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Old 08-21-2011, 06:20 AM   #1
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Hello, I've made some progress last year on an ABA BAB upper/lower three times a week set up with moderate volume but the size were gains good and the strength gains poor for my size.

I'm considering going to a lower volume routine as I found a couple of years ago that I gained strength well on low volume but size gains were minimal.

Well now I've got some size I think it might be wise to change to a routine that's geared more to strength gains.

I've come up with 2 different ideas. One is a John Christy inspired routine and the other is a spin off from the volume routine I did well on for size and the old routine that I did for strength.

I'm a natural trainee by the way. 35 years old.

I was interested in bodybuilding for years but read all the wrong stuff. Since mingling with powerlifters and powerbuilders i've made much more progress.

The first idea is this one which is one I came up with after reading some John Christy info and his book.

WEDNESDAY

TRAP BAR DEADLIFTS 1X3 (10X3) Ramped up to 1 top set.
PRESS BEHIND NECK 2X5 (5X5) 2 top sets
EZ BAR CURLS 2X5 (5X5)
ONE ARM DB ROWS 1X8
SEATED CALF RAISES 20,16,12
SIDE BENDS 1X10 (3X10)
WRIST CURL 1X20
SHOULDER HORN 2X20

30 SETS - ONLY 11 WORK SETS





SUNDAY

BENCH PRESS 2X5 (5X5)
CHINS 2X5 (5X5)
BOX SQUATS 1X3 (10X3)
FRONT SQUATS 1X5 (3X5)
ABS 1X10 (3X10)
ONE LEG DB CALF RAISES 1X10
REVERSE WRIST CURL 1X20
SHOULDER HORN 2X20

30 SETS - ONLY 9 WORK SETS

------------------------------------------------------------------

The next idea is a 3 day a week full body with strength gains in mind.

TUESDAY

BENCH PRESS 5X3(1X3)
CHINS 5X5 STRAIGHT
FRONT SQUATS 3X8(1X8)
SIDE BENDS 3X10(1X10)
DB CALF RAISES 3X10(1X10)
SHOULDER HORN 2X20

21 SETS - 11 WORK SETS



THURSDAY

TRAP BAR DEADLIFTS 4X3, 1X5
PRESS BEHIND NECK 5X5(3X5)
EZ CURLS 4X5(2X5)
INCLINE BENCH PRESS 3X10(1X10)
ONE DB ROWS 3X8(1X8)
BACK EXTENSIONS 2X10

22 SETS - 10 WORK SETS




SUNDAY

BOX SQUATS 10X3(1X3)
BENCH PRESS 10,8,6
CHINS 3X5 STRAIGHT
INCLINE SIT UPS 3X30
SEATED CALF 20,16,12
SHOULDER HORN 2X20

24 SETS - 15 WORK SETS

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm Normal gainer(as John Christy rightfully points out we all have strengths and weaknesses). I've not got thick wrists and ankles but my shoulders are broad and my back is my best bodypart and responds well to volume so I kept some more volume in there for the back. Long torso, short arms not so good at deadlifts but that should mean bench should be a good lift for me.

My best lifts are not that great! especially for my weight... Squat 150KGx1, Bench 120KGx1, conventional deadlift 160KHx1, trap bar deadlift 172KGx3. I came from a bodybuilding mindset and had to try to unlearn a lot of it.

My bodyweight used to fluctuate around 215lb but now it is usually around 230lb. I'm 6ft tall.

Do you guys feel these routines are doable and could work?

The second one is more frequent but as there's only one work set on most I thought it might be practical for a natural trainer to train frequently but with a low volume that I can recover from.

I train in a home gym and I was intending to add weight fast for a period then turn to microloading after that.

I drink a lot of milk too.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:41 AM   #2
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I've read Christy's book and his ideas are great. Follow his routines and you won't go far wrong.

Oh and welcome to the forum

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Old 08-22-2011, 02:32 PM   #3
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I've read Christy's book and his ideas are great. Follow his routines and you won't go far wrong.

Oh and welcome to the forum

LtL
Thanks mate. I see you pull sumos - John Christy liked his guys doing sumos.

I like his attitude, he talks in a way that motivates probably due to his professional sports background.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MadeInScotland View Post
Thanks mate. I see you pull sumos - John Christy liked his guys doing sumos.

