T Nation

Training tips?

I’ve been weightlifting for a few years, not very seriously though. Last year I got up to 180lbs body weight, at 5’9", and I’m not sure what my body fat was, but it wasn’t that high. My bench max was 280, squat 340, and deadlift 350. Since then I started a new program where I used GVT for bench, and after doing that for a few months, my bench max dropped to 250 and my body weight dropped to 160. I’ve since gotten my bench max up to 265/270 (it fluctuates), but I’m still only weighing 160. I guess my problem is that my muslces aren’t stimulated by the routine that I’ve been using for a while now, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers to shape up my routine? Or maybe a new one that would work better?


Sunday: Squats 225lbsx20reps, 255x10, 245x10


Monday: (Shoulders/traps) Hanging cleans 145x10, 115x12, 95x14. Barbell shrugs 70x30. Military presses (in front of and behind the neck) 145x4, 115x8, 95x10. Barbell shoulder presses 75x3, 65x6.


Tuesday: Off
Wednsesday: (biceps) Hammer curls 60x10, 50x12. Biceps curls 50x14, 40x14. Reverse curls 40x16, 30x20.


Thurdsay: (chest/triceps) Bench press regular grip 255x2, 245x2, 225x4, 235x2. Narrow grip bench 115x3. Wide grip bench 115x3. Triceps dips (bodyweightx20).


Friday: Off


Saturday: (lats) Pronated wide grip chin ups front x12. Pronated wide grip chinups behind the back x8. Pronated narrow grip chinups front x10. Bent over rows 165x10, 165x6, 145x12, (narrow grip) 145x10, 115x16, (narrow grip) 115x14.

This has been my work out routine for a while now, except for doing GVT on bench for a short while, to horrible results. Is there something I’m doing wrong, overtraining/undertraining that won’t let me make any progress?

Hi, M.Smith. I’ll share some of my quick thoughts with you. Food for thought and further research.


  1. Your workout looks good, and you’re pushing/pulling some good weight for your size. However, I see some awfully high rep ranges, i.e., barbell shrugs 70x30, squats in the 20 rep range and a number of exercises in the 14-rep range. The rep range at which you’re working does not lend itself to hypertrophy (bulking).



    There are those that would argue otherwise, but there are many who do hypertrophy work in the 8-12 rep range, increasing a weight once they can do 12 reps and dropping back to 8 at the new/higher weight. Strength work is typically done in the under-6 rep range.


  2. Variety. Once again, there are many opinions/views on the subject as to how often one should change out their program or even a particular exercise, but the one I like best, rather than a specified period of time, is to change a program or exercise when you’ve hit your max and have not been able to go up in weight after 3 or 4 weeks. Having said that, I’ve been changing my program out every month, but keeping some of my favorite basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, dips, etc.


  3. What do I consider the single most important change you could make? The one you’re going to like the least because it’s the most trouble. A food log/diary and weighing yourself on the scale daily. You’re working hard. But if you want to put on LBM, you need to be ACTIVELY managing your caloric intake and macronutrients (i.e., fats, carbs, proteins). At your body weight, you should be getting 240 to 320g of protein divided between 6 to 8 meals. The equation is simple. Enough protein + frequent feedings + enough calories + hard work/SMART work = RESULTS!



    Homework assignment: Do a search on the t-mag.com homepage search engine for Berardi and read everything the man has written on nutrition, on bulking, on dieting, on protein requirements, on carb and calorie requirements, on P+F and P+C food combining. Then do another search on hypertrophy programs, pick one you like and you’ll be set.



    Good luck to you!!!

A few thoughts:

  1. You’re blurring the line between hypertrophy and muscular endurance training whenever you go above 12 reps. I don’t see a whole lot of value in 30 rep shrugs, nor should you be doing cleans for more than 6 reps per set. Have you done any sort of periodization so that you’re actually training with lower reps (e.g. 1-5) in order to offer an unfamiliar stimulus for growth?
  2. You didn’t say anything about your diet, post-workout nutrition, etc.
  3. What’s up with the day for biceps alone? Is this a priority?
  4. Most natural trainers can only tolerate 5 day per week programs for limited time periods. You might try switching to 3-4 for a while to see how it goes for you.
  5. You need to give legs more work. The squats are good, but adding in a day for deads would be a great way to kickstart gains.
  6. Depending on your goals, you might want to add in direct work for your calves. Additionally, exercises to strengthen your abs, lower back, and rotator cuff are important additions to consider.


    Hope this helps.

Well, since TT and Eric have posted, there’s not much more I can say. They know their stuff.

See Thursday? See your rep ranges there? That’s good. Mimic Thursday with your other days. Go heavy for a bit, and then do high reps to flush it out.

Cripes, even that is too general. I’d suggest doing Ian King’s limping series and his 12 weeks to super strength. Keep reading. You’ll figure things out much better then.