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The Best Strength Program?

What is the best pure strength program out there in your opinion (I dont mind mass at all but I want a program that dont waste time on hypertrophy)? I am 5’ 8", 158 lbs and have been lifting weights for 7.5 months. I currently do a bodyweight upper body day twice a week and a weights lower body day twice a week.

The lower body day is somewhat like a westside for skinny bastard program. One day I workup to a squat 3RM and the other I work up to a 5RM. I do max deads once in a while (6-8 weeks). And I also do assistance exercises on those two days (such as G/H raise, Romanian dead, grip work, full contact twist, etc).

My problem is that I really want to have a set program as I am a beginner. One thing though, I want to keep the bodyweight exercises. I’ve looked at Bill Starr and Westside but neither seems to like bodyweight exercises.

I’m a little confused by your post. You say you want to gain strength, but you’re unwilling to do anything but bodyweight exercises for your upper body? How much strength do you really expect to gain this way? And how would you be measuring it? Also, why just bodyweight for the upper body if you are perfectly willing to do weights for the lower?

Honestly, I’m kind of baffled. Are you afraid of gaining any size at all for some reason? Hypertrophy is one thing, but you are fairly “compact” at 5’ 8" 158 lbs, my friend.

Kuz

  • Return with honor.

If you only want bodyweight exercises for upper body, I’d say start with the planche and front lever prgressions coach sommer wrote about (do a search of the articles). Also, one-arm pushups are good, so are handstand pushups. You’ll want to probably look for gymnastic strength elements on the internet and try to work up to the difficult ones as you get more advanced.

As for lower body, what you’re doing sounds good, Westside is great. If you really want a set program though, I believe Ian King’s Limping series is a lower body specialization program. 12 weeks, everything laid out. Do a search on this site for it.

[quote]Yoda-x wrote:
I believe Ian King’s Limping series is a lower body specialization program. 12 weeks, everything laid out. Do a search on this site for it.[/quote]

i don’t recommend that you just doing bodyweight ex for your upper body.

you can do Ian King’s “12 weeks to super strength” with his “Limping” series.

Good basic strength routine from Bill Starr:

Monday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (same weight)
Benching 5x5 (flat, close grip or regular)(same weight)
JS Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)

Wednesday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (reduced 15-20% from Monday) or Front Squats 5x5
Standing Military Press 5x5 (same weight)
Deadlifts 5x5 (same weight) (if you pull 2.5x bodyweight do 3x5)
Pull ups 5x5 (use weight if you need it)
Accessory (biceps and abs)

Friday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (working up each set)
Benching 5x5 (flat or incline)(same weight)
Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)

just do static pushup’s hold. work up to 2 mins then take a backpack and add weight progressively.

work low volume sets/reps if you don’t want to add size…IMO you won’t gain a lot of strength with BW exercises for your upper body.

work around squats, deadlifts (more frequently, how about every other week?), and overhead presses. i’d do singles, doubles, triples and ocasionally a set of 5 reps. use prilepin’s table to set your weight/reps/sets.

basically, if you don’t increase your calorie intake, you won’t be gaining much weight.

why don’t you try GTG?..train frequently but very low volume…

just my 0.02, good luck

westside

Helix, I hope you realize not everyone here knows about JS rows. You should mention what and who JS is.

JS is short for johnsmith, which was the nick for Glenn Pendlay, one of Americas best coaches that hasnt yet written T-mag, but absolutely should be on the staff.

A JS row is a barbell row done by pulling each rep from the floor, every time, and flexing the mid back (I cant figure out whether I should say ‘extend’ the mid-back to make it easier to imagine the motion) on the ascent or concentric or pull so that the shoulders are above the hips when seen from the side (well almost) and the descent involves the exact opposite of the motion with the back ending up parallel to the floor when the weight is on the ground.

[quote]Helix wrote:
Good basic strength routine from Bill Starr:

Monday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (same weight)
Benching 5x5 (flat, close grip or regular)(same weight)
JS Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)

Wednesday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (reduced 15-20% from Monday) or Front Squats 5x5
Standing Military Press 5x5 (same weight)
Deadlifts 5x5 (same weight) (if you pull 2.5x bodyweight do 3x5)
Pull ups 5x5 (use weight if you need it)
Accessory (biceps and abs)

Friday:

Olympic Squats 5x5 (working up each set)
Benching 5x5 (flat or incline)(same weight)
Rows 5x5 (same weight)
Accessory (low volume triceps and abs)[/quote]

And after posting what a JS row is, Ill post my best ever strength routine. Keep in mind, Im training for strongman and thus focus on overhead strength and my CNS has a high tolerance for handling maximal loading and I love Chad Waterbury and Glenn Pendlay for convincing me to train more frequently, and with more volume WHILE maintaining high intensity levels of max.

Day One
A1 Push press 8x3
A2 close semisupinated grip pullup 8x3
B1 Flat med grip bench 7x4
B2 barbell Row 7x4
Side bent elbow dumbell laterals 6x5

Day Two
Full Squat 8x3
Pin pull 3x5
Good morning 3x5

Day Three
A1 Military press 5x5
A2 close grip pullup 6x4
B1 Med grip flat 4X5
B2 Med grip bb row 4X5
C1 Strict st arm db laterals 3x5

Day Four
Speed full squat w/ bands 8x3
Pin Pull 2x10
Good morning 2x10

Day Five Speed and recovery day
A1. Speed Military press 8x3 w/ bands speed
A2. Speed Row 8x3
B1 db flat bench 3x10
B2 Wide grip Pulldown 3x10
C1 Side low pulley laterals 3x10

Progressions over six weeks

8x3(80%1rm)-7x3(85)-6x2(90)-5x2(95)-4x1(100)-3x1 (max here)

5x5 - 5x4 - 5x3 - 5x5 (10 pounds heavier than first wk) - 5x4 - 5x3

4x5 is done the same way

3x5 is the same way

3x5 for goods and pin pulls is 3x5 3x4 3x3 3x2 3x1

2x10 - 2x9 - 2x8 - 2x7 - 2x6 - 2x5

3x10 - 3x9 - 3x8 - 3x7 - 3x6 - 3x5

The funny part is that people are posting a lot of REALLY good ideas for strength programs… except that hahar does not want to do anything but bodyweight exercises for his upper body (and I still have no idea why). Seriously, the suspense is killing me.

I never said I only want to do bodyweight upper body. I said I want to keep two days of upper body bw (its just a few exercises :D). There is no suspense here.

Anyways, I am thinking of starting a beginner version (single factor) of the Bill Starr 5x5. I’ll move onto dual factor after the summer. I’ll prob add in plaches after Mon and Fri weights.

But thanks all to those who posted. I’ll keep those in mind when Im done with the Bill Starr workout.

Maybe you could use the bodyweight stuff like active recovery, as in CW’s 100 Reps program. As long as you don’t go crazy with 'em I think bw stuff has a place there.

-Conor