T Nation

Personal Routine

hi guys,

im a 21 year old lifter, been lifting for about 4 years, i started off making my own routines and then tried stronglifts 5x5 and 5/3/1 and got on really well with them, but i do enjoy following my own sort of hybrid of program.

my goals are basically the same as any other hormone fuelled lad, i want to get ridiculously strong and look it too.

im 5’5 and weigh 12st

im currently in my final year of university so training has been a little stop start this academic year and will likely be like that for the next few months, but i want to devise my own routine which i can focus on.

previous lifting stats include:
squat 135, 5x5;
deadlift 130, 1x5;
bench 105, 5x5;
oh press 65, 5x5.

however at the minute these are more likely:
squat 115 x 1
deadlift 115 x 1
bench 90 x 1
oh press 60 x 1

im thinking something like this 4xday/week split,

DEADLIFT
ab roll outs
hanging leg raise
reverse hyper extensions
chin ups
bicep curls
hammer curls

SQUAT
front squat
bulgarian split squat
hamstring curl

pull ups
BENCH
bor
inverted row
dips
db shoulder press

pull ups
OH PRESS
shrugs
face pulls
t bar row
db bench

this is what im considering at the minute, im trying to include some of my favourite exercises, but also include a variety of push pulls in a single workout. for set and rep schemes im thinking either 5/3/1 for the main lift (squat bench dead oh) or one of the suggested schemes here, probably the 7/5/3
http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/1806

i would be grateful of any knowledge you guys have, ive probably missed something out so if you need to know any more, of course ask me, but whatever you can do to improve, alter and help me out that would be great.

cheers Harvey.

Ok, just for us contrary types across the pond…are those lifts in kilos or pounds? And what is the conversion for stones?

A stone in British measurement is equal to 14 pounds
Since he did not use meters he should not be using kilos

Sorry lifts are in kilos,
12st is roughly 168 lbs or 76kg for comparison with the lifts
And 5’5 is 1m 67cm

[quote]BHappy wrote:
A stone in British measurement is equal to 14 pounds
Since he did not use meters he should not be using kilos[/quote]

It is quite normal (here) to use feet & inches for height and stone for bodyweight, along with kg for weight of the bar. Not terribly ‘correct’ but people here know what we mean when we do it. Its also common for someone to quote a distance to another city in miles (Very UNusual for them to use km) however, depending on the age of the person, just down the road would be a couple of hundred yards (older) or nearly 200m (younger).
I’ll bet you a few bob that we know what we mean!

Well this is an international website, if you choose to communicate with your own your are limiting yourself, IMO mate !

[quote]BHappy wrote:
Well this is an international website, if you choose to communicate with your own your are limiting yourself, IMO mate ![/quote]

I don’t think it’s a big deal, that’s why I asked for clarification :). Not the first time, I doubt it will be the last

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
hi guys,

im a 21 year old lifter, been lifting for about 4 years, i started off making my own routines and then tried stronglifts 5x5 and 5/3/1 and got on really well with them, but i do enjoy following my own sort of hybrid of program.

my goals are basically the same as any other hormone fuelled lad, i want to get ridiculously strong and look it too.

im 5’5 and weigh 12st

im currently in my final year of university so training has been a little stop start this academic year and will likely be like that for the next few months, but i want to devise my own routine which i can focus on.

previous lifting stats include:
squat 135, 5x5;
deadlift 130, 1x5;
bench 105, 5x5;
oh press 65, 5x5.

however at the minute these are more likely:
squat 115 x 1
deadlift 115 x 1
bench 90 x 1
oh press 60 x 1

im thinking something like this 4xday/week split,

DEADLIFT
ab roll outs
hanging leg raise
reverse hyper extensions
chin ups
bicep curls
hammer curls

SQUAT
front squat
bulgarian split squat
hamstring curl

pull ups
BENCH
bor
inverted row
dips
db shoulder press

pull ups
OH PRESS
shrugs
face pulls
t bar row
db bench

this is what im considering at the minute, im trying to include some of my favourite exercises, but also include a variety of push pulls in a single workout. for set and rep schemes im thinking either 5/3/1 for the main lift (squat bench dead oh) or one of the suggested schemes here, probably the 7/5/3
http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/1806

i would be grateful of any knowledge you guys have, ive probably missed something out so if you need to know any more, of course ask me, but whatever you can do to improve, alter and help me out that would be great.

cheers Harvey.

[/quote]

Well, I’m a bit conflicted here: It’s a good thing to experiment with setting up your own programs. You learn a lot that way, and I did that probably much before I should have. It helped me learn a ton. On the other hand, you’d probably be best served results wise by just continuing a set program written by a coach. If you want to get big and also be strong 5x5 and 5/3/1 are good choices, but if the question at hand is boredom being stuck with those programs for a long time, then change it up.

if you did do this program, alternate lower/upper. Squat, bench, Deadlift, OH press days.

