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What Is My Workout Missing?

I have been going to the gym off and on for a few years now. When I first went to the gym, I admit to not bothering the big guys, free weights and what not. I was totally intimidated.

I started to get more focused in the past 2 years or so and have seen some decent gains. Up until now, I really skipped bodybuilding sites, books and magazines as I have never been a fan of the competition look and did not want that for me. Instead I used to read fitness magazines and cobbled together a routine from years of reading (I know, I know).

I little about me: 37 years old, 6’2, and currently 203 pounds with ~13-14% BF and a smallish frame (think basketball player). Current cold measurements are 44 C, 33.5 W, 17 arms (they are long so I am happy about that), 12 forearm, 25 quads, 16 calf (I know my wheels are lacking).

I have a history of intense intermittent lower and mid-back pain but have that mostly under control due to core work over the past two years. I also had two hernia surgeries before I was 15. That said, I am a bit hesitant about squats and deadlifts.

That said, here is my current workout. I am in the gym around 45 minutes, Mon-Fri. I go at 5:30 AM when the gym opens. This is really the only time I have in my schedule, due to work and child commitments.

The questions that are most pressing (to me) are:

What am missing? What can I swap into my leg day since I have not been squatting? I do 3-4 sets of each exercise, with weights pyramided. I can list the current weights I am using if that would be helpful.

I like the idea of hitting on body part once per week. This seems to work for me. I have gained about 7 pounds since May of 2009.

Monday: Chest and Core
Flat Bench (Hammer)
Incline Bench (Hammer)
Decline Bench (Hammer)
Fly Machine
Cable Cross Over (I have heard them called Scoops)
Crunches
Back Extensions
Leg Lefts (on roller machine)
Side leg Lifts (on roller machine)
Decline Trunk Twist (with Medicine Ball)
Cardio (15 minutes)

Tuesday: Bis and Tris and Cardio
Standing dumbell curls
Triceps Push Down (reverse V bar)
Preacher Curls
One arm Triceps Push Down (FreeMotion Machine)
Concentration curls
Triceps Rope Pull Down
Cardio (15-20 minutes)

Wednesday: Shoulders and Core
Shoulder Press (seated)
Front dumbbell raises
L Laterals (used to be lateral raises, but swapped them out for these)
One Arm Cable pull over
Dual Arm Cable pull over
Shrugs
Upright Rows
90 Degree Internal/External rotation with dumbbells
Internal Rotation using dumbbells

Thursday: Back and Cardio
Seated Row
Lat Pull down
Behind the back Lat Pull Down
Iso High Lat Pull Down
Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down (different hammer machine)
Reverse Pec Fly
One Arm Cable Pull down (Free Motion machine)
Cardio (15 minutes)

Friday: Legs and Core
Leg Press
Leg Extensions
Leg Curls
Seated Calf Raises
Standing Calf Raise (Hammer)Crunches (weighted)
Crunches
Back Extensions
Leg Lefts (on roller machine)
Side leg Lifts (on roller machine)
Decline Trunk Twist (with Medicine Ball)
Cardio (15-20 minutes)

Glute-Ham Raises. May read this for some ideas: http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/advanced_glute_training

I get where your coming from with the one body part a week as that works for me too.
However i would suggest you swap your arms day to friday as your arms are being worked in all exercises throughout the week so changing your leg day to halfway through the week may benefit you as well as it gives your upper body time to recover. I would recommend trying squats to see how they feel, only do them lightly though and if you feel uncomfortable drop them, the leg press will compensate somewhat for your lack of squatting.

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

@adh - changing days does sound like a smart thing give that info.

@emilitoso - I will look at those exercises and give them a try.

I do chest on a Monday which consists of 3 exercises for thickness of the chest and 2 for the width.
Bench Press
Incline Bench Press
Seated Bench Press
Dumbbell Flyes
Cable Crossovers

Try and mix it up when doing presses say do 2 weeks barbell and 2 weeks dumbbell just to shock your system. Also don’t be afraid to throw some supersets in there in regards to the incline press and flyes it’s worked quite well for me.

Tuesday is back day
Deadlift
Lat Pulldown
Isometric Row
Dumbbell Row
T-Bar Row

Wednesday Legs, this is just to give the upper body a rest so it can continue in the second half of the week.
Squats if you feel comfortable doing them if not leg press
Calf Raises
Single Leg Lying Hamstring Curls
Leg Extensions
Drop set on hamstring curls i always do it single leg and then on the last 2 sets do it single leg first then keep it on the same weight and do it with both legs.

