T Nation

Need Advice on Self-Made Program


#1

Hi guys, this is my first post on T-Nation. I've been lurking for a while but I've decided to start getting serious about my health/strength. I'm looking for maximum strength gains above all. I created a program using one of the threads on here as a guide and wanted to know if there are any serious flaws in it. I'm also unsure of what rep ranges to do. I've already started it but if anyone could lend any helpful advice it would be very appreciated. Thanks!

Workout A: Legs
A. Olympic Back Squat
B. Deadlift
C. Lunge
D. Standing Good Mornings
E. Walking Lunges
F. Planks

Workout B: Not Legs
A. Bench Press
B. Bent Over Barbell Rows
C. Push Press
D. Shrugs
E. Dips
F. Curls

H: Upper/Lower
Day 1: Lower body
Day 2: Upper body
Day 3: Recovery
Day 4: Lower body
Day 5: Recovery
Day 6: Upper body
Day 7: Recovery


#2

Lower body day looks terrible. Way too many exercises and too much volume. Upper body day looks fine in that regard, but it really depends on your sets/reps and progression scheme. Overall looks like a very very basic program so I’m not sure why you’re insisting on writing your own rather than just following one made by someone who knows what they’re doing.


#3

It seems kinda haphazard, really. More emphasis on quads than posterior chain, chest than back, biceps but no triceps…

All in all, it seems like a “look good to myself in the mirror” routine.


#4

Well. I guess that experiment failed. I’ll look for one on here then. Thanks guys!


#5

Don’t look at it as a failure. It’s an opportunity to learn. Creating a balanced and effective routine takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of trial and error.

A strong posterior chain will protect you from all sorts of injuries, and is essentially the foundation of strength so it’s important give it priority and plenty of work.

The back muscles are next in line. There’s a reason for all those muscles at all those angles back there. Neglect them and you’ll go nowhere fast.

Upper chest is lacking in most lifters. Incline bench along with dips is a good choice. Flat bench and dips will put too much mass on the lower pecs and not enough on the upper.

If you’re going to work biceps, work triceps with them. They’re small muscles. If you can’t alternate sets of curls with extensions with no rest (just casually walking from one station to the other) then you need to work on your conditioning.


#6

Split all that stuff over three days:

Day 1
Squat
Good mornings
Assistance of choice - posterior chain
Dips

Day 2
Deadlift
Lunges
Assistance of choice - quads/hip flexors
Curls

Day 3
Bench press
Barbell rows
Assistance of choice - pressing
Assistance of choice - upper body pulling

Or, like you said, pick a program here somewhere.


#7

Thanks everyone and Jaypierce thanks for the extremely thorough and informative reply. I will be checking out a new program on here.


#8

You need to get everything strong. The tendency to lean more toward posterior vs anterior chain, chest vs tricep, etc. all depends on leverages and body structure. For maximum strength, it’s important to remember that the majority of muscles within the body should be utilized to some degree. Even if some muscles aren’t as strong or as important as others, having them all working together during a movement will give you the greatest strength potential. IMO, some muscles may need less work than others but none should be neglected. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do work for every single muscle group - just make sure they’re all getting trained in the main movements (aka creating full body tension).

If you don’t understand what full body tension feels like yet, it should be something you need to figure out. If you’re questioning whether your technique is off, chances are you still need to figure it out.


#9

A lot of these threads lately. Does it need to be reiterated that:

If you are a BEGINNER, you should NOT be designing your own program.

For obvious reasons.


#10

[quote]craze9 wrote:
A lot of these threads lately. Does it need to be reiterated that:

If you are a BEGINNER, you should NOT be designing your own program.

For obvious reasons.
[/quote]

Yes! This!

You simply don’t know your body well enough to design a program for yourself. Do many PROVEN programs and use principles from various programs to design one of your own. This usually takes years of hard work and training to figure out.

This has been said many times lately. Stop over thinking your training. There’s tons of professionals that have already done that for you. Just hit the gym hard, follow them, and track your progress.


