T Nation

Workout so far, opinions?

Okay, I’ve started a new workout this week. My past workouts had a good deal of machine/cable exercises and not as many compound movements as almost everyone swears by. So I’ve modified it, and this is what I have come up with. Again my stats are 6’4", 200lbs, 20%? BF. Goals: Size, size, size. Aka, get big.


1.) Bench Press. 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

2.) Incline Bench Press. 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

3.) Dumbell Flys, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

4.) Skull Crushers, 3 sets, 6=8 reps.

5.) Overhead Tricep Extension, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.


1.) Bent Over Row, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

2.) Barbell Curls, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

3.) Preacher Curls, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

4.) Standing Hammer Curls, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Wednesday: Off


1.) Military Press, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

2.) Shrugs, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

3.) Upright Row, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

4.) Lateral Raises, 3 sets, 6-8 reps.

5.) Hanging Hip Raise, 3 sets, 12 reps.

6.) Crunches w/ crunch bar thing (dont’ know it’s name, you lay down w/ your head on it and it’s got a bar that you hold onto that goes over your body. 3 sets, 15 reps.

7.) Side Bends, 3 sets, 6-8 reps. Non waited for now. Going to add weight soon.

That’s it so far. I’m still deciding on a leg workout for Friday. I’m thinking Squats, leg extensions, leg curls, standing calf raises and lunges.

Opinions? Ideas? Should I be able to get all reps for every set? What if I can only get 3-4 of the last set? Bad? Lower weight? And should I only up weight when I can sufficiently get all reps for every set? or can I increase earlier?

T-man in training

You need to train your legs more often. Not just once a week.

Theres also too much pressing and not enough pulling.

Why don’t you try a program from T-mag? OVT or EDT or something… or Westside.


Since you’re a “T-Man in Training”, I’ll be more than happy to shed some light on your current training and your questions.

As far as your set and rep schemes go, in general, they look solid. Choose the heaviest weights possible to achieve the desired reps. If you don’t get 6-8 on all your sets, stick with that weight 'til you do. Once you do, crank it up. As far as sets go, I would suggest some sort of progression such that the third week of training is the most difficult. For example, you might do 2 sets of each exercise the first week, 3 sets the second week, four sets the third week, and back down to 2-3 sets in the fourth week.

A glaring problem is that you have no training day dedicated to training your lower body. You should train your legs at least once per week, if not twice. At least you thought about it, though? Squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, lunges (walking with dumbbells), leg extensions and some calf work will whip your ass.

Tuesday’s work, quite frankly, sucks balls. One back exercise? You’re kidding (bear in mind, Infinity, I’m really a nice guy and I say this with a smile on my face). You need to hit your back hard, baby. Barbell rows are solid, but I’d throw in a chin or pullup, as well as a T-Bar Row or One-Arm Row. Cut back your bicep work to two exercises.

For triceps, I’d suggest one of the two exercises that you selected and then something different like dips, cable pressdowns, or close-grip presses.

I’d suggest that you use dumbbells for one of your chest presses, as well. That should be a good start, brutha.

I have to agree with the first two posts. Only one back exercise? Do some deads and pullups instead of so many biceps exercises. BOR’s only hit a portion of your back muscles. Your back is a huge complex area of muscles, all that can be worked in differing areas, i.e. upper and lower traps, upper and lower lats, etc. Since you are training chest, and back in 2 separate workouts, I wouldn’t train shoulders. They take a beating on leg day also, so you can quickly overtrain them. Throw in a few sets of front and side raises on chest day and face pulls/Bent over raises for your rear delts on back day. Train legs on Thursday instead of Friday if you are going to do a leg day. Do arms on Friday then.

Here’s a split I recommend, something along the lines of what you want.

Monday - Chest
Tuesday - Legs
Thursday - Back
Friday - Arms

I’ve done this before, and had good mass building results, ala what you are looking for.

If one specific area is lagging, i.e. legs are lagging, move this to Monday and switch around your workouts. I personally don’t like having 2 upperbody days back to back. I’d prefer to have an upperbody day, then lowerbody, then upper, then arms/lower.

Awesome feedback! Okay I like your split JWright. Since Timbo reccomended 2 leg days, how best would it be to split them? I would say Friday, but bis/tris and legs all in one day would be rough. I’ll be sure to add in another back exercise, and drop one of my curls, probably preacher. Keep it coming :slight_smile:

I need an edit button =P Is bent over row and pullups good enough for back? Or should I hit it w/ 3 exercises?

