Routine You Started Out With?

Back when you guys were smaller and much weaker, like I am now, benching only around 180, squating around 205, and DLing about 195, what routine were you guys/gals using that was effective for you. Right now I am in ABBH2, which is effective for me, I find, because perhaps of newbie gains, but I really want to start lifting the way powerlifters do. I want to bench, squat, and DL big, if not huge numbers. You guys have already helped me on my way, getting my diet into check, so I ask you guys to perhaps give a newbie a peak at a program that proved effective for you. I was considering Westside for Skinny Bastards but I don’t know if thats a right direction for a beginner.

Any suggestions?

I started on Arnold’s “overtraining routine” where I worked my ass off 6 days a week for 2 hours a day.

Well i am 18 and that might have something to do with building mass, but i remmember trying CT’s OVT. Get program.

Personally, I found that changing up my reps and weight about every two weeks helped me increase my gains. I probably put 35 pounds on my bench within 2 months just by switching out of my dull, ordinary, repitious routine. Diet was really key to my progress also. Just eat clean to keep the waist down.
On a different note…
T-Mag/Nation is really great for training tips, methods, injury prevention, etc…However, what I’m not sure of is how often to change my lifts and my intensity. (i.e. change my reps, weight, exercise, and rest intervals) I went to a personal trainer for help, and he suggested starting a program (a little like HIT training) before I moved on to lifting heavier weights. Turned out, he was rather worthless and I was stronger just dicking around and experimenting. So, what I’m wondering is, how often I should change my lifts and intensity. Also, are some lifts geared toward certain types of intensity. For instance, would a certain dumbell exercise cater toward volume training as opposed to a barbell exercises, or is volume, volume, and weight is weight? Was there some merit in starting a program with a high degree of intensity and moving on later to a heavier routine and maybe switching it up every six months so that your muscles don’t get bored and plateau. I’d appreciate your feedback.

In high school when I first started lifting I used to work out Monday through Saturday using a three day split (chest, triceps, shoulders / back, biceps, forearms / legs, abs). I’d work out about an hour every morning before school, and sometimes throw in some running after school. I also ate around 1500-2000 calories a day. Needless to say I didn’t weigh much and I was insanely depressed from overtraining.

I got lazy and started skipping days, so I only worked out about three to five days a week, and I started eating a bunch of crap food when I skipped working out, and healthy food on the days I did work out. I ended up gaining a lot of muscle and felt a lot stronger. This got me thinking and I ended up eating more and working out less and actually started to make progress. Anyway, that’s the short version.


I try to throw a hottie into every post of mine…anyway.

Started with assorted workouts, nothing planned…when I first really REALLY got into lifting, it was GVT, that worked a little but I couldn’t stay with it.

Program that worked best for me was OVT.


Assuming you don’t mind gaining mass, what you’re doing right now is fine. Chad’s programs are particularly good because the mix in strength and hypertrophy so they’re already periodized for you. I would continue with ABBH, ABBH2, and Singles Club as these will build strength and mass. Get your GPP up as well. Then you can try and tackle Chris Thibaudeau’s Powerlifting Pendulum - it focuses more on building strength with less hypertrophy work. CT’s programs are brutal, though, so you really need to be in good shape and have decent recovery to handle them. I think Chad’s workouts with extra GPP workouts thrown in will allow you to build that base.

I think I started off with something simple like 3 sets of six to eight then moved onto ladder (10,8,6,4,2) and pyramids sets. The latter of the three I must say were a bit more fun in a sic kinda way.

Way to go with the pic of Michelle Xen, you have all of my favorite women it seems :wink:

As for me, I started on a universal machine, because I was 45 minutes by car (and I had no car) from the nearest free weight, so I just did a basic Chest/back, bi’s/tri’s, legs/shoulders, one split a day, 5 days a week, it put on mass pretty quick for me.
But I thikn that was also because I was new to lifting, pretty much everything works great when you haven’t lifted before.


If you want to start training for powerlifting then I think first you do need to concentrate more on mass and strength or just functional strength depending on what weight class you might want to be in. So I would definitely recommend either going with WS for skinny or Chad’s programs…I did AHBB and loved it…a good thing may be to go through CW’s programs as Mike suggested and then do WS for skinny then WS…

Another thing I would definitely do in your case since you are already interested in pl is start practicing the box squat now, not with weight but just the technique with a broom stick or something. Maybe include before or after a workout as gpp. Do as many sets of 2-5 reps as you feel comfortable doing. And since other programs (like AHBB) will have you deadlifting and benching it would be a good idea to practice form on these as well. Your techinque can always be worked on! Also, as gpp movements, once you get the box squat form down read CW’s jumping box squat article and explosive push-up article and incorporate these as well as you don’t need any weight and they will help to start building your explosive strength while you are concetrating on mass/strength. This way when you do start WS you’ll be ready, kinda like going to preschool!

I too love Xen’s plan to post a hottie pic w/ each reply.

End of hijack

I got a lot of success with this wierd 5X5 pyramid a friend showed me after our senior football seasone ended. Then I went back to that template and applied antagonizing muscle group work to it and made sick progress last summer.

[quote]MJC wrote:
I started on Arnold’s “overtraining routine” where I worked my ass off 6 days a week for 2 hours a day.[/quote]

I think a lot of folks started off with Arnold’s 3-day split routine, or a varitation thereof. Monday to Saturday and take Sunday off, and feel resentful! It works as a kid, but becomes just that little bit harder as you age and start to overtrain.

For beginners, I’d recommend Ian King’s “Mens Health Book of Muscle” he breaks down everything from workouts to nutrition to stretching and proper form on basic lifts. It’s a well written, easy to understand book.

If you follow Defranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards, I think it will give you a good base of strength and muscle to begin lifting big. In the article he says he developed the program for people who want to lift big, but lack the muscle mass to really move a lot of weight. “You can’t flex bone.”

My first routine was a powerlifting program right out of Powerlifting USA it worked wonders.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
For beginners, I’d recommend Ian King’s “Mens Health Book of Muscle” he breaks down everything from workouts to nutrition to stretching and proper form on basic lifts. It’s a well written, easy to understand book.[/quote]

I’m a beginner and am about 6 weeks into the “beginner” program in this book and I wouldn’t recommend it to other beginners. Maybe the intermediate or advanced programs are better, I dunno. But the beginner program goes against everything they talk about earlier in the book and doesn’t make much sense for beginners IMHO.