T Nation

Unorthodox Training Routine- Thoughts?

What’s up guys,

First post here. My goals aren’t purely bodybuilding based or powerlifting based, just want to get in the gym and get bigger / stronger.

I’ve been doing a routine some would consider unorthodox, and would like your thoughts on it.

Each workout day will follow this template:

Main Lower Body Movement (Squat/DL)
Main Upper Body Movement (Bench/OHP)
Upper Body Pull
Upper Body Push

The thing that gets people really riled up is supersetting BW movements. I will superset the Main Lower Body movement and Upper Body Pull with a BW Pushing movement (dips), and the Main Upper Body movement + Upper Body Push with a BW Pulling movement (pullups).

So two example workouts following this template would be

Workout A
Squat + Dips
Bench Press + Pullups
Barbell Curl + Dips
Close-Grip Bench + Pullups

Workout B
Deadlift + Dips
OHP + Pullups
Barbell Row + Dips
Incline Bench + Pullups

Everything is done for 5 sets, with a DUP style progression. Basically I will try and increase reps until I hit max reps across all sets, and then increase weight.

The frequency is 4-6x a week. So either a 2/2 split of A and B, 3/2, or 3/3

So you’re probably thinking, “Why the hell do you want to train like this”…well the answer to that is I enjoy doing these movements and want to get better at them, which I believe increased frequency will help do. Because frequency and volume is high, I’m not going super heavy.

As for my progress, I’ve been adding reps and weights and slowly making progress on it, so technically it’s working

The program was built around principles I noticed in 5/3/1. Jim Wendler would have his Squat/Bench and Deadlift/OHP together in some of his templates, as well as advocating to superset BW movements. He would also recommend that each day’s assistance work consist of pushing AND pulling, regardless of the “day”. Now some of you may wonder why I don’t just do 5/3/1, the reason for that is I feel that pre-programming weights beforehand makes me start to sacrifice form in order to reach “reps”, which is counter intuitive.

I am just getting back into training after a layoff and I find that this style has actually helped me quickly regain form and technique. My numbers are piss poor but hopefully that sorts itself out.

Anyways T Nation, I would like your thoughts on this. If it seems completely stupid, let me know. The reason why I don’t just do something like 5/3/1 or a powerlifting program is that I feel the numbers just never match up to what I can actually do (meaning too heavy to establish MMC, or too light etc.)

That looks like a fairly uncontroversial approach. I’m sure it will work fine.


This might surprise you, but as @dagill2 said, this isn’t exactly unique. As you said, Jim does this type of thing in 5/3/1. I’m guessing you haven’t read 5/3/1 forever which includes his baby, Krypteia. Jim does very similar stuff in that program.

We have a guy around here by the name of @Alpha who runs a gym and posts all kinds of free content on YouTube, including workouts. He creates programs that superset movements like this but he takes it even further - box jumps/squat/ab wheel/bike 30 sec, repeat. They’re called giant sets.

As long as you rest appropriately before your main lift (aka strength work) then you can combine as many things as you like. Built 4 Battle is a five exercise full body circuit done with heavy weight and little rest. It works.

I like that you picked body weight exercises such as dips and pull ups for your assistance work because it’s good to be able to move your body through space. As you stated, these are more tolerant of high frequency and I think you can improve fairly fast on them.

If you stick around here long enough then you’ll soon see that most of us advocate the “pick something and work hard” approach. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to do something as long as you work hard. Most people fail to work hard or consistently but blame their programming when they fail. That’s not the case.

Good luck!

Welcome to the forums, first of all! Like the other 2 have said, if you use a variety of good movements, which you are, work hard, eat right and have a method for progression you will make progress. The ‘best’ program in the world won’t work for you if it doesn’t interest you and you don’t do it consistently. The best program for you is the one you will follow and work hard at.

Edit: Of course, I strongly encourage you to read articles here on the Nation, as well as people’s logs. You will get a lot of good ideas from the articles, and see the sort of results people get from various programs in real time from the logs, and you may want to modify things as you learn more.

Thanks man. This was super helpful. I feel a lot better about my own designed program now, knowing that CT actually has something similar. Was having some self doubt as I posted in another forum and it was ridiculed

thanks man, I’ll be sure to start up a log!

Was that on here or another site?

reddit lol. I probably didn’t ask in the best sub since it was the steroid sub, but that’s the only thread there on mondays (not that I have anything against steroids, was just saying they seem like an inflammatory, trolling bunch)

People who use steroids early in their training career fail to learn proper training principles. They can have success in spite of their training because their body is anabolic all the time from the PEDs. The rest of us have to learn to train effectively using sound principles and hard work.

The nice thing about T-Nation is that you’ll find a wide variety of training approaches. People run 5/3/1, Westside, bodybuilding splits, Stronglifts 5x5, CT’s stuff, the list goes on.

My point is that there are a lot of ways to make progress, and the sooner you accept that, the better off you’ll be. There’s no magic program or split. It all comes down to effort and consistency.

I regularly interact with a handful of people on here through their training logs, and we all train differently. We all make progress too. If you check out people’s training logs then you’ll see that most of us like to tweak things in programs written by guys like Wendler and CT. I don’t necessarily like all of the lifts used in some of their stuff, so I change it. Does it diminish my results? Nope.

If you’re open minded then you will enjoy it around here. If you post something like this topic and then argue with people who disagree with you then you’ll probably think everyone is a jerk. A lot of us like to engage in conversations and debates, but not arguments. Open mindedness is the key to growth and adult conversations on an internet forum.


On that note, I’d avoid this sort of conversation on Reddit like the plague… Adult conversations can be few and far between, there.

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thanks man. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it on here. Glad guys like you can help younger guys like myself. Will link you to my log I’ll start up soon if you want!

I think he’s calling us old J

Welcome to the forums though man, it’s a genuinely great community. Even for an old man like me that doesn’t do social media


haha im not calling you all old, just a young guy myself. T Nation has always been my go to for articles on training and diet

How does your undulation work?

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big 4 lifts (Squat/Dead/Bench/OHP) are done for 5 sets of 5-10 reps. I increase the weight when 5 sets of 10 are reached. Each workout is a progression…for example I might get 10, 10, 8, 6, 6, then I’ll try to get something like 10,10, 9, 7, 7 next workout

Slow and steady! That sounds pretty reasonable.

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thanks. Im weak as piss so I have been making daily progress.