Advice on my barbell routine

austin3d

More than Five Posts
Hello,

First, I'm truly blessed to have found StrongFirst recently and have been on a deep dive on every video and blog I can read. I believe this is going to be the start of a journey I have been longing for for many years.

I'm almost 50, 6'3", 190 lbs, slim body build. My goal is to get strong and stay strong.

I have attempted many workout programs only to burn out or get an injury due to no pain, no gain mentality and pushing to point of failure. I would never leave my workout feeling energized but instead exhausted or injured and even feeling angry sometimes. Many times, I would go home and pass out and take a nap.

I've gravitated towards the barbell because it feels great. My current routine is Squats, Deadlifts, and Bench Press, M-F. I squat and bench press 2x per week (1 heavy day, 5x5 and one light day, 5x4) and deadlift 1x per week. I ride a bike for 15 min. before beginning.

Two questions about this routine:

1. As much as I enjoy it and feel energized after my workout is over, Is it necessary to incorporate other workouts I enjoy like push ups, dips, pulls ups, ect?

2. What advice would you have on adding a cardio routine to this workout? Along the same though process of not going to point of failure, I would like to have a similar cardio plan mixed in that leaves me feeling good. I love to hike, and hike about 3 x week for about an hour. I'm wondering if that would suffice the cardio piece.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

David
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi @austin3d. Welcome to the forum!

Your "routine" sounds good, but have you thought about a "program" or better yet, "coaching"? These are more likely to guide you effectively towards your goal "to get strong and stay strong."

It's not necessary to incorporate other things. It just depends on what you are trying to do. If your primary program is sufficiently challenging, you wouldn't want to add extra things as this would detract from energy and recovery resources for your priority lifting. But if your primary program isn't overly taxing (meaning you're probably not going to make optimal progress... but that may be OK too) then it might help to add extras.

If you are hiking 3x/wk for an hour, I believe that meets most basic guidelines for health. Beyond that (performance goals) just depends on your objectives.
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
I never had much discipline or self-awareness when it came to workouts and spent years training to failure, program hopping and incurring injuries. I used to leave the gym hardly able to walk, often having to lie down before I even got home. When I look back it was that feeling (exhaustion) that I was chasing, rather than measurable outcomes in strength or musculature. My training philosophy was literally what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger (or more muscly) but that's silly because there's easier ways to get strong and build muscle, like programming.

The first change I made was to adopt a ruthless attitude to programming - set a longer term goal, structured a program to meet it, with every exercise, set and rep determined often weeks in advance. Rather than trying to set a personal best every workout, I programmed a handful of opportunities annually and forced myself (by and large) to stick with it. Lo and behold my injury problems resolved themselves (with some legacy effects, unfortunately) and I made great measurable gains.

The second change I made was after I found myself better able to self-regulate. I relaxed the programming and focused more on staying away from failure every set (two or three reps) but I still have a very strong urge to go all out that I need to be mindful of because it is not sustainable.

I like simple programs - reading Brawn by Stuart McRobert was a real eye-opener for me - and these days I rarely do more than three exercises in a workout (push/pull/legs). I think what you've got looks great. I don't see a need to add more cardio. If anything I'd question why you need a "light" day for the bench and squat with frequency twice weekly. You should have no problems lifting heavy twice weekly, just stay away from failure.
 

austin3d

More than Five Posts
Thanks for your reply. The only reason I have a light day is based on an article I read where Pavel was mentioning a routine from a Russian named Alexander Faleev’ and that was his routine. I'm open to what ever gets the best results and will try next week without a light day and just go heavy.
 

austin3d

More than Five Posts
Hi @austin3d. Welcome to the forum!

Your "routine" sounds good, but have you thought about a "program" or better yet, "coaching"? These are more likely to guide you effectively towards your goal "to get strong and stay strong."

It's not necessary to incorporate other things. It just depends on what you are trying to do. If your primary program is sufficiently challenging, you wouldn't want to add extra things as this would detract from energy and recovery resources for your priority lifting. But if your primary program isn't overly taxing (meaning you're probably not going to make optimal progress... but that may be OK too) then it might help to add extras.

