T Nation

Routine Critique


I can only train 3 days a week and was thinking of giving this a go;

Incline Bench- progressive warmups, then 1-2 sets of 6-10 at close to failure.
Chins- 4-5 sets as many as you can do.
Close Grip Bench- same as incline.
Barbell Row- warm up again to two working sets but on your last one try for 6-8 reps instead of 10.
Seated DB Shoulder Press- see incline and CGBP
If tri's have anything left in the tank Dead Skulls, maybe just a couple warmups and one working set.

Barbell Curl- 3-4 sets 8-10 reps.
Hammer curls- 3-4 sets 8-10 reps
Lying/Standing leg curl- 2-3 work sets 10-12 reps
Whatever kind of calf raise you have available and like to do. 2 sets really heavy and go SLOW for 10-15 reps.
Squat- progressive warm up, 2-3 working sets at 6-10, with your last set pretty heavy looking to do 5 or 6.
Leg Press- 1 moderately heavy set of 15-25 reps.

Fri: repeat mon

Mon: repeat Wed.

Probably will rotate the exercises a bit to prevent getting stale. Trying to build muscle.

Any thoughts?


Actually this isnt too awful. A few things though.

I'd ditch the barbell row, IMO trying to row in that position your posterior chain is going to be the weak link and thats not the best way to fix it. I'd do either seated cable rows or one arm dumbell rows instead.

On the reverse I WOULD do standing military presses instead of seated dumbell presses, you'll get alot more out of that exercise.

I'd also add some deadlift variation in there, since your squatting I would suggest romanian deads in lieu of the leg curls. Do the romanian deads after the leg press.

Also add some abdominal work two days a week, could be on your off days I'd do side plank and front plank progressing the latter slowly into the ab wheel when you can. This will just round you out a bit and not leave you with any glaring weaknesses.


Why are legs such a low priority? You should generally do your exercises in order of how much weight you're moving per rep. Which would put curls at the end of the day, not the beginning. And two forms of curls in one workout is redundant.

Two forms of benchpress is also redundant. You're trying to prioritize triceps, but regular bench and overhead presses should suffice. Throw in some dips at the end of the workout if you have energy.

My best advice would be to just do Starting Strength.


^ yeah i've heard train big movements first, such as squats and deads (if you do them).

Might need some kind of hip dominant movement? (i.e dead variation).

Is three sets of quads enough, considering you do around 7-8 sets of back and up to 8 sets of biceps?

I know you flip the workout every week but does anybody else feel this program is abit flawed in certain aspects? (might be wrong and i'm sure someone will correct me if true but even i can see it isn;t going to give 100% bang for buck compared to some other routines)


aaaactually, putting squats at the end isnt a bad idea. think about this, how do you feel after destroying your legs with squats and leg presses? do you feel like curling? probably not. hence why in DC training, hardest exercise goes last.

makes sense to me.


I still say you should generally do the heavy stuff first. Some programs do it the other way around, but I don't know of any good ones that are geared towards beginners. Certainly not Dogcrapp. If you're a beginner looking for size, the best bet is to prioritize big compound movements over curls.

As for being drained after squats, there are plenty of people who manage. How many success stories has Starting Strength created? Stronglifts 5x5, 5/3/1, WS4SB...all well regarded programs that put squats at the start of the workout.



Trained this way for a few months this summer and it worked out well. I'm actually going to out biceps on squat day again I think.


Yeh makes sense, i'm not trying to argue with you actionboy as you clearly know your stuff.....

I'm right bout having a deadlift variation in there though right??


ya, he could throw in a deadlift variation. probably romanian on leg day and switch squats to front squat maybe. its tough with the set up he has though because you dont want to over fatigue the low back. if he repeats his monday workout on friday, maybe on the friday throw in rack pulls and take out bent over row and then he has until monday to rest up before he has to squat again.


when did i say never put a compound lift at the beginning? if he wanted to do any of those programs, he would be. he wants to try his own way of doing things and i respect that so im helping him out. we'd have a bigger, stronger, SMARTER, community if we had more people that didnt just blindly follow programs and gurus and actually tried learning for themselves IN THE GYM.


If you're setting up a 2 day split, why not try something like:

Day A:

Day B:

I've tried something like this and stacked (superset?) the movements to get out of the gym quicker.

Another thing is to try the established programs that others have mentioned.

How I set mine up was (just as an idea for you)

Day A: Chest/Back/Bi

-Bench Press and Seated row super sets
-Incline bench and pullups or pulldowns
-Deads (superset with flyes if you want. I have a nagging shoulder so I only do 2 chest movements)
-Hammer curl and calf raises
-Barbell curl and ab work

Day B: Shoulder/Legs/Tris

-Military press and lunges
-Lateral raises and squats or hamstring curls
-Face pulls and hamstring work
-Pick a tri movement or two.

Something like that.

I think you're trying to do a little too much hitting back/shoulders/chest on the same day, but that's just been my experience trying things out in the gym.

Any reason you don't want to try a 3 day split if you can get into the gym 3x a week?


I didn't say you did. I'm just recommending that he put compound (particularly lower body work) at the beginning of day two. If he wants to experiment with a different way of doing things, I can respect that. But he asked for a critique, and I think I made my thoughts clear.


Thanks for the comments so far. TBH I was pretty happy for my exercise selection; I like to start with lower body with curls because I can't do biceps justice on upper day and yet it has no negative impact on the rest of legs.

Also I'm avoiding deadlifts at the moment because at a higher frequency it's murder on my lower back especially with squats thrown in as well.

Really I just needed to see what people's thoughts were on the volume and exercise selection and the general consensus is good so I think I'll give the programme a go. I'm not doing Starting strength, WS4SB, etc. because 1) I've done them before and 2) I want a bodybuilding routine.

Thanks guys


Well my issues with your routine is; a bit too much volume (for me anyways) to give each exercise a good go, deadlifts at a higher frequency destroy my lower back and there are too many isolation type (laterals) imo. Overall I still prefer my routine but I appreciate the input, thanks.


Whatever works for ya.

Though I'm still wondering why you don't want to do a 3 way split if you have 3 training days a week.

Something like a push/pull/legs or a back/bi, chest/tri, shoulders/legs split with abs thrown in on one of the days.

My concern was only that you had say 2 movements for bi, but only one dedicated shoulder movement with little for lateral or post delts etc. no face pulls/scarecrows/etc.