T Nation

Switching Things Up. Opinions


I've done the same routine, one muscle group per day, for quite some time. Initially I saw my best gains, but I definitely abused the routine without change. With that being said I'm trying to come up with a decent split routine to re-invent some gains. I haven't done a split (routine) in at least 3 years.

About me:
10% body fat

I've lifted for about 6 years. 4 of which with proper nutrition. Although I'm stronger and have a better physique then I did when I started, I feel like my gains haven't been what they should've been and I don't want to waste another 4 years. I'm hoping my weakness has been lack of variety in my routine and not incorporating compound lifts on a consistent basis.

I'm more of a reader then a poster, but I feel like maybe getting some outside opinions based off of my thoughts will help me break out of achieving minimal gains at best.

Goals: put on some size over the winter . I know the "eat.eat.eat." approach is very popular here. I've done it before and my body does not react well. My body works better with a moderation bulk (3k cals a day, 1.5grams protein per lb, etc.)

Even out my leg imbalance. I haven't done legs consistently in about 3 years (due to neglect, hereditary back alignment problems, and various broken legs) so I should be able to pack on some lbs pretty easy.

My triceps also outshine my biceps (all that time on crutches). That's why I hit biceps a little harder.

Here's what I have in mind

1x10,1x8,1x6,1x4 for all the main lifts except squats (ill do 4 or 5 sets of 10 before I start to lower the reps)

Day 1:
Chest: Flat Bench, Incline dumbbells, decline bench, flies
Triceps: weighted dips, rotate another exercise

Day 2:
Legs: lots of squats (8 to 12 sets to parallel. I'm just getting used to going down that far so anything farther is a couple weeks away)
Rotate another exercise: curls, high rep leg presses,

Day 3: Off

Day 4:
Shoulders: military press, side/front raises, rotate another type of press
Biceps: weighted chin ups, curls, hammers

Day 5:
Back: I'm following a routine I found on here:
Power pull snatch grip/clean grip
Barbell row
Power cleans
Overhead shrugs
Snatch grip deads
Overhead dumbbell shrugs

Day 6: off
Day 7: off?


6 foot, 168 lbs. You say 4 years with proper nutrition? I think not.


I have sticks for legs. I was close to 190 at one point before a serious leg injury.


Do the opposite of what you are doing.


Took the words out of my mouth Stronghold...

Come on man you need a reality check. If you knew what proper diet and training was we'd be having this converastion with you at 6 foot 220+, if ever. At some point in the game you have to say, "I'm not gaining like the rest of these people, what do I need to do to catch up?"

4-6 years with what has to be minimal gains(unless you were a skeleton with some skin dangled on it before) shouldn't be acceptable in anyone's books. If you want this get serious about adding weight to the bar and eating the food necessary for growth. What would you look like if you could squat 495x12, bench 365x10, dead lift 545x10, and having had eaten 6 big protein meals a day for two years even when you weren't hungry? Your number one concern would be how you are going to afford all new clothes again.

What did you eat today and what did your training look like? If possible tell us what weights you used for what reps this time, and how that compared to the previous time doing the same session.



Seriously though, Scott and Stronghold have brought up some good points. I think we need more information.

Starting weight?
Bench: Starting/current?
Squat: Starting/current? (I realize that you said you don't do legs much, I'm just interested to see)
Dead: Starting/current?
Other movements that you regularly do: starting/current?

Also, what does "I've tried the eat, eat, eat approach before, but my body didn't react well to it" mean? What does your current diet look like? Are you currently gaining weight?

As to your question about changing things up, from the information that you've told us so far, I don't really think that changing things up/or the lack thereof is the reason why you aren't gaining muscle mass. Much more likely is that your diet isn't in order and you neglect key exercises (like squats). I seem to recall you also said that you haven't incorporated compound lifts in your routine? Well then that's probably also a big reason.

Until we get some more info I'm not really going to comment on what I think that you should do (other than agree with Scott that you should work on adding weight to the bar and eating enough food to support growth).


