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  1. #1
    No Agony, No Bragony JUSA's Avatar
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    Why nobody is critiquing your workout (READ THIS before making a beginner program)

    Prologue: I remember years ago when I first started working out and posting here I went out and put together a program all on my own. I thought it through very thoroughly and was very proud of myself when I'd finished. I made a new thread about it and asked for people to critique it in the title. I expected for the most part people would approve of it and might offer tiny suggestions to improve on it.

    What I got was people telling me it was awful and I needed to scrap it completely and pick up a pre-made program which was created by someone who was an expert in the weightlifting/strength training or bodybuilding field.

    I was upset and annoyed at the time, however it was sound advice. They were right. My program sucked, I did not know what I was doing and if I'd followed it I wouldn't have made any significant long-term gains.

    Ask yourself this: Do you know more than Mark Rippetoe, Bill Starr or anyone who has studied strength and hypertrophy training for years and has had countless more years of empirical evidence to refine their knowledge on how to make progress in the gym? (The answer is, of course, "no").

    Then why would you use some program you've made over one of theirs?

    Why your program is terrible:
    1) You've probably designed your program with way too many exercises and way too much volume for a beginner.
    - Your program should consist primarily of the following exercises: the squat, the bench press, the deadlift, heavy rows and plenty of core work.
    - You do not need endless sets of isolation work right now. You need to focus on compound movements and work on getting a solid base/frame.
    - Right now you need to focus on correct form. Master squatting, benching and deadlifting. It's not easy. Odds are you're doing a terrible job on at least two of those exercises. Get a trainer, preferably one who looks like they lift and who has a background in powerlifting, and have them coach you on these essential lifts.

    2) You've probably designed your program with way too much emphasis on mirror muscles and not enough on others.
    - A good program will have at least as much focus, if not considerably more, on one's back than on one's pecs. Often you see people making programs which have several different benching variations (incline, decline, dumbells, etc), dumbell flies, cable crosses, etc... and then when it's time for back day they do some lat pulldowns and maybe some other fairly useless exercise. This can lead to muscle imbalances which later down the road will mess you and your rotator cuff up. You don't want that. Back in the day when lifters spend tons of time on their back doing rows, pullups, face pulls, deadlifts and other exercises and had strong backs -- nobody had RC problems.
    - You're probably neglecting your legs, but this isn't always the case with newbies making programs.

    3) You've probably designed your program and left out tons of crucial information.
    - What are your goals? Strength? Hypertrophy? General fitness? What is your program supposed to do?
    - What is your level of fitness? While it's usually "beginner", often times people don't even bother to say. An advanced lifter will have a drastically different routine than a beginner. Often times beginners don't realize this and they try to emulate a program designed for someone who has been lifting for years. Small muscles, like yours, don't need nearly as much stimulation to shock them into growth. If you overdo it, you'll just burn yourself out and get nowhere.
    - Sometimes you see truly awful programs which just toss out a number of exercises and don't bother to elaborate and then they expect someone to critique it. Other times you get a little more. I've yet to see someone incorporate rest times or tempo into their home-made programs, despite it being important stuff. The answer is because you probably don't understand it, which is precisely why you shouldn't be making your own program to begin with.

    4) Lastly, we see ****ty programs like yours every day. Often multiple. Frankly, it's tiresome. Please, read the stickies and pick a program which will work from there. There is a saying that "Anything will work... for about 6 weeks", which is probably true. You might see minor progress with whatever terrible program you've made but in time you will stall out and you will not make much, if any, progress. Think long-term, drop your ego and realize there are people out there who dedicate their lives to this and they know more than you. Find a program which suits your level of fitness and your goals. Use it.

    5) Here are some excellent programs which I hope you consider looking into:

    - Rippetoes aka Starting Strength: I can personally attest to this program being superb. It's designed for any novice or beginner lifter but also for more experienced lifters who might not be used to a program consisting of heavy, compound movements. This will get you strong and if your diet is in order you will get bigger.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224

    - Bill Starr 5x5 aka Madcow 5x5: I love this one. It's for an intermediate lifter and the focus of this program is to get you strong as quickly as possible. And it works.
    http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow...Linear_5x5.htm

    - HST (Hypertrophy/Strength Training): I haven't personally lifted in this style but plenty of people swear by it. This should work well for someone looking for gains in both strength and hypertrophy (ie. getting both strong and bigger muscles).
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=280813
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=714401

