T Nation

Several Questions on My Routine

Hey everybody Iâ??ve been reading articles and following these forums for a while now but Iâ??ve decided to finally post something. I am posting in the beginnersâ?? section because I have been seriously lifting for a little less than two years now and I still consider myself a beginner especially compared to a lot of people here. I think Iâ??ve made good progress so far; Iâ??ve gone from 120 pounds to 160 pounds and made some great strength gains. My primary goal is to get stronger (especially bench, squat, deadlift, power clean) and Iâ??d be bullshitting you if I said I didnâ??t want to look good on top of it.

BW: 160 lbs.
Height: 5â??7â??
Age: 20

Deadlift: 340 lbs.
Front Squat: 220 lbs.
Bench Press: 210 lbs.
Power Clean: 170 lbs.

The Program:
3 days/week, full body
Deadlift (similar to 5/3/1)
Bench Press (similar to 5/3/1)
Skullcrushers: 3x10
E-Z bar curls: 3x12
Power Clean/Push Press: Triples, Doubles, Singles (vary each week) about 3 working sets
Clean Pulls: 2 sets of 2 x 110%
Bent Over BB Rows: 3x10
DB Bench Press: 3x12
Wrist Curls: 3x12
Front Squat (similar to 5/3/1)
Bench Press 3 sets of 12 x 70%
Chin ups: 3 x failure
Dips: 3 x failure
External Rotation Work: 3x10 (each arm)

On off days I try to go for a bike ride (weather permitting) for overall conditioning; about 5 miles each time.

My questions:

  1. Please critique my overall lifting program
  2. Should I be doing more external rotator work? I do not have any chronic shoulder pain, but my left should clicks and occasionally I get a slight discomfort so I want to nip it in the bud.
  3. Are the push presses enough overhead work, or should I be doing military presses as well? If so, should they be done in the same week or should I alternate?
  4. Is the horizontal pressing too much?
  5. Is the bike riding good GPP, or is it holding me back on gaining leg strength in my lower body lifts? Am I doing too much of it?


  • I front squat because a while back I hurt my right quad back squatting and I realize that my form on this lift for some reason is simply atrocious. When I do the front squat, however, I feel very comfortable and think that I derive the same benefits as the back squat (I am not looking to compete except against myself)
  • I work out in my basement and have only a squat rack, a bunch of foam mats, a bench, and a pullup bar so any other equipment is out of the question.

Thank you all in advance for helping me out, I appreciate all of your responses.
Best regards,

Overall program looks okay. If your bench and your row are more or less balanced, I wouldn’t worry about it. I would add military presses, from the anecdotal evidence of Artie Dreschler, a weightlifter, started seeing more shoulder injuries after they took out the press from competition (just became jerk and snatch). He thinks, and I agree, that military presses are important to shoulder health (provided you don’t experience pain or discomfort doing them, but that’s another story). I’d replace the skullcrushers with Military presses, actually, rather than just add them in. Your triceps are still getting worked from the Dips, and MP’s and biceps is a so-so antagonist pair.

Good on doing the front squat, by the way. You may not feel all that strong, because your Fsquat is only a little higher than your bench is, but that’s pretty much where it usually is.

I don’t think you’re Benching too much. The greatest gains in my bench were seen when I was hitting it hard and heavy twice a week. If you’re consistently making progress, keep it. Once progress slows, maybe change it a little.

I don’t know if biking is holding you back on your leg strength. It really depends on if your lifts are going up. If it’s really intense, you might want to scale it back a bit, but if it’s moderate, gets the blood flowing, and improves general well-being, I’d keep it. I wouldn’t do it, but a lot of that is because I really don’t like biking, and when I do GPP, I enjoy doing whole-body stuff (like pushes/drags/sprints/throws), but that’s just me. GPP should be enjoyable, or at least recuperative.