Last day of Training (been stuck on these numbers):
Chest: Flat bench (the last couple sessions i switched to lower reps which i havent done in a whlie): 12x135, 12x135, 3x225, 3x225, 1x255, 2.5x225
Incline Dumbells: 10x80,7x90,4x100
Decline flat: 10x135, 8x185, 6x205
Dips: 10x0,10x45,8x90,5x135

Eating throughout the off day:
2 payday protein bars (36carbs/30pro total)
2 protein shakes (72carbs/80protein)
Healthy Choice Tv Dinner (50carbs/20protein)
yogurts (35c/10pro)
half box of wheat pasta (60/10),
Turkey on whole wheat wrap (20/15)
3 chicken breasts (60pro)
Wheatbix (30carbs)

Total: 303 carbs
Total: 225 protein
Didnt have much fat (other then fish oil) yesterday although I incorporate it very much so.


I see what your problem is, do you?

In case you dont, Ill put them in bold for you.

that comes out to under 2500 calories/day. That sucks. You obviously do not know how to eat properly as you say you do.


I did "massive eating" on two different occasions for around 3 months each. I was extremely clean, used fitday/excell to track everything. I just basically got soft and my lifts didn't go up. When it got time to diet down I was back to where i started. The first time I dieted down I did T-dawg which was probably too extreme for somene with not as much muscle, but the second time i took a longer, less drastic diet down approach and still came out with the same result. Thats when I gave up the heavy bulk/cut routine.

Right now I'm around 300carbs 225protein a day. As strange as it sounds, the day i stopped keeping food logs/trianing logs, is the day i started to finally see some gains in strenght. I stopped concentrating on the scale and basically go with the mirror now.

Yea, this was the main reason i posted. I'm just looking for a compound-lift dominant split program. I know theres a very helpful search button on ths website, but I feel like posting something would help give me that "reality check" in areas I may have been forgetting.

Here are some of my stats. People have always told me I am a lot stronger than i look (ill post some pictures soon) which reiterates that maybe something is up with my diet.

Starting weight? 150 (skinny fat, not skeletor).
Bench: Starting/current? as of 6 years ago to now? could barely do 90lbs. Stuck on 3 reps of 225 for quite some time
Squat: Starting/current? (I realize that you said you don't do legs much, I'm just interested to see) Starting 0 (had to do ian kings limping to get my form down)/my last squat worout:
I was a lot higher at one point, but that was when legs were a priority, not a liability.
Dead: Starting/current? 135 vs 245
Other movements that you regularly do: starting/current?
pullups/chinups: 0 to 6x45


I appreciate the critique and understand where you're coming from, but understand this is just one days worth of food based off me trying to remember what I ate in 5 minutes. I was curious to see the total calories so i fished around and got the nutrient info and put it into fitday: 3208/94f/355c/256p. I think you underestimated the payday protein bars. They're packed with calories from fats.


Two things that I see that I would change. One would be training wise. You are doing a lot of exercises for one muscle group, how about you cut it down to 1-2 exercises per bodypart and go with a push pull legs split. Something similar I posted on another thread but this is how I would train someone having trouble putting on size.

Day 1
Low Incline Bench 2x6-10
Incline Dumbbell 2x10-15
Seated Overhead Press 2x6-10
Seated Lateral 2x10-15
Close Grip Press 2x6-10

Day 3
Alternate Dumbbell Curl 2x10-15
Pullup 2x6-10
Barbell Row 2x6-10
Dead lift 2x5-8

Day 5
Leg Press Calves 2x10-15
Leg Curl 2x10-15
Stiff Leg Dead 2x6-10
Back Squat 1x6-10 1x20(breathing squat style)

The exercises aren't that important, but I would like to see you choose lifts that have a great potential to add weight to, things that you aren't doing now(ie flat bench is stalled so that's out) and push them to their limits

Diet is another thing. You take in very few calories and that's obviously not enough to grow for you. If you get fat and don't get stronger on high calories then your intensity is lacking in the gym sorry. First thing I would raise is protein to around 350 grams. Carbs and fats are the energy sources and basically I look at them in this light. About to workout/just worked out? Have some carbs after your protein. Aren't working out today, working out in 6 hours? Have some healthy fats with veggies after your protein. Figure out what works best to get the scale moving upwards(most important) while living with a bodyfat you can tolerate. This comes from trial and error. Maybe you can handle 400 grams of carbs on training days and 100 on non to get bigger without getting fat, maybe you only need 100 grams(post workout) on training days and sub 50 on on. First and firemost should be size, then worrying about the waistline. It takes several years to gain significant size and at most a few months to get lean, which one should get priority here?


