What do you guys think of this routine....

I’m going to do this routine for about 6 weeks, or until i get my beginner’s routine from testosterone. I lifted for about a month or so, but now im gonna lift and stick to it, i’ll just have to make time. I just wanna train for strength and pure power, then move to definition later on, but basically i just want to be strong as hell and im willing to work for it, thats why after a beginning routine to get some size and strength, i’m gonna do the “12 weeks to super strength” routine from here, looks awesome. Anyways heres the routine i’m gonna follow for 6 weeks:

Its called mass-kicking squat program


squats 1 x 20
immediately followed by dumbbell pullovers 1 x 15-20
rest five minutes
donkey calf raises 1 x 15-20
still-legged deadlifts 1 x 15
bench press 1 x 8-10
incline flyes, i don’t have an incline bench currently but plan to get one soon, is there any exercise i can substitute for this one, equally effective if not better??
bent-over row 1 x 8-10
chins or pulldowns 1 x 8-10
military press 1 x 8-10
close-grip bench press 1 x 8-10
barbell curls 1 x 8-10
crunches 1 x 15-20

it didn't say how long to rest in between for all those other sets, so i'm just gonna say 1.5 to 2 minutes.

Please tell me what you think, Thanks.

I like your choice of exercises, however I would recomend more total sets. You should be able to handle the first four exercises for 2 rounds (2 sets each) without difficulty. As for the back, same thing, more volume (2 rounds) ditch the pulldowns in favor of the pull-ups. I got nothing out of my back workouts seemingly doing pulldowns, then I switched to pull-ups and BAMM!! soreness and growth soon followed…Don’t hesitate to move up the total number of sets, it looks like you have about 10 sets X 2 times a week, for a total of 20 sets a week, up the total sets and you will progress much faster.

hey rotten, i found that routine at ironman magazine, so i wouldnt suggest changing it, thats why im wondering if any of you think its good, and wouldnt increasing the sets make you burned out, i’m thinking you would be working out for hours, and thats overtraining, do you mean just a couple of exercises or all?, please tell me what exactly you mean, which ones?? thx. Oh i chose chin ups over pulldowns.

You never said how old you are, or what shape you’re currently in… Both of these things, in my opinion, make a HUGE difference.
Regardless, I would suggest gradually increasing the volume. I.e. start with 1 set of each exercise, progressing up to 3 over the six weeks. Also, scrap the incline presses and anything for only the arms (as that will just hamper your back and chest and shoulder development).

When I started, I just did the basics, and put on over 35 lbs in a year (not exaggerating, but I was in 8th grade and growing regardless). Anyway, I'd do Squat, Deadlift, Military, Chins, and Bench (maybe calf, ab, and forearm work on "off" days). That's five. Start out with just one set for the first week or so, just to get the feel, then up the # of sets according to how you're recuperating. Also, initially do high (10+) reps until you get comfortable (to avoid hurting yourself) then lower into the 6-8 range.

Good luck!

Also, why only 2 days per week? Why not M/W/F?

ok guys, for the second time, i didn’t make this workout, i found it from ironman mag, and sorry i left out my stats etc. i worked out occassionally around a bit after christmas then stopped for a while, i’m 18, about 5’10 and 140 lbs, i played sports all my life, except now, but i’m still in decent shape…as far as this workout i didn’t design it, and being on a monday and thursday wasnt my decision and its actaully better that way, workout to my best efforts, i have lifted before and i have some knowledge of weight training, my working schedule goes good with this, i can get plenty of rest, and lift as heavy as i can for each set, and eat as good as i normally do…i was just wondering what you guys thought of this BEGINNER’S workout, it doesn;t have to be like the pros, with split bodypart training days, and a pile of sets, i just want to build some size and power, then move on to a more complete program, my main thing is will this program do ok until then, about 6 weeks ill be on this, thanks.


That is a HIT workout and it will put slabs of muscle on you. Contrary to popular belief, advanced trainers should do LESS volume than beginners ( I know you’re a beginner but I think your volume is about right). I know this isn’t common sense but it has to with the fact that an advanced lifter will by definition make greater demands on recovery. Anyway, that’s basically the workout I do except I split into 2 workouts per week and yes I only do one set. I think people don’t understand that you can have intensity or volume BUT NOT BOTH. When I finish my 1x20 squat, I can barely move and it takes me about 10 to 15 mins to recover. In fact it’s so taxing that I can’t even do it year round! Remember that you have to use a weight which you could normally only squat for 10 reps and use breathing techniques to get through the rest. When I first switched from volume to HIT, I simply couldn’t believe the difficulty of the workout! I felt sick after my workouts. I don’t care what anyone says, one intense set is much, much harder than 3 or more ordinary sets. And you spend a lot less time in the gym as a bonus. You should finish your workout in 40 mins or so. As far as chest, flat bench is good enough, dips are probably better than either flat or incline but it’s not a big deal. I kid you not I put at least 20 lbs of muscle when I went to a short workout and I was already a fairly advanced lifter at 200+ lbs. Do yourself a favor, if the gains stop when you switch to the 12 week program go back to the “mass kicking program”.

