T Nation

Please Look at This Routine


I'm new to this site. I've been searching through the site's content and found a bunch of great articles. However, I just started a program and don't want to jump in in on a brand new one (I figure, I can't be abandoning every program I'm in as soon as I find something 'better').

Right off the bat, I just wanna say that I'm more interested in adding muscle then strength... to put it bluntly, I just want to look better :slight_smile:

I am 20 years old, male, 5'8, and 139 lbs

Anyways, here's the current program I'm doing. The exercises are structured as supersets.

a.1.Military Press 4x6
a.2.Chin-up 4x6 (i normally fail at 5)

b.1.Bulgarian Split-Squat 2x10
b.2.Lat pull-down 2x10 (supinated grip)

c.1.Bulgarian Split-Squat 2x10
c.2.Dips 2x12

a.1.Deadlift 4x8
a.2.Narrow-grip Bench Press 4x8

b.1.Barbell Curl 2x10
b.2.Dumbbell Row (elbow in) 2x10

c.1.Swiss-Ball Leg Curl w/ Hipxtension 2x12
c.2.Dumbbell Row (elbow out) 2x12

a.1.Barbell Squat 4x6
a.2.Dumbbell Push Press 4x8

b.1.Barbell Squat 2x10
b.2.Lat Pull-down (pronated grip) 2x10

c.1.Upright Row 2x10
c.2.Dumbbell Pull-over 2x10

a.1.Barbell Bench Press 4x6
a.2.Barbell Bent-Over Row 4x6

b.1.Dumbbell Incline Press (30 degr) 2x12
b.2.Good Morning 2x10

c.1.Dumbbell Row (elbow out) 2x12
c.2.Good Morning 2x10

I like it because it spreads the horizontal push/pull and vertical push/pull over 2 days instead of just 1 (that way each body part is worked out 2-4 times a week)

Anyways, what do you guys think? Any feedback would be appreciated

Oh yeah, here's a sample of what I eat during a workout day.

6.45 am, Breakfast:
1/2 cup oatmeal (measured before cooking)
1 cup 1.5% milk
1/2 banana (mixed in with oatmeal)
1 tbsp natural pb (mixed in with oatmeal)
2 slices of cantaloupe
2 egg whites

Go to class

11.45 am, Snack:
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt mixed w/:
2 tbsp toasted wheat germ
1/5 scoop whey chocolate protein powder
1 banana

1 pm, Lunch:
1 medium sweet potato
2 cups of vegetables
6-8 oz of fish or chicken breast

4.15 pm, Pre-workout:
Smoothie made with 1 cup skim milk, 1.5 scoops of muslce milk, 1 banana, ice, 1 tsp glutamine powder

5.40 - 6.30 pm, workout

Dinner: (within 30 min postworkout)
1 medium sweet potato
2 cups of vegetables
6-8 oz of fish/chicken/steak

10.20 pm, Snack:
Smoothie made with 1 cup skim milk, 1.5 scoops of muscle milk, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, 1 tsp glutamine powder

I'm thinking of taking creatine in the future when I get my 'workout in order'.. any advice on how to fit it in my meal plan?


For the diet, you need to eat more protein.

"1/5 scoop whey chocolate protein powder"

Does that say 1/5 scoop of protein? Why not have one scoop or two scoops?? You should be getting 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, in your case, you should be getting about 210 grams of protein if you are working out with high intensity with every weight training session. Your food choices look good, you just need to eat more. Also, get lots of veggies in there, too :slight_smile:

Good luck....



First off, 4x a week and full body each time is probably too much for a beginner (gathered from your 140 bw). While it is true you workout each body part more often, the question is are you capable of tolerating that amount of work. I recommend that you stick to either Waterbury's ABBH or WM type split.

Some of the exercise pairings seem a little bit odd (Rows and Curls; Squats and Pulldown), and I don't think you should be doing Upright Rows - ever, and Good Mornings - for now. GMs can be replaced by RDLs and/or (1-Leg) Back Extensions. I would rather do lower reps on the Deadlift, like 5x5 or 6x4 instead of 4x8.

Of course, nothing is written in stone and, as it has been said many times, your hard work and dedication is more important that micro-managing every aspect of the routine. Food choices are good, but I think you need 1-2 meals more in your plan. Be sure to do a light back-off week every 3-4 weeks and you can go a long way.


House of Atlas:

Seriously, have you guys ever tried mixing whey protein powder in with yogurt? Heck, its almost impossible to mix in 1/5 of a scoop.. what more a whole scoop?


