T Nation

Routine Help


Hey guys,

I have been working out for almost 2 years and have made some considerable gains in that time. When I started working out, I weighed 145 lbs. and now I weigh 170 lbs. I'm getting roughly 3500-3700 cals a day and I keep my diet pretty clean.

Since I began working out, I have used a traditional bodyPART split-chest/tris, back/bis/shoulders, squat day, and a day just for deadlifts. I know now, that this routine is useless for most, but I did gain some good size while following it. I have looked through the training database and seen a lot of programs but I think I'm afraid to get out of the "bodypart split" mindset and move on to the movement split.

So I came up with this routine, while focusing on movements more, it still groups some of my muscles together the way I would have otherwise...

Day 1-Upper body pushing
Flat bench or decline bench-10x3
Shoulder press-10x3

Day 2-Upper body pulling
Weighted pullups(pronated)or barbell rows-10x3
Weighted chinups(supinated)-10x3

Day 3-Legs
Back squat-5x5
calve raises-5x5
Cable crunches-5x5

I'm sure this routine has plenty of flaws in it, it was just a thought of mine.

Another question I have is how will the gains compare to my previous bodybuilding routine? I know that everyone is different and it's hard to say, but I just find it hard for myself to believe that I will gain, from this very basic program , more than I would from my previous program. Any input? Thanks a lot.


I might be dense, but I don't see the conundrum.

If you have lots of compound lifts like benching, chins, rows, squats and deads, I don't care how you split it or what you call it.


Your program is not balanced very well. And I wouldn't do two upper body days and then your lower body day.

You might want to try some of the following:

1) Full-body workouts: Pick four compound exercises - two for upper body, two for lower body; and then pick two isolation exercises. Use different exercises each day.

2) Split routine based on movement patterns (horizontal push/pull, vertical push/pull, quad/hip dominant, abs, calves, and arms.

3) Push, Pull, Squat, Carry routine - Do one push, one pull, one squat and one type of carry exercise each workout.

Or, read some of the training articles on the site and choose one of the good ones (ABBH, SFM, TBT, Westside for Skinny Bastards, the 21-Day Itch, EDT, etc.).


Hey man, if you had a separate squat day and a separate deadlift day, then you were doing just fine by me. 99% of gym goers don't even do those, as you probably noticed :). If you worked hard on them, then there aren't really much things you could have done wrong. And, I wouldn't call your split traditional.

This is kind of a typical powerlifting routine: Bench/DL/Squat on separate days. I would however change the order of days, so that Squat and DL are separated either by Bench session, or by a weekend break. Furthermore, I would do DL first on pull day, then rows and pullups. Also, calves and crunches can be worked with higher reps. To sum up,

Day 1 - Squat (Legs)
Back Squat 5x5 or 10x3
Lunges 5x5
Crunches 3x8-10
Calves 3x8-10

Day 2 - Bench (Upper body push)
Bench or Decline Press 10x3
Shoudler Press 5x5 or 10x3
Dips 5x5

Day 3 - Deadlift (Upper body pull)
Deadlift 10x3 or cluster singles (like 20x1 with 1 min rest)
Barbell Rows 5x5
Pullups/Chinups 4-5x6-8 (do pullups while you can, then switch to chinups)

In my opinion, this a decent setup. You will probably need to have a ligther week after 4-5 weeks on this, either by cutting volume in half, or by dropping the work weight by 20-25%. You can try different ways of progressing with weight. Some ideas are:

  • Add reps to 10x3 exercises, until you get 10x5; then increase weight and do 10x3 again (Waterbury's ABBH approach). Similarly, if you can do 5x5 with a set weight, add 5kg more next time, and you may only do something like 5/5/4/3/3. Stick with it until you can do 5x5 with that new weight relatively easy, and then increase again ("Classic" 5x5).

  • Start at about 85-90% of percieved max and work up to new PR (or PRs) over the course of a few weeks. Then go back down again and repeat. So if you think you can do 10x3 with 100kg, go 90, 95, 100, 102.5, 105(very hard), 95, 100, 105 etc. every week (Linear cycling).

  • Start with 8x3 and 4x5 and add sets for a few weeks, while keeping the weight constant. Add one set only if you've been able to do all the reps previous week. You may end up doing say, 12x3 and 7x5. Then cut volume to 5-6x3 and 2-3x5, and try adding weight to the bar every week (Accumulation/intensification).

I think this should keep you busy for a while. Good luck.


Thanks for all the help! I will start this today as I'm getting ready to hit the gym. Slotan, you bring up some very interesting points and I will take them to heart. Thanks a lot.


Another question I had is if I wanted to (on bench day) do 2 exercises instead of one, could I do, let's say, flat bench 5x3, then move to incline dumbbell press for 5x3, instead of doing one exercise for 10x3?


Thanks for posting this Cartman, this fits good with my schedule, one question i had, is how you should spread the days apart, would one rest day between each workout day be good? so;

Monday - Day 1
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Day 2
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Day 3
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Day 1

...that look ok ?


I'm in no way any expert, but the way that I was setting it up was..
monday-day 1
tuesday-day 2
thursday-day 3
sunday-day 1

I can't say for sure if the way you had it planned is optimal, but I can definately see it working. Maybe some others have some input on this?


Interesting, still the same number of workouts in a week, just rest days are split up differently, hopefully someone who knows there stuff will reply




What is your training goal?


To gain muscle mass, strength is not a big concern.