T Nation

Routine Critique


My goal is to increase mass/strength. Here's what I came up with so far.

Monday (Chest/Tris)
DB or BB Flat Bench
DB or BB Incline Bench
DB Flies
Rope Pulldown
Cable Pressdown
Tri Xtensions

Tuesday (Back/Bis)
Pull Ups
Cable Rows
Lat Pulldowns
Hammer Curls
Cable Curls
Standing BB Curls

Wednesday (Legs/Abs)
DB Squats
Leg Press
Leg Extensions
Leg Curls
Calf Raises
Reverse Crunch
Cable Crunch

Thursday (Shoulders)
DB Press
Upright BB Rows
Front Raise
Bentover Lateral Raise
DB Shrugs

I'm working out at Planet Fitness, and they have no squat racks or deadlifting. To compensate for the squats, I was going to use DB squats. For the deadlift, I could use a Freemotion cable machine?

My plan was to work in the 12-15 rep range for the first 4 weeks, then switch to 8-10 rep range for next 4 weeks, then switch to 4-6 rep range for the next 4 weeks.

Not sure if my lifting history is relevant, but if so, I am a beginner, lifted consistently for only about a year, and stuck to full body routines then (Rippetoes). Saw strength gains during that period, but not much in terms of size (could also be due to nutrition?)

Any feedback is appreciated.


Should have added, would it be beneficial to rest on Wednesday and push out Legs/Abs and Shoulders to Thursday/Friday respectively? or could I repeat the cycle on Friday (doing Chest/Tris during week 1 Friday, Back/Bis during week 2 Friday, etc) ?




I'm far from and expert, first off.

That said, that's just a list of exercises and doesn't really tell us much.

I don't know why you would need to do dumbbell squats AND leg press, I would probably choose one or the other as my main lift.

And why do you feel the need to change the rep range every four weeks? I would choose the rep range for a given exercise (like 6-10 or so for big movements and higher for accessories) and keep trying to increase strength there for as long as I could.

That's all I've got. Hopefully someone smarter can chime in.


If you can train 5 days per week instead of 4, that's what you should do.

As long as you're gaining weight and your lifts are going up each week, it's all gravy.


C'mon. This is just a list of exercises and not a workout routine.

There are SO MANY great posts and articles on great routines for all puposes (strengh gains, bench press routines, hypertrophy, and so on).

I'd recommend to do some reading first and then come back and ask concrete questions concerning a real routine.


Couple of observations:

Given no rack, single leg work is excellent for lower body development, e.g. bulgarian split squats and lunges

A more effective rep periodizaion scheme would see you rotate ranges either every week or every workout

Don't like the 4 days on. Would drop shoulder day altogether. I use the following split:
Day 1 - Legs, abs
Day 2 - chest, ahoulders, tricps
Day 3 - off
Day 4 - back, biceps, some abs, rotator cuff work
Day 5 - off


How is this not a routine? I have a list of exercises for each day of the week. Then in my writeup, I said I'd shoot for 12-15 reps on each exercises for the first 4 weeks, then change things up to 8-10 rep range, so on so forth. The weight I choose will force me to go to failure towards the last rep. Each week, if I complete the desired reps, then I will increase the weight.

I've searched and found many routines here. I was simply asking if there was anything blatantly wrong with this one. And again, I'm working at a Planet Fitness, so I'm dealing with some limitations in terms of equipment and exercise selection.


We don't know how many sets you're doing, whether each exercise is done focusing on progression or if some are used as a finisher or whatever, whether you're ramping up on the first set to your top weight and then doing a couple of straight work sets for the other exercises or if you're just doing all straight sets at the same weight..

Etc. Get it?

Anyway, the main thing I'm wondering is why you want to change your rep scheme after an arbitrary 4 weeks. It doesn't make any "since" to me (100 points if you get the reference).


Ok, my fault. I forgot sets in addition to the other details. I was planning on doing 2-3 sets in the 12-15 rep range, then 3-4 sets in the 8-10 rep range, and finally something like a 5x5. All straight work sets, with warm ups on the initial exercise.

I'll be honest, the change in rep scheme was recommended to me by one of the trainers at Planet Fitness. I was thinking as opposed to forcing the 4-week change, I could go with one rep scheme until I see my strength gains coming to a halt, and then switch some of the parameters up in the program to confuse the muscles?

And sorry, I don't get the reference.. no points for me .. haha .. thanks for helping though!


  1. Forget what a trainer a Planet Fitness told you.
  2. The most important thing is to keep getting stronger while steadily gaining weight. Just keep progressively adding weight to the bar while staying in your chosen rep range.

For instance:
Week 1: Work up to the MOST weight you can handle for about 8 reps. Let's say you work up to a top bench press of 200 lbs x8. Then..

Week 2: Work up to the same weight as last week for as many reps as possible (assuming your nutrition is on point and you're getting plenty of rest, you SHOULD be able to beat last week's performance). So maybe this session you do 10 reps. Then..

Week 3: 200 lbs. x11

Week 4: 200 lbs. x12 (at this point you are at the top of your rep range, so next week at 5-10 lbs. to the bar)

Week 5: 210 x8

Week 6: 210 x9, and so on..

Obviously these numbers mean nothing--it's just a simple example. And you may not beat your performance every session. That's okay. As long as your weights are going up consistently month to month and you're gaining weight you don't have to think (too much) about much else.

Don't make it more complicated than need be.

What kind of numbers are you putting up on the main lifts??

I was just making fun of someone on another thread :slightly_smiling:


I just noticed the part where you said you hadn't gained much size. Please read and understand:

If you are trying to put on muscle and are not gaining weight, you ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH.

To gain weight (whether muscle or fat, doesn't matter), you must eat enough calories (energy) to gain weight. So the first thing is to make sure you are eating enough. Your training will determine whether you store those extra calories as muscle or fat.

No magical training system will cause you to grow muscle if you don't eat enough food.


Squat- 195 lbs for 5 reps
Deadlift- 225 lbs for 5 reps
Bench Press- 120 lbs for 5 reps
Military Press- 100 lbs for 5 reps

But this is from about a year ago. I haven't lifted consistently since then, so I imagine my current numbers are down from these.

I'm 29 years old. I'm weak. I should be ashamed of these numbers. I want to better myself. This is what is fueling my drive to start lifting consistently, get bigger, and leave all excuses at the doorway.


Agreed. In the past, I tried eating as clean as possible. This time around, I plan on eating whatever is in front of me (but of course being smart with it and not eating fast food 3x a day).