Well, you could do a split like this

Monday - Legs
Tuesday - Chest
Thursday - Back
Friday - arms

Your thursday sessions should include heavy deads and some hamstring work, as these are integral for your posterior chain (low back, ass, hammies). I never had 2 specified leg days, but I always did heavy deads on back day, plus some hammie work. If you want, you could always throw in some leg extensions on back day, so you hit the whole leg.

If you want mass, you get that from your back, legs, and hips.

Bent rows are ok, but the fact that you have to bend over and hold that position while lifting the weight sorta makes them suck. A back routine for mass should have pullups with variation in grips as a staple. This gets a lot of the back, and can put some impressive mass on you. Doing deadlifts hits the lower back, not to mention hips and legs. Squats are good for this, also. Squats are the king of mass-building lifts. Heavy cleans would be good for all this, and it will hit your traps nicely. Heavy squat cleans are brutal.

Dips are a great exercise for packing mass onto the arms.

A. At 20% your goal should be leaning down. As Berardi has pointed out, with bf% of 15% or higher, mass gains will consist of higher ratios of fat/muscle.

B. Your workout looks terrible.

  1. Your chest can take more volume. Add two extra sets each for flat bench press and incline bench press.

  2. Your triceps too can take more volume. I would add 3 sets, preferably Dips at the beggining of your workout, as itll target all three heads, including the long head. Over head ext and Skull Crushers target primarily the lateral and medial heads. You also mention your goal is mass, mass, mass, but your exercise selection is anything but a mass builder - where are the money exercises - Dipos and close grip bench presses?

  3. Your Lats are the biggest muscle in your body, but for some reason get 3 times less work than your biceps, which is one of your smaller muscles. Gof igure. The exercise selection isnt the best either. I would quadruple the # of sets for your back, and fit in Pullups along with your rows. Also make sure you work your spinal extensors - they’re crucial for a strong balanced core, and if weak will lead to poor posture and safety issues, particularly considering the ammount of work your abs are getting in comparison (when a muscle is much stronger than its antagonist, the antagonist will be inhibitted, which will lead to poor posture, which is begging for an injury)

  4. I would do Precher curls last in your Biceps routine, since they are an isolation exercise and not your best mass builder.

  5. Shrugs, and upright rows (to a considerable degree) work your traps, not your delts. You go from working your delts with military press, to working your traps with shrugs/upright rows, to working your delts again with lateral raises. I would follow up Military press with lat raises, and then do the traps work. I would also Include rear delt work, especially considering the terribly low volume you give your back in comparison to your chest work, which again begs for postural imbalances and risk of injury. If you followed your routine to the letter for a few months, you’ll have rounded shoulders (due to a strong chest which pull your shoulders forward, and a very weak back), and your torso will likely slump forward due to tight abs and weak spinal extensors. Certainly not the image of weightlifter you’re looking for - and most definitely not the best route to enhance performance.

  6. When it comes to ab wrk you seem to believe you need all sorts of gadgets. Dont go out of your way to use gadgets when your abs are best worked alone at this stage.

You want my honest opinion? I think you have the ‘work what you can see in the mirror’ syndrome. You underwork every single muscle group (which will lead to anything but optimal gains), but still manage to grossly overwork your chest when compared to your back (its antagonist) and abs when compared to spinal extensors. Your exercise selestion for Back and triceps in particular is poor and incomplete in the big image. You obviously dont care much about your legs, as you haven’t even given much thought about it. As Ian King put it, if you could only do ONE exercise and your goal was mass gain, your choice should be Squats.

While different coaches have somewhat different opinions, the 8-12 rep range has been deemed the most appropriate for hypertrophy-focused goals. 6-8 is more strength-geared, which from your post you dont seem to be one bit interested about.

If you cant get all the reps you set out to do with near perfect form, then lower the weight. Increase the weight ONLY when you can do ALL reps with near perfect form.

Also, even though I completely and utterly disagree with your goals, you mention nothing about diet. Gains will ONLY be made IF, and ONLY IF, your diet is hypercaloric and consists of the right foods. Read John Berardi’s articles for more info on diet if you intend to bulk up, regardless of how ill advised that goal is at the prsent time. Read Christian Thibeaudeau’s Optimized Volume Training article, as it might fit you well if you really want to gain mass. When you become interested in increasing performance, check out the Renegade Training with COach Davies.

