T Nation

Newbie Program Advice?

Hey so I’ve been a fan/user of T-Nation for a few years now, I’ve used a number of training programs that I found here and some from other places, but I have finally come to a point where I want to put my own program together :slight_smile:

I’ve been using the gym for about 4 years, discovered T-Nation about 2 years ago and have since been working on my technique (I hope I’m in the advanced category now).
I’m currently 22 years old, weigh around 83kg (~180lbs), 186cm (~6"1 foot) tall and have around 15% body fat.
My aim is to get about 90kg (~200lbs) and so I can apply for the city fire brigade which would require some fitness later…
The plan so far is bulk like crazy and then do some shaping/cutting later, so basically I am eating everything I see with the addition of a couple of protein shakes in there.

My workout is as follows:

Day 1 (Monday) - Chest & Biceps
Incline barbell bench (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Flat dumbbell press (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Dumbbell Upper curls (3x5) - 2 minute rest
Hammer Lower Curls (3x5) - 2 minute rest
Flies (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Cable Full Bicep Curls (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 2 (Tuesday) - Quads, Calves & Triceps
Squat (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Arnold press (5x5) - 3 minute rest
machine Calf Leg Press (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Machine Leg Extensions (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Tri Pull downs (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 3 (Thursday) - Back & Traps
Seated row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Lat pull down (behind head) (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Narrow grip lat pulldown (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Bent barbell row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Upright row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Motorbike (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 4 (Friday) - Hamstring & Shoulder
Dead lift (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Shoulder swing (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Hamstring curls (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Rear delt extension (5x5) - superset
Hamstring bends (5x5) - superset

I’m loading everything up with as much weight as I can take for 5 reps and resting only long enough to catch my breath.

Could anyone offer some comment on my program? Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

[quote]nickgornall wrote:
Hey so I’ve been a fan/user of T-Nation for a few years now, I’ve used a number of training programs that I found here and some from other places, but I have finally come to a point where I want to put my own program together :slight_smile:

I’ve been using the gym for about 4 years, discovered T-Nation about 2 years ago and have since been working on my technique (I hope I’m in the advanced category now).
I’m currently 22 years old, weigh around 83kg (~180lbs), 186cm (~6"1 foot) tall and have around 15% body fat.
My aim is to get about 90kg (~200lbs) and so I can apply for the city fire brigade which would require some fitness later…
The plan so far is bulk like crazy and then do some shaping/cutting later, so basically I am eating everything I see with the addition of a couple of protein shakes in there.

My workout is as follows:

Day 1 (Monday) - Chest & Biceps
Incline barbell bench (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Flat dumbbell press (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Dumbbell Upper curls (3x5) - 2 minute rest
Hammer Lower Curls (3x5) - 2 minute rest
Flies (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Cable Full Bicep Curls (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 2 (Tuesday) - Quads, Calves & Triceps
Squat (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Arnold press (5x5) - 3 minute rest
machine Calf Leg Press (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Machine Leg Extensions (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Tri Pull downs (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 3 (Thursday) - Back & Traps
Seated row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Lat pull down (behind head) (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Narrow grip lat pulldown (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Bent barbell row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Upright row (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Motorbike (5x5) - 2 minute rest

Day 4 (Friday) - Hamstring & Shoulder
Dead lift (5x5) - 3 minute rest
Shoulder swing (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Hamstring curls (5x5) - 2 minute rest
Rear delt extension (5x5) - superset
Hamstring bends (5x5) - superset

I’m loading everything up with as much weight as I can take for 5 reps and resting only long enough to catch my breath.

Could anyone offer some comment on my program? Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated :)[/quote]

One simple answer re: your routine - http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/2_big_mistakes

"The real coup de grace, and what I want every so-called “hard gainer” reading to soak up, is that when it comes to adding mass to your frame you need to make your workouts as efficient and productive as possible, and as such, “chest day” is not the way to go. Nor is arm day, leg day, or middle deltoid day.

In fact, as fellow coach, Bret Contreras, summed up nicely in a recent conversation he and I had, “The vast majority of pro bodybuilders recommend that beginners (and even intermediate) lifters do three full-body workouts per week to gain a strength base before splitting things up.”

Moreover, he noted that “the more frequently you can perform a lift during your first couple of years of training, the more progress you’ll probably see. Bodypart splits aren’t ideal for building strength, which is what most people who bulk need to focus on. Once the strength and mass are there, then it’s time to split, but the vast majority of lifters never build up strength.”

What are your max deadlift/squat/bench/pull up numbers? Unless these are really impressive, I doubt your plan will be optimal.

You don’t have to stick to the same rep scheme across the board. 5x5 biceps curls and upright rows are probably not the best idea. If you are focused on strength gains but also want some mass you may benefit from looking at 5/3/1 with either the bodybuilding template or big but boring.

[quote]nickgornall wrote:
I’ve been using the gym for about 4 years, discovered T-Nation about 2 years ago and have since been working on my technique (I hope I’m in the advanced category now). [/quote]
What kind of weight are you using for your sets of 5 on the basic lifts - squat, deadlift, barbell row, flat bench press, shoulder press?

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

You’re underweight, so you definitely need plenty of calories, but you’re not exactly lean, so you do have to keep an eye on gaining too much fat. Weigh yourself once a week (with an empty stomach, first thing in the morning after using the bathroom); you shouldn’t be gaining more than 3 or 4 pounds, tops, each week. Bulking like crazy and eating everything you see is a pretty good way to pork up without adding significant muscle.

I agree with the guys above, your routine needs serious improvement. You’d be much better off sticking to a program from the archives for a few months. There are dozens to choose from, it almost doesn’t matter which one, just stick to a plan for several months without interruption. 5/3/1, as mentioned, would be a solid choice.

Not that it matters because your program has to change anyway, but out of curiosity, are you resting “only long enough to catch your breath” or are you resting according to the precise rest times you wrote originally?

Resting only to catch your breath while doing 5x5 is kind of defeating the purpose. 5x5 is border lining on power rep range, meaning adequate rest is needed to regenerate the ATP. Why not try a 3x8 or a 4x8/3x10 rep range with low rest. Maintain the 5x5 on all core lifts or even switch to 3x3. The hormonal response from heavy core lifts will carry over to benefit all other exercises and provide test/growth hormone needed to gain weight.

Chris Colucci gave me this article to read (this is part II, but Part I is linked in the same article.)

I think points 10 and 11 are relevant to you (as are all of them, but I saw you talking about rest a lot):