T Nation

Need Advice on Workout Routine

Hello, I’m 29 y/o and have been going to the gym for quite a few years now, but I’m not really seeing the results I’m after. I started out very weak and underweight (128lbs - 6ft - barely being able to bench the bar for a few reps). Currenly I’m 167lbs (15-16% bf) and I can clearly see a massive difference, but I feel that I’m barely reaching late novice standards as far as appearance and strenght goes. My lifts are: bench 145x5, squat 175x3, deadlift 225x3, OHP 105x5 and 8 strict deadhang pull-ups.

I started with the Fierce 5 novice routine, on which I made most progress. After that I fell into the trap of doing higher reps, lots of volume and not really focussing on progress. I also got injured doing Fierce 5 and I always thought “low reps - as in 5 - will get me injured again”. Lately I’ve been trying lower reps again and I realised I probably injured myself due to bad form, rather than the lower reps itself. I also seem to respond better to lower reps (4-8) - probably because the load I used for sets of 12 is just too light.

TL;DR… I want to start focussing on ‘strenght’ training and progress in the gym again, as this will most likely also give me the best results in terms of muscle growth. I want to do this with a structured program that also gives a bit more attention to other lifts than SQ/B/DL alone. Ideally 3-4 days a week. But I’m lost between all the routines out there and would apprciate some advice. Eating/gaining weight isn’t the problem really, nowadays I can easily get down 1k calories of just plain chicken and rice… But I’d like it to be the right kind of weight I’m adding. Thanks.

Btw I’m working out in the garage. I have a squat rack, barbell, bench (flat/incline), weights up to 315 (including the bb), dip bar, pull-up bar, a plate loaded pulley (rows/pulldowns) and some dumbbells up to 45lbs.

Are you looking for muscle growth, strength, or maybe both?

EDIT:
I couldn’t see the forrest through the trees; you already answered this.

5/3/1 is never a bad way to go, but maybe you should give this a read.

Personally, I enjoy a bastardized Push/Pull/Legs where I train my powerlifts with 5x5’s and Rest-Pause for all assistance work, but this method loses its’ benefit of training density if only done 3-4 days per week.

Either way, read through the article and it might help you find something that fits your needs, and your goals. Any training program (that is professionally developed) will work so long as you apply effort; they just work better when you like them.

If you aren’t tracking your training, you are probably going to continue spinning your wheels with lower weight lifts. Track your training, Sets|Reps|Weight and you should be seeing a trend of increasing weight over the course of months.

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What other lifts do you want to be training?

Mostly just assistance and muscles that don’t really get worked with the big 3.
Compound: incline bench, OHP, rows (cable, bb or db), chin-up/pulldowns & bicep/tricep iso and some delts. As far as legs go, I’d like to focus more on strength (SQ/DL) rather than hypertrophy. My legs respond really well to training (always have - even when playing soccer), sadly my upper body doesn’t. So I’ll probably get the wanted hypertrophy out of SQs and DLs - I do not like bulky legs but they shouldn’t resemble stick figures either.

I think for your goals, @Christian_Thibaudeau’s high volume for natties program suits your needs pretty well.
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As I said before though, any program you look at and like will probably suit your needs and provide good results so long as you put in the effort.

Just run through T Nation programs over the course of the year. Anything by Thib as above, Dan John, Waterbury, Jim Wendler etc

From what you said, either of these would be a good start…

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