T Nation

Your Favorite Program?


#1

Hey all, just looking around for a new program. What has been your favorite program you have done for putting on size? And why? Thanks in advance for the feedback


#2

Don’t mean to be ‘that guy’ but no program alone will put size on you … It’s the whole package - training, the right nutrition yada yada … IMO find the movements that work best for you and then start experimenting with volume & frequency until you find a sweet spot that enables you to hit your muscles hard, get stronger and recover adequately to turn up again the following week and progress…


#3

DoggCrapp and 5/3/1 were both huge for my growth, both physically and as a lifter.

EDIT: Missed the “and why” portion.

DoggCrapp:

For one, if you have exercise ADD, this program is great because you’re constantly using new movements. It makes you look forward to the next training session, especially if you structure things such that you have at least 1 movement you are looking forward to in every session, rather than putting all your favorite movements into one session and then trudging through the rest of the program.

The brutality of the method is enticing when paired with that fact that you’re doing 1 movement for 1 set (essentially) each day. It’s a quickish session, but still effective, and you definitely feel like you got in a workout.

Really, the biggest thing DC did for me is break me out of a lot of dogma. I couldn’t go around thinking “only squat, bench and dead matter”, because I was going to quickly run out of options that way. I had to start using machines, partial movements, and all sorts of other things I had written off in the past. In doing so, I exposed myself to a lot more movements and figured out some things that would work well in my future training.

5/3/1:

This worked in the opposite way of DC. Instead of learning the value of variety and a lot of lifting tricks, 5/3/1 (and specially the BBB assistance work) taught me that effort and volume go a long way in improving physique. Prior to using 5/3/1 I was doing a lot of low volume, high frequency strength training work, and my bodyweight was staying pretty low.

When I started 5/3/1, without even intending to put on weight, I gained 12lbs in 6 months. I tell this story a lot, but the physical transformation was actually so radical that my wife’s co-worker, who hadn’t seen me since I gained the weight, saw my wife and I out for a walk through the neighborhood and thought that my wife had gotten divorced and started dating again. He did not recognize me at all.


#4

Phil Hernon’s old 5-10-15 routine.

I loved DC, but my joints did not!

I also loved full-body, one set to failure per bodypart EVERY DAY for 2-3 week stretches.


#5

Currently I do a push/pull heavy/light workout that I really like. It’s kind of old school but it seems to work quite well.


#6

Best routine i have done for gaining size is the one I was doing while I fixed my poor diet with insufficient calories.

The routine itself was a push pull, although I feel the change in routine helped it was undoubtedly down to the diet. How’s your intake? Also what has your training been like so far?


#7

one day on, one day off, 4 times a week.
i used this split.

chest-triceps
back
legs
delts-biceps

3-4 working sets of 8-12 reps for upper body. 3-5 working sets of 12-20 reps for lower body.
put intensity techniques like drop sets, supersets, rest pause, partials, 1 1/2 reps here and there.

eat quality foods like eggs, dairy, chicken, salmon, tuna, ground beef, almonds, walnuts, rice, oats, whole grain bread, pasta etc.

if you can afford, use a scoop of whey protein immediately after workouts.


#8

Oh god, how could I forget 20 rep squats?

20 rep squats is a program that everyone should run, regardless of goals. Do the full 6 weeks and you’ll emerge “changed”. Yes, it can add some mass to your body (I put on 12lbs in the 6 weeks in college eating at the cafeteria, but it was a very sloppy 12lbs haha), but it’s really more about just learning some mental and physical fortitude. Right around rep 14 is when things start to change.

There is nothing more satisfying AND crushing than getting the 20th rep. You celebrate your victory for like a nanosecond before you realize that, in 2 days, you’re going to have to do the whole thing over again with 5 more pounds on the bar.

However, that’s far better than failing at rep 19. You will spend the next 2 days thinking about nothing except how weak you are for missing the final rep and how you TOTALLY would’ve had it if you just rested for another second. You become obsessive, haha.


#9

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Oh god, how could I forget 20 rep squats?