I’d suggest two things: First, big movements go before less compound movements, so “shrugs and face pulls” should go at the end of the workout after “t-bar row and db bench”. Rule of thumb is always work big>small, compound>isolation, Explosive>max strength>hypertrophy>endurance (if any). Second, don’t do chins on deadlift day. You already have two days of chins there. You’re better off doing another compound hamstring/hip movement and putting it directly after the deadlifts, then adhering to the rule I just mentioned and finishing with biceps and abs (“small” or less draining movements. More muscles involved, or the more of a priority it is, the closer to the front it goes).

Add 1 ab movement on squat day.

Thanks for the first relevant response and I think you touched on my reasoning already, like I said I have already tried the 5x5 and 5/3/1 methods and i got good progress and enjoyed it, but there is something to be liked about creating your own program and experimenting slightly. Therefore I’ve kept the same core movements split like the 5/3/1 and will probably follow the set rep progression. It was the set up of the others I wanted advice on and you have a valid point about performing face pulls and shrugs after t bar rows that was just the way I wrote them down.

I want the routine to have a functionality to it, so that the main focus is strength gain in the deadlift, squat, bench and overhead press. However the rest of the moves I want to either add to the main lift or add an element of hypertrophy, that’s why I’ve included dumbbell equivalents for higher volume.

What’s your opinion on excercise selection, frequency, order?

Thanks for the first relevant response and I think you touched on my reasoning already, like I said I have already tried the 5x5 and 5/3/1 methods and i got good progress and enjoyed it, but there is something to be liked about creating your own program and experimenting slightly. Therefore I’ve kept the same core movements split like the 5/3/1 and will probably follow the set rep progression. It was the set up of the others I wanted advice on and you have a valid point about performing face pulls and shrugs after t bar rows that was just the way I wrote them down.

I want the routine to have a functionality to it, so that the main focus is strength gain in the deadlift, squat, bench and overhead press. However the rest of the moves I want to either add to the main lift or add an element of hypertrophy, that’s why I’ve included dumbbell equivalents for higher volume.

What’s your opinion on excercise selection, frequency, order?

Well, seeing as strength gain is your primary (you’ll still get a lot bigger if you eat for it though), it may have been a better choice to post this in the powerlifting forum so as not to offend bodybuilder sensibilities here :slight_smile: but I think we will be ok for the moment.

Selection is not bad. The question for you is really, “does this exercise address a weakness of mine, or is it there because I LIKE it?”. They’re all quality exercises. I have no idea what “bor” on your Bench day means.

Frequency, I think as I said before you should drop chins from deadlift day and only do them twice a week. they take up space that could be better used for bringing up your deadlift. I think your ab roll-outs/leg raises would be better done on squat day. Do 2 assistance hamstring/hip dominant movements on Deadlift day, then finish biceps and one ab exercise (you can run them as a tripile set if you like to save time, often people I train do this).

Squat day looks good. You can also switch front squats first then lead into back squats–the advantage to this is that you can’t typically do as much on the front squats as you can on the back squat, so you can use them as a “warm-up” for back squats to get your back and quads firing. Example, work up to a conservative 5 or 3RM front squat, then use the SAME weight, and start your back squat work to work up to a top weight. I find this works really well. But you can also do it like you have it written and that is perfectly fine with its own benefits. Personal choice really.

I like pull-ups after bench or OH press instead of before, but that’s just me. If they are light for you, it’s all good. However if your primary goal is big strength in the pressing, then you need to avoid fatiguing your lats before using them on bench and overhead press so you should put the chins second. I like dumbbell rows more than inverted bodyweight rows personally. Your mileage may vary. Other than that looks fine layout wise. Frequency is fine. Again, advise you to go Squat day, bench, deadlift, oh press in the week. Or DL, bench, Squat, OH press.

That’s decent advise ok, bor is bent over row, thought it would counteract the bench pressing.

Il drop the chins, would you suggest perhaps Romanian deadlifts for the other hip hinge movement and a hamstring curl?

I will work the days overhead press, squat, deadlift ,bench

I like what you’ve said about the squat order, il implement that! I may make the chane with the pull ups as well, seems logical not to want to fatigue the last before the main lift!

The reason I posted in the bodybuilding section is that I was interested in how you guys order your routines and although strength is my main goal I really do want a size component and that’s what I want the other exercises to achieve.

Thanks for the advice so far

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
That’s decent advise ok, bor is bent over row, thought it would counteract the bench pressing.

Il drop the chins, would you suggest perhaps Romanian deadlifts for the other hip hinge movement and a hamstring curl?

I will work the days overhead press, squat, deadlift ,bench

I like what you’ve said about the squat order, il implement that! I may make the chane with the pull ups as well, seems logical not to want to fatigue the last before the main lift!

The reason I posted in the bodybuilding section is that I was interested in how you guys order your routines and although strength is my main goal I really do want a size component and that’s what I want the other exercises to achieve.

Thanks for the advice so far [/quote]

No worries. There are plenty of big powerlifters too, they just don’t typically care to clean their diet up and lean up like bodybuilders lol. The ones who have might not win any competitive bb contests, but they look stacked and good from a normal audience standpoint (look up Dave Gulledge)

Bent over rows are good, I just wasn’t aware you were abbreviating them. I like dumbbell rows more, personally, but they’re all good.

