T Nation

Semi-Newbie Switching to Splits

I have searched through the internet for the perfect split but I just can’t find one.

Ive been lifting for about 1.5 years now. Ive always used Madcows, WS4SB, or some other variations of the WS4SB plan. I want to switch to a split at least to try it out. I’d essentially like to get my squat above 400 (currently 345) and my bench into the 300s.

I understand that a lot of hypertrophy is accredited to splits but I also want to focus on my strength on the same substantial level.

I’d like to go heavy on all my main lifts in a madcow style 5x5 pyramid and go 3x8-10-12 or so on the accessories. I know a ton is accredited to nutrition, which I have dialed in, but I just want to focus on both strength and size.

Is it better to do it like this, or should I drop my lifts all down to 5x5 (non weight ramp) and go like that? Maybe I should just keep trying things like Madcows until I am satisfied with my strength but I am getting quite bored and want to venture into the split style training method.

This is my routine and I would really appreciate any constructive criticism or heavy flaming. Really doesn’t matter, I can take advice from both.

Monday - Chest
Bench: 5x5 ramping weight
Incline Bench: 10x3
Decline Bench: 10x3
Dips: 10x3
Dumbbell Flyes: 10x3
Pullovers: 10x3

Tuesday - Legs
Squats: 5x5 ramping weight
Leg Press: 8x4
Leg Curl: 8x4
Front Squat: 8x4
Seated Calves: 8x4

Wednesday - Back
Deadlift: 5x5 ramping weight
Pullups: 10x3
Bent Over Row: 10x3
Wide Grip Pulldown: 10x3
Face Pulls: 10x3

Thursday - Shoulders
Seated Military Press: 5x5 ramping weight
Standing Overhead Press: 5x5 ramping weight
Lateral Raise: 12x4
Upright Rows: 12x4
Shrugs: 12x4

Friday - Arms
Skull Crushers: 12x4
Close Grip Bench: 12x4
Tricep Pushdown: 12x4
Barbell Curls: 12x4
Preacher Curls: 12x4

I don’t think training arms, shoulders and isolation movements that heavy is the way to go. There’s a reason you don’t see sets of 4 reps for curls- it’s really difficult to keep strict form.

WS4SB and Thib’s OVT both use heavy training for big movements (S/D/B) and hypertrophy for accessory muscles. Perhaps OVT is where you should look next (it’s size/strength hybrid-ish)

[quote]Otep wrote:
I don’t think training arms, shoulders and isolation movements that heavy is the way to go. There’s a reason you don’t see sets of 4 reps for curls- it’s really difficult to keep strict form.

WS4SB and Thib’s OVT both use heavy training for big movements (S/D/B) and hypertrophy for accessory muscles. Perhaps OVT is where you should look next (it’s size/strength hybrid-ish)[/quote]

Thanks very much for the suggestion. Ive never seen OVT but it looks decent to me. Let me put it to you like this: would you suggest OVT, or this routine I laid out with less volume on the accessory… and if so, what do you mean by less volume?

Less exercises or a different execution scheme? Dropping to 8x3, 6x4, 5x5 for all accessories or not throwing above 30 reps?

Anyone else with some input too?

I agree with Otep some OVT training might do you well. Also look at Thibs Beast Training it will take you about 3 months to complete and is a strength/hypetrophy hybrid. Have a look at W4SB III if you haven’t. It’s a four day split and the dynamic traing could very well help you out.

If you are really manic check out Smolov Squat …

[quote]ZisDeadBaby wrote:

Monday - Chest
Bench: 5x5 ramping weight
Incline Bench: 10x3
Decline Bench: 10x3
Dips: 10x3
Dumbbell Flyes: 10x3
Pullovers: 10x3

Tuesday - Legs
Squats: 5x5 ramping weight
Leg Press: 8x4
Leg Curl: 8x4
Front Squat: 8x4
Seated Calves: 8x4

Wednesday - Back
Deadlift: 5x5 ramping weight
Pullups: 10x3
Bent Over Row: 10x3
Wide Grip Pulldown: 10x3
Face Pulls: 10x3

Thursday - Shoulders
Seated Military Press: 5x5 ramping weight
Standing Overhead Press: 5x5 ramping weight
Lateral Raise: 12x4
Upright Rows: 12x4
Shrugs: 12x4

Friday - Arms
Skull Crushers: 12x4
Close Grip Bench: 12x4
Tricep Pushdown: 12x4
Barbell Curls: 12x4
Preacher Curls: 12x4[/quote]

I have a similar training history as you. I used Madcow’s 5x5 for about a year before eventually starting a bodypart split.