20 rep squats is a program that everyone should run, regardless of goals. Do the full 6 weeks and you’ll emerge “changed”. Yes, it can add some mass to your body (I put on 12lbs in the 6 weeks in college eating at the cafeteria, but it was a very sloppy 12lbs haha), but it’s really more about just learning some mental and physical fortitude. Right around rep 14 is when things start to change.
[/quote]
This is exactly how I feel about Mass Made Simple. It’s been many years since I’ve run it but I still remember the feeling of taken bodyweight for a 50-rep “stroll” as my mentor at the time called it.

It also introduced me to complexes, which I still think are the best conditioning tool most people aren’t using.


#10

Any program works as long as you congregate with lions.

I guess my three favourites are

  • muscle gaining secrets
  • mass made simple
  • 531

#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Oh god, how could I forget 20 rep squats?

20 rep squats is a program that everyone should run, regardless of goals. Do the full 6 weeks and you’ll emerge “changed”. Yes, it can add some mass to your body (I put on 12lbs in the 6 weeks in college eating at the cafeteria, but it was a very sloppy 12lbs haha), but it’s really more about just learning some mental and physical fortitude. Right around rep 14 is when things start to change.

There is nothing more satisfying AND crushing than getting the 20th rep. You celebrate your victory for like a nanosecond before you realize that, in 2 days, you’re going to have to do the whole thing over again with 5 more pounds on the bar.

However, that’s far better than failing at rep 19. You will spend the next 2 days thinking about nothing except how weak you are for missing the final rep and how you TOTALLY would’ve had it if you just rested for another second. You become obsessive, haha.[/quote]

Your post just convinced me to give the 20 rep squat routine a shot sometime down the road. I’m not sure if I should thank you or curse you, haha.


#12

[quote]erik_carlson wrote:
Your post just convinced me to give the 20 rep squat routine a shot sometime down the road. I’m not sure if I should thank you or curse you, haha.
[/quote]

Curse him for the moment, thank him for the experience.


#13

[quote]erik_carlson wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Oh god, how could I forget 20 rep squats?

20 rep squats is a program that everyone should run, regardless of goals. Do the full 6 weeks and you’ll emerge “changed”. Yes, it can add some mass to your body (I put on 12lbs in the 6 weeks in college eating at the cafeteria, but it was a very sloppy 12lbs haha), but it’s really more about just learning some mental and physical fortitude. Right around rep 14 is when things start to change.

There is nothing more satisfying AND crushing than getting the 20th rep. You celebrate your victory for like a nanosecond before you realize that, in 2 days, you’re going to have to do the whole thing over again with 5 more pounds on the bar.

However, that’s far better than failing at rep 19. You will spend the next 2 days thinking about nothing except how weak you are for missing the final rep and how you TOTALLY would’ve had it if you just rested for another second. You become obsessive, haha.[/quote]

Your post just convinced me to give the 20 rep squat routine a shot sometime down the road. I’m not sure if I should thank you or curse you, haha.
[/quote]

If you want to be a real Kool-Aid drinker, buy and read the book “Super Squats”. I got it for Christmas one year just because I was curious what all the fuss was about. Read the entire book in one sitting, and by the time I was done I had changed my entire training such that I was going to start the programming 2 days later. Great read, explains everything.


#14

Bundle Super Squats with Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik to qualify for free shipping.
Throwback Thursday!


#15

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]erik_carlson wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Oh god, how could I forget 20 rep squats?

20 rep squats is a program that everyone should run, regardless of goals. Do the full 6 weeks and you’ll emerge “changed”. Yes, it can add some mass to your body (I put on 12lbs in the 6 weeks in college eating at the cafeteria, but it was a very sloppy 12lbs haha), but it’s really more about just learning some mental and physical fortitude. Right around rep 14 is when things start to change.

There is nothing more satisfying AND crushing than getting the 20th rep. You celebrate your victory for like a nanosecond before you realize that, in 2 days, you’re going to have to do the whole thing over again with 5 more pounds on the bar.