Very helpful post scott. I believe you hit it on the head. I was just thinking about it actually before I read your post. When I was bulking way back when I definately had the wrong impression of intense training. Coincidentally when I stopped bulking my trainging got better. Now I think its just a matter of combining the two and adding the compound lifts.


Now youre starting to get a hold of things. Progressive, Intense training+adequate quality food+adequate rest=gains.


what was so funny about what i said? there's no need for a deep discussion here, if what he's doing isn't working, which it clearly isnt because his routine is laughable, then do the opposite of it.


I think that alone would get you right back on track. Good luck and it's nice to have someone take criticism as help and not an insult, that's the way I intend it.

Have a battle with yourself, "I HAVE to be better than what I was before. I need 5 more lbs, I need 2 more reps." That sort of attitude will get you pretty far pretty fast in this lifestyle. Do that with your food as well and you'll be catching up mighty fast.


Ok, first, Scott gave you some really good advice in his last post, I'd suggest following it.

Second, many people find food logs helpful in that they tell you exactly how much you ate on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Your seeming inability to know exactly how much you're eating is a good indication that you might want to start keeping one again.

Or, alternatively you could do as I do. I figured out how much protein I need to be consuming to promote muscle gain and to prevent muscle loss, and how many calories I need to take in. I then figured out how much of each type of food that I would need to eat to reach those levels. Every morning I weigh out the amount of each type of food that I will need to consume (if you don't own a food scale, they're a good investment) and take that food with me to eat throughout the day.

I eat every 2-3 hours (sometimes more frequently depending on time constraints) and just make sure that I finish all of my food for the day. Sure, it's not exact as I don't actually carry my food scale around with me, but it really doesn't matter all that much either. If I finish my food I get enough calories. If I eat every 2-3 hours I know I'm always providing my body with fuel and it never has to break down my body for energy.

As far as a training log, this is absolutely positively crucial if you want to continue building. As Stronghold alluded to, you aren't going to get bigger if you aren't providing your body with overload. If your numbers have been the same for longer than 2 consecutive workouts, then it's time to change exercises and work on getting as strong as possible on the new ones.

You need to either lift more weight on the bar, or the same weight for more repetitions each and every workout. You need to force your body to adapt. Without a good reason to do so (progressive overload) your body has no reason to build more muscle.

If you find that you can't improve from workout to workout, then either:
1) you're not getting enough nutrition to allow for repair and growth
2) you're not giving your body enough time between sessions to improve
3) you're not getting enough sleep
4) a combination of several of the above

You're also going to need to take rest/back-off weeks every now and then as the body can't handle going balls to the wall week in and week out indefinitely. So, when you start to feel chronically fatigued, or irritable, or you lose your drive to train, take a back-off week or two (10-14 days works well for a lot of people). Then hit it hard again. Rinse and repeat. :slight_smile:


i didnt post the routine i was doing. i posted the routine im thinking about changing to. although the routine i was doing is very laughable


Hey Jacked,

I "LOL"ed because your post was right on the money, yet had sort of a straight to the point humorous tone to it (at least that's the way that I read it). I wasn't trying to imply that you were wrong in your suggestion, so no offense meant.

Yes, his routine clearly wasn't working, so you are right doing something different was/is the right direction to go.


Thanks for beating the nutritional info into my head. As much as you read about it...knowing is different then doing and I think this thread opened my eyes up to it.

I'll go back to a log, and although I think i eat a lot, I'll add 500-700 calories to whatever I'm getting now (around 3200 as of yesterdays fitday).

A couple questions more questions:

would you count taking a week off to get tattoo work done as a rest week? You're no longer lifting weights, but I wonder since your bodys still under a type of stress does this negate the effects of rest. I generally go about 6 to 8 weeks between sessions and just coincide them with my week off from training.

This may a bit off topic but in terms of eating, Does pace of eating effect the nutrients you get from the foods? For example if I ate the same meal in 2 minutes as opposed to 10 will it have the same effect?


haha, ya, my post was meant to be honest and straightforward in an attempt to avoid this doctoral thesis length posts.