What Program Is Right for Me?

Hello. I am a fat father of 7. I have worked out on and off for years but never gotten strong just healthy and then fat again. I know how to lose weight. I need advice on which weight training program to add in alongside cardio. I can’t gain muscle really in a deficit but it’s good for me and helps lose weight and shape your body.

I was thinking maybe a 5x5 or something with big multi joint movements. Hopefully something that can be done in about an hour a day 3-4x a week. Thank you for your time and have great day.

Welcome to T Nation. Congrats on your decision to take control of your health.

Thank you kindly, I feel like you guys know your stuff so this is the right place to ask questions.

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What stuff do you like?

Are you into full body workouts or do you prefer some kind of split set up?

Do you like doing just a few sets, and putting all your effort into one moment, and going all the way to you can’t lift the barbell anymore? Or do you want to do multiple, low rep sets.focusing on power, technique and blasting the bar forcefully each rep?

Where are you training? A tricked out gym with tons of equipment, or at home with a minimal setup? Or something in between?


Age? I’m 42 and started seriously lifting (i.e. 2-hour workouts 5 days/week) about 7 years ago. I’ve scaled my workouts back since then to an every-other-day plan where I alternate 2 workouts. I guess you would call it a modified Hatfield split - 2 main compound lifts to start and then “specializing” with individual muscle groups after - with a lot of stretching and abs added at the end. And as far as set/rep schemes, I’ve done everything from 10-set pyramids with supersets to basic one-machine 3 sets of 10 and I’ve settled on 6 sets of pretty much everything, shooting for 5-15 reps per set, depending on the exercise. Add in supersets and isometrics and all that stuff for variety.

As far as goals, I was going for what I call “prison muscle” and I’ve largely attained that. I went from 285 with 35+% body fat to 235 now with more like 15-18% body fat.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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Congrats on your progress so far!

What are your goals? Are you trying to be strong? Have a bunch of useless muscles to show off? Just be healthy? No judgement, just relevant information to help you with program suggestions as some are strength oriented while others are hypertrophy (both overlap some)

Thank you. I have a cracked vertebra in my lower back from college and I’ve dislocated my shoulders a fair number of times over the years so weight numbers don’t stimulate me as much as they used to when I was younger. I do the core lifts mainly for aesthetics but I still focus on strength, too. Honestly, I didn’t do deadlift OR squats until about 3 years ago because I was afraid of my previous injuries coming back. But I do them now and I keep the intensity high without really shooting for 1RMs, if that makes sense.

So you want aesthetics but also some functional strength, correct? I understand you are aiming to lose weight as well; I do not think training should alter (if any) to accomodate weight loss.

@T3hPwnisher is one of the most well-read lifters I know of so he probably has some excellent program suggestions

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Much appreciated. @FlatsFarmer puts me to shame in that regard, and he’s asked the important questions that need answering before moving on.


Now my face is red! Thanks man.

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Alright man, it looks like you’re pretty experienced and comfortable around the weights. Good job with the weight loss.

So what’s up with Not Getting Strong?

Do you feel like you just need to put in some time on a strength focused routine? Or is there some specific problem, like you aren’t recovering between workouts on the Hatfield split?

Have you seen this lift specific set up, where you focus on one lift/area of the body per day? That way you still get to work out a bunch and do all the cool accessory lifts without the big drain on recovery f

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Hi, guys. No problems here…I was just trying to offer some ideas to the OP. :innocent:

Sorry dude, I got confused for a minute when I replied, I thought You were the original guy.

Your post was good! I’d like to hear more about mixing in the isometrics.

And just for anyone’s general info, here is the “Modified Hatfield Split.”

I’ve never seen that before but it looks very similar to what I naturally found myself doing as i’ve done Mon-Wed-Fri-Sat for most of my workout life.

My main difference is instead of a hamstring movement on Workout B i’ll do Overhead Press. Workout B1 a bit of volume 3x5-8 and Workout B2 it’ll just be some heavy singles which I find are super easy to recover from and have been a gamechanger when it comes to my form and consistency on the volume day. This allows me to BP and OHP twice a week. Would people call that overkill?

And then for the “hinge” pattern on Workout B2 i’ll do RDLs.

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@FlatsFarmer I won’t lie…Christian T from this site was where I got the idea for overcoming isometrics. And they’re the primary reason my delts started/are still growing. I did lateral raises for 3 or 4 years with next to no progress in size or strength and I figured my shoulder dislocations were the cause. Then I got on the assisted dip machine and tried to push those stationary bars apart with my delts…mind AND sleeves blown. :grin: Turns out it was the connection, not the movement.

@cdep89 That’s exactly why I like the EOD PseudoHatfield…you can vary everything. I try to stick to deadlift variations on B days but lately I’ve been putting barbell hip thrusts in their place for some variety and glute targeting. And nothing is overkill until it causes an injury. I spent 5 years at least doing direct bicep and tricep work 3 or 4 times a week (6 sets each per day) and in retrospect, I know that was too much because my elbows were constantly sore. But I wanted big arms and I got them. That’s the beauty and the curse of specialization.

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Volume one day, intensity the other day. I like it!

How heavy on the singles? How many do you do?

I’m definitely stealing that isometric lateral raise!

Iso-Lateral Raises are neither isolateral or raises. Talk amongst yourselves.

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Never maximal, and lots. I’ll do one I know I’ll get up quick and easy to start with, add a couple kgs and feel it out. Maybe stay there, maybe add another kg or two. If a rep is a grind at any point I’ll go back down a little bit. I want to stay away from anything that gets me firing too much and sacrifices form even a little bit.

The average weight I use often goes up a little each week naturally but I view it more as a technique day than worrying too much about that. I always find that a weight will get easier throughout that same session which screams to me a reinforcement of how vital technique is on the lift. Practice, practice, practice. There’s times i’ve gone too heavy, backed off, it’s felt too easy and gone back to that same “tough” weight and it’s flew up.

I usually end up on around 7-8 total singles (depending on time) and by the end of it I feel like I could do the weight I finished with all day long. My 3x5s have been exploding since I’ve been doing this. A million times easier to recover from than my previous high rep sets with sloppy form and I really look forward to doing them.

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That’s awesome. I love that explanation. I know what you mean about the heavy stuff driving the lighter stuff. I’ve always liked alternating heavy/light workouts.

It’s cool that you arrived at 7.5 singles per workout. Just like Prilepin!

Here are some routines with heavy/light days in case OP ever returns.

Even if he doesn’t, it’s useful to me! So thanks!

I’m so hooked on the space absorbing too much information but with a lack of experience…I fall into some serious paralysis by analysis to the point that even simple progression methods end up seeming overwhelming. After a few weeks of 5/3/1 I felt that i didn’t enjoy it and my usual 4-day heavy/light was more “me”. I’m just trying to figure out a way i can progress with it long term as i feel i’m not a novice any more - dove into all this DUP, rep cycling stuff etc that the simple things as i say, escape me now.

On the light day are you still meant to really push yourself?

Say for example if I bench twice a week, 3x4-6 first bench day, 3x8-10 the next bench day. Only add weight when I reach the top of the rep range on each set? Is that smart? At some point will I plateau and need to change that somehow? Is 3x12 cable flies on each of these days enough for accessories or can I add a more demanding movement bare in mind I’m overhead pressing 2x week also.

Sorry for the questions. I know i should probably just follow a well-written program but i enjoy learning all this stuff and figuring it out.