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My first 3-day split


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Background:

male, 23, ~75kg, 190cm, ectomorph/hardgainer, new to gym but have worked out before at home. Since I started at the gym a few months back, I've got to doing 2 upper and 2 lower workouts per week along the lines of:

LOWER

front squat 20kg (3x10)

leg press 130kg (3 x 10)

leg curl 30-40kg (3 x 7)

calf raise 70kg (3x10)

weighted back extensions 10kg (3 x10)

UPPER

smith machine bench press 30kg (4 x 6 and i'm a strugglin!)

incline press ups (3 x 10)

back lying row machine thing 20kg (3x8)

shoulder machine press 10kg (3 x 8 ) yep i know...

lat-pulldown 80kg (3x10)

dumbell bicep curls 10kg (3 x 7)

tricep cable push-downs 40kg (3x8)

dumbell wrist curl 9kg (2 x10)

What I've come up with:

I'm obviously pretty weak and just want a solid routine to build strength + some mass. Suggestions and comments welcome!

MON (chest, shoulders + triceps)

Incline press-ups

Flat dumbell press

Dumbell shrug

Dumbell Military press (or machine)

Dumbell Tricep extension (or cable push down)

WED (legs)

Front squat (or leg press)

Dumbell Lunge

Back extension

Leg curl

Calf Raise

FRI(back + biceps)

Seated cable row

Lat pulldown

Dumbell curl

Dumbell hammer curl

Dumbell wrist curl

- I thought it might be a good idea to alternate between a light week (3 x 10-15) and heavy week (4-5 x 5-10). For both weeks, perform last couple of sets to failure.

- Hopefully I can move onto to dips, pullups and deadlifts once I've got more strength in my back and shoulders.

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Strength & mass will all come from your diet mate. Eat lots of protein & be consistent.

Try & stick to the compound movements (bench, squat etc) & keep a notebook & record your workouts. Make sure you are progressing in either reps or weight each workout, if you're not then change exercises.

Providing your are eating enough you should see some very good gains. IMO too many beginners get caught up in the types of exercises & rep ranges they are working with & forget that in order to grow you have to feed up hard.

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:nod: Absolutely agree with Marcus. I think the program looks fine for starters, just get your diet right too.

Having said that, here's a few thoughts...

- I wouldn't bother alternating between heavy and light each week. Stick with the light routine for 6-8 weeks, then maybe think about changing. Ideally, you'd also go to failure on every set, but if you're just starting back in the gym, perhaps stop just short of failure for the first week or two.

- I notice you've got Back Extensions in there twice. Swap the ones on leg day for another hamstring exercise.

- I'd do Military Press before Shrugs, but that's a relatively minor thing.

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Right. Is the press done before the shrugs because the shoulder muscles are bigger? (bigger first)

What sort of stuff do you guys have between meals? and in times when you can't cook up something. I'm lactose intolerant but have been taking homemade nut bars and nuts n stuff to work.. I know I need more though, and more protein at main meal times.

Am i right that both the time right after working out plus the next day are the most critical - so much more protein should be eaten at this time?

- I notice you've got Back Extensions in there twice.

Woops that's supposed to once - with legs.

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Yep do the pressing first. For every bodypart do the major compound exercise first.

Between meals? Tuna mate. Cheap & good protein content. Have this & your nut bars. Just eat more meat at your main meal times.

Are you talking about hyper etensions? If so i wouldn't bother with them. Get someone experienced there to teach you how to deadlift.

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Are you talking about hyper etensions? If so i wouldn't bother with them. Get someone experienced there to teach you how to deadlift.

Yeah hyper extensions. OK, I'll try out the deadlifts - do them before leg curls?

I'm gonna grab some tuna - I've been having beef jerky as well but this get expensive.

I've now tried each of these splits. I pushed it harder than normal and as a result have been more sore for about 2-3 days after. I still wonder whether pounding a muscle group only once a week is enough to put on bulk but I guess time will tell. As everyone has pointed out, I should get my diet right first. Cheers

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I personally find hyper extensions to be useless. Deadlifts will make you grow but you need to learn how to do them prooperly so you don't get injured.

Once a week is enough for you to grow at your level. Remember you're growing out of the gym, not in it.

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you need to learn how to do them prooperly so you don't get injured.

Last night, went for my lower body workout. Upper Back was already a bit sore but I thought I'd just take it easy... onto my 2nd squat rep and bang, something cracked or tore and I had to leave the gym... knee also hurt behind the kneecap.

It's frustrating, I must be one of the few that actually bothers to warm up for a few mins and stretch.. as well as cool down after and yet I'm often having issues with my back (lower and upper) as well as knees and elbows occsationally.

Perhaps I need to strengthen my back more or something I don't know, my form is decent, speed is slow-mod, I don't think I'm pushing it too heavy.... what pisses me off most about this is that just when i think I'm starting to make progresss.... bang something happens..

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It's frustrating, I must be one of the few that actually bothers to warm up for a few mins and stretch.. as well as cool down after and yet I'm often having issues with my back (lower and upper) as well as knees and elbows occsationally.

What are you doing for warm ups?

For squats I would usually do 2-3 sets of leg extensions and 1-2 sets of light squats (for you this would be bodyweight only) with 20-25 reps each set. This gets everything really nice and warm before you do any actual work.

IMO you can't be too careful when it comes to warming up knees, back or shoulders.

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I do a general warm-up first:

5 or so mins on bike

Quad,hip, ham, calf stretches

Then:

Squat 1x10 just the bar

After that I basically got into my working set with full weight or just shy of the full weight. i.e. 30kg then up to 40kg after that.

Perhaps I should bridge it by doing 20kg as a second warm-up or something. I used to do leg press first but heard it's best to do the big free-weight compound exercises first.

Also, I'm doing front squats.

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I do a general warm-up first:

5 or so mins on bike

Quad,hip, ham, calf stretches

Then:

Squat 1x10 just the bar

After that I basically got into my working set with full weight or just shy of the full weight. i.e. 30kg then up to 40kg after that.

5 mins on the bike is fine. You are probably better off leaving stretches until the end of your workout though, as you pre-fatigue the muscles and compromise your working sets (although there are probably some that will disagree with this).

You could definitely try 2-3 light sets of squats without the bar (bodyweight), say 20 reps each, just to get things started. Then get into your work sets at 30kg and 40kg.

Perhaps I should bridge it by doing 20kg as a second warm-up or something. I used to do leg press first but heard it's best to do the big free-weight compound exercises first.

Also, I'm doing front squats.

Yes, you are right to do the big compound moves first. You could even ditch leg press altogether for now and just focus on nailing squats for a few months. This approach worked very well for me. I wish I had started doing squats earlier!

Good luck!

:)

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