T Nation

Workout Plan: 'Okay, Bad, or Terrible?'


Trying to gain muscle mass (not looking to be competitive just want to look better, feel better). That said, I want to put in work and want great results.

Day 1
Incline bench (3X6-8)
Decline bench (3X 6-8)
Cable Crossovers (3X8-10)
Preacher curls (3X8-10)
Hammer curls (3X8-10)
Drop sets starting from 40-20 by 5lb increments

Day 2
Overhead press w/dumbbells (3X8-10)
Military Presses (3X8-10)
Lateral raises (3X8-10)
Lat Pulldowns (3X8-10)
Bent over rows (3C8-10)
Deadlifts (3X6-8)

Day 3
Squats (3X8-10)
Leg presses (machine 3X6-8)
Calf raises (3X10-12)
Tricep extensions (3X8-10)
Skullcrushers (3X8-10)

I do abdominals every one of these days (not so worried about this part of my workout but if you think I shouldn't do abs 3/4 times a week let me know). It includes side crunches, leg raises and another random workout every time each for three sets of 20-30.

I cycle this 1 day on, one day of rest and keep doing that regardless of the weekday so one week I work out M-W-F-SU and the next TU-TH-S etc... I've been going strong on this for 3 weeks and so far I'm seeing a decrease in general fatigue and a little more power towards the end of my workouts, with some lifts going up actually already.


Since deadlifts are very taxing, I would put them at the beginning of day 2, after a proper warmup of course.


do starting strength, 5/3/1 (if you can squat deadlift at least BW with good form) or A BB split you can find in the stickies


Yeah, what caveman said.

I was going to give you some tips on your program - but it's easier to follow one already laid out for now. See you how your body responds, then modify to suit your needs.


Thanks guys. I appreciate it. I will admit, I have never been one to default to squats and the big lifts like that I guess because I'm afraid of fucking them up, but I have been educated enough at this point and seen it done wrong/right so many times I think I can do it without fucking stuff up. I'll just re-watch some videos with verified examples and ask the trainer at the gym to help me out next time.

I was looking through the basics on the Starting Strength routine and was wondering: should I really be going up about 5 pounds every single workout? Assuming I eat well and often.


Youre supposed to start really light so you get good form. so you will be able to go up 5lbs per workout


yep, its like getting a big run up before at jump, gets you further.
and with squats - i agree, iv have got up to 200kg and im still looking to improve my form


Where do all the beginners' section posters meet up so that they always post the EXACT SAME ROUTINE?


hahaha. I kind of feel bad because any time anyone asks anything, a lot of us just answer 5/3/1.

But fuck me if it's not the best program I've used.


** EDITED **
Actually, let's just forget about this post. The OP didn't use the magic word, so why ask whether or not somebody's reply correlates with the magic word.


Im with the others in that a starting strength or 531 type program is probably the best bet for a beginner. However, the best and most consistent gains i ever had was doing a 3 day a week full body workout, lifting heavy and eating a ton. Gained both a lot of size AND a good base of strength. However it may be more difficult to find a good outline for this type of program.


It's far from terrible.


Not the typical split, but it's not terrible.

OP, I'm a 5/3/1er, but it doesn't mean it's for you. I've customized it to work for me. You could do the same. OR actually try what you put together. You did a good job.


I guess I should have prefaced this with the statement that I listed the exercises by muscle group and not the order I do them in on the day. I appreciate the compliments on my effort at creating a routine (@thedudeabides). Actually, I named my dog "the Dude" I love the film, and doing the white russian challenge.

I will check out 5/3/1 but I already had a few days of starting strength so I may stick with it (got the book and some videos for it as well). I had to cheat yesterday though, I had a new addition to the family who decided to come 2 months early haha. I think I gained more muscle in the last two weeks than he weighs in total.



If your goal is to bodybuild, there is no reason for you to be doing Starting Strength or 5/3/1. Both of these programs are geared towards people looking to increase their powerlifts, and SS is especially guilty of sacrificing a lot of potential muscle gain simply to have big increases on the back squat.

The program you put up wasn't bad at all, although I think only training every other day, and doing shoulders the day after chest are both mistakes. The exercises you're doing and the rep ranges you're using all seem pretty sensible (you can tweak them with time any way), but I would suggest a more traditional bodybuilding split (eg: legs/push/pull, or chest&tris, back&bis, legs, shoulders) and recommend you lift at least 5 days a week.

If that isn't an option with your newborn and you can truly only train 3 days a week or something, you also need to accept that your progress isn't going to be as high as it could, so do as much as you can.

And don't forget the importance of your diet - if you aren't already eating 1.25 grams x your bodyweight in protein consistently every single day (along with enough calories to gain weight) then don't expect much in the way of results no matter what you do.


Congrats! I have three myself. Finding time will be difficult, but possible. I end up working out late at night.


