T Nation

Program HELP!

Hey Guys,

I am having trouble putting together a program. I have what some call “paralysis by analysis” due to the over whelming info provided on this site. My goal is to achieve raw strength and size. I cant seem to periodize things, and am trying to make it based on Dual factor theory. I also am having trouble setting up exercises in the correct/optimal order, setting up the reps and sets, and organizing everything.

These Ideas have crossed my mind:

1)5x5,10x3 *loading and unloading
2) Glenn Pendlay’s Stuff
3) Conjugate Block training (Having trouble setting one up)
4) Chad’s stuff
5) Undulating conjugate
6) Clusters for strength

I would appreciate anyones help, suggestions, or 2 cents. I will update tommorrow, Its getting late, and I cant seem to remember all the thing I want to add to the list. Thanks for your time. Much is appreciated.

You need to go to the gym. There is no perfect or best program. You are the one who makes the program work.

Of all the programs mentioned, start with the simplest one.

To paraphrase a man who’s taught me an amazing ammount about programs, lifting, and life itself - ‘Just Fucking Do it’. Seriously, try it and see. Do a month of 10x3 - not working, do 5x5. Cycle, repeat, attempt, find something that works and do it until it doesn’t. I used to think 3x8 was perfect, then I discovered 5x5 was perfect, these days 10x3 may be perfect - tomorrow perhaps 1 x 30, who knows? Just try it and see, and while you’re recovering, read something by Dan John.

Yeah, I understand there is no “perfect” program, but there certainly is an optimal one. I was just wondering how one would set up the order of the exercises, and organizing/cycling the intenisities and volumes. You may say 5x5, but obviously you can’t do 5x5 for 4 weeks using the same intenisity and etc. Would you do it 3 times a week? changing intensities, adding volume and what not. Anyway, I was just hoping for some suggestions on how to setup a program up geared for size and strength, I have no problem of getting into the gym and working hard. Thanks for all your input and help! Much is appreciated.

[quote]Xfactor88 wrote:
Anyway, I was just hoping for some suggestions on how to setup a program up geared for size and strength [/quote]

That’s what most of the programs posted on here by the coaches are geared towards! I know how you feel about “analysis by paralysis”, I am guilty of it myself. You want to try every new thing that you read about and you want to try it right now! However that is impossible to do and you are best to rely on a solid base of core lifts with a little variation each time.

I would take the easy path and trust that you will get results from programs written by guys such as CT and CW. Remember that they have trained hundreds, maybe even thousands, of clients during their careers. Just through the sheer weight of numbers they can collect huge amounts of empirical data, and from this they can get a good idea of what is “optimal” and what is not, especially as they are working with very different types of people. And they can discover this a lot quicker than you or I can working on our own! You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Granted, the programs they post have to be aimed at the general training population and may not be optimal for you, but it is a pretty good bet that it would be, and all you may have to do after trying a few of the programs is to tweak a “few” things to optimise it for yourself, but never stray too far from the basic principles on which the programs are written.

So I recommend the following plan:

  1. Pick a training plan from one of the coaches, I think CW’s will suit you for your goals of size and strength, CT’s are often geared towards the athletic performance side of things.

  2. Try the programs for at least 6 months. You have to be patient! I’m not sure how old you are, but if you are young you’ve got heaps of time to work out what is best for you.

  3. Keep a training journal and keep track of your progress. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Remember that you have to factor in things such as sleep and diet. You can’t say that a particular program doesn’t work if you don’t sleep or eat correctly whilst doing it!

  4. If you find after a significant time you aren’t making progress, then it may be time to try some other method e.g. if CW’s stuff doesn’t work try a Westside template. You need a lot of patience to stick with it, even when you are desperate to try out the latest training article that comes out on T-Nation!

  5. I think it would be good to remember a few quotes that guys such as Dan John have passed on to us. In one of the articles on his site (I hope I am remembering this correctly) he recalls asking someone if what he was doing was a good program. He was asked if he was improving. When he answered “Yes” the reply he got was “Then it’s a good program!” I would keep this in mind as you track your results. To find out if it is optimum, see if you improve more rapidly than other programs, especially if you have already got diet and sleep figured out correctly. I would call that an optimum program.

Hope this helps,


go with the the waterbury method.
10x3 in there, AWESOME workout. it helped me fall in love with supersets. http://t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=534922

You need to get in the gym and experiment. Try a program for a month or two then change it up. As you gain experience you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. A program can be the best thing in the world on paper and still not deliver. Think of it like the difference between in vitro and in vivo studies. The hypothetical “best program in the world” may not work at all in real people for whatever reason or it may work for only 62.5% of people, of whom you aren’t one. I understand that you are seeking to optimize and squeeze every bit of performance enhancement possible out of your program and that is admirable, but you need to remember that nothing beats experience in this field. The best coaches aren’t the ones who write the best one size fits all programs, rather they are the ones who can look at an athlete and figure out reasonably well what will be optimum for that individual athlete. Likewise, you need to figure out what is best for you the simplest and most effective way possible: by trying shit.

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all your help and inputs. Much is appreciated. I haved decided to go with CT’s old undulating conjugate block training for the next couple of months. I am in the works of putting it together. I have recently posted a question regarding this to CT, in hopes that he will provide the things I need to know. Feel free to check it out in the Author’s Locker Room. Its actually a quite interesting concept, and I will be testing it in a week. (Maybe if a lot of us show a “desire” to see an article on this, TC may allow CT to write an article on this!