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Need Advice Concerning My Training Routine

I’ve been doing the fierce 5 novice routine from bb.com for about 5 months now and I’ve seen some great results. After a severe stomach surgery I lost 15kg, was at 59kg @ 1m83 tall, now I’m back at 66kg (could’ve been more but eating enough hasn’t always been that easy for me since the surgery). But I feel like my legs are overpowering and grow faster than my upper body, so I’d like to add some more volume for my upper body. I like the A and B workout style of fierce 5 so what is your opinion about this split: A = chest/back, B = legs/shoulders/arms? Training every other day. This way I’d still be training every muscle group twice a week but with higher volume. The routine I had in mind looks like this (please tell me what’s good/bad about it):

A. Chest/back
Bench press 3x6-10
Chin-ups, weighted (neutral grip) 3x6-10 OR (alternating) bb row 3x6-10
Incline db press 3x6-10
Lat pulldown (overhand, slightly outside shoulder width grip) 3x6-10
Some form of row (db/cable/chest supported…) 3x6-10
Optional? chest flyes (cable/peck deck/db) 3x10-12

B. Legs/shoulders/arms
Squat 3x5
Db shoulder press 3x6-10
Incline lateral raise 3x10-12
Rear delts (face pulls/reverse db/machine flyes) 5x10-12
Incline db curls 3x8-10 + hammer curls 2x8-10
Triceps pushdown 3x8-10 + dips 2xfaillure


  • I would still be squatting twice a week 3x5 from which I’ve seen good results.
  • Should I add in a hamstring exercise? I squat fairly wide stance and ATG so I actually feel that my glutes/hamstring get worked pretty good with squats.
  • No (more) deadlifts. As much as I love doing these, the exercise feels awkward because I’m prone to having a tilted pelvis (if that’s the right term in English). Had my form checked by a powerlifting coach and had it examined by a PT.
  • Due to lack of shoulder mobility and a previous shoulder impingement issue I prefer db presses instead of military press (was also recommended by my PT).
  • I like reverse pyramid training for my sets, starting heavy on the low end of the rep range (after properly warming up).

Thanks in advance!

  1. squatting twice a week is fine
  2. Don’t add hamstring work if you feel your lower body is overpowering
  3. have u tried trap bar deadlifts? you could also do stretches for pelvic tilt. on second thought, maybe throw in some single leg db rdls for hamstrings.
  4. I’ve had 2 shoulder surgeries and multiple collarbone separations and full mobility. work on your mobliity in your shoulders, and keep doing db presses for now.
  5. rpt is good

IMO you have a little much going on for a beginner, esp. coming back from a surgery (i’ve done it too). your chest/back and leg/shoulder/arm setup is fine, but for now i would stick to one strength and 1 bodybuilding part per muscle group. Focus on upping the weights in your strength lifts and focus on feeling the muscle work in your bb lifts.

For example:
bench press rpt 3x6-10
chinups rpt 3x610
db incline press 3x10-15
chest suppoerted db rows 3x10-15

Squat 3x5
db sholder press rpt 3x6-10
rear delts + lateral raises (try these two together) 5x,10-12, 3x10-12
ez bar barlbell curls 3x8-10
tricep pushdown 3x8-10

this is just a little bit less stuff, and will allow you to focus your energy on increasing the weights, while allowing you to still get a pump and whatnot.

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Why do you feel like having “overpowered” legs is a bad thing?

145lbs at 6’0 -you dont need to be worrying overpowering legs just get much bigger all over…

These will give superior results to what you posted and upper body heavy…

First great job on gaining 7 kg in your time, especially after what sounds like a traumatic stomach issue. But like @RampantBadger said you are still very much underweight and could use to keep traveling the path you are on. The program is working, and I would use it until it stops working. Your legs have a lot more capacity to add mass than your upper extremeties so following a beginner routine properly, which you’ve done, will correctly yield more leg growth. Your upper body will grow you just need to give it more time. At 1.83m and 66kg you have a LOT more filling out to do before you need to worry about addressing specific weaknesses.

Thank you for replying!

Your suggestions seem great. I’m just confused about one thing: how would changing the rep range to 10-15 reps on bb lifts differ in terms of (rate of) muscle growth from the 6-10 range? From what I’ve read and heard, 1-5 reps is more for strength, anything above 6 reps will give more or less the same results for hypertrophy? 6-10 giving slightly better results for strength opposed to the 10-15 range? Or is it because training in the 6-10 range is more taxing on the CNS?

I don’t consider it to be a bad thing, not at all. But I don’t like big bulky legs and I’d like my upper body to catch up with my lower body. My jeans are already barely fitting, my t-shirts not so much. My legs seem to grow fine with just doing squats twice a week anyways.

Also, I feel that training legs hard requires a lot of extra energy and calories. Since the surgery it has been hard for me to eat a lot of food (even liquids) as I basically lost 1/3 of my stomach’s capacity (which is a side effect of the surgery).

anecdotally ive found that doing 10-15 reps does more for muscle size than 6-10. but everyone is different, so you could try out 6-10 and 10-15 and see what works best for you. remember with the bb movements you want to focus on contraction and working the target muscle. i find that doing lighter weight for higher reps helps with that too.
All of this being said, don’t get lost in the nuances of rep ranges and cns fatigue etc… just focus on increasing the weight or reps in the big lifts and you’ll grow

Thanks! To be completely honest, I’d like to try something else, that’s why I came up with this routine.

I like full body routines and the results are there, especially in terms of strength. When I started I was only using the barbell on every lift, now my bench is 3x5 60kg, squat 3x5 80kg and deadlift 3x5 100kg. That doesn’t seem impressive, but considering the circumstances, I’m very happy with the results. But I ‘enjoy’ (I know… completely arbitrary and personal) other types of workouts (‘split’ routines with higher reps/volume/more exercises) a lot more. I’d happily give up the 20% more ‘gains’ I could’ve had if I feel better and get more enjoyment out of another program.

So my question: although it might not be 100% optimal, would this be a good program to follow and would I see results from it? Or is it really that bad and should I stick with my current routine? People actually got results by doing ridiculous oldschool bb routines like training every bodypart once a week, completely trashing their muscles every workout. At least the routine I came up with still has some proven modern hypertrophy principles.

What you have written out there looks fine if you have your heart set on it. My advice would be to just make sure you keep up the squatting 2x/week like you said. I’m starting to see the main separator between those who succeed after their beginner gains fade and those who fail - the ones who fail usually give up squatting.

I most certainly will! Since I started squatting I no longer have lower back pain from sitting on my butt all day, especially during exams (I’m still in college). My legs are actually bigger than most guys at my gym (who never squat btw… leg press and extensions all day long), although looking at my upper body it looks as if I don’t even lift.

From a bb perspective, would you consider deadlifts to be as necessary as squats?

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I’m not nearly as studied on the bodybuilding side of things as I am for powerlifting - where deadlifts are absolutely necessary as a competition lift. I can’t say they’re as necessary as squats as a mass builder, but I would never recommend someone NOT deadlift.