T Nation

Program Review Advice

Hello,

I’m looking for advice on training. Please only respond if you’re stronger AND around my bodyweight. I dont need another 260 pound guy telling me it’s easy to squat three plates. I’ve spent a few years wasting my time fooling in the gym and then spent two years lifting right and got to a decent place strength and weight wise.

My bests are squat: 245 for2x8, deadlift 405, overhead 135x5, pendley row 195 3x8, weighted pull up 100lbs.+195lbs bodyweight. Im 6’3", normally 190-195 when training. short arms and legs. All my lifts are done full range, ass to grass squats, lockout on everything, dead hang on pullups, etc. I dont really bench much, I prefer overhead. My natural body weight without
Lifting is about 165-170 lbs, so everything over that is muscle for lifting.

Im just coming off a long history of rowwwing, involved in the sport for 10 years as both a light weightI under 160, and a.heavy weight at 195. my time with the sport is likely done now and I think I have a plan for weights at this point, but could use some advice.I think I’ve had it with squatting. It’s something that I have to give priority on every single workout to get strength gains, and it means all my other lifts suffer or only progress slowly.

I need huge breaks in between sets to get the workout, whether it’s 5x5 or singles, and afterwards there isn’t much time or energy for much else. So unless there some epic reason why I should keep squatting, i’m only going to use it as a suppliment once in a while for deadlifts. Never really like having giant legs anyway.

My program looks like this.
day 1
Deadlift singles, adding 10 lbs up to a high single max.
Overhead press, 5x5 or 4x8, or 3x12, not sure maybe rotate
Weighted pullups same rep scheme as above

Day 2
Same deadlift as day 1
Pendley rows same reps as overhead press.
Bodyweight pullups, 3x max.

3 days a week, like m/w/f.

I think this fits my goals of getting as strong as possible for deadlift, bulking more in the upperbody and keeping my legs the size they are now. Ive considered alternating deaflift singles one day with squat singles the second day.

I want to gain back to 185-190 (i’m 176 right now after taking some time off weights and just rowwwing).

Anyways, is this a balanced program for my goals, and for injury prevention? If you have any ideas for something else let me know. I know there isn’t much pressing, i’m open to change that.

Thanks

So, let me get this straight. You are 176 (not the 195 mentioned at the top) and you want to gain 15-20 lbs, and you don’t want the weight in your legs (or chest since you are doing nothing for chest). Basically you want a build like that Gru character from “Despicable Me.” Good luck with that.

You’re a rower. You want to do what comes naturally and is easy for you - pulling and rowing. One of the main goals of a good strength training program is to bring up your weak points. You are not accomplishing this.

Thank you for your response. Yes I’m 176 right now as I am not training, 195 is my weight when I’ve lifted consistently for 6 months or more. I’ve taken a two month break and have dropped a bit.

In my experience, overhead pressing works the chest just fine, with a bit of dumbbell chest pressing once every two or three weeks (I forgot to mention that in the original post). Also, in my experience, when I’ve deadlifted before without squatting, my legs don’t disappear really, so that’s not really an issue.

What would you say are my weak points?

Why do you think working to a max deadlift single 3x a week is a good idea?

[quote]31128 wrote:

In my experience, overhead pressing works the chest just fine[/quote]

You are wrong, but that’s ok. It sounds like you have made up your mind what you want to do, so go do it.

it trains the nervous system like hell. I used to work up to a near max heavy single for deadlift, then I’d cut the weight by 50 pounds and rep out til near failure (4-8 reps), and then cut the weight another 50 pounds and rep out again (8-12 reps). It’s only three sets. I did this twice or even three times a week, with minimal to no squatting. I was sleeping right, eating right and so my recovery was right. I had no problem with burnout or anything, deadlift was my main focus and doing that plan got me like 60 pounds on my deadlift pr in 3 months.

Everyone repeats a pile of rules, and laws, and guidelines, about lifting… some of them are true, some of them are not. While i was doing that routine a fellow lifter (a powerlifter) often told me my deadlift volume was “way too high” and i should only attempt a near max once a month. I know for a fact I would never have gotten my current pr’s if I hadn’t trained my deadlift hard and often, period. Especially since I wasn’t focusing on squatting. If you’re not pushing the limits of your lift, I don’t really see what you’re accomplishing.

Please only respond if you’ve achieved something more than me strength-wise in the gym. I’m looking for advice from people who have deadlifted 500 pounds or more… or more precisely, people who have deadlifted more than 2x their bodyweight.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]31128 wrote:

In my experience, overhead pressing works the chest just fine[/quote]

You are wrong, but that’s ok. It sounds like you have made up your mind what you want to do, so go do it.
[/quote]

I’m not really trying to sculpt muscle groups. The purpose of my OP was to enquire about a functional training program that doesn’t need squats. I’m interested in movements, and building more strength for those movements. My goal of building muscle, predominantly in the upper body, is secondary to building strength. And in my recent experience, my chest has been biggest when I made the overhead press a priority. I’m not saying the press is better than the bench press or something else for developing chest. I’m saying it works fine enough for me and my goals.