What's wrong with upright rows? Am I missing something here? Please elaborate on that :slight_smile:

As for the deadlifts, I would go for 5x5 but I find that my form gets all f*cked up when I lift heavy for the deadlift.. so I compensate by going a bit lighter and increasing the reps.

Yeah, the pairings seem a bit off.. but if you look at the whole program.. everything sorta balances out.

After finishing a week of the program, I notied that I work out my back every time I lift.. is there anything wrong with this? (I figure its okay since each work out hits the back from different planes)

Thanks for all the feedback so far


There are better ways to hit the traps without messing up your shoudlers. Now, I could swear there is an article by Eric Cressey about exercises myths, which deals with it in detail, but I just can't seem to find it. (It's been a long day :wink:

People, myself included, usually find that the form in DL worsens with higher reps, as your lower back and grip fatigue and make it harded to keep the proper posture. Anyway, there's no reason not to do 5x5 with lesser weight, until you improve your form.

But still, it's 4x a week, whole body, every time at 75-80% of intensity - I presume you use about 6-7RM for 4x6. You maybe able to progress on it, but, generally speaking, I would not recommend something like that.

Only you will know for sure, after you finish the program :slight_smile: That's why that light week comes in handy - any abused body part gets a chance to recover, along with your CNS.


Half the battle is throwing food down your mouth, at your size, it's probably best to just say "to hell with the abs" and eat everything in sight, the more you eat, the better your progress will be, you can trim any unwanted fat off later on (say in 40 pounds or so).

By the way, what's your goal? Are you trying to get stronger, to get bigger, to get faster, to get some tail? You need a goal, then everyone can help you address it better.

After a few weeks of your current program, you should really jump on one of CW or CT's programs that is geared towards your goal, they know their stuff inside and out. Just remember to EAT MORE and keep changing things every month or so to keep adding slabs of muscle and to keep getting stronger.


I'm probably in the minority, but I think beginning lifters can tolerate more volume than intermediate level lifters. They can't really generate that much neural drive, and just need more sets and reps to get the job done. (Some people argue that women can tolerate more sets and reps than men for the same reason.)

Of course, one of the things that often separates high-level lifters from mid-level guys (besides the amount of weight on the bar) is work capacity...but this means nothing unless you're already tapping into the higher-threshold motor units.

That said, many bodybuilders have been successful reducing their training volume and frequency over their careers, rather than doing the opposite. (e.g., Dorian Yates, Mike Mentzer, Aaron Baker, all the Max-OT guys...) It doesn't seem like bringing up work capacity is terribly important when structural gains are your objective.

As for your program, I think it looks good...I commend you on your resolve not to program-hop. Don't worry about the upright rows, just don't pull much higher than your lower chest. You're
on the right path...

Best of luck


Well, I actually did the upright rows because it hit shoulders and upper back. Do you have a suggestion on a suitable vertical pushing substitute? (The only other compound exercise I can think of are variations of the push press, and I've more than enough of those already)

Hmm.. the whole program is whole body everytime? Really? I thought it was:

Sun + Wed: Quad Dominant + Vertical Push/Pull
Fri + Mon: Hip Dominant + Horizontal Push/Pull

Or is it considered whole upper body regardless of what plane the exercises fall under?


40 pounds? woa! 180 seems to be a lot of weight to carry for a 5'8.5 frame.

And I wrote my intended goal in the beginning, "Right off the bat, I just wanna say that I'm more interested in adding muscle then strength... to put it bluntly, I just want to look better :)"


Yes, that's exactly why I started this program to begin with. Before this program, my split used to look like this:

M - Vertical Pushes + Pulls
W - Hip Dominant + Abs
F - Horizontal Pushes + Pulls
Sun - Quad Dominant + Abs

To illustrate the problem I had, take Friday for example. Since all I did here was chest and back exercises, I found that I would not be able to generate enough energy to get a 'good workout'.. the muscles would just give up prematurely. This would lead to a sub-par workout of the targeted muscles. Furhtermore, they would not get stimulated again until a whole week later!

In the current program, at least the muscle groups get stimulated twice a week.

As for the upright rows, so I'm not suppose to bring the bar higher than my lower chest? Hmm..weird, since I have an issue of Men's Health that supposedly shows how to execute an upright row 'perfectly' and it says to bring the barbell well above the nipples.

Anyways, I'd rather just drop the upright row altogether.. any idea of a suitable substitute (that would still hopefullly target rear delts in a way)

Thanks for your feedback.