T Nation

Some Questions for Next Program

This is my first time posting here, but I’ve been reading/researching T-Nation since January. First a little history; I’m 21 years of age and 5’9", I started “working out” 16-17 months ago at an extremely skinny 130 pounds, then after discovering T-Nation in January I began to really train (then at 140).

Thanks to a wealth of great information here and a call to Dr. Berardi, I stopped eating like an anorexic and began eating everything in sight and squatting. I weighed in yesterday at 168, still skinny, but happy with my progress so far and have fortunately stayed relatively lean (although I understand some fat gain will be inevitable).

My goals are to gain as much weight and strength as possible.

Here are some of my lifts 17 months ago/8 months ago/Now:

BB Bench Press

Weighted Dips

Inclinde DB bench (full ROM)
Don’t know/75x3/95x7

Squat (Breaking parallel)
Don’t know/135x5/225x3

Don’t know/225x1/350x1 no problem

Obviously my squat and legs are lagging quite a bit, I had reconstructive surgery on both ankles a few years back and my flexibility seems to suffer in my calves and ankles, so I’ve been working up very slowly in poundage. I feel I have a tend to have some forward lean because of this.

I was wondering if anyone has some recommendations for resolving issues in lower leg flexibility.

Since finding T-Nation, I started with ABBH I/ABBH II, then moved to OVT, and now for the past month I’ve been doing Westside for Bodybuilders Bench Specialization.

Although I have made great gains with this in terms of my bench press, however I feel it is lacking for pulling exercises and legs, I would like to switch to Westside for Skinny Bastards because I do enjoy Max effort lifts but I’ve made some modifications.

I would like to change the fourth workout from strongman conditioning to a repitition lower body day.

Here it is:
Workout 1 - Max Effort Upper Body Sets / Reps
ME - BB Bench Press ME x 3-5
SL - Incline DB Press 3-4 x 6-10
ROW (superset) - Bent over DB Row 3-4 x 6-12
Rear Delt (superset) - Standing DB press 3-4 x 6-12
BICEPS - EZ Bar Curls 3 x 6-10
ABS - Hanging Leg Raises/Weighted Crunches CIRCUIT

Workout 2 - Max Effort Lower Body Sets / Reps
ME - Back Squat ME x 3-5
UL - BB Lunges 3 x 8-12
HAMS - Deadlifts 3-4 x 6-15
NECK (superset) - Shrugs 3-4 x 6-10
GRIP (superset) - Rack Pull 3-4 x time

Workout 3 - Repetition Upper Body Sets / Reps
ME - Weighted Dips ME x 3-5
CHIN (superset) - Weighted Chinups 3-4 x 8-12
Delt/Trap (superset) - Weighted Pullups 3-4 x 8-12
Medial Delt - Lateral Raises 3-4 x 8-15
BICEPS (superset) - Hammer Curls 2-3 x 8-12
TRICEPS (superset) - Decline Skullcrushers 2-3 x 8-12
ABS - Hanging Leg Raises/Weighted Crunches 2-3 x 10-15

Workout 4 - Repetition Lower Body Sets / Reps
Back Squat 3-4 x 8-12
Front Squat 3-4 x 8-12
DB Lunges 3-4 x 8-12
Back Extensions 3-4 x 8-12

My diet is mostly clean, although to reach my calorie requirements I head to Carl’s Jr. quite a bit. My financial situation is very fortunate, so I’m a Biotest junky, I drink Surge/take BCAAs pre-during-post workout, Flameout, creatine, Metabolic Drive etc.

I am drug free, but on impulse, have stocked up on some MAG-10 legacy for the future (obviously a few years down the road…) Sorry for the lengthy post, here are the main things I would like input on:

-lower leg flexibility
-my modified W4SB, how is the volume, exercise choice?
-I get bleading on my shins from deadlifts, are shin-guards a feasible solution?
-the dip bars at my university are angled both inward and downward from back to front, how does this change the emphasis on the various muscle groups?
-best method to deal with heartburn

Thanks for the advice, and the plethora of great information on this site.