I'm guilty of pushing SS like a pimp. Although hindsight, it is not a very good program. Depending on how long you run it, you could be left some muscular imbalances. I wondered why my shoulders hurt, yet never did any rear work. Biceps never grew from pull-ups ... because they never will. I did get good at squatting :S

5/3/1 ... the jury is still out for me. I've been doing it for two years, no complaints. I have probably bastardized it more than most though. Maybe it's not the original program, but it works for me.

Body part split ... tried and true for bodybuilding. Although, there are variations that can work.


As a powerlifting program I'm sure 531 works great (because it is extremely simple, and customizable), but a beginner that wants to bodybuild should not be making max lift attempts or taking super-light "deload" weeks every four weeks of their training.

The actual bodybuilding version of "5/3/1" would really just be to do the first "5+" week indefinitely lol. Using a weight on the powerlifts that you can get at least 5 reps with, but always trying to set a "rep PR", and increasing the load after several weeks of work with it (or in a beginner's case, probably every week or even multiple times a week depending on the frequency of the routine).

Exposing the body to very heavy weights is great for strength training, and can be useful for getting past occasional stagnation in bodybuilding, but the old 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps on the power lifts, and 3x8-12 on 2-3 other exercises per muscle group, has yet to be "topped" in terms of what works best for 99% of people interested in building their bodies up. So why do I hardly EVER see traditional bodybuilding training recommended around here?

It is like if someone came onto a message board and said, I want to get good at competitive swimming, how should I train? And a bunch of people log in and say well here's a scuba diving routine that has you doing some swimming as accessory work to the deep-water coral reef stuff.... No how about you just start fucking swimming instead of getting side-tracked by a completely different sport.

Is this making sense to anyone?


Correct. I also think the "deload" week is pointless.

lol infinite loop

Fact. Why is not recommended? I would guess that's it's easier (more popular?) to say, do X program and come back in two months, then to properly give advice. Although saying, do a body part split is no more time consuming. I've been guilty of that in the past.

ROFL that's about right

What did I do when I was 18 and learning the ropes?? A body part split. My buddy and I figured out what exercises worked for us, from trial and error. I've actually made it more difficult for myself by ignoring that fact. If size is your goal, do what works. What works is a split. I think most (uneducated) assume that you will not get strong with this method. Bullocks. I faintly remember being about 19 and curling 65lb db's for five. I guess I was doing it all wrong.


I don't think the problem is in the BPS training, but rather the fact that it's easier to fuck up than a cookie cutter program like SS or 531. There's more freedom to choose your core lifts, and oftentimes newbs only choose to work their mirror muscles, leading to muscular/postural imbalance.

I have to be honest, from my personal experience, the smallest, weakest guys I've seen at my gyms (the ones who don't even look like they lift weights) are doing BPS training...inevitably. The biggest guys are training with a powerlifting focus, or training for a sport like rugby or lacrosse with little to no isolation work in their training. Mind you, I do workout at a university gym. These weak kids focus all their attention on isolation work, never building a solid base. Perhaps a "lost cause" like this would be better off with a simple template that forced them to build a more balanced foundation and not ignore big muscle groups. IMO it's easier to bring up a lagging bicep peak or thicken your traps after you've mastered the big lifts then the other way around.


People bastardize Starting Strength all the time, and of course people who AREN'T SERIOUS ABOUT BODYBUILDING are only going to work their mirror muscles.

Why do those guys even merit discussion on a bodybuilding forum? let alone being the basis for what you recommend to every beginner?

Where I train (a real gym, that actually hosts bodybuilding shows and has guys that are actually "big" train there), the biggest and strongest guys all train the way bodybuilders traditionally have for decades.

As I said before, WHO CARES what some idiot teenager or 20 year old does in the gym that only cares about his abs or biceps? This is the BEGINNER BODYBUILDING FORUM, not the TRICK UNMOTIVATED YOUNG MEN INTO DOING POWERLIFTS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD forum. Can you point me in the direction of any guys who came to this forum (why would they even come in the first place?) that were only interested in doing situps and concentration curls, that were somehow convinced to do Starting Strength or 531, and are now accidentally big and strong when they never cared to be?

This is not a hobby for everyone. The fact that many guys are too dumb to do a proper routine does not make a traditional bodybuilding routine any less than THE BEST MOST PRODUCTIVE THING FOR A NOVICE TO DO. Why the hell would you base your advice to beginners on the lowest common denominator of guy in the gym who HAS NO REAL BODYBUILDING GOALS?

A lot of guys would like to make the money that a doctor makes, but they would never put in the time and energy to go through medical school properly (if they even have the intelligence to do so in the first place). Does that mean if some guy comes to you and says he wants to be a doctor where should he start, you tell him to shoot for an associate of arts degree because that's more than most guys do?

And by the way, I don't know why you think muscles like the biceps and traps are "magic" and can just be "brought up" when they are left lagging behind other muscle groups. You do realize it's the same exact MUSCLE TISSUE right, not "vanity pixie dust"? The tissue takes just as long to build as your thigh or chest muscles do. Leaving them lag for now thinking you'll just work em out later is beyond retarded.