    - German Volume Training: I've ran this and even having lifted for years before I ran it I was sore as a dog after pretty much every workout. DOMS doesn't necessarily mean it's working, but this is a pretty rough ride. GVT is designed to primarily make you bigger (hypertrophy).
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis13.htm

    - There are PLENTY of other programs. Here is a guide here, one of the stickies you SHOULD have already read...
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=113707701

    - You should also venture out into the other sections, the Nutrition and Exercise ones especially (not so much the misc, you're better off not going there). I can promise you that you're going to learn a lot and help your progress if you do.
    Last edited by JUSA; 07-28-2009 at 11:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User SwiftyX's Avatar
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    Nice post.
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  3. #3
    Certified Football Nut Bamma's Avatar
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    I would say we should make this a sticky, but people never read those anyway.

    Nice job, JUSA
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  4. #4
    Registered User brudman's Avatar
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    Great great post. Funny thing is, there are like 10 threads right above this by beginners asking about their 4 hour a day marathon curl program.
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  5. #5
    There and Back Again DuLac's Avatar
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    Good post, I support this thread being stickied.
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  6. #6
    Registered User PuffinMyLye's Avatar
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    Excellent post. Should def. be a sticky. And I think also the mods should be deleting any posts written by people that clearly ignore the stickies.
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  7. #7
    Registered User -VARSITY-'s Avatar
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    Same here get this stickied asap.
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  8. #8
    You are on ignore CookAndrewB's Avatar
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    Ha, I started to write a "How to fix your stupid mistakes so we don't have to." Thread yesterday... but figured nobody (but those who don't need it) would read it anyway.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Beginnerz's Avatar
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    This thread actually makes sense, i'm always thinking of making my own routine and when i do its full of sh^t.

    Thanks for this post!
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  10. #10
    I'll Rest When I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Good post, and I agree it should be stickied, except that doing that seems to be the "kiss of death" for threads on this site. It's the last place all the noobs look before posting their 6 day double splits (after all, they've been "lifting" for 2 months now).

    Maybe a better option is to simply bump this thread a couple of times a day, to keep it in view. It needs to be 5-starred.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Sircrayon's Avatar
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    good stuff !
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  12. #12
    Registered User Uniden's Avatar
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    Great post. I hope this will become a sticky and end all of the critiquing threads.
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  13. #13
    Equipment Geek Mod Wildtim's Avatar
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    I don't think it is a good stickie becuase no one ever reads those anyways, at least not until they are told to.

    If the Op goes back and adds a link to the routines stickie in his post I will gladly single post quot him or link him every time I come across a crappy beginners homemade plan.
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  14. #14
    Registered Abuser dopamine72's Avatar
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    For the love of god sticky this
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  15. #15
    You are on ignore CookAndrewB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    I don't think it is a good stickie becuase no one ever reads those anyways, not even when they are told to.
    Fixed.
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  16. #16
    No Agony, No Bragony JUSA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    I don't think it is a good stickie becuase no one ever reads those anyways, at least not until they are told to.

    If the Op goes back and adds a link to the routines stickie in his post I will gladly single post quot him or link him every time I come across a crappy beginners homemade plan.
    You think I should add some links to it?

    Which ones, though? My personal gut says Rippetoes, which I think is great for beginners, but what other ones should I include?

    Edit: I added a couple links, although I'm the first to admit I'm fairly know-nothing when it comes to hypertrophy programs. I usually stick to 5x5s and keep it simple. I did include the sticky here that has a host of links and guides, which with luck will set at least one person in the right direction...
    Last edited by JUSA; 07-28-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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  17. #17
    You are on ignore CookAndrewB's Avatar
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    Is there no consolidated beginners routine sticky?

    I still like Charles Staley's EDT for a beginner. Great program to address fat loss while building muscle (which I recognize isn't a one size fits all answer, but I'm not sure you will find that).
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  18. #18
    No Agony, No Bragony JUSA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CookAndrewB View Post
    Is there no consolidated beginners routine sticky?

    I still like Charles Staley's EDT for a beginner. Great program to address fat loss while building muscle (which I recognize isn't a one size fits all answer, but I'm not sure you will find that).
    Someone should make one -- lumping all the programs together can get pretty intimidating to a new lifter. Having a shorter list comprised of a handful of programs which cater to different but specific needs would be more approachable.

