I answered your question

I would stay in the 8-25 rep range here

Basically yes.

Weights are always lowered under control and they should always be lifted as fast as possible. (Even if you’re going to pause it, try to lift explosively. Explode - pause - explode)

I’ve noticed that too, both of us can’t be doing things wrong, right?

That’s great to hear!
You see, I don’t push things out without a reason :wink:

My log has a rather small amount of readers and I could do a better job with displaying the information - people don’t like searching for stuff, they like convenience, so maybe they just run off when they see the log

That’s probably due to poor food choices and low-impact training. (Aka. Not training properly with intensity, in Finland we call non-intense sessions “tit-slapping workouts”, fun fact)

3k is about as low as most of my diets go

More food intake equals more growth, but there is the point of diminishing returns where you are eating far too much and start gaining fat

You can’t gain 58kgs eating like a bird. I got all the way up to eating over 7 000 Calories per day. It was a chore.

I get bored very easily too, that’s one big reason for me to change it up a lot

I like trying different stuff out but I also always try to include some of my core beliefs in there (frequency, hard variations, skill mastery etc.)

It’s nice to hear you like it!

I stopped reading T-Nations training articles years ago, there’s never anything new. It’s like they had 3 program templates that they edit and push out every now and then

That’s another similarity between us!
The program I laid out above should satisfy you with those conditions

Hopefully I don’t come up with something even more interesting before that! I’ll try to stick to this one just to see where I can get. (And to get the next part out for you)

Just ask if anything crosses your mind/if there is something that confuses you and we’ll get it sorted out

Thanks man!

Just to make sure (think I’ve got it)

Thats the right method?

200 + 0.03 × 15×200 and if i rep 315 for twenty its just
315 + 0.03 ×20 × 315?

I think thats the case lol. People can really benefit from your information if they stayed around.

Yeah i can imagine. The most i can semi comfortably eat in a day without it being annoying is 4-5. If i wanted to be insane (7000) id start drinking alot of milk.

Like you’ve said before ( and i think you’re right)
As long as you train semi smart most of the time and train intensely enough and eat, program doesnt matter as much i think. (Still matters though, otherwise programs wouldnt exist haha)

I tried “bodybuilding split training” for a while with lesser frequency and high volume - it worked for packing on mass but i just got so bored and annoyed doing a bunch of exercises. Plus iv found for me training a lift 2× a week either with variations or the lift itself i progress better then 1× a week so frequency is key. apart from the deadlift, but too be fair it went up by 40kg when i didnt train it at all and did Heavy rdl instead but thats a deadlift variation.

I remember the big 5/3/1 discussion in my log- whilst i know its a training system that works and all the different program variations etc , i just simply dont like the way its set up and hate it psychologically, even though i would probably respond well to it. Who knows.I’ve considered trying it in the future.

I think it shall.when i can train again, il probably run it similar to you except do a less taxing variation of the deadlift. deadlifts tax my cns way too much, plus it stalls when i train it directly.

Well, i certainly hope you do. I think you will have great succes with it.

No worries.

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You’ve got it

I should probably make a table of contents for the log at some point in time - that would take a couple of hours to make

That’s pretty good

I wouldn’t really recommend trying 7 000 if you’re not prepared to be called “big daddy smooth” by your gym buddies - it’s not exactly what we’d call a lean bulk

Both of those statements are very true - with a program you’ll make better gains but you’ll improve even without one if you want it hard enough

I’ve been there too - brosplits are just so damn boring most of the time. (And for most people a higher training frequency also helps to grow muscle faster)

That’s the carryover effect in action - it’s the same with close grip bench carrying over to your regular bench

5/3/1 is a very flexible program so you’d probably find a way to tweak it into something you like, @MarkKO knows more of that

It’s good to see you know your limitations - there are a ton of Deadlift variations out there, so you’ll surely find one to suit your needs

I’ve noticed that if I write AMRAP in any program I will have great success with it :wink:

@duketheslaya - I cut the answer short by mistake, here’s the rest of it (just edited it in)

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Lol. Past experiences hey?

Who knew the secret to gains was amrap. Also when i run the program i shall call it

Danteism - week 1 day 1

Has a good ring to it dont you think?

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Yes, 5/3/1 is versatile. Except, I think it also makes it very limited. It’s kind of like a Swiss army knife: it’ll do lots of things reasonably but still lacks a whole lot if you have specific requirements.

I learned a lot while using it, but I don’t think I’ll come back to it any time soon. I may well use elements.of it, but that’s about it.


Let’s just say maybe

Sounds good, just make sure to progress like hell so it looks good too :wink:

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My ellaborate plan is to regain all my old strength( however small it is lol) once i get back to training then itl look like i got a massive strength boost :laughing:.kidding but nah looking forward to it in the future :wink:

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That’s marketing 101

Nice, be sure to document your progress and if there’s something that feels off tell me and I’ll try to figure it out

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Il be documenting it in my log. I dont think theres anything wrong by the looks of it yet apart from im thinking an RPE scale could be implemented. (I know the amrap sets can be quite taxing since there frequent, there also taken to absolute failure) so like if you’re feeling trash or weak etc, can use an RPE of 8 or 9 Instead of ten, but making sure to still progress. but i wont worry about that yet. I love the plan.

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I don’t think I’ve ever used the RPE scale to it’s full potential - I’ve always got good results just by either going to failure or stopping just short of it/stopping when rep speed slows down etc

For me personally three (+if you go to failure on assistance) AMRAP sets per day is nothing new and as I have trained very intensively for years I can handle it - I’m pretty sure you can as well (if not, eat more to recover faster and with time you’ll get accustomed to them as well)

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I’m not a beast like you yet haha, one day. Im sure il get accustomed .

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You’re getting there man, I can see it

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Thanks man!, Also Im not sure im willing to stay up for two days and then still train, besides that il do whatever it takes lol.

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