In general, I’m no longer a fan of “ramping up” the weight. Example, wux12 wux10 80x5 85x5 87.2x5 90x5 92.5x5. Nowadays, I prefer to get a decent warmup and then straight set 3-5 sets with maximal effort. I have been getting more progress from this approach.

In regards to your program, it could use just a little bit of tweaking.

chest,
ditch either decline or dips, having both is excess that will be robbing intensity from the other exercises.

On leg day I’d ditch the press an add another hamstring exercise. Also I’d pick either backsquat or front squat and then replace the other one with a unilateral movt. like bb lunges or split squats.

Back day looks good.

Shoulder day could use some posterior delt work, be careful with the volume on the upright rows.

Just my suggestions, hope they were somewhat helpful.

[quote]I have a similar training history as you. I used Madcow’s 5x5 for about a year before eventually starting a bodypart split.

In general, I’m no longer a fan of “ramping up” the weight. Example, wux12 wux10 80x5 85x5 87.2x5 90x5 92.5x5. Nowadays, I prefer to get a decent warmup and then straight set 3-5 sets with maximal effort. I have been getting more progress from this approach.

In regards to your program, it could use just a little bit of tweaking.

chest,
ditch either decline or dips, having both is excess that will be robbing intensity from the other exercises.

On leg day I’d ditch the press an add another hamstring exercise. Also I’d pick either backsquat or front squat and then replace the other one with a unilateral movt. like bb lunges or split squats.

Back day looks good.

Shoulder day could use some posterior delt work, be careful with the volume on the upright rows.

Just my suggestions, hope they were somewhat helpful.[/quote]

Cool. Thanks for the suggestions. If I were to revamp it would look something like this by using your parameters:

Monday - Chest
Bench: 5x5 ramping
Incline Bench: 10x3
Dips: 10x3
Dumbbell Flyes: 10x3
Pullovers: 10x3

Tuesday - Legs
Squats: 5x5 ramping
Leg Press: 8x4
Stiff-Legged deadlift: 8x4
Reverse Lunge: 8x4
Seated Calves: 8x4

Wednesday - Back
Deadlift: 5x5 ramping
Pullups: 10x3
Bent Over Row: 10x3
Wide Grip Pulldown: 10x3
Face Pulls: 10x3

Thursday - Shoulders
Seated Military Press: 5x5
Standing Overhead Press: 5x5 ramping
Rear Delt Raise: 12x4
Upright Rows: 8x3
Shrugs: 12x4

Friday - Arms
Skull Crushers: 8x4
Close Grip Bench: 8x4
Tricep Pushdown: 8x4
Barbell Curls: 10x3
Preacher Curls: 10x3

I would keep the lateral delt raises, just add some posterior delt flyes. Most guys don’t get enough posterior delt work to balance all the pressing movts.

One more thing, if your previous frequency was 3days/week then you may want to ease into the increased frequency and volume of the new split. One way would be to add exercises weekly.

[quote]MC sp3 wrote:
I would keep the lateral delt raises, just add some posterior delt flyes. Most guys don’t get enough posterior delt work to balance all the pressing movts.

One more thing, if your previous frequency was 3days/week then you may want to ease into the increased frequency and volume of the new split. One way would be to add exercises weekly. [/quote]

Alright I will keep them in. I did do 3x a week but I have done up to 4 with WS4SB III. I will keep 1 of each movement out to gauge my volume abilities however. I am considering doing OVT before this to get into the splits too, then switch to an even bigger split like this. Sorry I keep posting up the routine I just like to see it all finished, haha. Shoulder day still looks a little heavy. Would you suggest dropping either the sitting or standing OHP maybe?

Monday - Chest
Bench: 5x5 ramping
Incline Bench: 10x3
Dips: 10x3
Dumbbell Flyes: 10x3
Pullovers: 10x3

Tuesday - Legs
Squats: 5x5 ramping
Leg Press: 8x4
Stiff-Legged deadlift: 8x4
Reverse Lunge: 8x4
Seated Calves: 8x4

Wednesday - Back
Deadlift: 5x5 ramping
Pullups: 10x3
Bent Over Row: 10x3
Wide Grip Pulldown: 10x3
Face Pulls: 10x3

Thursday - Shoulders
Seated Military Press: 5x5
Standing Overhead Press: 5x5 ramping
Rear Delt Raise: 12x4
Lateral Delt Raise
Upright Rows: 8x3
Shrugs: 12x4

Friday - Arms
Skull Crushers: 8x4
Close Grip Bench: 8x4
Tricep Pushdown: 8x4
Barbell Curls: 10x3
Preacher Curls: 10x3

I don’t see problem with the volume, but with the intensity on some non-intense exericises.

