T Nation

PTW Novice Program


Giving this program a go since it seems extremely straight forward. 3 days a weeks doing all 3 lifts and making slow jumps. It looks like this:
Squat 2x3-6
Bench 3x3-6
Deadlift 1x3-6
Add 10 lbs the next workout if you get all 6 reps, 5lbs if you get less than 6 and then only add 2.5lbs if you only get 3. Once you stall twice you move onto the intermediate program which is basically the same except Wednesday’s are pause bench and pause squat. You only go up by micro plates in the intermediate as well. I started this program last week, today was my 4th day of training. Im running it just as prescribed, I’m only adding a couple of exercises in at the end either for back, shoulders or core just to stay balanced.

Here was today

Wednesday, 9/5/2018

Squat-2x6 @201lbs
Bench-3x6 @201lbs
Deadlift-1x6 @267lbs

To finish, I did 2x8 bent over rows with 205lbs. I also did hanging leg raises and back extensions for a few sets over 10 for each. Feeling really great so far. Squats felt great, the last few reps of the last set of bench were a little tough, and deadlifts were super easy. My goal is to have at least a 350 squat, 330 bench, and a 525 deadlift by December.


Day 5 of Program
Friday, September 7th

Squat 2x6 @212
Bench 1x6, 1x4, 1x2 @212
Deadlift 1x6 @278

Squats felt incredible, even better than Wednesday. I knew bench was going to be tough in my first warm up set, going to try and attack the same weight again on Monday when I’m fresh. Deadlifts felt super easy as well. Very light assistance work, just some face pulls and push ups to finish. I’ve been using Saturdays as a mobility and ‘bro day’. I work on mobility for 10-15 min and just do a few sets of overhead presses, arms, a back exercise and a light unilateral lower body movement. Saturday’s are all based on how I feel and how I’m recovering. If I’m feeling beat or sore I’ll do very little, or if I’m feeling good I’ll do an extra set or exercise.


Could you please elaborate on this a little? For squats and bench-press, do you add 10 lbs if you get all 6 reps on the first set or if you get all 6 reps on all sets?

Since bench doesn’t recruit as much muscle as the lower body lifts, wouldn’t it be better if you choose a lighter starting weight than squats? That way you can continue to add weight and build up strength for longer before you encounter weights closer to your 1 RM. It seems 212 lbs is much closer to your bench max than you squat max.


Yes, so if you get 6 reps on all of your sets you add 10 lbs, and if you don’t get 6 on all of them you 5 and if you only hit singles you add 2.5 until you stall and then start the intermediate program. I probably should have started lighter on the bench, but when I started my bench was stronger than my squat because I had a lower back injury that prevented me from squatting for a while. I gauged my weights wrong I suppose. If I can’t hit the same weight on Monday, ill back off a little so I can keep hitting 6’s for as long as possible


Day 6 of Program
Tuesday September 11, 2018

I was originally supposed to train yesterday. I started my training session and felt like shit yesterday. I was in my warmup sets for squats and felt like I was going to throw up and it felt like I had 500lbs on my back. I had some bad fish and chips over the weekend that really threw my stomach off. I decided to live to fight another day and I’m glad I did. Here’s what happened today

Squat 2x6 @223lbs
Bench 3x6 @212lbs
Deadlift 1x6 @289lbs

Everything felt great. Really want to keep pushing 6s for as long as possible. To finish, I just did some back extensions and face pulls in a superset. Really high reps and controlled reps for both


Day 7
Thursday September 13, 2018

I fucked up today, no excuses. I was time constrained and I added 11 more pounds to my squats that I wasn’t supposed to. I was supposed to attempt 234 for 6 but I added the wrong plates and I was really doing 245.
I did:

Squat - 1x5, 1x2 @ 245lbs
Bench - 2x4, 2x3 @ 223lbs
Deadlift 1x6 @300lbs

No assistance work as I was time constrained, and I didn’t think it would be wise after really grinding through my squats and benches. On Saturday I’m going to keep my squat and bench the same weight as today and try to at least hit 5s. Whatever I hit I will keep trying to hit as long as possible


Also, anyone please feel free to critique my daily warm up before training

2 rounds of:
Thoracic stretching on foam roller
Goblet squats w/3 sec pauses
Walking lunges
Walking RDLs
Hip circles
Leg swings
Inchworms to push ups
Cobra/downward dog stretches
Dead bugs
Hip thrusts

I also do some hanging leg raises and back extensions before squatting, just to make sure my core is activated and warmed up. Before benching I also do some shoulder work with bands and a set of push ups


If I were you, I’d repeat the squat workout at the weight you were supposed to use (ie. drop by 5lbs). You’re probably going to do something like 1x6 and 1x3 if you repeat. If you drop 5lbs, you’ll probably hit 1x6 and 1x6 and that will put you at the same weight for the following workout but you’llhave put better quality work in.

I wouldn’t do anything for the bench. Progress as prescribed (1kg?), remember you can move your bench to the next phase while keeping the squat/deadlift on the novice program.

Now, to me it looks like that first squat set took a lot out of you. Consider resting longer between sets and getting in the conditioning work.

