Program Critique?

Hello coach Paul,

I try to give you all the background information you need in case you have the time/ will to give me a short program critique. Otherwise I also would appreciate an answer to only question 2) at the end of the post.


My goal is to achieve maximum hypertrophy and to create the “powerlook”.


I can train every day and have an “good” gym with some different machines.

background information:

I am a 23 year old male with 7 years of training experience. My best lifts are a 550 Deadlift, a 420 bench, a 420 Squat, a 275 press and 375lbs total weight chin up. I currently weight 205lbs after dieting down from 240 lbs. I realize my training thinking is going in the wrong direction, that’s why I am here to learn a better way. I am not yet totally convinced of your methods but I want to try them and learn much of your knowledge.

old training philosophy:

My old training philosophy was mainly influenced by westside, CT, reading t-nation articles, Meadows and following the „more-is-better approach“. So I blended different elements together and experimented for my own. Also I believed in volume is the key for muscle grow, so I always added more sets and more exercises over the course of training weeks and months. I liked to rotate exercises and do lots of sets, while still doing intensity techniques. I first did low rep Strenght work (MAX effort or 5*5 stuff) and then lots of volume like 4-5 sets of 10 reps with various exercises. This was done every training session. Training was done 6-7 days a week and the goal was to beat your body down. I used upper lower or push pull leg type or split.

new idea:

My new idea is mainly influenced by you and your friend DC Trundle.

-use a push pull leg split

-take after every training day a day off

-maximum 5 exercises a day

-1/2 real working sets per exercise taking to failure, rest pause style

-use exercises that are suited for hypertrophy and forget the classic power-lifts

-beat the log book

-rep range for upper body 6-8 and for lower body 10-15 reps (depends on exercise)

example of training week:

Day 1: Push (A)

Military Press


Incline Dumbbell Bench

Tricep Extensions on floor

Side Raises/ Face Pulls

Day 2: off

Day 3: Pull (A)

Snatch Grip High Pulls

Zercher Pin Squat

Chin Ups

Cable Rows

Dorian Deadlift

Day 4: off

Day 5: Legs (A)

Snatch Grip High Pulls

Zercher Squats

Bulgarian Split Squat

Land Mine Deadlift

Leg Curls

Day 6: off

Day 7: start again with Push, but change to Workout “B” (other exercises)

Day 8: off

Reasons for exercises:

I chose Snatch Grip High Pulls because CT says it’s the best exercise for the powerlook and it gave me some trap development in the past. The Zercher Squats hit legs and back at the same time, so more back stimulation for the powerlook even on the leg day. I hope rest is somehow clear to your.


1.1) What do you say to my program ?
1.2) Should I add some body weight pump work on the days off? Like on day 4 doing some push ups for a pump, or lunges, fat man rows… this low frequency scares me hahah

2.) What’s with G.P.P when the training volume for hypertrophy is so low? How does one built that ?

Best wishes and thanks for reading.

What are these for? Both are horrible movement selections based on what it is you’re trying to do, i.e. hypertrophy.

Oh CT is quite a fan of those and he can write some convincing articles which make you believe that they are perfect for upper back and powerlook development…if you read his articles you will believe that too hahahaha. Main reasons were: personal experience, stimulation of fast twitch muscle, „it’s an exercises that should give you something that no other exercise can give“…

Uhm but it seems you aren’t a fan so let’s throw them out of the window. From reading your articles you recommend
-band rack pulls (with holds on top)
-Dorian Deadlift
-Deficit stiff leg DL
-plate Raises
-band pull aparts

I could replace them with one of the deadlift variants and add the plate raises/ pull aparts at the end of the workout as finisher. When the deadlift variant is in the beginning I then have to make sure that my other back exercises don’t tax my lower back and I should be fine.

Thanks for the response.

Oh brother…drop the shitty Zercher squats. They don’t do shit worth a shit. They certainly aren’t going to build a “power look”.

I like using an overhead plate raise along with a shrug, mainly cables where you can pull from the outside of the body in line with the fibers.

Thank you for your reply. Okay I forget about these exercises for hyperthophie!

I read many articles of you here on tnation and some older on your website. I came to the conclusion if I cut these exercises out I can bascially follow " How To Build Superhero Muscle" that’s like what I also try to achieve. They also have the excercses incooperated you just name above ^^.

Open Questions:

1.) It is best done 4 times a week with 1 workout getting repeated per week (like 1st week push twice, 2nd week legs twice, 3rd week pull twice)?

2.) Also since you have to write your articles more general, would there be something now you suggest I should change/adapt to me?

I’m not going to write anyone here personalized routines. I can give guidelines. Which I just did.

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Yes of course I can understand that. You have already helped me. Thank you coach !

Do pauls superhero program for the next year. Log book everything.