John, glad you joined the brotherhood of bodybuilders…
I’ll get to my suggested program in a bit, but read this first… I don’t like this Ironman program at all. I don’t like the rep ranges, the absence of tempo prescriptions, or the random sequence of exercises. This may be getting more “advanced” than you want, but hear me out first. Here are some rules for you to remember for your programs:

1)Exercise order reflects your priorities. Ex. If you train your calves first in a workout, calves are you “priority” muscle group. In the Ironman program, the priority goes from quad dominant legs to scapula depression to calves. I wonder… Do these reflect your imbalances? Probably not.

2)Rep ranges/Tempo reflect your training goals. Since you didn’t include the tempo assignments if there even were any, I’ll assume that Ironman didn’t include them either. You need to learn how the “Time Under Tension” influences the effect of training. In the case of performing reps of 15-20, your training effects will be more on your aerobic capacity than hypertrophy (muscle size).

3)Rest Intervals also influence the training goal. If you want to get strong, you’ll be using (in most cases) heavy weights and a lot of rest. To get big, you’ll be using slightly lower weights (reps between 6-10) and resting a little less. I’m very annoyed that Ironman didn’t even bother to include this important variable.

So, to summarize, nothing about the Ironman “beginner” program points towards any specific goal. It is a generic, thrown together program that will work with people only because doing something is better than nothing. You can do much better. There is also NO reason to avoid using a split program simply because you’re a beginner. You may very well be able to progress using whole body workouts, and they can be great in some instances. But that doesn’t make them optimal for you. Split programs are not reserved only for the “pros.”

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, here’s what you do… Ditch the Ironman program. At 5’10", 140lbs, you qualify as pretty damn skinny regardless of how much bodyfat you carry. So start eating much more than what you consider “normal.” And you also stated that you’re interested in getting stronger too.

Here’s a great program for you to start with, but only use it for 4 weeks. After that, get started on Ian’s 12 weeks to super strength and limping programs together. I know it’ll be a little tougher to get to the gym 4 times a week, but I bet you can do it if you really want. The volume of each session is still low, and you should have no problem completing the workout in half an hour or less. Follow these training parameters on all exercises:

Tempo: 311

Rest: 2 minutes

Reps: 8

Warm-Up: 2 sets before each exercise
and stretching before/after workout

Monday: Chin Ups: 4 sets,
Military Press: 4 sets,
Barbell Curls: 2 sets
Tuesday: Squat: 4 sets

Leg Curl: 2 sets,
Standing or Donkey Calf Raise: 2 sets,
Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Bench Press: 4 sets,
Bent Over Row: 4 sets,
Dips: 2 sets

Stiff Leg Deadlift: 2 sets,
Bar Shrugs: 2 sets

That’s it! Just one more thing. Don’t go too close to failure at all during these four weeks. Leave a couple reps “in the tank.” Let me know how it goes and write back if you have any questions.

I read your response to my beginner’s routine, same with you alex and everyone else, but i noticed doug’s and alex’s since they commented on it, and thanks a lot doug for providing me with a program you think is good, man it looks good but i hhave to state a few things and ask some questions. i know the sets are low, but alex is seeing it exactly like i am, pure intensity in one set, giving it all i got and lifting all i can in that one set, then if it gets too easy or whatever, increase the sets…basically i’m waiting for a beginning program from t-mag here, but it takes a while since they’re busy, I CAN workout 4 times a week, but cmon, why do that when i should be able to find a good workout for me, in only 2 days of the week, and the time of workout doesn’t bother me, sorry if i implied it did, i just feel getting 2 days rest then the weekend off would increase growth, and eat like a monster on all days, just have 2 intense workouts or something like that, but doug if i didn’t mention, i workout at home, with nothing but free weights, gonna buy an olympic set this weekend, can someone tell me what tempo is, and the numbers specify…but thanks all who responded, and doug thanks for that program, just wondering why only 4 weeks doing it?? , so far i’m gonna go with that unless anyone else has anything to say on my previous program i posted before…
Thank You.