Warm up looks fine. The PTW templates are based on Mike T’s old programs and they end up getting loooong. You might want to consider how your warm up looks in light of this. Pretty sure Mike T says just get in there and squat, forget all the other fluff.


Definitely looking at at this from a different perspective with your advice. If I wasn’t doing a bunch of shit in my warmup I wouldn’t be as time constrained and I would’ve noticed I added the wrong weight to the bar. I also could’ve afforded to take some longer breaks in between. Going to try to minimize my warmup down to only a few movements to get my body warmed up


Im not entirely sure what went wrong today. I couldn’t even hit 234 for a solid single. Not sure if I’m not recovered from Thursday’s workout or what but I didn’t have it in me at all today. Going to rest and eat and try to attempt 234 for 2x6 Monday along with continuing my other lifts. If not I’m not sure if I need to jump to the intermediate program already, I was really hoping to run the novice plan for at least a couple of months


Don’t stress about it. See what happens next session, you re only supposed to do the novice program for 4-8 weeks, 12 if all goes super and that’s if you haven’t trained before


Alright cool, that’s definitely reassuring


Day 8
Monday 9/17/18

Squat 2x6 @234lbs
Bench 2x6, 1x3 @223lbs
Deadlift 1x6 @311lbs

Squats were tough, though the second set was much easier for some reason. Bench sets were all grinders. Got a good 2-3 second pause on all the reps except the last rep of each set. Deadlifts were great as usual. I’m thinking of going to the intermediate for bench now and then whenever I fail squats again I’ll switch them to intermediate as well. Seems like my deadlift isn’t going to stall anytime soon, wondering if I should bump it up a couple of plates? I started deadlifts a little conservatively, as I figured I’d be too taxed after squats and bench to go heavy


Well done pushing through man. I would just ‘bring the bar to a complete stop’ for bench. You’re basically doing a variation for your main bench if you aim for a worst case scenario command. You’ll get long pause reps later in the program to cover running into an asshat judge.

As for deadlift, I’d leave as is. It’s jumping 10lbs at a time, it will catch up on its own and a sudden jump is probably going to impact your squats on the next session.

Linear progression like this has been the toughest training I had ever done once you get to the last 2 to 3 weeks. Its punishing both physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to take long rests and eat a little more.


Thank you for the input and advice, much appreciated. Yeah that’s totally my fault for not stating I’ve been doing paused benches the entire time. I might just give try a couple more training sessions with regular benches. This is the first time I’m ever really doing a linear progression like this and it is pretty brutal


Day 9
Wednesday September 19, 2018

Squat 2x6 @245lbs
Bench (1 sec pause) 2x6, 1x3 @223lbs
Deadlift 1x6 @322lbs

Safe to say my bench has officially stalled. Will be switching over to the intermediate plan for bench. My deadlift is still feeling super strong. Squat is okay, feel like I’ll probably stall in the next 2-4 sessions. Finished with a couple sets of dips and pull ups


Day 10

Friday September 21, 2018

Squat 2x6 @256lbs
Deadlift 1x6 @333lbs

Skipped bench for today, after failing a hard triple 2 days in a row I thought it would be counterproductive to start with my heavy Friday day for the intermediate plan. Plus I took a nasty fall off of a bike going off a ramp and landed on my elbow and it’s still kind of sore. My assistance work was some paused front squats 3x6 with 135lbs and a couple sets of concentration curls and tricep extensions really light just to get some blood flow into my elbow


I’ve also made my warm up routine really simple. I do a couple of sets of goblet squats, push ups, a core exercise like deadbugs or a plank variation, and then either hip thrusts or back extensions. I might foam roll, hang upside down from some thick resistance bands or stretch something if I feel the need to. Otherwise, it’s really short and sweet. Takes me 5 minutes and gets my muscles and joints warm and core muscles activated


Day 11

Monday September 24, 2018

Squat 1x3,1x5 @267
Deadlift 1x5 @344

So the day after falling off the bike, I realized it’s my AC joint that’s really bothering me more than my elbow is. I’ve sprained it before so I know the feeling. I’ve been assessing it everyday by trying to do push ups and every day it feels a little better. It hasn’t bothered me too much with my squat. I feel it straining when I’m deadlifting though, dont want to use it as an excuse as to why I couldn’t get the 6th rep though. Can’t really bench with good form without pain, so I did some flys and close grip DB presses supersetted with push ups with my hands on the bench. Unsure wether or not I should take it easy, run the intermediate for all the lifts or wait until my shoulder and elbow are better to make an assessment


Wednesday September 26, 2018

Pause squat 3x3 @240lbs
SSB paused/ 1&1/2 rep squats 3x6-8 @135lbs
Back extensions w/3 sec hold 3x10@45lbs
Ab wheel rollout 3x8-10 SS w/RKC plank 3x10-20sec

Since benching and deadlifting are bothering my AC joint, I figured it’s best to avoid them so that I can recover faster. I tried some back movements but they irritated it as well so I just did the movements I could do pain free. Hoping I can get back on track in a week or two. I’ve sprained my AC joint before and it took about 2 weeks for it to get better, however this time around it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it did the first time I sprained it