[quote]31128 wrote:
What would you say are my weak points?[/quote]

  1. Closed-mindedness

“Please only respond if you’re stronger AND around my bodyweight. I dont need another 260 pound guy telling me it’s easy to squat three plates.”

Yeah, gee, why would you listen to a big, strong guy when you want to get bigger and stronger. That makes no sense.

  1. Lack of knowledge of basic physiology

“My natural body weight without Lifting is about 165-170 lbs, so everything over that is muscle for lifting.”

I’m pretty sure that your body weight is going to be determined more by how much you’re eating than whether you’re lifting weights or not. The body COMPOSITION, surely, will be affected by the presence/absence of lifting weights, but it’s absurd to think that you have a “natural body weight” that you can only exceed by lifting weights.

[quote]31128 wrote:
Anyways, is this a balanced program for my goals, and for injury prevention?[/quote]

No. It is not.

But, then again, your goals don’t really make much sense (as Ecchastang pointed out already).

If you want to get as strong as possible in the deadlift, some squatting will probably prove useful. But, ya know, then your legs might get bigger, so perish the thought. Where, exactly, do you think you’re going to add these 15-20 pounds?

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]31128 wrote:
What would you say are my weak points?[/quote]

  1. Closed-mindedness

“Please only respond if you’re stronger AND around my bodyweight. I dont need another 260 pound guy telling me it’s easy to squat three plates.”

Yeah, gee, why would you listen to a big, strong guy when you want to get bigger and stronger. That makes no sense.

Here’s why: big, strong guys are usually, surprise surprise, genetically that way. I’d rather hear from a 145 pound guy who can squat 300 lbs than a 260 pound guy who can squat 400. The little guy is way more advanced. Attention to technique, nutrition, training plans and everything else needs to be perfect for him to get that far. But the 260 pound guy was probably squatting 300 pounds way way earlier… hence, his actual understanding, mental development and knowledge is considerably less. See my point?

  1. Lack of knowledge of basic physiology

“My natural body weight without Lifting is about 165-170 lbs, so everything over that is muscle for lifting.”

I’m pretty sure that your body weight is going to be determined more by how much you’re eating than whether you’re lifting weights or not. The body COMPOSITION, surely, will be affected by the presence/absence of lifting weights, but it’s absurd to think that you have a “natural body weight” that you can only exceed by lifting weights.

I knew someone would pick this apart. Yes, I gain some fat when I gain muscle. But I’m one of those guys who doesn’t gain anything, zilch, unless I’m lifting. I could stuff myself every day and I’d gain a few pounds but not 10, and not 25. So, ultimately, lifting is the only thing that changes my weight upwards significantly.

[quote]31128 wrote:
Anyways, is this a balanced program for my goals, and for injury prevention?[/quote]

No. It is not.

How?

But, then again, your goals don’t really make much sense (as Ecchastang pointed out already).

If you want to get as strong as possible in the deadlift, some squatting will probably prove useful. But, ya know, then your legs might get bigger, so perish the thought. Where, exactly, do you think you’re going to add these 15-20 pounds?[/quote]

I’m not asking for your support of my goals dude. If I don’t want bigger legs, that’s that. I’m looking for other avenues towards a strong deadlift.

[quote]31128 wrote:
I’m not asking for your support of my goals dude. If I don’t want bigger legs, that’s that. I’m looking for other avenues towards a strong deadlift.
[/quote]

I’m 5’9 and about 195, so I don’t meet the requirements you set out, but if you’re looking for other avenues, I had a ton of success with this approach

Tim Henriques has written about it as well

And this article also talked to certain aspects of it

[quote]31128 wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

If you want to get as strong as possible in the deadlift, some squatting will probably prove useful. But, ya know, then your legs might get bigger, so perish the thought. Where, exactly, do you think you’re going to add these 15-20 pounds?[/quote]

I’m not asking for your support of my goals dude. If I don’t want bigger legs, that’s that. I’m looking for other avenues towards a strong deadlift.
[/quote]
Where? ruling out chest and legs, do you just want 15lbs more to your traps and arms? That isn’t going to happen.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]31128 wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

If you want to get as strong as possible in the deadlift, some squatting will probably prove useful. But, ya know, then your legs might get bigger, so perish the thought. Where, exactly, do you think you’re going to add these 15-20 pounds?[/quote]

I’m not asking for your support of my goals dude. If I don’t want bigger legs, that’s that. I’m looking for other avenues towards a strong deadlift.
[/quote]
Where? ruling out chest and legs, do you just want 15lbs more to your traps and arms? That isn’t going to happen.[/quote]

I never ruled out chest. I don’t mind gaining a bit in the legs if it comes from deadlifting. So, a bit in the legs, and more in the upper body. I also said I was open to changes to the plan… what do you think I could change to make the program better in your view, considering my goals of 1) getting a strong deadlift, 2) gaining a lot of upper body size, 3) squatting minimally if at all?

