For my strength/hypertrophy based training program, I've chosen following exercises:

  1. Deadlifts (2 work sets of 4 reps)
  2. Press (3 work sets of 5)
  3. Ring Dips (3 work sets of 9)
  4. 1-Legged Squats (3 work sets of 7)
  5. Pull Ups/Chin Ups (3 work sets of 8-10)
  6. Inverted Rows (3 work sets of 8-10)
  7. Dumbbell Bench Press (3 work sets of 6-8)

Question: I feel this is a bit too much volume for one workout, I'm currently alternating between doing [1,2,4,5,7] and [1,3,4,6,7]. I wonder if this makes sense or if I rather should stick with one of them for a longer period of time (like 2 weeks or so) and then switch to the other one?

Relevant details: I'm doing 2 mins rest between sets and 0-2 warm-up sets for each exercise, so one workout is about 1 hour. I'm doing that 3x/week. I also do some low intensity running (5km) 2x/week. I started training 7 months ago.

Any other advice on my program is greatly appreciated!

  • Alternating A/B sounds good to me. Why the 1-leg squats and ring dips for hypertrophy? Mar 9, 2013 at 14:03
  • @DaveLiepmann: I like exercises that involve stabilizers. I know that some people say 2L-squats are better for mass, but thats ok for me, just want to gain some functional strength along with some muscles. Plus I'm training at home and don't have a squat rack anyway... Mar 9, 2013 at 14:43

4 Answers 4


You're right that this program has a lot of volume. You'd be better off choosing from one of many well-known beginner programs (ie Westside For Skinny Bastards, PHAT, Strong Lifts, 5/3/1).

If you're insistent on doing these exact exercises it would make more sense to organize them into a push/pull or upper/lower split, as this is a standard practice for hypertrophy oriented programs.

On a side note, deadlifting 3x week isn't a great choice. If you're using proper working weights you wouldn't be able to properly recover fast enough to make progress.


Your selection of exercises looks good. I would further categorize them like this:

Deadlifts (2 work sets of 4 reps) - hamstring-centric Press (3 work sets of 5) - upper vertical push Ring Dips (3 work sets of 9) - upper horizontal push 1-Legged Squats (3 work sets of 7) - quad-centric Pull Ups/Chin Ups (3 work sets of 8-10) - upper vertical pull Inverted Rows (3 work sets of 8-10) - upper horizontal pull Dumbbell Bench Press (3 work sets of 6-8) - upper horizontal push

So looking at that, first glance shows a classic error in prioritizing push over pull. I'd balance out your pushing with pulling. Perhaps eliminate the extra horizontal push, or add another horizontal pull to counterbalance it.

There are plenty ways to split it, but typically you'll want to have sufficient time between workouts. A few common splits are legs (quad/hamstring), push, and pull. You could also do legs, horizontal push/pull, vertical push/pull. If you only have two workouts, do something like dead-lift and upper pull, then squat and upper push.

You noted this is strength/hypertrophy training, however those are two different goals. You can gain strength without necessarily gaining muscle mass simply by improving your neurological efficiency. In fact, the most common response to training is strength which is why building muscle is so hard. Strength training will typically focus on generating as much force as possible, so either heavy reps (high mass, slower acceleration), or moderate reps with higher acceleration (i.e. speed). If hypertrophy is your goal, then increasing load and changing exercises should be your focus. You might consider something like Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST) and consider swapping out your exercises for new ones every few sessions.

The two guidelines I typically use for changing exercises is either plateau (i.e. the first time you can no longer add weight and hit your rep target, then it's time to change the training) or frequency (i.e. every 3rd or 4th workout - 3 is good number because the first workout you learn the exercise, the 2nd you are comfortable with it and the 3rd you can then push past the previous load before moving onto something new).

The frequency during the week looks fine. I would never train with weights more than two or three consecutive days without having a day with either full rest or a different activity like cardio. I know some people like to train daily with splits but every workout taxes the central nervous system and it needs to rest and recharge as well.

Best of success with your training!

  • That was the kind of answer I was looking for, thanks! Mar 21, 2014 at 8:03

The short answer - it depends. The longer answer - the most important principles are : weight progression and nutrition.
As long as your working weight is becoming larger and you eat and sleep so your muscles get bigger - it is ok.

But there are reasons why beginner programs exist. This is because they are the easiest to do to get results(for beginners), having progression and nutrition is taken care of. So the answer by maxywb is completely useful and correct.


As a rule of thumb, you should rest each muscle group for two days after hitting it with heavy weights. Thet means that if you pack it all in one day. This basically means that if you do more than two workouts a week, you should split your workouts to only address part of your muscle groups each time.

Given that you're at it for 7 months now, you will have gotten a good feel for what your strengths and weaknesses are. Best split at this stage is to put your weakest two (or one if one of them is legs) muscle groups in even days and pack the rest of them into the odd days. You might want to try to go for 4 workouts a week if you can, so you still hit each muscle group twice a week.

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