226 Comments

  1. Should I variate the way I do some of the exercises? For example with the flys, should I one week do them to hit the upper pecs, next week middle pecs and third week lower pecs?

    I do not believe there is that much of bicep workout on day 2, and thus I would like to use the chin up instead of a pull up. Only thing is, I cannot do a chin up. Have tried Reverse Lat Pulldown for that reason. Is this fine?

    I cannot really feel the lats when doing the Reverse Lat Pulldown. I guess this is the same as with bench press, that I shouldn’t train for the feeling, but to increase the weight with good form?

    1. Hi Mattias, thank you for the questions.

      1. While there is a case to be made for changing up exercise selection periodically, it’s best to focus on executing the one variation properly and progressing with it for now. More on exercise variety here: A Guide to Exercise Selection When You Don’t Have Access to a Coach.

      2. Fine to use the lat pulldown like that.

      3. Yes. Focus on executing the exercises with good form rather than feeling the muscles working. You’re a novice, developing the mind-muscle connection takes time.

  2. I don’t use the pecs very much when I bench press. Day 2 bench press is for building strength. Should I keep bench pressing like I do now, which will lead me to being able to bench press more weight, or should I drop down in weight and instead focusing on hitting the pecs and go on from there?

    Thanks.

    1. Unless your form is incredibly off in a way I can’t quite imagine, you are using the pecs, you’re probably just not feeling it.

      That’s fine for now at this novice stage. Don’t train for feeling, train to move progressively heavier weights with good form and trust the process.

  3. Hi Andy, I’ve been on this program for about 6 months, and before that I was about 6 months on a full body routine. I progressed well in the beginning, now it seems to slow down (struggling adding muscle mass). I believe nutrition, sleep, stress, etc. is in check.

    Thank you for your advice.

    1. Thank you, the link is very helpful.
      Let’s assume all is in check, volume needs to go up.
      I do on a given movement 4 set instead of 3, is than the RPE at 7 for the first set or does it stay at 8?
      Thank you

  4. Hello. For the horizontal pulling I want to do barbell seal rows with an overhand grip. I am only concerned about the slight reduced range of motion from the barbell hitting the bench. I measured the thickness of my bench and it came out to 3 inches. Is this acceptable for my horizontal pulling? Thank you.

    1. Excellent! I am becoming quite a fan of your work! When it come to Single Leg Variants, I choose weighted lunges Do the lungeshave to be static lunges or can I alternate each leg at a time within a set, such as in walking lunges?

    2. As you wish, but choose that which you can do consistently so that you can compare your progress. So, if you’re not in a space place where you consistently have space, stick to static.

    3. Ok. Now for horizontal pushing you wrote “Just don’t use a very severe angle in either direction.”. So does that means parallel bar dips should not be used as a horizontal pushing exercise?

    4. Hi Guy’s. This is one of the best explained articles I have read. Very user friendly. What time frame would you suggest using the novice program for. Thank you. Stephen

  5. Hi Andy,
    Can I put deadlifts on lower day 2 and hip thrusts on day 1 instead of deadlifts,so Im not doing squats and deads on the same day.It makes it really hard to give my all to both movements ,I usually end up half assing my deadlift form because Im too tired after squats.
    Thanks.

    1. If you find that you can progress better and recover, then please feel free to swap things around as you like. However, to those that don’t have good data to confirm that, I’d suggest you go with what we’ve written. An unusual level of soreness for the first time you try any new workout/exercise is normal, so don’t jump to any conclusions based on that.

  6. Hi Andy, Do you recommend any type of cardio in addition to the 4 workouts? What do advice?
    Best wishes
    Mirko

  7. Do you have any 3 day routines for hypertrophy? If not, can you advise on how best to divide this routine over three days on weeks when training 4xpw is not possible please?

    Thanks!

  8. Is it possible to combine a novice body building program with crossfit. I feel that crossfit more or less ignores any rowing activities with weights, chest press and strict shoulder strength etc so I tend to suffer a bit as a result with my upper traps always firing as my middle and lower back is so weak. Obviously I don’t want to have excessive training volume and I was thinking maybe combining days 1 and 2 of your novice program with a couple of days of crossfit as your days 3 and 4 are training volume related. I personally don’t care about being ripped as such. My main objective is to be stronger to fire muscles better and have more body control


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