T Nation

Newbie Looking for a Program


Hey guys, I recently moved to a new city and with a new start I want to get serious about training. I've worked out before but never with a plan. So I would like to ask the advice of some of you who are more experienced on what I should do.

The first problem I have is a chest/back imbalance. When I was a teenager I used to do loads of pushups but nothing else, which left my back completely useless.(I can do 30 pushups but only 5 pullups) I now have upper back pains regularly, so the first priority is to fix that.

The second problem which I heard also contributed to back pain is weak shoulders (please confirm the truthless of this)

So what should I do guys? Should I build up a workout programme which involves around back and shoulders? What would a programme look like?

Thanks, Minty.


P.s. stats:

age: 20
height: 5'10
weight: 160lb






I'm not a doctor so I've no idea what would fix this. In any case, I can do 30 push ups and 0 pull ups. And I practically never do bench press and train my back a lot more lol. These exercizes are more about bodyweight than anything.

First off, its not that your back is weak, you are weak EVERYWHERE.

rows and deadlifts will build your back a lot. overhead press alternated with bench press will build up your shoulders.

The general idea is to start with 'starting strength' or some '5x5 stronglifts beginner' program

Since the programs on their own say you should start with very low weight and add every time, they shouldn't hurt you. If you do one of them and start feeling pain in your back then make a post about it.(btw you WILL feel pain doing ANY decent program. Personally my knees hurt pretty much almost all the time. It's hard to try and figure out which one is/could lead to an injury and which one is just some passing pain that you should ignore. Maybe your pain is just some passing pain. I've had pains on my neck. Squatting fixed it.)


Thanks for the reply lordstorm, I've already checked out 5x5 and wanted to start it, however, I wasn't sure if I should be doing any benching as suggested in the programme as I don't want to work on my chest even more to create more imbalance.

I've had the back pain for about 3 years now, unfortunately not passing pain. :frowning:



your chest isn't exactly massive, either. your back will catch up. just work everything you have got as hard as you can and things should come right. starting strength is a good one, but there are other similarly good ones out there, too. just pick something and work hard. eat, too.


Imbalances like these aren't really a problem. And I'm very skeptical that your pain may be from such an imbalance.

Imbalances are more trouble when its left to right rather than front to back. These are much harder to correct and more likely to result in an injury.

The thing about a program like 5x5 is that it will fix "imbalances" anyway because if something is stronger it will stall first.

I think more than likely if the problem is muscular then rather than an imbalance, its just that you aren't strong enough. My neck pain wasn't an imbalance, I just didn't have the strength to keep it upright. Same with posture. Now that my back is much stronger its so easy to keep proper posture when walking or sitting


can you be more specific about your upper back pain? how is your internal / external shoulder rotation? most people can do more push-ups than pull-ups. remember that in push-ups some of your weight is supported by your feet whereas in pull-ups that isn't the case.