T Nation

New Member, Routine Questions


Hi, new member here. Reading a lot of stuff on the site and I think I came to the right place.

I joined for the purpose of getting some discussion on lifting routines. I've been lifting on and off for 4 years now, and think I'm ready to take it a bit more seriously.

I dont watch my diet at all, I drink a fair amount of beer, I take no supplements and dont have any gear aside from straps and wrist wraps. Also when Im in the gym, over the years my average time spent was maybe 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Oh, and cardio? I used to run long distance in track in high school, but atm I'm not entirely sure I could finish a 2 mile race.

The above being said, I still seem to be one of the stronger guys in all the gyms I've been to. I work hard in there, get done and get out. I also was under the impression that I work smart as well, but I'm seeing some disparity in lifting programs compared to mine.

I have been asked more than once: "what are you on?", and they look unconvinced when I say nothing. I tried creatine in high school wreslting because I was cutting massive weight and was willing to try anything, that didnt last, havent even touched protein since (though I eat enough of it anyhow).

Anyways, if I'm where I am now, maybe some good advice and I can be competitive? Who knows. Here is my current routine:

Day 1: Chest/Tris

warmup 135x10 (fast as I can pump em off)
315x2 (I used to go back down this pyramid at my peak, minus two reps each set: 295x2, 275x4, 245x6, etc. Was training for 225 reps at this time)

flat bench dumbbells, starting from the 'up' position, I lower them down slowly, 4 seconds, and explode up
4 sets of 80s to 100s for 8-10

After this I was typically done, sometimes Id do cable tricep pulldowns, or pec flies with dumbells or pushups.

Day 2: Legs

I haven't done em for a couple years, getting back into the swing:
3 sets of 275x5 (my peak here was about 455, should get back there fairly quickly)

Calf raises
I use a leg press machine for these, usually toss on 400-500 and do a few sets of 15-30. Inconsistent, I know

Leg curl machine
something like 5 sets of 8

Again, typically done here. I used to do some step-ups holding dumbbells and lunges. Also alternate deadlift with squat each week.

Day 3: Back/Bicep

Pull-ups (weighted)
body weight x 10
+25 x 8
+35 x 6
+45 x 4

I prefer doing single arm dumbbell rows leaning over a bench:
90x8 each arm
100x8 each arm
110x8 each arm
120x8 each arm
My gym only goes to 120, or Id like to do more here.

This typically ends this day, which is a lazy day. Sometimes Ill throw in some straight arm pulldowns or lat pulldowns with different grips

Day 4: Shoulder/ light chest&tri

Overhead dumbbell press
Im really tentative going over 100 with these, messed up my shoulder pretty bad with 120s.

Rear delt (reverse fly dumbbells)
3-4 sets of 30x8

Rotater circuits
picked this up from a guy I used to lift with who played college football, its basically a speed drill with 5 lb dumbbells for a total of 7 consecutive sets of 20, changing the grip or the motion each set. Usually pretty damn gassed after these.

If Im feeling lazy, short on time etc, Im done here. If not I throw in some incline bench or tricep pulldowns

After most days at the gym now Im trying to run for 20 minutes before Im done. Also trying to do more of the "optional" stuff listed at the end of each day. A lot of weeks I would definately not go 4 times a week, starting to get in there consistently 3-4 times a week now. If I miss a day its usually back/bi day.

I am 5'9", about 225. As far as calculating my maxes, I dont really know. Bench=350ish (24 reps of 225 if that means anything), squat will be around 450 shortly (not sure if I could do 315 just yet lol), deadlift is probly 450ish.

I dont really lift for maxes on anything else, which is why Im here. I want to hear advice for my routine to find/improve important lifts. Most of the workouts listed I see online are drastically different than mine, and someone out there has to know something I dont.

Any comments are welcome, although dont need anyone telling me to change my diet. I am well aware I eat like a moron for my goals, and intend to change that straight away. Plenty of awesome articles for that..

Thanks in advance..


Are you looking for a new routine? What exactly are you asking?


Thats a good question, I guess I wasnt clear on that. The answer is maybe. Obviously my routine works to some degree, but, can I do better? Do I need to spend more time overall, or can I simply work more efficiently (smarter routine)? Or Both?

The results Im looking for are something like, 2x body weight bp (will be dropping to ~200ish with a decent diet) and equivalent strength in other major lifts. Ultimately Im not even really sure what Im asking, other than the vague "How can I do better than Im doing now?" besides the obvious (eating better, getting to the gym consistantly, staying in the gym longer)


You may like Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program. Like what you do now, it focuses on the big lifts, generally has 1 main lift for 6 sets including warmup, two accessory lifts generally for 5 sets each (and they can often be done as a super-set), and then leave (or do conditioning). It can be done 3 days/week. You can get a good description of the program at http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_build_pure_strength and you can buy the book. The powerlifting forums have an extended thread discussing the program.


"Wendler disagrees. "I wasn't strong at all," he says. "I could waddle up to the monolift and squat, but I couldn't do anything else. Really, all I could do was squat, bench, and deadlift."

Now happily retired from powerlifting at age 34, and 50 pounds lighter, he has different aspirations: "I want be able to do a bunch of different activities and still kick ass in the weight room. I want to be as mobile, flexible, strong, and in as good a condition as I possibly can. That's how I came up with 5/3/1."

This kinda sums up how I feel, to a lesser degree. I cant waddle up and squat 1k lol. Ill check out the thread, thanks