T Nation

Noob! New Plan for Strength.


Okay Christmas last year I got a pretty generous gift in the form of a benchpress and a shitload of free weights, since then I've been mucking about with them and over the months I've gone from ridiculously skinny (Think Meaty_Ass's "before" photo) to skinny but stronger.

Recently started Uni and paid up to join the gym there, been going for the past few weeks, 3 days a week and havent really had a plan, anyway to get to the point, I came up with this for a workout routine:

3 sets - 8 Reps - 95Kg

Benchpress & Incline Benchpress
3 sets - 8 Reps - 70Kg

Lateral Pulldown
3 sets - 8 Reps - 50KG

3 sets - 8 Reps - 60KG

One Arm Rows
3 sets - 8 Reps - 16KG

Tricep Pulldown
3 sets - 8 Reps - 20KG

I usually start and finish with about 12 pullups (Or however many I can squeeze out)What do you think? That's 3 days a week lasting a little over an hour, I don't know whether thats too little, too much, or just all the wrong excercises.
I'm aiming to build mainly strength, any muscle gains are purely an added bonus.


Not bad for coming up with it on your own, but you need more lower body exercises. Read up on Waterbury's Total Body Training and give that a shot.


Squat and deadlifts are missing.


You should be able to leg press way more than bench, arm and shoulder press should be higher than bench also, you shoulod row like twice that since your bench, so work on those, and work on squats and DL. your lifts are ODD... lol


I could probably up my Legpress and Rows, as for the shoulderpress, 60kg kills me, maybe I'm not doing it right. I'll take a look at the proper method before I head to the gym again. Squats are something that I've only tried once or twice, I'll incorporate them into the routine too, especially since reading the most recent article on "Yer wheels"

Any suggestions for what I do on off days? I won't have access to everything there 4 days a week, is 3 days enough to build up strength effectively?



Not really.

I would advise you to start learning to use free weights more.

At first, use very low weights (e.g. only the bar) until you've got a good feeling for the movement.

Machines are not bad or anything and certainly have their place, especially in recovery and isolation/compound supersets, but basing a whole program on machines will be inferior to a program based on free weights.

In addition, you should devote 50% of your training time to 50% of your muscles, and you lack any hip dominant exercise (Deadlifts !) and leg flexion.

3 Days training is great, especially when you do a 'real' TBW program.

Do Deadlifts, some sort of Squat, Bench, and some sort of row/chin-/pullup, and some overhead pressing 3x week :slightly_smiling:

If you're really only looking for strength (-> increasing 1Rep max) and not care about adding mass, you should do one warmup set and lower the reps for your working sets (and add weight accordingly) (e.g. 8x3)


incorporate'' squats? They should be the FOUNDATION of a strength program. deadlifts too. also i would increase the number of sets and drop the average number of reps to 6


On your days off, you just need to eat and rest. That's it. Since I'm guessing you are a beginner at this, 3 days, with the right lifts, will get you started. (ex: Deadlift, Squat, Bench...)


If I were you I would cut the legpress out completely and just squat.


OK, ditch the leg press, it's a waste of time, especially with a three day program. If you really want to start gaining some size you gotta start putting some weight on your back (squat).

Also, if you are benching 70kg already (good considering your size and time training) you should definitely be rowing more than 16 kg. I would say at the least 25-30.

And if you can do 12 pull ups at the end of your workout why the hell are you doing lat pull downs with less than your body weight for 8 reps? Ditch those, tie some weight around your waist and start building up your weighted pull ups and you'll see some growth for sure.

Wow, 60kg shoulder presses for 8 reps already eh? Your shoulders must be as big as your lats! If you're using a machine, don't. Start doing standing military presses with dbs or a barbell, and watch yourself grow.

With the bench and military presses, you can ditch the tricep work all together in my opinion.

Oh, and your looking for size? Deadlift.

I personally would train 4 days/week, but that's me. If I were you with 3 days I would do it like this:
(go until you can do the high reps good, then up the weight, drop the reps, and up the sets, for example-bench press 4 sets for 4 reps with 72.5kg until you can do 3set for 5 reps, and finally 2 sets for 7-8, when you can do 2 sets with perfect form for 8 reps, bump the weight to 75kg and start with 4x4 again and so on)

Week 1
bench press-4(sets)x4(reps), 3x5, or 2x7-8
one arm row-4x4, 3x5, 2x7-8
squats-6x4, 5x5, 4x6, 3x8

Wednesday: WORKOUT B
military press-4x4, 3x5, 2x7-8
weighted pull ups-5x3, 4x4, 3x5
DEADLIFTS-8x3, 6x4, 5x5, 4x6


Week 2
Monday: B

Wednesday: A

Friday: B

Week 3
Monday: A

and so on

If you were to do 4 days use the same rotation and lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

after a few weeks you can change the order of the exercises if you want, also - even though this volume is less than your original program, you may find it to be a bit much for you, squats and deadlifts are much more demanding than anything you've got right now, but they're also gonna put more muscle on you than anything as well.

Anyway, I'm no pro, but in my opinion this would be a great start for a beginner. Train hard, but remember, no matter how hard you train, how many days, whatever, it all means jack shit if you're not eatin good. Everything you need to know is right here on T-Nation. Good luck!


Thanks for the pretty in depth reply Danian, I'll give the weighted pullups and whatnot a try next time I'm in the gym.

Happened to read this before I headed there this morning, I felt preeeetty ridiculous with 45KG squats, so I reckon I'll just use the dumbells until I can lift some real weight. And the One armed rows really were piss easy, I tried it with 26KG today when I went in and managed just fine.

Cheers for the help, I'll keep a record of my progress in my profile just to see how things are coming along.


Get used to the bar on your back, even an empty bar. Put the weight up slowly but steadily. Don't worry about what you look like. You're already ahead of 90% of the rest just by squating in the first place. Concentrate on keeping you lower back tight and arched and getting your ass down low.

If you have a barbell at home, you might just want to cash in your gym membership and buy some squat racks, a power rack would be better, but you can do it all with a barbell, squat racks and a bench.



Good luck bro