    I've only run Rippetoes, though, and I wouldn't want to make a thread listing a bunch of programs I haven't personally run or seen someone else do.
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    Originally Posted by JUSA View Post
    Someone should make one -- lumping all the programs together can get pretty intimidating to a new lifter. Having a shorter list comprised of a handful of programs which cater to different but specific needs would be more approachable.

    I've only run Rippetoes, though, and I wouldn't want to make a thread listing a bunch of programs I haven't personally run or seen someone else do.
    I've run the EDT protocol, but not with the exercises as written by Staley. I would be happy to convert it to something simple and effective. Staley's exercise selection does look like it was catered to the trainee flying solo in the gym. There is some machine stuff in there that I'm not sure is necessary. As written it may be even a little safer than necessary, though his later (intermediate and advanced) programs look far better.

    I've never done Starting Strength. I was pretty well beyond that point by the time I ever heard of it. There was a very solid beginners routine posted up by (Defiant1?) one of the regulars.

    EDIT: It was All Pro... http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...&highlight=pro
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    Originally Posted by JUSA View Post
    You think I should add some links to it?

    Which ones, though? My personal gut says Rippetoes, which I think is great for beginners, but what other ones should I include?

    Edit: I added a couple links, although I'm the first to admit I'm fairly know-nothing when it comes to hypertrophy programs. I usually stick to 5x5s and keep it simple. I did include the sticky here that has a host of links and guides, which with luck will set at least one person in the right direction...
    I like the links you added. I'm coming more and more to the side of everyone should let a basic strength program like SS run its course before picking a specialty (ie.power, hypertrophy). I wish I had years ago I feel like I wasted a tone of time of hypertrophy programs when I didn't really have the basic strength level to make them work, Kind of like a sculptor trying to make a pitcher with enough clay for a cup.
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    No Agony, No Bragony JUSA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    I like the links you added. I'm coming more and more to the side of everyone should let a basic strength program like SS run its course before picking a specialty (ie.power, hypertrophy). I wish I had years ago I feel like I wasted a tone of time of hypertrophy programs when I didn't really have the basic strength level to make them work, Kind of like a sculptor trying to make a pitcher with enough clay for a cup.
    I think that, myself. It's tough to grow your muscles if you're working with tiny weights. Also, I think focusing on a couple core lifts and really mastering the form is going to cross over and help you if you branch out and start incorporating more isolation work.

    I know it's none of my business but it kind of annoys me when I see people working out and using crappy form; guys curling with their backs, doing lat pulls as a full body exercises, one inch leg presses, benching with their legs waving around in the air and such.
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    Thumbs up

    This is a fine thread, and yes, it should be stickied. The problem is, while I try to point beginners in the right direction as have many others--too many to count, including, of course, the OP--many more beginners think they know it all and won't swallow their pride, suck it up, and do what's best for them.

    All of the programmes listed such as Rippetoes, Starr's, Staley's, et.al. are solid, but will beginning lifters follow through with them? My experience, and judging from what I've read on this forum and others, says no. They'd rather start off with a split routine taken from a magazine or something they've cobbled together, and then they wonder why no progress is made. While eventually many will graduate to something more esoteric, there is nothing wrong with the basics--they've served to build the size and will continue to serve in that manner.

    Good post, OP.
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    This just pisses me off because there have been at least 10 posts asking for a routine critique after this post.

    I say if we even bother to respond to these posts, all we say is, "Starting Strength" and let them figure it out. Seriously, this **** gets old.
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    Excellent post..and I laughed about not going to the misc!
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    Bump.
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    i made a modified ripptoes with mostly compound lifts. u mad?
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    This thread is the noob killer.
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    Amen to this post . I am tired of seeing 50 million times a day '' how is my routine , ''check my new routine etc... etc...

    I picked one from this site and stick with it for the most part and modify it to suit my needs, if i can do it , anyone can .
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    This is a great post and I think better than the sticky that's already up because the other thread doesn't emphasize cores and pre-made programs enough. I was the typical beginner this post describes, designing my own program that I thought was pretty great, only to get shot down when I posted it for feedback. Thing is I read all the stickies and did a lot of research but it just didn't sink in until I got set straight from the feedback from posters here. There are few places where one can find consolidated beginner's info, and the articles on the bb.com main site are just a disorganized and mostly worthless mess.
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