Thanks

[quote]31128 wrote:
it trains the nervous system like hell. I used to work up to a near max heavy single for deadlift, then I’d cut the weight by 50 pounds and rep out til near failure (4-8 reps), and then cut the weight another 50 pounds and rep out again (8-12 reps). It’s only three sets. I did this twice or even three times a week, with minimal to no squatting. I was sleeping right, eating right and so my recovery was right. I had no problem with burnout or anything, deadlift was my main focus and doing that plan got me like 60 pounds on my deadlift pr in 3 months.

Everyone repeats a pile of rules, and laws, and guidelines, about lifting… some of them are true, some of them are not. While i was doing that routine a fellow lifter (a powerlifter) often told me my deadlift volume was “way too high” and i should only attempt a near max once a month. I know for a fact I would never have gotten my current pr’s if I hadn’t trained my deadlift hard and often, period. Especially since I wasn’t focusing on squatting. If you’re not pushing the limits of your lift, I don’t really see what you’re accomplishing.

Please only respond if you’ve achieved something more than me strength-wise in the gym. I’m looking for advice from people who have deadlifted 500 pounds or more… or more precisely, people who have deadlifted more than 2x their bodyweight.[/quote]

Thanks for the answer. I was interested in your reasoning.

What is your deadlift at your current bodyweight? If I understood correctly, your 405 was at ~195.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]31128 wrote:
I’m not asking for your support of my goals dude. If I don’t want bigger legs, that’s that. I’m looking for other avenues towards a strong deadlift.
[/quote]

I’m 5’9 and about 195, so I don’t meet the requirements you set out, but if you’re looking for other avenues, I had a ton of success with this approach

Tim Henriques has written about it as well

And this article also talked to certain aspects of it

http://www.T-Nation.com/training/deadlifts-dirty-secret[/quote]

Thank you for these very much. I will peel through them tonight.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]31128 wrote:
it trains the nervous system like hell. I used to work up to a near max heavy single for deadlift, then I’d cut the weight by 50 pounds and rep out til near failure (4-8 reps), and then cut the weight another 50 pounds and rep out again (8-12 reps). It’s only three sets. I did this twice or even three times a week, with minimal to no squatting. I was sleeping right, eating right and so my recovery was right. I had no problem with burnout or anything, deadlift was my main focus and doing that plan got me like 60 pounds on my deadlift pr in 3 months.

Everyone repeats a pile of rules, and laws, and guidelines, about lifting… some of them are true, some of them are not. While i was doing that routine a fellow lifter (a powerlifter) often told me my deadlift volume was “way too high” and i should only attempt a near max once a month. I know for a fact I would never have gotten my current pr’s if I hadn’t trained my deadlift hard and often, period. Especially since I wasn’t focusing on squatting. If you’re not pushing the limits of your lift, I don’t really see what you’re accomplishing.

Please only respond if you’ve achieved something more than me strength-wise in the gym. I’m looking for advice from people who have deadlifted 500 pounds or more… or more precisely, people who have deadlifted more than 2x their bodyweight.[/quote]

Thanks for the answer. I was interested in your reasoning.

What is your deadlift at your current bodyweight? If I understood correctly, your 405 was at ~195.[/quote]

When I lifted 405 I weighed 195, yes. Now I’m 176, and I’m JUST getting into deadlifting again after 3 months of squatting without deadlifting and then 2 months of no weights at all. I think with one or two lifts to get back into it I could pull 330 (I pulled 275 easy to see where it was a month ago, and there was a lot more room to add weight, but didn’t want to over-do it), and I know in three weeks I could be hopefully 350 again.

[quote]31128 wrote:
What would you say are my weak points?[/quote]
Your weakest link is your attitude about training. Take advice from big guys. They are big for a reason. Do squats and bench presses at least once a week as well. They will help you put on mass better than pretty much any other lifts. Do the things that you have to in order to achieve your goals even if you don’t like them.

I’m always surprised how many replies trainwrecks threads like these get.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
I’m always surprised how many replies trainwrecks threads like these get. [/quote]

The smart, articulate posts are read, mentally agreed with, and then passed on. Abominations like this thread really get everyone’s juices flowing :smiley:

–Me