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Which Plan Next?

Hi everyone.

I’d like some help figuring out which plan i should go to next. I’ve been working out for about 11 months now. I am two weeks away from finishing a total body training routine by Chad Waterbury that was recommended for me on here a few months ago. I will link the routine below. I feel like it was pretty good overall, but it often felt like the volume was lower than necessary. Since i am still a beginner by most all standards, i dont move a ton of weight, and therefore recover quick. For the time being, i have the luxury of lots of time. I enjoy being in the gym, and would really prefer a plan that allowed me to be in the gym at least four days a week. My main goal for my next plan is to build mass. To give an idea of where I’m currently at, my max bench is around 210, max back squat 315, and max dead 300. I weigh 171 and my body fat % is somewhere in the 13-15% range.


As a beginner by most standards, how do you trust your judgement on whether the volume was lower than necessary or not?

Chad had been coaching a bit longer than few weeks when he wrote that program.

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I am not trying to come come off as a know-it-all, as I am well aware I have a lot to learn, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning everything that I know to this point. I’m not saying it’s a crappy plan, I’m saying that based on how I feel and perform on it, I could stand to be doing a higher volume plan.

On how you feel? Have you made progress on the routine since you started it ?

“Feel” as in I feel recovered and ready to go the very next day. I have made progress, yes.

That sounds like a good program if it’s allowing you to recover well.

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So your seeing progress and your recovering between sessions. Your golden ! If you weren’t seeing progress and felt like a beat dog than be concerned .

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Waterbury is a bit out of fashion these days but used to love his stuff. One of my favorite routines back in college was anti-bodybuilding for hypertrophy. I would think you would like it, definitely has some volume to it. You basically rotate between 2 workouts that consist of 10 sets of 3, adding a rep with the same load the next time until you get to 10x5. The other two are 5 sets of 10 increasing the load each time. The only squatting is the 5x10 front squatting. Considering your Squat and DL numbers I think this would be a great plan for you that more importantly you will really enjoy doing.

Run it once or twice and you will be happy with the results. Another option would be 5/3/1 Boring But Big. I would say throughout my entire lifting experience these were two of my favorite routines, with Chad’s Anti-Bodybuilding more geared towards that ‘after noob’ phase and 5/3/1 BBB great for the intermediate phase.

Hope that helps. Also, Total body workouts are not about volume, they are about frequency, and in my humble opinion the best way to lift for your first year.

Awesome, thank you. I will definitely look at those two. I realize total body routines are about frequency as opposed to volume. I apologize if I came off as an idiot. Again, I want to make it clear that I don’t think anything is wrong with the Waterbury plan I’m finishing up. I was mainly looking for advice on where to go from here.

On a bit of a tangent, do my current lift numbers sound okay?


I wasn’t insinuating that you didn’t know, just reinforcing that even though perceived volume was low you were still doing the right thing.

Nothing wrong with your lifts at this point. Squat over dead lift is interesting but not important. If you are not planning on doing a competition in which a 1 rep max is the judging criteria, only view your “max” as a programming tool. Otherwise it is irrelevant and focusing on it will do you more harm than good.

The amount of weight you lift is only relevant at this point in terms of monitoring overload and progression. Focusing how much you can lift a barbell one time off your chest while laying on a suspended bench for the sake of focusing on it is dumb. It leads most newer lifters to spend time what I call ‘grinding tendons’ instead of stimulating muscle growth.

I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of 5/3/1 if only to read the beginning on training maxes, starting too light and progressing too light. Can help put it into better perspective. Focus less on what you can rep 1 time and more on progressing in intensity, volume and form.


Just checked out the Anti-bodybuilding plan. I like the sound of it. I have a quick question though. Why aren’t shoulders directly targeted? Is it because they receive enough work from the compound chest and back lifts?

Pretty much. If you want more shoulder work, try something like 5/3/1 so you can have OHP added. Don’t make the mistake of most beginners and got bogged down in the details. That is kind of the point of following a pre-made routine from a professional.

Many people will disagree with me, but I personally don’t think isolation work for shoulder, bi/tri, calf, etc training is important unless there are injuries, or sport specific need. To avoid starting a shit storm I should probably clarify that statement by saying ‘for beginners’ or something but I wont.

I think a whole lot of people (me included, for many years), could use rereading the principles behind 5/3/1 and less time worrying about the 53 million templates that go with it. I think 90% of the questions on 5/3/1 could be answered by applying the basic principles of the program.

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A genuine inquiry, why would you include shoulders on that list?

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Shoulders get hit plenty pressing and pulling, especially OHP and Incline press and even flat bench/dips. If you balance your pressing to pulls 1:1 same can be said for the rear deltoid.
A great set of shoulders is a combo of leanness, overall upper body musculature and genetic predisposition like insertion points, not lateral raises.

I feel like I’m pretty consitent with this messaging. Most people want to look to the minor stuff and use outliars for examples to justify wasting time and never making progress. Well this (insert drug user/bodybuilder/instagram model/genetic freak) does them so there. Guy would probably still have grapefruit delts if he didn’t do them.

Same people doing countless lateral raises are hitting incline press to bring up their “upper pecs”. Great, but if you are not in the top % of physiques this shit is pointless and most are way better off focusing on what works. I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ but when you see a jaw dropping physique you are always looking at either a genetic outliar, drug user, dedicated(5-10+ year) lifter/dieter or in many cases combinations of.

Sorry, that was kind of a tangent.

TL:DNR version - to me it’s extra credit and I’m cool with getting an A- on the test.

I don’t plug it enough but one of my favorite all time books is The New Rules of Lifting by Alwyn Cosgrove(spelling?). One of the original T-Nation contributors. Cuts through so much bro science and bullshit.

I am definitely guilty of getting “bogged down in the details”. I want to do everything the “right” way, and that leads to me probably often focusing on some stuff that isn’t super important.

So you would still include pressing in most programs though? That was the bit that threw me, to be honest.

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Depends. For most people, sure. Me personally? Ive got an SC joint on the left and AC joint on the right that’s bascially held together with bubble gum, scotch tape and scar tissue so I pick and choose my battles.

Just worry about putting in the effort and being consistent and the rest will work itself out.

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