T Nation

Opinion on This Plan

Yo, I’m quite new to bodybuilding (3 months of active training) and I’ve done tons of research about it. Recently I started thinking whether I change my program often enough, so I came up with this idea;

(Mon: Chest/Bicep, Tue: Legs, Ab Thu: Shoulder/Tricep, Fri: Back, Ab)

Making 3 “versions” of my current program and cycle them every 4 weeks. For instance:

Bench Press 4x
Incline Bench Press DB 4x
Cable Crossover 3x

Bench Press DB 4x
Incline Bench Press 4x
DB Flies 3x

Incline Bench Press DB 4x
Bench Press 4x
Incline DB Flies 3x

I hope I got the names right

As far as rep range goes, first two exercises are 8-10 and the third about 12-15.

So, does this provide enough variation to my routine?

Particularly this new, you do not need to do that sort of cycling at all. Seriously. Just get a basic lifting program with big compound lifts (something like Starting Strength, 5x5, Wendler’s 5/3/1), and just hit the weights hard increasing the weight on the bar often. I think most folks would, like me, suggest just using a set lifting routine that a good coach made instead of needlessly making your own stuff up.

In favor of using one of these programs, at least starting stregnth and 5/3/1 have extensive discussion threads here so you could get a lot of help and feedback doing those. Wendler himself even pops into the 5/3/1 thread to answer some questions, but even when he doesn’t there are a lot of experienced and knowledgeable guys there.

The vast majority of folks, and particularly beginners, do not need to cycle in a mess of different angles and implements – just get stronger (adding weight or reps) on the bench, overhead press, squat, deadlift, row and pullup. Even German Volume Training focuses on 10 sets of 10 on things like bench, row and leg press.

If you want something that cycles a lot, I guess I would get “New Rules of Lifting” by Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler, as it uses big compound lifts but they have good periodization plans to change in different lifts and rep/set schemes. West Side for Skinny Bastards III would also have you cycle in different lifts, and that programs has the advantage of being free. There are also many solid programs pointed to in the sticked threads in these (beginners) forums.

Lastly, if you want to do what you have suggested, I would suggest at least keeping one of your lifts (for chest, bench press) always the same. Just always start with bench and cycle the other exercises however you see fit, but keeping the first lift the same will better allow you to track whether you are getting stronger and how the other lifts may be affecting your stregnth.