#11

[quote]Steez wrote:

[quote]craze9 wrote:
A lot of these threads lately. Does it need to be reiterated that:

If you are a BEGINNER, you should NOT be designing your own program.

For obvious reasons.
[/quote]

Yes! This!

You simply don’t know your body well enough to design a program for yourself. Do many PROVEN programs and use principles from various programs to design one of your own. This usually takes years of hard work and training to figure out.

This has been said many times lately. Stop over thinking your training. There’s tons of professionals that have already done that for you. Just hit the gym hard, follow them, and track your progress.
[/quote]

x3

You don’t design your own cars, you don’t build your own houses, why do you feel the need to write your own training programs?


#12

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. - Henry Ford

There are a lot of stupid programs out there. There are also a lot of stupid training principles built on shoddy science, or a poor understanding of the scientific data. People make up arbitrary rules about what you should and shouldn’t do, and design entire programs around them just to sell something. Even Arnold laid down a few rules that he never followed himself.

The only way to sift through the garbage is to educate yourself. The only way to do that is to try, fail, be corrected, try again and repeat until you get it right. At 37 years old, I’m finally figuring out what works for me. I would have figured it out by 18 if I hadn’t been following someone else’s “program”.


#13

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
The only way to sift through the garbage is to educate yourself. The only way to do that is to try, fail, be corrected, try again and repeat until you get it right. At 37 years old, I’m finally figuring out what works for me. I would have figured it out by 18 if I hadn’t been following someone else’s “program”.
[/quote]

You seem to be saying that one can’t learn about oneself if doing a program designed by someone else. This has not been my experience.


#14

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
The only way to sift through the garbage is to educate yourself. The only way to do that is to try, fail, be corrected, try again and repeat until you get it right. At 37 years old, I’m finally figuring out what works for me. I would have figured it out by 18 if I hadn’t been following someone else’s “program”.
[/quote]

You seem to be saying that one can’t learn about oneself if doing a program designed by someone else. This has not been my experience.
[/quote]

x2


#15

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
The only way to sift through the garbage is to educate yourself. The only way to do that is to try, fail, be corrected, try again and repeat until you get it right. At 37 years old, I’m finally figuring out what works for me. I would have figured it out by 18 if I hadn’t been following someone else’s “program”.
[/quote]

There’s no reason to believe that if you had done your own stuff, you wouldn’t just have spun your wheels for 2 decades. I would say that’s what happens to most folks.


#16

The “educate yourself” part was the big point. I blindly followed rules and routines without bothering to learn the principles behind them. If I had, I might have recognized them as BS. I’m not saying I never made progress, but I could have done far better.

The most successful bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, etc. have been the smartest men in their sport, who didn’t follow someone else’s rules. They pushed the limits.

Case in point: “don’t lift for more than 45 minutes, because your cortisol levels will spike and that’s counterproductive.” BULL! I’ve recently decided to test this concept by adding a set to each successive leg workout. Results: I’m up to 31 work sets (most to failure) in two hours, twice a week, and making my best progress ever. And my legs don’t get sore.

Push the limits. Repeatedly. Ignore the “science” and pay attention to results. Tom Platz stretched his legs for an hour and a half before he worked them (big no-no). Then he worked them for over two hours (big no-no) using mainly squat variations (arguably a big no-no). Results: he’s still known as Mr Legs.


#17

[quote]craze9 wrote:
A lot of these threads lately. Does it need to be reiterated that:

If you are a BEGINNER, you should NOT be designing your own program.

For obvious reasons.
[/quote]

Of course this is true, but the reason we perceive this advice as being ignored is that most “beginners” have not spent much time here reading the string of threads like this one. They click on to the website, find the forum, and start with a “Hey guys, I’m new here, but check out this program I wrote!”

So while it would be nice if beginners all had this knowledge hardwired into them, it is unlikely to happen. As such, the best thing we can do is continue to provide the steady stream of advice to each new thread.