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Default Bulk Failure – What Your Muscle Building Plan Is Missing
by BendtheBar 02-05-2012, 02:20 AM

Does the following sound like you?

You’ve read all the articles, sought out experienced lifters and asked for advice, refined your diet, maximized your training routine, are taking the basic supplements yet…you can’t build muscle. Before I tell you what you’re doing wrong, let’s look at what you’re probably doing right:

Calories – You’re taking in enough daily calories to gain. In fact, you probably seem to be gaining mostly fat and very little muscle.

Protein – You definitely are eating enough protein. Everyone knows this rule.

Training – You are persistent, rarely missing workouts.

Effort – When you’re in the gym, you work hard. You’re sweating, pumping and straining. You feel exhausted when you’re done.

Exercises – You are using mostly heavy compound exercises because you know they provide the most bang for your buck.

Sleep – You get enough sleep. This is a no brainer.

Overtraining – You definitely know you are NOT overtraining.

Patience – You’re not foolish and realize gains take time, yet…it’s been 12 months, or 18 months, or 24 months and nothing is happening!

There is one more step before I tell you what you’re doing incorrectly. The answer can be found in the following lift ranges. Where are your strength levels for the following exercises?

Squats

135 to 275 pounds
275 to 405 pounds
405 +

Deadlifts

135 to 365 pounds
365 to 505 pounds
505 +

Bench Press/Barbell Rows

95 to 225 pounds
225 to 315 pounds
315 +

Overhead Press

95 to 165 pounds
165 to 225 pounds
225 +

The Revealing of the Magic Secret

So here it is:

The reason you’re not making gains is because you haven’t added enough core strength. You aren’t progressing fast enough, or possibly aren’t focusing on adding much weight to the bar at all. There’s a good change you’re working hard but your numbers are less than impressive. If this is the case you won’t be adding much muscle, no matter how well you do the things listed above.

If you find that all you’re lifts are listed in the first row, muscle gains will generally be minimal. Once you have progressed and find your lifts in the second row, this is where the real work begins. It’s only when you’re pushing closer and closer to the last row that you will find yourself on the path to quality gains.

Get Strong to Get Big?

Do you have to get Hercules strong to get big? No, but you will need to get a hell of a lot more stronger than you are now. A 245 pound squat, 355 pound deadlift and 215 pound bench is a good step forward, but certainly not strength levels that will force the body to add much muscle mass.

Now move these numbers to a 445 pound squat, 535 pound deadlift and 335 pound bench press and you should see a difference in the mirror.

Congratulations, and a Nudge Forward

Congratulations on the progress you’re made. It’s a good start. Now the nudge forward…time to get moving. Assess your program and figure out why you’re not adding weight. Make this your primary focus and set aside a lot of the nonsense that clogs up the lifting industry.

Focus on getting strong(er). That’s your mission, and the path that leads to your goals.
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"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."



Last edited by BendtheBar; 02-06-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:22 AM   #2
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Good article. Too many people get fat instead of muscle gains because they simply do not push hard enough in the gym. Always lift more whether it's reps or weight on the bar.

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Old 02-05-2012, 05:22 AM   #3
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This is why I am sort of using Prilepin's Principle to get the most out of my sessions. Getting up to 10 reps with 90% of 1RM will definitely make one stronger. The last 6+ months is the first time in several years of training that I've consistently looked to add weight to the bar. The change in my appearence in this relatively short time has been apparent. Went from fitting medium to barely fitting large shirts.

Also, I believe many trainees would find such heavy sessions rewarding and challenging and will cause them to be even more eager to hit the gym.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:33 AM   #4
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Great article BtB. Should be stickied somewhere.

I believe it was McCallum that said to start doing 20 rep squats and work up to 300 lbs as fast as you can. That's where the magic starts.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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This is why Madcow was so valuable to me. It forced progression. Even though I'm moving up in smaller increments that the system calls for, I have still made more size and strength gains in the last 5 months than I have in the previous 2 years (since the noob gains).
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Does the following sound like you?

You’ve read all the articles, sought out experienced lifters and asked for advice, refined your diet, maximized your training routine, are taking the basic supplements yet…you can’t build muscle. Before I tell you what you’re doing wrong, let’s look at what you’re probably doing right:

Calories – You’re taking in enough daily calories to gain. In fact, you probably seem to be gaining mostly fat and very little muscle.

Protein – You definitely are eating enough protein. Everyone knows this rule.

Training – You are persistent, rarely missing workouts.

Effort – When you’re in the gym, you work hard. You’re sweating, pumping and straining. You feel exhausted when you’re done.

Exercises – You are using mostly heavy compound exercises because you know they provide the most bang for your buck.

Sleep – You get enough sleep. This is a no brainer.

Overtraining – You definitely know you are NOT overtraining.

Patience – You’re not foolish and realize gains take time, yet…it’s been 12 months, or 18 months, or 24 months and nothing is happening!

There is one more step before I tell you what you’re doing incorrectly. The answer can be found in the following lift ranges. Where are your strength levels for the following exercises?

Squats

135 to 275 pounds
275 to 405 pounds
405 +

Deadlifts

135 to 365 pounds
365 to 505 pounds
505 +

Bench Press/Barbell Rows

95 to 225 pounds
225 to 315 pounds
315 +

Overhead Press

95 to 165 pounds
165 to 225 pounds
225 +

The Revealing of the Magic Secret

So here it is:

The reason you’re not making gains is because you haven’t added enough core strength. You aren’t progressing fast enough, or possibly aren’t focusing on adding much weight to the bar at all. There’s a good change you’re working hard but your numbers are less than impressive. If this is the case you won’t be adding much muscle, no matter how well you do the things listed above.

If you find that all you’re lifts are listed in the first row, muscle gains will generally be minimal. Once you have progressed and find your lifts in the second row, this is where the real work begins. It’s only when you’re pushing closer and closer to the last row that you will find yourself on the path to quality gains.

Get Strong to Get Big?

Do you have to get Hercules strong to get big? No, but you will need to get a hell of a lot more stronger than you are now. A 245 pound squat, 355 pound deadlift and 215 pound bench is a good step forward, but certainly not strength levels that will force the body to add much muscle mass.

Now move these numbers to a 445 pound squat, 535 pound deadlift and 335 pound bench press and you should see a difference in the mirror.

Congratulations, and a Nudge Forward

Congratulations on the progress you’re made. It’s a good start. Now the nudge forward…time to get moving. Assess your program and figure out why you’re not adding weight. Make this your primary focus and set aside a lot of the nonsense that clogs up the lifting industry.

Focus on getting strong(er). That’s your mission, and the path that leads to your goals.
Funny, I reached this conclusion without really much thought. I was looking in the mirror. Yes I have put on some muscle, but if I were to diet down to 4-5% BF I would still be a tall skinny guy, just a tall skinny guy who has some muscles ( and hopefully "great abs"). I realized I was doing some good work, I was consistent, diligent, faithful and every other adjective you can think of, but I wasn't able to lift the weight needed to bring about monumental change. This lead me to my current journey to bring my big 4 lifts up into the range of respectability. Considering I had never lifted a BB until 2009, I feel I have come a long way. I am not there yet, but my goal is to get stronger. With that will come the size. My advise to the new guy, or geezer for that matter, find a routine that has progression ( one more rep or one more pound) every session. Focus on form and strength, the size will come.
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Bench 176 185 This WILL change!
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Shooting for a 1000+ total for next meet, spring/summer 2015. (see quote below)

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1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified
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