I like his attitude, he talks in a way that motivates probably due to his professional sports background.
I've seen his sumo deadlift video. I wish he had more teaching videos available.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:59 AM   #5
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Getting bigger is still inevitably going to come from lifting heavier and heavier weights, albeit for higher reps. I don't think you've gotten strong enough yet to see any major muscular size gains, for someone of your weight the strength levels wouldn't indicate a huge degree of muscle, more than likely a higher bodyfat percentage.

I would still focus on strength if size is your goal, preferring to go for the second routine as you can hit each area three times a week. For a guy your size and height you'll really need to be looking at hitting 400/300/500 at a minimum to really see a large build. Once at that point I'd cut the fat down to really see an impressive physique.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:29 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

Quote:
I've made some progress last year on an ABA BAB upper/lower three times a week set up with moderate volume but the size were gains good and the strength gains poor for my size.

I'm considering going to a lower volume routine as I found a couple of years ago that I gained strength well on low volume but size gains were minimal.

Well now I've got some size I think it might be wise to change to a routine that's geared more to strength gains.
Welcome to the forum,

Initially you started out with strength gains but little size gains. Then you gained size but strength slowed down.

I'm not sure if somewhere along the line you improved your eating habits?

Strength gains will slow over time, so I would be curious to learn a little more such as some of your working weights. Would be curious to know your height and weight and how much size you were able to gain?

It's also helpful to know how you were focusing on progression of weight during these times.

Regarding workouts...The 3 day fullbody looks good. I would consider dropping one of the bench movements and adding in dips. You can't go wrong with dips.

The A/B split looks good as well. The only thing I am unsure about is wrist curls. I personally have never found them to be of much value.

Focus on progression and eating enough and either one should serve you well. Like Fazc said, focus on strength gains as well as eating properly.
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Last edited by BendtheBar; 08-21-2011 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Welcome to the forum.



Welcome to the forum,

Initially you started out with strength gains but little size gains. Then you gained size but strength slowed down.

I'm not sure if somewhere along the line you improved your eating habits?

Strength gains will slow over time, so I would be curious to learn a little more such as some of your working weights. Would be curious to know your height and weight and how much size you were able to gain?

It's also helpful to know how you were focusing on progression of weight during these times.

Regarding workouts...The 3 day fullbody looks good. I would consider dropping one of the bench movements and adding in dips. You can't go wrong with dips.

The A/B split looks good as well. The only thing I am unsure about is wrist curls. I personally have never found them to be of much value.

Focus on progression and eating enough and either one should serve you well. Like Fazc said, focus on strength gains as well as eating properly.
Thanks for being so helpful mate!

I was doing 4 exercises per session. 2 upper body push, 2 upper body pull. On a lower day I was doing trap bar deadlifts followed by one big movement then an ab movement then a calf movement.

I had to have a forced lay off in June to recover from bad tennis elbow in my left elbow. Here are a couple of sessions from before then:

Sunday 5th June 2011

Kilos

Bench press 60x5, 70x5, 80x5, 90x5, 105x5
Weighted chin-ups BW(around 105kilos)plus 25kilos x5x5x4x5x5
Incline bench press 70x10, 75x10, 80x9
EZ bar curls 20x5, 30x5, 40x5x5
Then shoulder horn prehab 3 sets of 20 with very very light weight.


Wednesday 8th June 2011

Trap Bar Deadlift 80x3, 90x3, 100x3, 110x3, 115x3, 120x3, 135x3, 135x3, 155x3
12" Box squats(3 concrete blocks) 20x3, 30x3, 40x3, 50x3, 60x3, 70x3, 80x3, 90x3, 100x3, 115x3
AB rollouts x42x20x18
Dumbbell one legged calf raise on block 26 x12/12 x10/10 x10/10.

My other sessions were same upperbody but press behind neck instead of incline bench and weighted pullups instead of curls.

My other lower body day was the same trap bar deads followed by front squats for 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 10, then side bends then seated calf raises.

On the 4th June 2011 my cold measurements were right arm 17", left arm 16.5", Neck 17", calves both 17". I didn't measure legs or waist I just happened to do these measurements on the way out the house(waiting for the wife to get ready) or something out of curiosity.

As discussed above I have extra fat on me so that might affect measurements although my fat seems to be mostly around the waist which is probably 36"

Even though I come from a family of big eaters, I used to have a very fast metabolism and could not get above 210/215 ever, no matter what. The thing that changed it was possibly a better protein intake and the brief strength routine I mentioned before. I think I put a lot of fat on with the strength gain and when I trained more with the volume I feel(going by the mirror) that my upper body(back, chest and shoulders) came on well and some of the fat may have been traded for muscle while bodyweight stayed the same. My legs also looked a bit more respectable.

