I know what I want, but not how to get it.

Reading these books has made me dissatisfied. There’s so many great programs out there, but none of them are perfect for me. I have a pretty clear idea of what I want, but no idea how to get it.

What I want: Strength and power, and the health benefits they bring. I’ve built muscle, now i want to use it to its full potential
What I don’t want:  Hypertrophy or fat-loss. I’m very happy with my body composition right now. Sure, a few bf% less couldn’t hurt, but if I want that I’ll skip the oreos.
I know my limitations:

  • I want to train only three times a week
  • I have imbalances and weaknesses. I want to work on them. I do not want my main goal to be accomplished at the cost of my body.
  • I know I’m not an advanced lifter, and that there are siginificant gains for me to be had in full-body workouts.
  • I know an experienced trainer will make a much better program for me than I could make myself.

So where does that leave me?

  • NROL4W is great. It does a wonderful job at tackling my weak points (upper back, unilateral work, glute activation).  But it’s not a strength program, it’s a strength/hypertrophy/fat-loss mix.
  • NROL itself has a strength program, but that one still includes hypertrophy, because, hey, all men want to be buff, right?
  • Maximum strength looks amazing mobility and strength wise, but it is an upper/lower split program, and seems to be a program I want to do after a few years.
  • Most other strength programs like stronglifts, etc. are very basic. They just include 5×5’s of the big exercises without regard to mobility and/or weaknesses.
  • Having a trainer make a custom program for me sounds wonderful, but I just found out how much that costs, and I’m not prepared to pay prices like that.
  • Finally, making my own program would be fun, but it would most likely be horribly ineffective until I got better at it.

So i’m at a loss. I’m considering adapting NROL4W’s two hypertrophy phases to a 1-8 rep range. It’d be a hack-job, and the periodisation of NROL4W would be affected… but it would get me everything I want. Or I can suck it up and do the hypertrophy parts at a deficit, the fat-loss parts at a surplus, and go on. But it seems absurd to me to not train for your goal.

I’ll need to give this more thought.

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8 Responses to I know what I want, but not how to get it.

  1. Rayna says:

    for a basic strength program, I used starting strength. It is a mix of the basic lifts, but I really like that it included power cleans. It’s three day’s a week and when I got bored I could also mix in a run or something quick at the end of the session. I actually only did it for 2 months instead of 3, but the results were amazing and I didn’t put on any body fat, just muscle. I’m also a girl though and I skipped the gallon of whole milk a day thing. Seemed to work fine with great gains.

    I’d recommend looking into it if you haven’t already.

  2. lolfitness says:

    Hey Rayna,

    Yeah, I looked into those kind of programs. They look great for strength but have no mobility work, no other way to overcome weaknesses other than “just keep lifting”, and it seems my body needs a lot more than that. Something like Maximum Strength has a lot more mobility work, but it’s also a lot more advanced on the lifting scale… So complicated. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. maurice says:

    I actually tried maximum strength by Eric Cressey and it worked like a charm ! after 16 weeks I am a stronger MAN :) well u can always keep the mobility work part from maximum strength and train (NO WORKING OUT TERM allowed!) on other routines (starting strength, NROL ) I m currently doing CT’s Dr Jekyll and Hyde routine and liking it alot ! in his book he did include a plan for female lifters , definitely a read ! and thanks for all the recipes :) It totally spiced up my diet :D i personally hate the foreman grilled breasts and broccoli ughh don’t get me started on it ! well maybe less overthinking and more action :)

  4. JC says:

    just my .02 fwiw. you could indeed use EC’s program. It’s a great book. You don’t have to make it all complicated tho as I know most people do not have access to bands, boxes etc to do all the stuff he prescribes.

    you can also adapt the upper/lower program to your 3 day schedule. You would just do it in the ABA BAB fashion. So every 2 weeks you have done 3 upper and 3 lower workouts.

    Pick the workouts as laid out and insert the movements that you have access to. If he calls for deadlifts from a deficit, just do the stinking deadlifts without worrying about not having a box or bands. Just do the main lift prescribed.

    then throw in all of his mobility stuff and POOF you have a freakin awesome routine that will build strength.

  5. LOLfitness says:


    Thanks, do try some of those recipes! Yeah, I thought about stealing EC’s warmup and tacking it into NROL4W, but that would put me in the gym for 1,5 hours, at least… But yes, you have a point about overthinking it :)

    Thanks, JC. You’re right, it’s the most awesome *healthy* strength routine I’ve ever seen. I’m itching to do it, just feels weird to skip to a split when I still have so much to gain from doing fullbody. But hey, you gotta work with what you got.

    • Michael says:

      I know this is so far behind but I would say to go with Maximum Strength for sure. Even if you have been doing total body workouts, you will still see enormous gains. After 16 weeks you can move to another plan or repeat it. I had a guy I trained do the program and he made tremendous gains. Cressey has even gotten reviews from women that love it. You’ll get huge strength gains, with very little hypertrophy gains. And as you probably know cressey is huge on posterior chain movements and lower body exercises which sounds like the con to NROL4W!

  6. JC says:

    ok, so if you want a pure strength, full body program… Do the Bill Starr 5×5. it is freaking awesome for building raw strength.

  7. Glynis says:

    NWL4W was good BUT… too much upper body stuff. I ended up injured due to hypertrophy in the pectorals and traps pinching and compressing a nerve in my thoracic outlet. Apparently, it’s not uncommon in female weight trainers who follow these programs designed by men to wind up with this sort of injury. It’s not a day at the beach either. Pain, burning, numbness in my right hand. Sometimes I can’t even write without agony.

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