Congrats on your progress so far. In my opinion its time to switch this broad based style of training.

I don’t think your giving yourself enought recovery.

I question what your split is. workout 1234, but is that a week, what are your off days? You say your legs are your weak points?

Your defenitely dominating chest and back.

Now that you have some work capcity,split your program up, don’t condense it so much.

I think either separate your quad days and ham days, do a month of either power, followed by a month of hypertrophy training.

Doing chest and back is good, I personally don’t like separating chins from rows. I feel overtrained I do one or the other.

Not sure what your arms are like, but giving your self a shoulder arms day might be warranted.

i recommend

day one Quads (since its your weakpoint)
front squat based,plus two other quad movements your choice
day two, Chest , back
day 4 Hams, and calves , deadlift basedplus leg curls and some good mornings, calves
day 5 shoulders arms, military, and dip based. plus reverse curls , and whatever else
either one day of rest and repeat
or take the weekend off, depending on recovery.

you don’t need to worry about the bloody shins thing.

have some max days,
but for the most part use super strict pause form, that you don’t need to worry about shin guards!

Thanks for the reply Shortest Straw (great song/album btw).

I figured the W4SB required a day off after each workout.

What do you recommend for a set/rep scheme for hypertrophy vs. power (other than max days)?

I did a search for strict pause form for deadlift and couldn’t find anything, what does that mean? I figured some shin rubbing is inevitable based on body type

Mate try doing 5x5,s ( search and u will find it ). Works excellent for strength and will also notice some hypertrophy.

And I agree with straw regarding the chins/row issue. Go for the weighted chins with wide overgrasp, it will smash your lats and upper back if u train it hard enough.

Oh and as for the bloody shins achived with the deads. It happens mate I myself have no hair on the front of both my shins thanks to deads.

pause form to me means super strict. Basically try taking 4 sec to lower the bar and touch the ground for a full Pause at the bottom. If you work with good enough form you can teach your body to keep the bar close and not scrap your chin. I remember doing that when I first started but not as I perfected my form. Try really leaning back and straightening your back as you come up and experiment with stricter form lighter weight.

Reps, I think do the oppossite of whatever your doing. 5*5 is very similar to any strength system. I find myself gets bored of heavy style training , and usually need a good dose of fun bodybuilding tactics. Try anything different, supersets, tri sets, in the 6 - 12 range. You will get stronger to. Then your body will welcome something like 54321 or wave loading after 6 workouts of hypertrophy training.

Mate it all comes down to. Do you want to look big and strong or do you want to look like a pretty boy.!!!

Stick with the dead, squats, bench (to a degree) and Push press and you will be strog and it will be functional strength. Concentrate on accessory shit like preacher curls and shit and u will have pretty gym muscle but will lack the strength you can earn from some real training.

And if u are real keen do 5x5 for a month or so then hit smolov. It’ll do wonders for your mass and pure strength

the above two posters either don’t know who Joe DeFranco is and what the West Side For Skinny Bastards program is or just chose to ignore the fact that that is the workout your trying to emulate.

I suggest you Stick to the program as outlined INCLUDING sticking to the exercise recomendations as closely as possible.

One exception:

Since you are not going to be doing alot of running use this list of exercises from WSSB I for your posterior chain work-

Leg curls
Glute-ham raises (various resistance, iso-holds, negatives)
Romanian deadlifts
Seated or standing good mornings
Stability ball hamstring lifts
Reverse hypers

I think if your replaced regular deads with romanian deadlifts or good mornings your ME lower body day is good to go. The second lower body day i would pick one type of squat and make sure its a weight you can keep great form with and focus on being explosive.

Once you have stuck with the program for a decent amount of time you can start to fiddle with it. But doing it as outlined is going to give you great results if you work hard and get enough food/recovery.