Best Novice Program for me???

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Eoin Kenny

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi guys, so I originally started calisthenics because it was convenient and I just thought it was cool. I still do and have no plans to give it up indefinitely, but something has changed.

It will be super convenient for me to go to a gym this year for 5 days a week (mon - fri). I've decided I want to give barbell training a shot for the next 9-12 months to see how it goes. I mean why not? I might like it more.

I've looked around for good novice programs and most of them don't include weighted chin ups, which is no good for me. I want to work on squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, rows, weighted chin ups at the least. What do you think would be the best program for me? I'm truly ignorant on this topic...

I like the look of this program, what do you all think?
The Alpha Destiny Novice Program - Out Alpha

It's full body 3 times a week with an alternating A, B workouts. The guy who wrote it sounds quite clued in I think, and I like his overall philosophies.


I suppose this one might be okay too, Jason Blaha Novice 5x5. It doesn't have weighted chin ups though...
Jason Blaha's Ice Cream Fitness 5x5 Novice Program

Starting Strength doesn't have chin ups either :/ Can I sub them in somehow?

I don't know, what do you all think and what would you advise me to do? I'd really appreciate some input as I respect the opinion of everyone here and again I am truly ignorant as to what would be best for me, I want to get strong fast and build as much muscle as possible alongside that in the process across the next 9-12 months.
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
A little more about yourself might help. Two questions that pop out for me are:
1) how long and how often are you used to working out? It's probably better to find a program the fits easily in your current habit, than to try and do many brand new lifts and end up skipping things or worse doing them without full attention.

2) when you said as much muscle as possible did you mean that? I as because your relative strength in calestenics might suffer I little if your goal is to out on as much weight as possible.
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Also, are you planning on learning the movements yourself, or getting instruction? (If you are learning without instruction, it might be better to start with fewer movements for example.

On a side note, does the following quote from the OP's "OutAlpha" link make sense to anyone? And if so could you take a crack at explaining how this could matter?:
"For the major compound exercises, you’re either doing sets of 3 or 5. You never do sets of 4, for reasons that are much too complicated for this section. It’s one or the other, no questions asked."
 
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JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
When the Greyskull program came up a few months ago, I "dusted off" my PDF and remembered how good it is. It might be just what you're looking for. It's a program that includes squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, and optional weighted dips and pull-ups along with conditioning. The E-book is worth it. I've been following it's, "Luke Version," since the thread and quite enjoy it.

Power to the People is Pavel's book about barbell training. It contains minimalist programs. I haven't looked through it in a while and think I might today.

The StrongFirst blog has had some cool articles on barbell training lately. They focus on peaking one lift at a time. I'd absolutely love to see StrongFirst's approach to something more general and comprehensive. That would be very interesting to me.
 

Eoin Kenny

Level 1 Valued Member
@Travis
1) I've been training calisthenics with a little weighted work the last 3 years, but in all honesty I've only been on a "good" program for less than a year. I plan on getting some help from a coach at the gym about the power lifts. I'm used to working out full body 3 times a week, although lately I've been doing a push/pull splits 4 times a week.

2) Good point! I am aware that leg size is going to hinder my relative strength on a bar, but I am okay with that :) I'm already at a huge disadvantage being 6'3 to be honest... I don't think calisthenics glory is in my future realistically, but I would still like to go back to it after the year to see how much the barbell training has helped things like my one arm push up etc. If it really gets bad I might back off, but I think that right now it'd be nice to do something else for my lower body than just pistol squats you know? It will also help my vertical jump I'm told to have more leg muscle? (which would be a nice bonus)

@James GreySkull LP Isn’t Good, It’s Great this is it right? It looks good, nice and simple, it'd be easy to add in some weighted chin ups for sure. I always find it weird that novice strength programs put squats first all the time, why is that? I mean squats take so much out of me that I find it hard to give anything else 100% after. Although I'm told deadlift is worse lol, I suppose at least the AlphaDestiny program puts them last.
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
As a beginner almost any program (except the one that has hoodoo about not doing 4 reps! haha) would be good, but I'd suggest the main thing for a beginner is find a good coach and be religious about learning proper form for the main lifts. So many people skip this step, or self-evaluate it away, then they're writing in about a sore lower back or this or that tendon messed up, etc. Proper form uses the proper muscles to move the weight at the proper time without stressing the lower back or other parts that aren't designed to stretch or bear heavy loads.

Also, when finding a coach, be very wary. As mentioned above about the "no 4-reps" guy, many in the fitness industry are a prime examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Can't go wrong with PTTP, or basic 5x5 program like StrongLifts once form is down pat. StrongLifts doesn't have much original in it, but is a summary of good principles.
 

JamesO

Level 4 Valued Member
Yep, that's the one. Squats and deadlifts tend to be big features in these program because of the dramatic impact they have on your strength overall, and Greyskull puts squats last because they can take so much out of you. Weighted chins are part of the program. The E-book gives you the details that you might not find in a thread on the program.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
Another vote for Greyskull from me.
The original version has weighted PUs in it.

I'd say GSLP with rows (bench days) and pullups (overhead press days) as plugins. Alternate 5-10min of KB swings and farmer carries as finisher (e.g. swings in your A session, carries in B session)
 

Eoin Kenny

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks guys, I've loads to consider now! Out of curiosity what do you think of Candito's strength program for beginners? It has you training all the main moves I want twice a week in a heavy/light pause setup. I think it might be most closely in line with my goals of strength with some muscle? (he allows room for some extra work like curls etc)

Is this program maybe better for me than Greyskull do you think?

Candito Training HQ

As an aside... should I get squatting shoes at my height? (6'3) Everyone like Alan Thrall and Candito say I should but isn't Pavel against it?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
There are any number of programs that feature four basic lifts: SQ, OHP, BP, and DL. Pullups and rows can be added to most of those.

-S-
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
My first barbell strength program after giving up weightlifting was Stronglifts 5x5. I did it for about a year and made good progress on it. It has all of the barbell lifts you are interested in learning. I added dips to "A" and pull-ups to "B".
 

q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
well, i think you should take few months to learn deadlift, bench, op....squat is more difficult to learn. Don't rush yet, focus on good form of limited exercise. Just do deadlift, OP/bench every day. add few weight chin if you want to
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
5 days a week is perfect for PTTP (doing this myself at the moment :)).
There was also an article by Pavel about a program of all the big lifts, up to 5 days a week. The article is easily found on the net (pareto principle applied to strength training).

Personally, I do not really like the program in your link. Not that it is not good (it is), but I tend to avoid assistance exercices after the big lifts, especially for novice.

On another note, Starting strength does have pullup/chinup in it! It is all in the book. So you would have the big lifts and chinups.
 

Snowman

Level 6 Valued Member
I want to work on squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, rows, weighted chin ups at the least
I would point out that you've listed 2 pulls, 2 presses, and 2 total body lifts. Not to muddy the waters, but don't get too fixated on needing to do all 6 at the same time. You can make progress just as easily (perhaps more easily, as a beginner) by focusing on doing one of each of those at a time for a month or two, then switching to the other one. For instance, take a Power to the People or Easy Strength format and apply it to DLs, pull ups, and OHP for 6 weeks, then SQ, rows, and BP for 6 weeks. Even better, find a good SQ/BP/DL program that gives you room to do pull ups or rows, hit that for a couple months, then worry about OHP and whichever pull you didn't do. Four out of six ain't bad.
 

Eoin Kenny

Level 1 Valued Member
@Snowman good point! I think after a few weeks it'll be very obvious to me what my body can take and recover from effectively. If I run into issues I'll consider focusing more, but I think I'll take Steve's advice and work pulling into standard strength programs for next few weeks at least and see what happens, from looking around it doesn't seem that working on 6 compound lifts is too extreme.

I need to read PTTP by the looks of it. Do any of you guys have strong opinions on squatting shoes? I wonder should I use them or not?
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
@Eoin Kenny , for the few people I "coached" following Starting strength (in bracket, as it was friend coaching, not professional), most were doing pullups. Once your deadlift start to be heavy enough, you do not do it every second session, and alternate with pullups. We also followed the program by alternating BP and OHP. Shoulders often appreciate some OHP (if you are flexible enough), and it teaches more to stay tight in the mid-section that pushing from a bench.
If you wish to use 5 days a week, you can read this article by Pavel: 80/20 powerlifting

On the subject of squatting shoes... I squatted for long in Converse-like shoes without issue. Then I bought a pair of good lifting shoes. It felt good, but I cannot say if it was better or worse at relatively light weights. I started to like them a lot, and the extra stability, when reaching 1,5 BW though.
As long as you do not squat in sneakers... (thinking this, because I saw a strong girl squatting around 120 kg for a few reps yesterday, in a commercial gym in a small Czech town, with correct technique, but in sneakers. I don't get it).

And yes, read PTTP. Still a good read after all these years!
 

Eoin Kenny

Level 1 Valued Member
@jef Thanks mate! I have some shoes coming this Friday and I think it was a wise investment, the extra heel height should make squatting ATG at my height more safe I think. I might have to use sneakers for the first week, but at such low weights it wont matter.

Yeah OHP is actually one of my bigger priorities, strength to me has always been associated with shoulders ever since reading Convict Conditioning. Lifting something over your head has always been the biggest sign of strength I think, just think of Atlas holding the heavens above his head :)
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
IIRC there's a "more lifts"-PTTP variation in Beyond Bodybuilding. I think it was 5x5x5 -> 5 lifts, 5 reps, 5 days/week
 

Michael Scott

Level 7 Valued Member
In my opinion, squats are included in workout programs, because they have an impact on your whole body. Like @Geoff Chafe, I have also worked with Stronglifts 5x5. I saw results, and yes, squats take a lot out of you. However, they are working the largest muscles in your body, and the carryover will impact your other muscle groups. At least, that was my experience.

Squats, again in my opinion, should be done in flat-soled shoes or barefoot. Personally, I was doing squats & deadlifts in Vibram Five-Finger shoes. Higher heeled shoes will push your center of balance out closer to your toes, which means greater impact on your lower back. Your center of gravity should stay over your mid-foot or heel, I have found, for balance, which reduces the opportunity to injure yourself.

Like the recommendation in S&S, start simply & master your lifts, slowly. It is not glorious to be patient, and it is not exciting. However, starting with a lower weight, and mastering form first, is essential. With proper form, you can master the squat. You can also master the one handed KB swing.

No good lifting coach says to start heavy. You start light, putting your ego in your gym bag or locker, and work on proper form first. Then, and only after you have proper form, do you move up in weight. Does that sound familiar? It should. That tenet is preached by all on here. Master your form with one weight, then, and again, only then, do you advance upwards in weight.

If you are set on lifting, start simply, and focus on form. With good form & repetition, strength will come. Slowly add exercises once you are solid in your technique. This will allow your body to adapt, and you will still be able to focus on technique as you go.

Ask questions, do your research, like you would when buying a car. The more information you have on hand, the better.

Good luck to you. I hope it all goes well.
 

LoneRider

Level 6 Valued Member
I recommend Johnny Schaeffer's Greyskull Linear Progression or Justin Lascek's 70's Big. There is also Mark Rippertoe's Starting Strength.
 
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