Thursday Shoulders
Shoulder Press
Lateral Raises
Front Raises
Military Press
Upright Row

Friday Arms
Close grip bench press (tris)
EZ Concentration Curls (bis)
Tricep Pushdowns (tris)
Single Arms Cable Curls (bis)
Overhead Tricep Extensions (tris)
Incline Hammer Curls (bis)

throw some cardio and ab work in when you feel necessary
i do cardio 3 times a week and abs everyday
it just depends how you feel after your workout.

@adh

Thanks for posting that. I like the idea of your order much better than mine.

I think I could do something like:

Chest/Core
Back/Cardio
Legs/Core
Shoulders/Cardio
Arms/Cardio

[quote]adh wrote:
I do chest on a Monday which consists of 3 exercises for thickness of the chest and 2 for the width.
Bench Press
Incline Bench Press
Seated Bench Press
Dumbbell Flyes
Cable Crossovers
[/quote]

Seated bench press??

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to put on more muscle weight?

MuscleCub that sounds decent to me, but make sure the cardio you do on arms day isn’t as intense as the previous days otherwise you will be exhausted.

TheDudeAbides its a machine where you put plates on each side and sit down on it and there are two handles on each side and you push them forward.

similar to this picture.

[quote]TDub301 wrote:
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to put on more muscle weight?[/quote]

Yes. I am trying to gain more muscle.

I am not thinking of bulking and then cutting (in what I am understanding is the traditional sense).

why are you hitting your triceps 3 days in a row?

[quote]MuscleCub wrote:
@adh

Thanks for posting that. I like the idea of your order much better than mine.

I think I could do something like:

Chest/Core
Back/Cardio
Legs/Core
Shoulders/Cardio
Arms/Cardio[/quote]

me personally; i would drop the arm day and add the curls and pressdowns and what not to the end of the chest and back workouts; 2 tricep excerises at the end of the chest workout and 2 bicep excerises to the end of the back workout, and you should add one more leg day (since your trying to add mass as you said)

so maybe have it looking like this

day 1 chest
day 2 back
day 3 legs
day 4 off
day 5 shoulders
day 6 legs
day 7 off
as for cardio you can do fast short pace or long slow pace, and just pick 2-3 days out of the week to perform cardio on

MuscleCub, I think Emiliotso is on the right track. Your program is lacking adequate posterior chain work, which definitely isn’t going to help your back issues. BTW, my stats are very similar to yours. We are the same height, and our weight and bodyfat are very close as well, while my bi’s are currently at 18". I am about 5 years younger, but had also dealt with back issues in the past.

For most of my life I was a distance runner and endurance athlete, but I began lifting weights in college and have incorporated into my training ever since. Several years ago, I phased out of running and endurance work, and began lifting for strength and hypertrophy. Once I began focusing on strengthening my posterior chain, though, not only do I rarely even deal with any back pain, but it’s never felt stronger and healthier.

I understand why you are hesitant of squatting and deadlifting, but start light with squats, and be sure to incorporate a good warmup, dynamic mobility, and myofascial (foam roll/tennis or lacrosse ball) stretching. This will help free up some possible restrictions and improve your range of motion during those more complex, multi-joint movement patterns. Even though it’s hard on the ego, try to master your squat technique with various body weight, or light resistance progressions. Then work your way into more resistance with front and back squats, slowly but surely. With deadlifts, start light as well, and begin with RDL’s. In addition, the glute-ham raises and Good Mornings would also be of great benefit.

Another thing I noticed about your program is that you are incorporating far too many variations of the same movements pattern in one workout. For example, on your back day, you are doing 5 different variations of a lat pulldown, but only 1 row.

In movement terms, you are heavily working scapular depression (pulling your shoulders down), without properly balancing out scapular retraction (pinching your shoulder blades together). Variations are important, but too many in one workout isn’t necessary. You could easily spread some of those varitions over a couple different program changes. You could pick three different back exercises, a form of a lat pull or some form of a pullup/chinup, a low or mid row (chest supported or not) with either a pronated or nuetral grip, and high row or face pull.

Put your focuses into hitting each area with the appropriate intensity and volume at the time, and then move on. The same could apply on some of your other days. Your working out hard 5 days a week, so your commitment and dedication are awesome. If you just make a few tweaks and work on your posterior chain more, you’re very likely to see even more progress, as well as keep your back healthier and stronger. Good luck, and keep training hard!

Each to their own, it’s what works for you as an individual.

squats and deadlifts should be the STAPLE of your routine, especially because your back is weak.
your routine is way too fucking complicated
it sounds redundant, but so is your routine.

Appreciate all the feedback. There is certainly a lot to consider. I have been trying not to over-think this whole thing, while still going about it smartly.