T Nation

Push Pull 2 Days a Week?


I asked a similar question a few weeks ago on the 531 section but got no traction. Since then I’ve refined my thoughts a little but I’m still unsure about programming.

I’m 16 months into lifting and I’m 40 years old. I ran out my noob gains on SS and then moved to 531. Texas method was to much too quick for me. Recently the beyond 1.1-1.3 has worked well but two things have happened:

  1. It’s now spring in blighty (England) and I’m into the outdoors so I’ll be climbing twice a week. That means I’ll cover row and pull up movements on those days. BPA and face pulls will also take place.
  2. I’ve given up on barbell squats as my mobility is trash. I only hit parallel if I’m squatting more than 100kg and then that forced stretch wrecks my hamstrings or back for days. I’ve hit my target for it and in the two weeks I’ve stopped doing squats I’ve biked 5 times and climbed. I may do hack squats for quads.

This leaves me with a push pull focus and I want to train twice a week with weights. My first thoughts are either a 531 butchered routine or run Gillingham’s bench routine and add in some ohp, deads and tricep stuff.

The 531 would be:
Mon: bench 531, back squat, and cgbp (not sure what weights or reps), LTE 3*12

Thurs: OHP 531, dead 531, bench 55@75% (as this worked well on beyond). LTE 312

Any recommendations? I have a habit of overdoing it so I’m trying to prune it down in these examples. If my question is somehow daft then let me know.


Is there no recommendations, not even for the reps and sets that work well with cgbp?

Has anyone got experience of the Gillingham bench programme and how to build assistance around it? I chose it as it’s two days and has a mixture of heavy and light days.

Or, can anyone recommend how to organise deadlifts into two days? I’m open to variants such as the sumo, rdl and power cleans.


531 has PLENTY of 2 day programs. Why not pick one and just sub out the exercises you don’t need?

For example instead of back squats do front squats or trap bar deadlifts? Even if your biking that much you don’t need to push the squats with hella volume. Just do 5’s pro and pound the assistance a bit more (split squats, lunges, hack squats, whatever).

Front Squat 531
OH Press 531
Chin-Ups - 5x10
Assistance (3-5x10): Dips, Ab Wheel, Split Squats, RDL, Face Pulls

Deadlift 531
Bench Press 531
Rows - 5x10
Assistance (3-5x10): CGBP, Curls, Lunges, Good Morning, Hanging Leg Raises

If you superset, this workout will take you under an hour.


What you posted is fine. For cgbp I would do 5x20. If really want to boost your bench could finish with some direct tricep moves like one of these…

Also I would still add in some heavy-ish horizontal rowing/kroc rows etc now and again


Cheers guys.

Isthat, I’ve tried a few 2 day 531 but my presses didn’t move. Tried variations on the supplemental but couldn’t seem to get it right. Then did beyond 1.1-1.3 and they suddenly moved, not so much on 1.3 though.

Thanks rampant, two very good points, I have been wondering about heavy rows and tricep accessory. I was having elbow issues at the start of beyond 1.1 so subbed tricep pushdowns for lying tricep extensions. Can’t really be sure what improved my presses, the LTE or the 5*5 @75 sets. That’s why in my variation I put both in for bench.


5 x 20??? Is this Powerlifting or cross country skiing? LOL


Hahhaa yeah anything over 6 reps is cardio for me. Wendler recommending 5x20/100 reps for assistance quite a lot lately, great for adding mass(as long as follows some heavy reps).


Based on what you do, I think 2 days/week is fine. Personally, I’d recommend one lower and one upper day so you don’t over do it.

Lower day - Deadlift
Assistance low back/hamstrings - back raise, GHR, reverse hyper, SLDL, GM’s (one exercise for 3 sets) You could do box squats with a wide stance for assistance as well
Accessory mid back - rowing (any type) alternate between horizontal and vertical every other week (one exercise for 3 sets)
Accessory upper back - rowing/shrugging - face pulls, band pull aparts, shrugs, etc. (one exercise for 3 sets)

Upper day - Bench press
Upper assistance - any type of pressing variation (overhead, dumbbells, incline, decline, dips, pushups, etc. 3 sets of one exercise)
Upper accessories - biceps, triceps (3 sets of one exercise each)
Upper accessories - delts (2 sets of band work multiple angles high reps and rotator work)

** except for delt work, always make the last set of accessory/assistance work heavy intensity**

You don’t really need 531 to do this. Work up each week to a 5 rep or 3 rep set that pushes you but still allows proper technique. Add 5-10 lbs when it feels too easy. You’ll never plateau this way and you won’t constantly be starting over every time you fail to hit a certain number of reps on the last set.


Thanks for the information. Interesting to see different frequencies within the feedback, I know it’s for me to work out what works best. Really appreciate responses as I can test and see what works. I’ve found the extra volume and intensity on beyond 1.3 to not bring the results of 1.2 but I’m not following it exactly, I’m not competing and I’m adding climbing, mountain biking, running etc. In short, it wasn’t written for me but it’s given a great guide on what I can handle and progress on.


Yep 90% seem to report this, 1.1-2 are where its at


I didn’t quite follow your plan as on the deadlift day I did OHP and weighted dips. But I hit my goal pretty quickly, so thank you.

But I want more! But just with my pressing my dead is still going with one to set of five and adding a little weight each week.

In terms of pressing, I do:
Mon: BP top set of 5 (hit 6 i add weight)then drop 10% and do 5x3
LTE 3x8, but no idea if this is working or just twinging my elbow.

OHP top set of 5 and a few drop sets
Weighted dips 3x8; love these as they add to shoulder stability for climbing.

My presses fail at the mid point all the time, so if I lose the LTE, what’s the best thing to replace them with e.g. cgbp, incline bench or BP from pins? I might move the dips to Monday.



Then focus on increasing your press and let your bench be at maintenance. Work up to a heavy set of 5 or 3 and master that weight. Back off on the bench. No drop sets on a lift you are trying to increase.


Thank you, that’s an interesting point about drop sets. I wasn’t clear, I meant I fail at OHP and bench at my mid point. I’m trying to improve both with bench as the priority. I wondered if both have an accessory that helps the same sticking point which I think it’s where the triceps kick in.

Good chance I’m miles off with my logic.


If the weight sticks you at the bottom, its usually just too heavy; sometimes its technique in where you place the bar, but if you’ve been at this long enough generally the weight is just to heavy.

If you’re sticking a bit at midpoint, find a weight that you start grinding with close to the last rep or two (5s and 3s work best) but can still lock it out. I’d also practice pause benches and focusing on pushing really hard from chest to lockout. Focus on each rep individually vs just doing reps to do reps. The mindset is a little different.

Last, go beat the crap out of your triceps afterwards. I wouldn’t necessarily fall for board press, floor press and other partial ROM to help your sticking point. You could try it but you’ll need to be very systematic with it in order to see if it’s really helping or not and it might take 3 mo. or more before you can test it.


Cheers, I appreciate the responses, getting feedback from an elite level for free is very charitable.

I’ll be more mindful of my reps and go beat the crap out of my triceps. They are lagging, as I’m very chest dominant and followed a basic routine, in terms of exercise variation, to get here.


This is probably the best 2 day routine you could do. You could even turn it in a 3 day routine if you alternate workouts.

That being said I’m big on weighted chin ups and using the 5/3/1 template to progress on them instead of using it simply as assistance.