However, that’s far better than failing at rep 19. You will spend the next 2 days thinking about nothing except how weak you are for missing the final rep and how you TOTALLY would’ve had it if you just rested for another second. You become obsessive, haha.[/quote]

Your post just convinced me to give the 20 rep squat routine a shot sometime down the road. I’m not sure if I should thank you or curse you, haha.
[/quote]

If you want to be a real Kool-Aid drinker, buy and read the book “Super Squats”. I got it for Christmas one year just because I was curious what all the fuss was about. Read the entire book in one sitting, and by the time I was done I had changed my entire training such that I was going to start the programming 2 days later. Great read, explains everything.
[/quote]

Awesome! I am in sort of a training funk, 20 reps might be just the thing


#16

Smolov 3 week mesocycle, I have ran it three times when I probably shouldn’t have. Ran it over the course of 8-9 months a few years back when I was really finding my groove and stuff as a lifter, I was probably a little too inexperienced for it but I made up for that by being young and recovering well and also being stupid. But I think it taught me some fundamentals of squatting as well as recovery, bracing, and just mental toughness.


#17

[quote]kd13 wrote:
Best routine i have done for gaining size is the one I was doing while I fixed my poor diet with insufficient calories.

The routine itself was a push pull, although I feel the change in routine helped it was undoubtedly down to the diet. How’s your intake? Also what has your training been like so far?[/quote]

Training, in my opinion seems to be good. I hit back twice a week and everything else once (except for arms). I lift 5 times per week as well. And nutrition has been tough for me. I have a protein shake but, other than breakfast, my meals are either chicken and rice or chicken and pasta. So basically, the chicken gets old. I know when its ‘time’ to eat (about every 3 hours) but i don’t want to because i’m sick of it tbh. I should mention I’m a college student who’s off campus, so that means i buy and cook meals myself. Not really an issue of time, just money and getting sick of the same meals all of the time


#18

[quote]kd13 wrote:
Best routine i have done for gaining size is the one I was doing while I fixed my poor diet with insufficient calories.

The routine itself was a push pull, although I feel the change in routine helped it was undoubtedly down to the diet. How’s your intake? Also what has your training been like so far?[/quote]

My training, in my opinion, is pretty good. Training 5 days a week hitting everything once (except for arms) but getting back twice. I think nutrition is my issue. Every meal i have, except breakfast, is either chicken and rice or chicken and pasta. so it gets old. I know when its ‘time’ to eat (3 hours) but i’m just sick of it. I’m in college, but on my own so i buy my food and prepare it. I have plenty of time too cook, money and the will to eat the same thing all of the time are the issues. Its mainly eating the same thing. Any suggestions to fixing that?


#19

-x2 on the 20 rep squats. It improves your mental toughness fighting through those sets. Makes other “hard” methods seem like child’s play.

-Smolov. However, specifically the 4 week Base Mesocycle. I’ve ran the whole 13 weeks twice in my life, and I have found the intensity in the last 4 weeks hurts my body more than positively work it. Perhaps if ran with a reduced 1 rep maxed would be better. Anyway, the Base Mesocycle is awesome-- turns your legs into car jacks. I use it at least once or twice every year. Like above, it makes a lot of other programs seem like an episode of Dora the Explorer. You do lose some strength gains after completing it (post-Smolov depression), but the muscles you build and the experience gained every time stays with you. That strength gained right at completion, in my opinion, sets your internal potential bar higher.

-German Volume Training (10x10). Honestly, 100 reps of squats, bench, dips, rows-- or whatever you use. Not sure how anyone can not grow from doing this if you are eating correctly to do so.

-Since I can’t use those methods year round (who can?), I usually just cycle through different strength training methods throughout the rest of the year and throw in some “bodybuilding” style training after my strength work. Nothing fancy. Work on getting strong, and then try to pump some muslces up before I go stretch. As long as my numbers in the bench and squat are going going up, I really just look in the mirror and say “What do I want to make bigger?” and I just try to get that area to grow for awhile. While also trying to keep a healthy, well-rounded, atheltic body.


#20

Depending on how experienced you are, Doggcrapp is wonderful, especially if you are a busy individual. Lifting 3 times per week (M/W/F). You have to eat like a horse though. Wait… or was it eat a horse. Yeah, you have to eat a horse though. :slight_smile: