T Nation

Please Critique My Routine!


Im 21, 186 lbs, 5'8", been lifting for 8 months now. Finished Stronglifts 5x5, and now planning on moving on to a different program. This is the first program that I made.
Im lifting primarily to become stronger overall.

My current best is:
Squat: 320
Bench: 145
DL: 330

Day 1: Squat Day

Squat 3x10
Squat on bench: 3 x 6
Good Morning: 3 x 8
Chin ups: 3 sets to failure
Leg Press: 2 x 8
Standing Crunch: 2 x 8
Leg Ups: 2 x 8

(The second exercise is sort of like a box squat, only using a bench, since i havent found a suitable thing to use in place of a box)

Day 2: Bench Press Day
Bench Press 3 x 10
Close Grip Bench Press 2 x 8
Seated OHP 2 x 10
Skullcrushers 2 x 8
Pull ups: 3 sets to failure
Pushdowns: 2 x 8
Ab Rollouts: 5 x 3

Day 3: Deadlift day
Deadlift 4 x 5
SLDL 3 x 8
Weighted Chin ups 10 x 3
Suitcase DL 2 x 5
Reverse Curl 3 x 8
Rack Pull 6 x 3

I plan on doing this one for the first 4 weeks, then changing the accessory exercises and dropping the volume and up the intensity.

Here's what I plan to do:

Week----Percent of 1RM
5----75 to 80 (decrease volume)
6----80 to 90
7----85 to 95

I havent decided yet what accessory exercises to do after week 4, which I feel is a minor concern in comparison to the program as a whole.

If you guys see something off or something that can be improved upon, please feel free to comment on it.

Id appreciate the feedback!


I think that squat day should be your last lift because your bench should be first. Also, cut out chins and lower the reps, this si the strenght sports collum and if I was you Id not do more than preps of 6 after you warm up, and do a whole diffrent day for overhead press, that can be a whole nother workourt.

On your deadlift day, do more of the lat and back accessories work, but still do more deadlift sets! Maybe use the 4x5 as working sets. sorry I wrote so much. Last though, do sit ups and ab rollers like you have, those are movements that build strength


i dont even know where to begin with this advice...


think about it, his squat is high, while his bench sucks. focus on your weak body part in the beginning of the week. and I actually screwd up, do chins, but not every day. I do still belive that you need heavy sit ups suck as roman chair sit ups and lots of sit ups on a glute ham raise or something like that, thats my opinion, why dont you give him some advice....


I think you could handle a 5x5 routine like starr's, stronglifts, or reg parks. The increased volume seems to be something that you could handle right now and would prob benefit you.


A lot of people get really excited about writing their own routine so they write it all out and then post it on here asking for a critique. My question is, at your level, why write your own? There are so many great programs out there, just choose one of them and follow it.

The best thing for really strong people to do is figure out what works for them and do it, but for people on a level more like yours or mine it better to just follow what is proven to work. I would suggest you try something like Stronglifts 5x5, Wendlers 5/3/1, or Westside for Skinny Bastards.




Not only that, but this kind of stuff is not gonna work in real life. There's a ton of compound exercises every day for a number of hard sets each (provided the warm-ups aren't included). In real life, 2-3 big exercises for 1 or 2 hard sets will leave you wiped and is more than enough to get you stronger. You can add back some small-time exercises when progress starts slowing down...


Bro no offense but stick with proven programs. I've been lifting serious for two years and havent found any reason to come up with my own program. There are so many that you can easily go from one to another for at least 3 years without ever having to do one twice. last year i started with a 5x5 program took a light two weeks then did the squats and milk program. After that i did sheiko then Joe Defrancos west side variation.
Stay with whats proven and leave the make your own program to the crazy advanced guys.


haha i guess i just said what VikingsAD28 said....... Guess i should read all the posts before opening my mouth haha


Point well taken.

Ive done Stronglifts 5x5 for the last 6 months (the 1st two months were spent with no direction.)
I'm actually looking for variety. Ive been seeing Wendler's 5/3/1 program being talked about here and there, but I cant seem to find a comprehensive source of info on it.

As for the WS4SB, I noticed it was 4 days per week workout. Can it be adapted for a 3 days/week workout?


1) You could just buy the book at www.elitefs.com

2) Yes. WS4SB III has an Upper Body ME day, a Lower Body ME day, an Upper Body RE, and a Lower Body DE (plyos, jump squats...); you can ditch the latter if you're not interested in athletic performance.


If you go to joe defranco's page hwe has numerous ways of breaking down the WS4SB. I Believe the original set up was:

Mon. - max effort upper body
Weds. - lower body
Fri. - repetition upper body


For the most part everyones giving you pretty solid advice here. You're young, both from an age and a fitness/strength standpoint so now is not the time to be fancy but just grow strong. I hear questions like yours often, my undergrad is a BS in Exercise Phys w/ a focus in youth power development and my MS is in Recreational Sports, so guys like you are who I had in mind when I was going to school and still my most fun clients to work with. I'll give you two options and do what you like but i suggest either: stick with your 5x5 but add to them
Mon, Wed, Fri
Incline Bench
Wide Grip Row
Standing Overhead Press
All of these with a BB and using progressive overload, don't worry about percentages of lifts you're not there yet, just make sure that unless you can hit all 25 reps at your given weights than don't try to go heavier the next workout, that means even if you miss one rep keep your weights where they were the workout before, this gives your body a chance to grow at a progressive rate.
As a warmup and cooldown do three rounds of Wide Grip Pull Ups, push Ups, and Dips to failure with 30 seconds between each movement. That's option A

Workout 2
Agonist/Antagonist Workout
It seems that you want to keep your workouts to 3 days a week so something I would suggest to you is
Monday - Back Squat with Deadlift
Wednesday - Bench Press with BB Row
Friday - Standing BB Military Press with Shrugs
For this workout I'd ask you to perform 10 set of 8 with the heaviest weight you could complete, again weight means nothing unless you can perform it with strict form under duress so even if you have to drop the weights down to "laughable" resistance let those asses laugh while in 3 months you'll be bigger and stronger with less body fat. Everytime you can perform a perfect 80 reps for a given exercise bump the weight up 5 lbs and then stay at that level til you hit another 80 reps (I think you get the picture). Go from one exercise immediately into the next and take no more than 2 minutes in between each superset (you should finish this workout within 45 minutes each time, its pretty brutal but done correctly your body has no choice but to adapt). Keep the warmup/cooldown the same as above.

I hope this helped. To give you some incentive I have a 19 year old that I started training in in October, he came to me at 6'1, 244, and a soft 22.3%bf. He had no lifting experience, we did microcycles of the two workouts above (with him doing a sprint program on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and as of today his wieht is down to 203 and bf is sitting at 12.5%. Young guys like you have everything going for you from a physiological standpoint so its really just a solid foundation of having a good program and then you executing that program and consistency. Have fun in the gym, and keep working hard!


Ill take your advice guys.

I decided to scrap the workout that I posted above and decided to do The Texas Method. I hear it is very effective and simple.

I think Ill try your option B sometime after Texas. Reminds me of 10x10. It seems brutal tho.



uh im no math expert but your boy happened to lose a hell of a lot of lbm for being on such a great program. any strength gains would quickly outpace gains in muscular endurance if he has to perform 80 strict reps to advance in weight. besides i think thats a little taxing on the nervous system for a true beginner


Hmm wouldn't a "true beginner" be better able to handle the high volume without nervous system fatigue since he can't lift as much weight and is therefore training at a lower intensity? I'm not sure though.