If you are hiking 3x/wk for an hour, I believe that meets most basic guidelines for health. Beyond that (performance goals) just depends on your objectives.
Hi Anna,

Thank you for your reply. I would love to follow a program. I still have questions around how often I should add weight to my exercises and what a realistic goal would be for strength gain. For example, right now my 5x5 on my bench press is 125lbs. I'm not sure what my goal should be over next 3 to 6 months on increasing my strength. Should I be doing 150lbs 5x5 in 6 months? I don't know.

Do you have a program you would recommend?
 

Bro Mo

> 1k Posts
Get Practical Programming for Strength by Mark Rippetoe to get a program to follow and learn how and why to change it. That book arranges novice to intermediate to advanced stength programs with methods to adjust based on the lifter and the progress you're making.

That said, Reload here on StrongFirst offers a great strength program that can be done in isolation or combined with conditioning work well. Reload is just as good for a novice as an intermediate or advanced lifter by using a unique testing and progression method.

Either will get you farther than most.
 

william bad butt

More than 500 posts
I think hiking is probably all you need for cardio, for a generally healthy life. Also, I don't think the extra exercises, pushups for example, are really necessary, although, they may be good accessory exercises for after the lifting.

Why do you ride a bike for 15 min? Wouldn't this be better to do after the lifting? I always am cautious about putting my lower back in flexion right before heavy weight lifting. Also, this could fatigue your legs and negatively impact your squats.

I like your lifting plan. My only recommendation is to throw in a deload week every month or so. A week where you go really light, like 50%, and focus on technique. These breaks are important for longevity with the barbell.
 

Anna C

> 6k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi Anna,

Thank you for your reply. I would love to follow a program. I still have questions around how often I should add weight to my exercises and what a realistic goal would be for strength gain. For example, right now my 5x5 on my bench press is 125lbs. I'm not sure what my goal should be over next 3 to 6 months on increasing my strength. Should I be doing 150lbs 5x5 in 6 months? I don't know.

Do you have a program you would recommend?
+1 to @Bro Mo's advice. I have not used Reload personally or on students but it could be a good one for you. I have more experience with Starting Strength, and I'm sure that it could work for you, but it's not StrongFirst so I'll leave it at that. Both will guide you in wight progression. Generally speaking you don't need a goal for where you'll be in 3-6 months -- you just progress according to the program and see what you get. Different people respond differently to training, and it will depend on how closely you follow the program's guidance, how your recover, and many other factors.
 

apa

Triple-Digit Post Count

This program is what you are doing and it works. I am also on it and let me tell you, that you don't need to add anything.

If you can keep doing 5x5 and then adding weight each week, don't worry; soon enough it will get heavy and you don't want to do anything else. If anything, you might want to do only 1 top set in the deadlift, because, they will hammer your body and make you sore for days when you are doing sets across (that means 5x5).
 

austin3d

More than Five Posts

This program is what you are doing and it works. I am also on it and let me tell you, that you don't need to add anything.

If you can keep doing 5x5 and then adding weight each week, don't worry; soon enough it will get heavy and you don't want to do anything else. If anything, you might want to do only 1 top set in the deadlift, because, they will hammer your body and make you sore for days when you are doing sets across (that means 5x5).
How is the program going for you so far? When you started, how much were you lifting on the bench, squat and deadlift and where are you now?
 

apa

Triple-Digit Post Count
How is the program going for you so far? When you started, how much were you lifting on the bench, squat and deadlift and where are you now?
Hey. I haven't been doing it now since all the gyms are closed. I am still a novice, so I started with an empty bar with squats and bench press. Adding 5kg (about 10 pounds) every week. In deadlift I started with 60kg(135). I tried different ways of squatting, which is why it's lagging behind, ie front squats and was doing 60 kg with low bar squats 5x5, bench press 65kg and deadlift 110kg. So far I could hit 5x5 consistently every workout except for 5x5 bench, I just stayed with the same weight until I got it though.
 
Top Bottom