SkullCrushers: 8x4.
8 sets, four reps.
Four reps? That’s pretty low. Like… really heavy.

Now, if it was four sets, eight reps, that would make more sense, so it’s possible I read it wrong…

I’m pretty sure he’s writing it sheiko-style and that it is 4 sets of 8 reps

[quote]SquatDeep385 wrote:
I’m pretty sure he’s writing it sheiko-style and that it is 4 sets of 8 reps[/quote]

Yeah I am. Sorry :slight_smile: I tried Chest day today and I couldn’t do a single dip at the end. Looks like I need to work up to the volume. Any other suggestions on it? Gonna try 1 week of this and 1 week of OVT to see which I will do first.

Splits work great but I suggest you lower the volume a bit. Drop some exercises, like one from the shoulder day and one fromt he chest day. There are some things there that seem redundant and will slow down progress.

Also switch around the days of legs with back. Doing stiff legged deads on one day and then conventional deads on the next will be extremely hard on your lower back.

Otherwise looks good.

[quote]ZisDeadBaby wrote:
SquatDeep385 wrote:
I’m pretty sure he’s writing it sheiko-style and that it is 4 sets of 8 reps

Yeah I am. Sorry :slight_smile: I tried Chest day today and I couldn’t do a single dip at the end. Looks like I need to work up to the volume. Any other suggestions on it? Gonna try 1 week of this and 1 week of OVT to see which I will do first.[/quote]

Personally I think you got a solid program here but would benefit from dropping a few exercises and condensing it down to 4 days, especially if you are coming up from 3 days. I don’t know about you but I would be exhausted from 5 consecutive days of training, and it doesn’t seem you would give your body a proper amount of rest either. I’d also switch your lifting days around. I’d go legs-chest-back-shoulders/arms so you can give your legs/back a proper amount of rest between legs and back. I couldn’t imagine doing squats, etc then following it up with deadlifts, back, etc the next day. I’d drop dips and incline bench from chest day and include close grip bench from the arms day. The comment about switching leg press for a lift that recruits the hamstrings more isn’t a bad idea (if it were me I would also drop lunges and do more squat work). Also, I would move the curls to back day, drop the 5th day, and keep the 4th day as shoulders/rear delts/traps/triceps. For example the changes could look like this…

Day 1 - Legs
Squats
Stiff-Legged deadlift
Pullthroughs
Seated Calves

Day 2 - Chest
Bench
Close Grip Bench
Dumbbell Flyes
Pullovers

Day 3 - Back
Deadlift
Pullups
Bent Over Row
Wide Grip Pulldown
Barbell Curls
Preacher Curls

Day 4 - Shoulders/Rear Delts/Traps/Triceps
Seated Military Press or Standing Overhead Press
Upright Rows
Rear Delt Raise
Face Pulls
Shrugs
Skull Crushers
Tricep Pushdown

Just my two cents.

[quote]kylec72 wrote:
ZisDeadBaby wrote:
SquatDeep385 wrote:
I’m pretty sure he’s writing it sheiko-style and that it is 4 sets of 8 reps

Yeah I am. Sorry :slight_smile: I tried Chest day today and I couldn’t do a single dip at the end. Looks like I need to work up to the volume. Any other suggestions on it? Gonna try 1 week of this and 1 week of OVT to see which I will do first.

Personally I think you got a solid program here but would benefit from dropping a few exercises and condensing it down to 4 days, especially if you are coming up from 3 days. I don’t know about you but I would be exhausted from 5 consecutive days of training, and it doesn’t seem you would give your body a proper amount of rest either. I’d also switch your lifting days around. I’d go legs-chest-back-shoulders/arms so you can give your legs/back a proper amount of rest between legs and back. I couldn’t imagine doing squats, etc then following it up with deadlifts, back, etc the next day. I’d drop dips and incline bench from chest day and include close grip bench from the arms day. The comment about switching leg press for a lift that recruits the hamstrings more isn’t a bad idea (if it were me I would also drop lunges and do more squat work). Also, I would move the curls to back day, drop the 5th day, and keep the 4th day as shoulders/rear delts/traps/triceps. For example the changes could look like this…

