T Nation

What's the First Routine You Ever Did?


What was your first and how well did it work. Here's mine copied from my 1990 log book.
It was my slight variation on an Ellington Darden routine from the book Massive Muscles in 10 weeks.

Leg curl
Barbell Pullover
One arm row
DB bench press
Cross Overs (with tube)
Lying tricep ext
Db tricep ext (seated, single db in both hands)
Barbell curl
Sit ups

1 set of each for 6-8 reps, performed one after the other with no rest at all, took about 30 minutes to do. Did it Monday/Wednesday/Friday for 16 months without a "single" missed w/o, took me from 9 stone 10 lbs to 12 1/2 stone and my chest from 36 1/2" to 43", put 4" on my legs and 2" on my arms.

I must point out it also coincided with me moving out of my parents house into my own place and suddenly being able to control my own portion sizes!

So what was yours?


probably some ungodly high volume thing out of Arnold's Encylopedia. 6 days a week, 2.5 hours a day, each body part hit 2-3 times a week, 20 -25 sets per body part per session. Circa 1985.


Mine was...

Bench Press 3x10
Military Press 3x10
Upright Rows 3x10
Bent Over Rows 3x10
E-Z Curls 3x10
E-Z Tricep Ext. 3x10

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Did it do anything? I was 13. Anything would have done something.


Wow, Brett, you sure got good results from the Nautilus stuff. I tried the programs for years in my 20's and got nothing from them. Except exhaustion.

First routine: 1970, I was 15. Didn't know what I was doing. Calisthenics in my room like pushups (or what passed for pushups), arm curls with heavy books, that sort of thing. Didn't really help.

Or should it be when I got the chest expander a bit later and put together an actual routine from the book? Didn't do much, either.

Or if you mean actual weights, I started on a Universal machine in college and spent all 4 yers on circuit training: leg press, shoulder press, arm curl, bench press. Didn't do much.

Or if you mean free weights, late in my 20's at a real gym, didn't do much either.


Bigger , Faster , Stronger -BFS Freshman and Sophomore year in high school for Football, then Followed a program from Arnolds Encyclopedia.


I ran, ok jogged for years. Prob 10-14 miles a week on average. Every mile or two I would drop and do 20 or so pushups. But by the time I was 35 or so the skinny-fat runner body had set in. I didn't like that I wasn't comfortable taking my shirt off, so I started buying Men's Health and doing every upper body exercise they suggested, with very little programming. A couple of years ago I met a guy who owned a Crossfit affiliate who showed me the basics of the deadlift, the overhead press and the front squat. It's really only been the last few months where I have started to work my legs or follow any sort of total body program. The cool thing is, it seems to be working.


This x2 or something like it...3x10 was the Bible back in the early 80's


Bench 4 days a week in the basement of the YMCA. Play hoop or jog. Did this all through high school.


I'm not 35 yet but can I play anyway?

Way too much long distance CV and every upper body exercise I could do on the machines in the gym, for lots and lots of sets, especially chest and biceps.

Did it work? My goal was to lose weight, I lost weight. So yes it did.

Could it have been better? Hell yes, by a millyon times!


Nautilus circuit. 1980 in college. Soon got tired of that and worked a full body routine out of Muscle and Fitness magazine.


Just to add to my last post, I should have been beaten with a stick for thinking that as a complete beginner who had done literally no research into building muscle, strength, etc. (until after about the first year when I bought Arnold's book and thought it was the best book in the world).

However, the heap-of-shit of a program I came up with was still about the same standard as any I've ever had written for me by the staff at any of the gyms I've ever trained at, which is both dismal and hilarious at the same time.
In fact, any time you go to a new gym, ask the staff for advice, best hour of comedy you can get (I'm still just about small enough to do this without them getting suspisious)!


some crap from muscle and fitness with my 30lb set of cement filled barbels.

this is like 83? or 85?

HS upper and lower with higher reps 3x15

college all we did was clean clean clean.

weights where not a big part of the game for wrestling then.

however post college I got some serious stuff
from some former czech republic coach I worked with who had
square balls and took no shit.

lot of o-lifts or parts of olifts
snatch grip dead

complexes that sucked

still do most of that kind of shit now.

but I loved my DP 30lb cement barbel


3 times a week - 1st - 4th grade, Grundeschule, Germany, 1961-1964

Indian clubs
wooden vaulting horse jumps, length ways and side ways
overhead kettlebell lifts before they were called kettlebells
jumping jacks
alternate toe touchs
rope climbing

State side, 110# cement set
oh press