Getting older too might be part of it(metabolism slowing down) and I read somewhere that stress and high cortisol can make people store fat around the middle in particular. I've had a lot of stress the past 2 years(as we all do) and I'd say a lot of the fat on me is in that location.

I am 6ft tall and currently after a lay off went down but back to 225.

I was drinking a lot of whole milk recently and undoubtedly that can add loads of fat. I was doing it as a cheap form of protein and calories.

I tried some wrist curls again recently but after what you said I've had a rethink about them, they don't seem to feel like they used to. Infact, the reverse wrist curls I thought would help my elbow but have just irritated it. I tried some pullups too recently but I now think that weighted pullups may have been the cause of the tennis elbow or if not the cause they certainly irritate it. I'll dump the wrist curls and I'll have to avoid pulls and gripping movements with palms down. The chin ups don't seem to hurt it as they are palms up.

The progression. On big movements i was adding 2 or 2.5 kilos if i got all the reps.

On lesser movements like incline bench and press behind neck I was adding 1 kilo. On one arm or 1 leg things like dumbell calf I was adding 0.5 kilos.

Last year I shot up to 172x3 on trap bar deads by adding 2kilos every session without fail but that led very quickly to burn out and I got disheartened for a while. I didn't understand deloading and I now think I added weight too fast.

Interestingly, every exercise where i added 1kilo or less progressed fine. After John Christy's book I can see the reason for microloading.

I was thinking that I should add weight now on lifts in an attempt to get back to my previous bests fast then microload for ever more? Or is impatience going to let me down there?

On my routine last year I wanted to get stronger on 3 exercises in particular and added others in for assistance or just for proportion. It was bench press, weighted chins and TBDL.

You've made me have a rethink that I should eat cleaner. I'm not too bad but I could eat more fruit and veg and not just down pints of whole milk! Maybe find a cleaner form of protein.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fazc View Post
Getting bigger is still inevitably going to come from lifting heavier and heavier weights, albeit for higher reps. I don't think you've gotten strong enough yet to see any major muscular size gains, for someone of your weight the strength levels wouldn't indicate a huge degree of muscle, more than likely a higher bodyfat percentage.

I would still focus on strength if size is your goal, preferring to go for the second routine as you can hit each area three times a week. For a guy your size and height you'll really need to be looking at hitting 400/300/500 at a minimum to really see a large build. Once at that point I'd cut the fat down to really see an impressive physique.

Welcome to the forum.
Yes I think you've hit the nail on the head there mate! With an honest look in the mirror, there must be about 30 pounds of fat that ideally will need to be shed at some point! The only thing is even with that amount of fat I can still see the top 4 abs even though I'm far from lean? Does that mean I just have thick abs under the fat? The other thing is because I've been doing a lot of weighted chin-ups, as I've gained weight I've got a sneaky microload in there too from the gradually increasing bodyweight on top of what I was adding to the belt, that's brought on some good back development. I was conscious that if I gained any weight that I wanted to make sure I could still do chin ups.

But apart from that, yeah i'm fat It needs to be addressed at some point.

I suppose the only other benefit to be taken from getting to a soft 230lb is that I know how to take in calories, some have trouble eating enough to gain weight.

Enough excuses. LOL.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:25 AM   #9
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This place rocks, you've got some really good responses in here. I will just repeat what the others have said...

Focus on stength gains and use a moderate amount of reps. Usually a rep range of 5 to 8 reps will produce the results you desire if you lift progressively and eat accordingly. You can still gain size with singles and you can still get stronger with high reps, but I've found that somewhere in the middle works best for both goals. Don't seperate strength gains and muscle gains, they both go hand in hand.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:59 PM   #10
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This place rocks, you've got some really good responses in here. I will just repeat what the others have said...

Focus on stength gains and use a moderate amount of reps. Usually a rep range of 5 to 8 reps will produce the results you desire if you lift progressively and eat accordingly. You can still gain size with singles and you can still get stronger with high reps, but I've found that somewhere in the middle works best for both goals. Don't seperate strength gains and muscle gains, they both go hand in hand.
Thanks pal, I like 5x5 straight sets or ramped and I like sets of 3 reps too. At one time in the past I did well with 2 warm up sets of 6,6 then 8,7,6 with a top weight. So basically what you said is right on the money and thanks for the encouragement too.
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