T Nation

Need Program Feedback


Honestly, I hate to make a post like this (especially right after Marzouk did it) because I'm sure you're all sick of this type of thing - plus it's self-serving and too specific for a forum (it can only help me and not everyone reading). That being said, I have nowhere else to turn for feedback, CERTAINLY not the tiny-ass trainers at my gym. Seriously I don't think they have one 200-lb guy there. And none of my friends lift.

I designed a 5-day split (fits my schedule) and want to know if anyone can give it just a quick once-over and see if there are any glaring omissions or imbalances (i.e. if I trained biceps 4 times and chest once).

Day 1 - Deads/Vert Pull
ME: Deadlift
Straight Arm Cable Pulldown or Hammer Strength Iso-Pulldown Machine
Barbell Curls
Hammer Curls
Calves Exercise

Day 2 - Chest/Tri
ME: BB Bench Press
Incline DB Press
Overhead DB Tri Extension
Tri Pushdown

Day 3 - Legs (Quad Dominant)
ME: Front Squats
Continue to Back Squats, ramped (starting at weight I finished on FSs)
Close-stance Lunges / RDLs (supersetted)
Leg Extensions, Lying Leg Curls (supersetted)

Day 4 - Horiz Pulls
ME: Hang Clean
T-bar Row
Elbows-in DB Row
Face Pulls

Day 5 - Shoulders
ME: Standing BB Overhead Press
High-incline DB Press
Front Raises
Lateral Raises
Calves x 2

Might ditch the front raises for another lateral head movement. Also worth mentioning that I know my leg day looks very quad dominant, but I get a lot of hammy activation in my back squats.

Criticism welcome.


This is a collection of exercises not a program. 'ME'? are you planning on doing 5 max effort days a week? I'm thinking you're unsure what this terminology mean. Anyways, not a big deal.

What are your goals OP? Where are your lifts at now? What are your stats? Have you looked at other preplanned programs? Answer these and you'll get some useful help.


Yeah, I was unaware - by ME I meant Main Exercise.

My lift numbers are dogcrap. I've been lifting for 3 years with little gain and just recently got serious. I lost 25lbs over 2-3 months while maintaining most of my strength on a fat loss phase, I'm now about 6'3 190lbs at 12-14% bf and my goal is to pack on muscle for the foreseeable future now that I'm in halfway decent shape. I know I will gain some of that fat back, I don't care...I'm not one of those ab freaks.

I've looked at Starting Strength and 5/3/1 (though I lost the link to 5/3/1 and the article search isn't working -- I'd like to look at it again). I like starting strength it just has so little variety.

For my main exercises I do ramping sets of 3 (with a goal of ~8 total sets). Most recently I maxed out on Bench at 210x2, Front Squat at 235x3, Deadlift at 255x3 (grip gave out, gonna switch from overhand to alternating next time). I can post set/rep scheme for each lift individually, I just felt like the more in depth I got the less likely people would be to read through it.

Generally my off days are after Day 2 and Day 5


As far as nutrition goes, I keep a pretty detailed (ok, anal) food log. My calories got pretty low by the end of my fat loss phase so I've spent the last 2 weeks at 2800 kcal/day to readjust to maintenance calories. I'll bump it up to 3200 or so next week, see how my body reacts and adjust it accordingly (every other week or so).


Usually when people say 'ME' on lifting forums they're going to be referring to Westside Barbell terminology, meaning Max Effort, which is working up to 1-3 rep max on a different variation of the powerlifts every week in that specific program. fyi

You're definitely on the right track, your strength levels aren't bad at all for someone who's only been training seriously for a few months.

Do you have a weight goal? Not sure where you live but here it's winter time and I always set a goal weight for myself every 'bulking season', that helps me get stronger faster and keeps me from changing my mind all the time. I imagine you're pretty lean right now and you said you're not too anal about your abs showing which is a good aptitude for a weightlifter within reason.

As far as programming, have you looked at madcow 5x5? Very good program for someone at your level, similar to starting strength but with more exercises. 531 would also be a good choice. To be honest I wish I would have used one of these programs and just focused on form when I was starting out, I'd be alot farther along by now. I actually think 531 would probably suit you since you can program your own assistance work and you seem to want to do that to some extent.

Little things I see right now:

-putting biceps on deadlift day is a bad idea. Personally I think deadlift day is a good day to amp up the hamstring glute and posterior chain work.

-I've actually done the back squats after fronts thing, felt not too bad but looking back I wish I would have just picked one and focused on cleaning up my form. Nowadays I like to either do back squats and then beltless fronts as assistance, or just fronts. After the main exercise it's all about working the muscle anyways, I wouldn't hesitate to change that setup if you're feeling tired one day.

-On chest day I would get rid of flies, but that's just me.

Good luck, hope that helps


It does, thanks for the feedback. I will google madcow when I get a chance.

Yeah I flip flopped ten times on whether to have DLs on a back or legs day. At the end of the day I decided just to pick one and start doing it, and if I don't like it I'll switch it up later. It's more important to just start lifting than to have the perfect plan before your first trip to the gym.


Looks fine. I would add a direct hamstring excercise tho.


That's what the RDLs and leg curls are for. Or did you mean on deadlift day?