JWright said:

Monday - Legs
Tuesday - Chest
Thursday - Back
Friday - arms

Your thursday sessions should include heavy deads and some hamstring work, as these are integral for your posterior chain (low back, ass, hammies). I never had 2 specified leg days, but I always did heavy deads on back day, plus some hammie work. If you want, you could always throw in some leg extensions on back day, so you hit the whole leg.

*** I concur that Deads and hams work should be reserved for LEG day, unless your split includes a Back/Leg day. Deads still works primarily your hams and glutes, and adding to this ham work is anything but a good, or even necessary, complement to a Back workout.

Infinity, I would like to add Coach Davies view on Overworking. Basically, he says most weightlifters DONT. My opinion is that you’re GROSSLY underworking yourself with fear that it’ll be too rough. While a Leg/Arms day wouldnt be the best fit for a routine, it certainly wouldnt be ROUGH to the point where your CNS is past exhaustion and your muscles overworked. DON’T be afraid of ROUGH. ROUGH is good if you want mass gains, provided you know what you’re doing. If you were to move from your workout to one of Coach Davies Workouts you’d die (Or walk away after 5 minutes cursing the coach under your lips and with one of his bus tickets in your hand). Compared to Renegade training, your workout is a walk in the park.


1.) Awesome post

2.) Why do you disagree with my goals?

3.) Would Davies workouts allow me to achieve the goals I’m after? And where can I find them?

Diesel - I’m confused on your wording of the split concerning a separate back day. I’ve read it a few times, and I’m not sure if you are agreeing with me, or you are saying that it should be changed. Can you please explain?

JWright, basically the impression I got from your post was that you recommend intense hamstring work on BACK day. That is certainly fine, but you will need to rename your split to reflect a BACK/HAMS day and not just BACK day. That’s all.

Infinity, your BF% is too high. Why should you not work for mass gains at the present time?

  1. Research shows muscle-fat gain ratios are higher the leaner you are. I.e., while at 5% you might gain 8lbs of muscle-2 lbs of fat for every 10 lbs gained, at 20% bf you may add only 4-5 lbs of muscle and 5-6 lbs of fat for the same 10 lbs gained. It depends on a variety of factors, but the ratios will always worsen the higher the BF%.

  2. High BF% decrease performance. This is why Coach Poliquin (youll find him in the earlier articles of T-Mag) ALWAYS insists his athletes (which include NFL players, notably David Boston) lose excess body fat in order to increase performance on the fiel, and maximize strength/lean muscle gains.
    Fat tissue needs to be oxidized, therefore expending oxygen and energy resources which could otherwise be used for muscle tissue. Fat also poses unwanted resistance on the field, since it doesnt produce any force as muscle does.

    I would recommend you lean down to at least 12% bf before bulking again.

    You can find Coach Davies on the Renegade Forum. Will his training protocol benefit you? That is up to you to find out, but if your goals are exclusively mass gains, with no regard for functional strength and performance, then I would say no. Coach Davies focus is on serious athletes willing to crawl in their puke and who accept nothing but victory. He’s a balls to the walls coach and he uses training methods you wont be familiar with, as well as olympic lifts, agility work and flexibility.

Okay, so you think I should get my BF down before I try to get larger? Should I be lifting during this “cutting”? Or what? Any eating plans you reccomend to lose 10-12% BF?

I agree with Diesel on the getting slimmer before adding serious mass. Check out programs like Alessi’s Meltdown Training programs. You may lose some strength on these programs because of the superset nature, but you should gain mass and lose fat at the same time.

For cardio, I would do some form of sprints a few times a week. Check out a lot of CT’s articles on sprinting, as they are absolutely awesome. Look for IBUM, 400m sprints, intervals and the likes. I do intervals and they are freakin awesome. After that, I do a few rounds of jump rope.

Diesel - Yeah, you’re right. When I did a similar split to what I named, I always did deads on back day. I felt it in my ass the next day, but not nearly as much as squat day.

Inf - On leg day, you are going to work your entire leg, quads, hammies, ass and calves. On back day, you will basically start off with deads, as they are the most taxing. You can then proceed to do the rest of your back workout, then do some leg curls and extensions for higher reps because you already had a heavy day.

Diet - T-Dawg 2.0 Diet

Workout - Any of T-Mag’s workouts for trimming down. There are many.

You should lose NO MORE than 2-3 lbs fat at the very most. More than that and you’ll be wasting some muscle.

he meant 2-3 lbs per week, not 2-3 lbs total.