Day 1 - Legs
Squats
Stiff-Legged deadlift
Pullthroughs
Seated Calves

Day 2 - Chest
Bench
Close Grip Bench
Dumbbell Flyes
Pullovers

Day 3 - Back
Deadlift
Pullups
Bent Over Row
Wide Grip Pulldown
Barbell Curls
Preacher Curls

Day 4 - Shoulders/Rear Delts/Traps/Triceps
Seated Military Press or Standing Overhead Press
Upright Rows
Rear Delt Raise
Face Pulls
Shrugs
Skull Crushers
Tricep Pushdown

Just my two cents.[/quote]

That looks good too… maybe I should use this more condensed version. Would it be better to do Chest/Tricep together though, like a:

Back/bi

Chest/tri

Legs

Shoulders/calves/abs?

2.0 Revision, condensed!:

Legs:

Squats
Leg Press
Leg Extensions
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Seated Calves

Chest/Tri:

Bench
Incline Bench
Close Grip Bench
Dumbbell Flyes
Tricep Pushdowns
Tricep Extentions

Back/Bi:

Deadlift
Pulldowns
Bent over Rows
Face Pulls
Preacher Curls
Barbell Curls

Shoulders/Calves/Abs:

Seated Military Press
Push Press
Upright Rows
Rear Delt Raise
Barbell Shrugs
Leg Raises

Hey man,

I’m at a similar stage as you with very similar goals. I have been training regularly since the past year and a half also.

My lifts are Squat 365 x 1, Deadlift 350 x 3, DB press 100 x 1

I also want to get my Bench in the 300’s and my squat and dl in the 400’s.

I have done a lot of research these past two months to figure out what will take me to the next level once I finish my current routine on Dec 20th.
After looking around a lot and really trying to build my own splits and routines, I just went ahead and bought Chad Waterbury’s Muscle Revolution. It promises to deliver everything that you and I are aiming for. The best part about it is that it has beginning, intermediate, and advanced programs which he shows how to incorporate in to a year long plan.
Right now I don’t see any better option. Basically, for the next year, you don’t need to stress about exercise selection, split design or any such thing. And guaranteed end of that year strength and physique would have skyrocketed.

Read your post and thought I’d just throw out what thought process I had gone through in trying to achieve similar goals as yourself. Good luck in whatever you do.

[quote]ZisDeadBaby wrote:
2.0 Revision, condensed!:

Legs:

Squats
Leg Press
Leg Extensions
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Seated Calves

Chest/Tri:

Bench
Incline Bench
Close Grip Bench
Dumbbell Flyes
Tricep Pushdowns
Tricep Extentions

Back/Bi:

Deadlift
Pulldowns
Bent over Rows
Face Pulls
Preacher Curls
Barbell Curls

Shoulders/Calves/Abs:

Seated Military Press
Push Press
Upright Rows
Rear Delt Raise
Barbell Shrugs
Leg Raises[/quote]

That looks much improved. I would consider a few points…

Switch out pullthroughs for stiff-legged deadlifts; you are already doing squats and deadlifts throughout the week, or at least move stiff-legged dls as the 2nd exercise for leg day. It’s a lot to ask out of your body.

I would also move t-extensions ahead of t-pushdowns on chest day, and possibly consider dropping incline bench altogether. You are already doing military press, push press, and upright rows on shoulders day.

Place b/o rows ahead of lat pulldowns. I’d still keep face pulls for after rear delt raises, because at least in my opinion I find supplementing muscle groups with multiple lifts on the same day to be more effective. What’s more effective hitting your rear delts on two seperate days with one lift each day or on one day with two consecutive lifts? I suppose that’s a question you have to answer yourself or someone with more experience.

Good luck.

Monday - legs
squat: work up to a heavy set, drop down for reps
Leg press, Hack Squat machine, smith squat widowmaker
leg curls or GH 8-12 reps 1-2 top sets all out
leg extention: 15+ rep sets
calves idc

Tuesday - chest/shoulders tris
Flat or incline bb press heavy sets of 4-8 reps
db, smith machine, machine shoulder press 8-12 reps/set
rear delt flys 10-15 reps/set
fly variation 10-15 reps/set
triceps 10-15 reps/set

Thursday - Back
Deadlift: heavy singles, triples and 5s.
rack chins, weighted chin, pulldowns sets fo 8-12 reps
DB or cable rows 10-25 reps/set
shrug 10-25 reps/set
curl variation
face pulls

IMO

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