If you’re going to do a routine like that, I’d suggest going with a slow cadence… something along the lines of 4 sec. eccentric, 2 sec. concentric or slower. If you’re interested in more HIT routines, the cyberpump website is probably the most complete. From what I’ve seen empirically in myself and others, if you have the intensity to leave yourself in a heap after one set, HIT works. If you go with submaximal intensity, you get submaximal results.

John, I don’t like the two-day program you found on Ironman. It looks very similar to one of Ken Liestner’s programs that he has written for MILO. He has written articles where he talked about how he trained like a mad-man on these two-day-a-week programs and gained 10-15lbs while eating anything and everything.

But he doesn't always mention that he runs most days and also has a job doing serious physical labor. So for him, something like that worked fine.

Overall, you might be able to make some gains on that program because you are a beginner. But I wouldn’t waste your time with it.

Like Doug said, it's missing some key things such as Tempo. And there are a dozen articles on here that talk about tempo and the importance of it. In fact, Doug wrote an article about it in the past issue of T-mag. So go check it out!

I would definitely follow Doug's recommened workout. And then progress to one of the other programs on the site, such as Ian's "Super Strength" and "Limping" programs. The reason these programs have been recommended is so you will make the most gains in the shortest possible time frame. Many of us have been training for a long time and only wish we had access to such good training information when we started out. That's why we recommend this stuff for you.

Why are you so set on only working out two days a week? That just isn't enough frequency to make gains. Unless you are involved in a very physical job or are severly overtrained and stressed.

So give Doug's program a try. Then read Ian's articles and try them out. You will make better gains than most of us ever did when we started out!!!

Good luck. And be sure to eat PLENTY of food.

John, I think it’s great that you’re questioning these things so early in your weightlifting career. Never stop. You will find that there are many, many theories out there as to how many reps to perform, how many sets per exercise, how much rest to take, and just about every other training element you can think of, right down to how fast you perform the lift (tempo). The good trainers, and the ones you want to listen to, understand how all these variables work together and how they influence each other.
You’ll find a lot of “one set to failure” die hards out there (they call their routines HIT routines), some people believe only in “volume” training, and some groups even preach only doing partial reps in order to increase loading (Power Factor Training). ALL OF THESE DOGMATIC APPROACHES ARE WORTHLESS! It’s called marketing. If you can bring out an approach to training which is simple, straight-forward, and logical, you will sell books and make MONEY! All of the above mentioned programs meet that criteria. Do me a favor and don’t buy into all that crap. It won’t do you any good.

There are however, some very good trainers out there. They are the ones training REAL competitive athletes who are competing at the highest levels and winning the medals. And you’re in luck, because the very best trainer in the world writes for this here site. His name is Ian King.

Now, having said that, I am NOT saying that training one set to failure won’t work. In fact, I regularly schedule training consisting of only one set per exercise into my training plan. But I, unlike Mike Mentzer or any other HIT advocate, understand the impact of performing only one set and when the appropriate times are to incorporate this type of training. For your situation, you will be better off training with higher volume on the compound lifts for these next four weeks. You will notice that when you start Ian’s programs, the first phase, which is 3 weeks long, uses only one set per exercise in a very specific, deliberate order.

My brother in bodybuilding Alex was very right about one thing though. You cannot maintain high volume and high intensity at the same time. As a beginning trainee, you will make much more progress by shying away from failure and allowing the volume to take care of your hypertrophy.
If through all this you remember only one thing, remember this… One of the primary implications of training to failure is the fatigue of the nervous system. By nervous system I am referring to the ability of your brain to call into action specific muscle fibers. By going to failure, you fatigue this system, and consequently this translates into poor performance on subsequent sets. You must also understand that the nervous system is much slower to recover than the metabolic systems, so even though your muscles may feel ready for another set after a few minutes, your nervous system isn’t. By avoiding failure you “save” your nervous system a bit, so that you can tolerate more volume without overtraining. The bottom line is this: If you want to train with High Intensity, you cannot avoid to maintain high volume, and vice versa.

Oh yeah, one last thing. The four week recommendation is flexible. You can stay on longer if you really want, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You need to train in many different rep ranges to stimulate different motor units, and you’ll also find that any program’s returns diminishes with time. So shy away from staying in one rep range or on one program for too long.

Follow the program I outlined for you before, then start Ian’s programs.