T Nation

Routine Critique


Currently been lifting for a year.
Height: 5'10
Weight: 160 and gaining slowly but steadily
Age: 21

current maxes: 205x2 FS, 135x2 MP, 155x5 Bench (do db instead now as flat bench bothers shoulders)

No deadlifts (slipped l5/s1)

Split: Along the lines of



Chest/tri: My shoulders have bothered me on and off so I stick to doing more work sets of these movements

Incline bench
Dumbbell bench
(Thinking of adding decline db bence)

Floor Press (tris)
Tricep Pushdown
Wrist curl/reverse curl


Lat Pd
Seated Row
HS Hi row
RG BB Row (light finisher)
DB Curl
Hammer curl
Standing calf


Military Press
Arnold Press
Db Laterals
Rear Delt Row
Floor Press
Tri Pushdown


Front Squat
-Finisher set of back squat @ 135 lbs (couple of sets)
Walking Lunges
Hamstring Curl
Standing calf
DB Curl
Hammer Curl

That's about it. Thanks for the critiques. I've had trouble working around shoulder annoyances, so I've been sticking to the 2 movements that work for me, but understand the shortcomings and my chest is lagging so I do more sets of those movements. Don't like flyes so I might add the decline presses.

I've had issues finding tricep movements that work for me as well, but the pushdown with anything but a rope seems to work out okay.

Any comments/critiques? Am I completely missing something?



What is your set/rep scheme?
I don't think you need to do Military Press and Arnold Press on the same day.
I assume you want to add size and strength, at your height/weight and level of experience I think you maybe better off with a 4 day week upper lower split and spend less time on the direct arm movements.


I can't do a 4 day week upper/lower split because it causes my joints to get really pissed. I have a slipped disc and I'd been feeling great lately till I fell forward while doing a back squat yesterday and pissed the hell out of it.

I don't really have a set rep scheme for everything, I basically ramp up doing 5-10 reps till I get to a weight that I can't do for more than 5-10 reps. I do 1-2 sets there then drop to a weight that's lower and do 10-15 reps there. If I'm not feeling particularly great that day, I'll pick a lighter weight and go 3x10 on it. I'll grab my journal and post a sample workout for each of the days with weights as it might help.


If you've got disk pain from exercise you should probably get that dealt with before worrying about any kind of advanced programming. Do you have an actual diagnosis for your back pain or is slipped disk doctor speak for "no fuckin idea, here take these tylenol 4s"?


Herniated L5-S1. Ironically, I got it when I was getting up off the couch. I wasn't really lifting then, so it was likely a weakness caused by a bad crash I had when I was bike racing, which then just gave up the ghost.

Had it for almost a year now. As long as I don't deadlift at all or backsquat 'heavy', I seem to be fine. That's why I prefer to front squat as there's less compression and I can drop the weight if I get sketched out instead of bailing and falling like I almost did on the back squat. Incidentally, I can handle much more weight on the FS comfortably...

The doc thought I had hip bursitis for a while, which was 'stupid doctor speak cause I have no fuckin idea'.

Day to day I was fine, but I took 2 tylenol in the AM's some days because I was a little stiff. My workouts weren't really making things worse as I had no additional discomfort in about half a year of training. I tried deads once in that time, and had pain the next day so scrapped that. Then I got hit by a car while riding to work and that aggravated things a bit too but it wasn't nearly as bad as what happened yesterday. I've learned to work around the injury/flare ups and I'll do that for the next few weeks till it calms down again.

I guess I'm making progress slower than I'd want to be, but given that injuries limit things, I'm glad making it anyway.


Have you done any work to stabilize the lumbar spine? If you read Stuart McGill's stuff (pretty much the man on low back pain) he traces a lot of low back problems to weak and non functioning stabilizers rather than intrinsic disk damage. You might be a special case but I bet if you added planks, bird dogs, fire hydrants etc into your routine with appropriate programming you would see a lessening of symptoms and more low back resiliance in the long run.


Workout examples:

Back/Bi:10th Nov

LatPD:100x10, 140x10, 160x10, 180x7, 160x8
Seated Row: 100x10, 180x9, 180x10
HS Hi Row: 10x90, 10x115, 10x125, 20x90
Reverse grip BBRow: 10x45, 10x135, 15x95.

DB curl: 35x5, 30x7, 30x7
Hammer curl: 25x10, 30x6, 30x8

Shoulders/Tri: 12th Nov
MP: 10x45, 5x65, 5x95, 5x115, 2x135, 5x114
Shrugs:20x135, 10x225, 2x10@275
Arnold Press: 40lb 6/7/8
Db Laterals: 15x20lb, 2x10@25lb

Pushdown: 12x60, 12x70, 5x80
Skull crushers (going behind the head) 3x10 @ 70

Legs/bi: 14th Nov
Front squat: 10x65, 135x3, 2x3 @185, 2x185, 135x10
Walking Lunges: @40lb 10/10/10
Db curl: 5x30lb, 10/10/10 @ 40lb
Leg press: 2pps 10/10/10
Hammer curl: 10x30, 10x35, 8x40
1 leg hamstring curl: 10@50, 2x10@60
1 leg standing calf raise: 10x100, 20x100

Chest/Tri: 15th Nov
Incline bench: 95x10, 135x5, 155x5, 135x10
Db bench: 40x10, 50x10, 65x9, 40x10
Decline db bench: 2x10 @ 50, 7x65 (wrists got sore even with straps)
Decline situp: 3x15
Skulls going behind head: 3x10 @70
Ab machine: 20/20/15 @ 70lb
Tri Pushdown: 10/8 @ 70, 14x60lb
Back extension machine: 10x130, 2x20 @ 160.

So there it is...


I've been doing planks/side planks on and off and have some pt exercises. I have found that doing them more frequently once the inflammation subsides leads to my feeling better and having less issues.

I just looked up bird dogs and fire hydrants. I'm going to have to start working those in as well. I think you're right that they'll help. Any additional stability to my lumbar region can't be a bad thing. I'm working on hamstring flexibility as well!


Yeah man, keep it up. I was in two bad car accidents two years ago and have a bunch of easily inflamed areas in my back. I don't have any imageable vertebral issues but I've had all the attendent pain and neuropathy of bad disks. I hooked up with a good PT who also trains athletes and body builders a few months ago and got most of my problems worked out with manual therapy and lots of corrective low back work. Hip and thoracic mobility are crucial as is lumbar stability. Look up Dr. Stuart McGill, you should be able to find progressions for his back exercises. Start easy and keep working them. I use my mobility and stability stuff as a warm up/cool down for most workouts.


Bumpity bump.