T Nation

Rate My Program Please...


5'10 180lbs I'm fairly lean and have been doing push/pull beginner's stuff for a couple of years...nothing serious. Diet is very clean but I'm having a little difficulty eyeballing my caloric needs during a bulk and consequently gaining too quickly. I'm trying to avoid counting cals etc but I'm eating 6 meals a day.

supplementing with creatine, whey twice daily/casein at night, multi, fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin. currently loosely trying to keep a min of 30g protein per meal with simple carbs during morning meals, pre and post workout, complex carbs during morning but limited at night, and varying fat sources (mono,poly, and saturated.)

I'm currently attending 2 hour physical training sessions with my local Marine Corps recruiting station twice a week which normally includes min 3 mile run, various plyometrics, calisthenics (mostly running/lower body though) which is reluctantly taking priority over my hypertrophy goals. I've got to keep my Lower body days light due to the running until my shin splints go away (shin splint rehab program i found through search is invaluable btw, thank you T-Nation.)

My weak points are legs, abs, and to a lesser extent arms. Currently fitness testing necessitates a better run time (1.5 mile timed. need to lower 1.5 min to max) and more crunches (2 min timed crunches. need to add 36 to max) Time limit to max scores is a year from now. I'd like to keep these as my #1 fitness priority due to career goals.

This is what I'm thinking will least impact my scheduled Marine Corps PT sessions which unfortunately need priority to show dedication.

Usually I foam roll and stretch before lifting and stretch tight muscles twice daily until they recover then ramp up to failure on last rep of last set for each exercise. I'm currently considering rotating order of first primary exercise (i should have 2 primaries per muscle group) to encourage balance. Thoughts on this are welcome.

Mon:Upper body/abs
Deadlift 3x8-10
Pull/chin ups 3x10-15
chest supported rows 3x8-10
cleans and/or BB shrugs 3x12
rope row to neck 3x12
Optional machine rear delt 3x12
Flat BB Bench 3x8-10
incline BB bench 3x8
Machine/cable flys 3x12
Standing military press 3x8-10
standing BB curl 3x8-10
Dips (currently negatives but will hopefully advance to weighted) 3x8-10
optional hammer curls 3x12
optional cable triceps extensions 3x12
Marine Corps crunches 3x25
Flutter kicks 3x20 (4 counts)
cable crunches 3x15
seems like a lot but my upper body recovers well but may need to adjust to accommodate over training but we'll see

Optional pull/chin ups
Optional abs (Marine Corps crunches only)
*Optional being probably not lol

Wed: PT/Lower body/abs
Back Squats 3x8-10
DB Lunges/optional leg press if lunges were performed during PT 3x8-10
Leg curls 3x12
Leg extensions 3x12
seated calf raises 3x12
Marine Corps crunches 3x25
Flutter kicks 3x20 (4 counts)
cable crunches 3x15

Thurs: Upper body/abs
same-possibly rotate order of primary and secondary exercises. Input welcome.

Fri: Off
Optional Pull/chin ups
Optional Abs(Marine Corps crunches only)

Sat: PT/Lower body/ Abs

Sun: Off
Optional Pull/chin ups
Optional Abs(Marine Corps crunches only)

I'm aware that the upper body is very high volume and I'm debating whether the optional arm stuff is unrealistic.

Thank you for your input. Feel free to ask questions as I have a talent for over complicating things.


Four things...i'd put deadlifts on the lower body day. I would put the cleans first on the upper body day as they don't contribute much to hypertrophy and are mainly for explosive strength they should also definately not be 12 reps thats way to high stick closer to the three to five reps range for cleans. Don't interchange cleans and shrugs do both 3x12 is good for shrugs. Add more lower body volume...your'e gonna look like a lightbulb if you don't lol.


^^ didnt read your full post. If your shins are screwed up dont add lower body volume until theyre recovered. I'd lower upper body volume until you can handle more lower body work then once you can handle it ramp up to the full program.


hot damn you do all of that on a Monday??? how long does it take you, are you using true 8-10RM or are you doing these circuit style with a 12-15RM, and are you making any progress?

I think hungry4more is in the service somewhere. his input would be great here.

FWIW, don't short yourself on the conditioning work. also, I don't know how much you're eating but I have a feeling it isn't enough.


I can do the deadlift move as you've suggested but I'm inclined to add a lower back exercise into the upper body days as I won't be getting a full range of motion in my lower back from any of the other exercises. Make sense? SLDL maybe?

I understand the cleans thing I just enjoy doing them. I'll drop the reps and make them Optional as I agree they aren't for hypertrophy.

On the lower body volume, I also agree but currently I am having trouble adjusting to the volume of the PT sessions as I already neglected my lower body for too long and went from not running to running 3 to 5 miles twice a week resulting in shin splints going on 3 weeks now. As I get acclimated to the PT sessions I will definitely aspire to add volume on lower body days. Thanks for the input Jearbear.


I haven't tested the upper body program completely yet. Still a rough draft but I assuming no more than 4 hours. I don't exactly understand your second question but as per the how to write a damn good programs hypertrophy outlines, I'll be doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps on primary exercises and 3 sets of 12 reps for secondary exercises. Lifts are going up and progress is satisfactory hypertrophy-wise. I somewhat agree with you on the diet. I'm actually gaining weight a little faster than i expected so I'm thinking i need to adjust what i'm eating as well as the amount or else I'm working against myself on getting that 1.5mile run time down.

I appreciate your input fr0IVIan


4 hours??? lol wth! you'll likely hit the wall hard and soon training for that long if you're putting any real intensity behind it.

if it were me doing this, I would do the following:

  • split up your upper body day since you have two of them anyway.
  • pick movements based on bang-for-the-buck efficiency. ex. concentrate on military press and dips for upper body pressing since they will likely have the most carryover to boot camp anyway. if you must keep a horizontal press I would train pushups since you will be tested on those. there's a 100 pushup program here somewhere.
  • include HIIT sessions. you can use moves like cleans and squats here. HIIT will build your capacity for maximum sustained effort and increase your capacity for recovery.
  • do your rows/pullups on those days where you list the pullups as optional.

that's just my opinion and I very well could be wrong.


Thanks for your take. It's always nice to have a second opinion.
I think splitting the upper body might be a better route. Basically what I'm currently doing (3 day split)
If I do decide I want more volume I can always replace one of the lower body days with an upper body workout and continue to rotate them every 4 to 6 weeks or something to that effect.
On the topic of pushups; the Marine's don't test pushups. Only crunches, pull-ups, and a 3 mile timed run. HIIT is actually used as a replacement for out pt sessions if turnout is low, we actually did that Friday which trashed my calves but once I get my abs and legs in check boot camp will be a breeze. I have a 1 year waiting period so if i continue to show up to every PT session I wouldn't imagine the HIIT to be completely necessary.
Well it's time to start day 1. Thanks for the advice all.


good luck, future Devil Dog.

thank YOU for volunteering to join the fight.