Do not do the 2 leg days back to back. That was the whole point of my ordering the days like I did. You really think you’re going to be able to pull hard 48 hours after squatting your guts out? Noooo.

You’re already doing hamstring curls on squat day, leave them on that day. You can do Romanian Deadlift, Snatch grip deadlift, good mornings, or rack pulls from the knee as your second exercise, and either do natural glute ham raises (lots of places to look up how to set them up) or pull-throughs or weighted glute bridges as your 3rd. Or you could do all three big movements, like so:

Deadlift
Rack pull
Good morning

Or:

Deadlift
Snatch grip deadlift
good morning

Or:

Deadlift
Good morning
glute ham raise OR pull throughs OR weighted glute bridges

Basically doing 3 big movements is great, and so is doing 2 big ones an “isolation” movement. Not a true isolation movement, but it’s an accessory movement that’s much less draining than the big ones. I’ve used all of the layouts here, and a bunch more. Basically you can make a kickass deadlift day out of all of them. A favorite of mine is Deadlift, Rack pull, good morning.

Of course I hadn’t thought that through very well!

Il try out your suggestion of deadlift, rack pull and good morning.

How would you emphasise the set rep schemes for each lift? I’m thinking keep the main core lifts 5/3/1 style and then increasing the volume down through the tier…
Example
Front squat 10,8,6,4 warm up to back squat
Squat 5/3/1
Split squat 3x12?
Hamstring curls 3x15
Ab work
Etc

Thanks Aragorn

[quote]hmorcom wrote:
Of course I hadn’t thought that through very well!

Il try out your suggestion of deadlift, rack pull and good morning.

How would you emphasise the set rep schemes for each lift? I’m thinking keep the main core lifts 5/3/1 style and then increasing the volume down through the tier…
Example
Front squat 10,8,6,4 warm up to back squat
Squat 5/3/1
Split squat 3x12?
Hamstring curls 3x15
Ab work
Etc

Thanks Aragorn[/quote]

No problem buddy!

Yes, vary the rep ranges through the workout. The specific ranges depend on what you want to emphasize, but I really don’t like going above 12. I view anything above 10 with suspicion, and anything at 15 or more as useless for muscle growth :wink: (onlookers don’t kill me, this is a overstated and generalized rule of thumb for beginners, I like my Kroc Rows and drop sets!). Or stated another way, the vast majority of your training should be done at 12 or less reps. Exercises like rack pulls are excellent for between 3-8 reps, but don’t do them for less reps than your main 5/3/1 exercise: bad example–deadlift to 5RM, rack pull to 3RM. Again not set in stone, but say 90% of your training days should follow that rule. 1-2 out of 10 training days can be different. Rack pulls are NOT good for singles in general–they will not carry over to full deadlift that way because of the shortened range of motion. If you’re competing in Strongman and they have a partial deadlift max event, then that’s when you start Rack pulls for max weight singles :slight_smile:

General rule: 1-5 for mostly strength, although 5 is good for growth too… 6-8 for size with some extra strength gains… 8-10+ for size with no real big gains in strength, but gains in work capacity (ability to tolerate extra volume). In addition, isolation exercises and single leg exercises can be done for higher reps for more work on the small stabilizer muscles. The last exercises in a training session are “usually” done for more than 8 reps in order to train work capacity as well as size gains.

Main exercise at 5/3/1 is a good idea. Built in periodization, heavy weight, strength building. Excellent idea. The only caveat I would say here is do NOT pyramid your reps like you have listed. I would simply do 5, 5, 5, 5,…or 5, 5, 3, 3, 3…up on front squat until you get to your conservative front squat max, then just switch over. —> you’ve done 5/3/1, take the same approach to lifting! No pyramiding, save your juice for the heaviest sets like any self respecting powerlifter. Don’t go over 5 reps unless it’s the bar or 135 lbs lol.

So your example would be:

Front squat: 5, 5, 5, 5…to back squat on 5 week, on 3 week drop to triples after the first couple sets warm-up
Back squat 5/3/1
Split squat 4x 8-10
Hamstring curl 3-4x 8-12

Deadlift 5/3/1
Rack pull 3-4 x 5-8 working weight sets (this one does not count warm-ups or “feeler” sets)
Good morning 3-4 x 8-10. Low back typically needs endurance work according to Dr. McGill, so higher reps are appropriate too.

The same would work in reverse…if good mornings are your second exercise, you work them heavy for strength (5 reps), and finish with rack pulls for heavy reps of 8-10. First two exercises of any day are done heavier than the others.

This is great I can’t thank you for the time and advice enough! Its all well and good just going to the gym with your mates and all trying to get stronger and pack on muscle, but its good to actually get some pointers from someone with a bit of knowledge. Thanks aragorn I’ll take what you’ve suggested and put it into action!

Give it a few months and I’ll be back pestering you for more advice haha

Happy lifting bro!