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vcjha 11-15-2011 09:51 PM

back to square one
 
In the past, I would've asked someone to critique my workout, thinking I somewhat how to put together a routine. 1 compound, 2 isolations per bodypart, 2 bodyparts a day, except Legs and Shoulders, which are done separate. I thought that would be fine. But as I pondered this forum, I found out I knew nothing. Apparently, some even feel a muscle needs to be hit twice per week AND no person should ever work out more than four days per week. Looks like I've been doing it wrong as I've been going 5-6 days per week. I've been training for 3 years now and many have asked me if I even lift. It's not even worth it when someone at the gym praises me because they have no clue how big are the natural bodybuilders who train right, hard, and consistently, which goes to show you there are not many people who train hard and consistently in my gym. I am extremely intrigued by BendTheBar's posts as he praises simple and abbreviated routines all the time that put most emphasis on db bb compound exercises and nearly shuns all isolation, even known dumbbell exercises. I would be honored if he actually replied to me. But I will definitely welcome advice from those who know him or have been advised by him.

My goal is to step on stage in three years the biggest and leanest I can possibly be, with conditioning that can almost compare to Tommy Jeffers. I'm not saying this because I think it can be reached in that time as I don't expect to compare to Tommy until ten years later. I'm saying this because my goal is to look like a bodybuilder, plain and simple. I'm not interested in going for max strength, although I will say if more weight on the bar is what it takes to gain more as the years go by(and it is very apparent on this forum) I will do my best to improve my poundages every workout if my recovery and body allowed it. So any advice on what training program I should get on pertaining to my goal would be appreciated. I already know diet. For some reason, that was much simpler for me to understand and implement.

Soldier 11-15-2011 10:15 PM

I did the same thing, wasting my time with bodypart splits for quite a while. I never really got much stronger OR bigger. One great way to go for you might be an upper/lower split with 4 days a week in the gym. That would give you two days a week for lower body and two days for upper body.

I'm sure BTB will chime in, along with plenty of other guys who can help you get on the right track.

bruteforce 11-15-2011 10:20 PM

I'm getting my best results ever from 3 heavy full body days a week. I'll be adding Strongman events next month on Saturdays as well. 3-4 days a week seems to be perfect. 6 days a week got me nowhere.

Disciple X 11-15-2011 10:21 PM

I do what soldier is suggesting ... and its a lot to recover from if you hit it hard...

Dont get so caught up in the small details. There will be plenty of time for that kind of stuff later on. Focus on the big lifts and get good at them and i can guarantee you'll look like you lift weights. Work the crap out of squats, bench, deadlifts, rowes, pullups, military press, etc and you'll be an animal one day. Be patient and put in your "time under the bar". You got to pay your dues man. Hammer down on the basics, and you'll be golden...

Disciple X 11-15-2011 10:23 PM

And EAT!!!

BendtheBar 11-15-2011 11:33 PM

Quote:

Apparently, some even feel a muscle needs to be hit twice per week AND no person should ever work out more than four days per week.
Well most recreational lifters will never have to workout more than 3-4 times per week. Some powerlifters workout more than that, but it's pretty commonplace for even elite level powerlifters to train 4 days per week.

AAS using bodybuilders can benefit from 5 or 6 day bodypart splits.

Quote:

I would be honored if he actually replied to me. But I will definitely welcome advice from those who know him or have been advised by him.
I would be glad to help.

Quote:

My goal is to step on stage in three years the biggest and leanest I can possibly be, with conditioning that can almost compare to Tommy Jeffers.
I have spoken with Tommy several times. A great guy. I think you can make amazing muscle gains in 2.5 years and get in contest shape in 3 years.

Quote:

So any advice on what training program I should get on pertaining to my goal would be appreciated. I already know diet. For some reason, that was much simpler for me to understand and implement.
Square one. Start simple, work hard, eat so you can gain. There are many good 3 and 4 day options I could suggest, but first I want to know how confident you are with squats and deadlifts.

Also, what is your current height, weight and age?

It would also help to know about where some of your lifts are poundage-wise. This can help me understand what kind of loads you are used to.

My basic advice will often lifts from the following pool:

Squats
Deadlifts
Barbell/DB Rows
Bench Press/Incline BP, Dumbbell Bench Press
Dips
Pull Ups
Chin Ups
Close Grip Bench Press
Overhead Press
Power Cleans
Weighted Sit Ups
Side Bends
Curls
Calf Raises (If needed)

Let's take a look at your height, weight and lift experience, and then we'll put together a workout and get you focused on progression.

Regarding diet, what is your general structure, meaning calories per day and protein intake?

vcjha 11-16-2011 01:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soldier (Post 189419)
I did the same thing, wasting my time with bodypart splits for quite a while. I never really got much stronger OR bigger. One great way to go for you might be an upper/lower split with 4 days a week in the gym. That would give you two days a week for lower body and two days for upper body.

I'm sure BTB will chime in, along with plenty of other guys who can help you get on the right track.

Thank you for your reply. BTB did chime in(: Yeah, you're right. I remember where I had a stint and decided to follow that advice due to one very persuasive article from Lyle Mcdonald(he helped someone get to over 200 lb lean) and noticed the increase in size and poundages. Then for the reason I began to develop a real love for the gym, but liked to do short intense workouts, switched to working out everyday. Yeah, I know, stupid.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bruteforce (Post 189420)
I'm getting my best results ever from 3 heavy full body days a week. I'll be adding Strongman events next month on Saturdays as well. 3-4 days a week seems to be perfect. 6 days a week got me nowhere.

Thank you for your reply. I kind of knew in the back of my head 4 should be max, but I was trying to find a way to shorten the workouts but I didn't progress very much. Here's the lesson: hitting each muscle twice per week using 6 days per week with lower volume is NEVER going to be the same as 4 days per week using a bit higher frequency. And it sucks to hear myself say this, but 6 days a week will always be inferior.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Disciple X (Post 189421)
I do what soldier is suggesting ... and its a lot to recover from if you hit it hard...

Dont get so caught up in the small details. There will be plenty of time for that kind of stuff later on. Focus on the big lifts and get good at them and i can guarantee you'll look like you lift weights. Work the crap out of squats, bench, deadlifts, rowes, pullups, military press, etc and you'll be an animal one day. Be patient and put in your "time under the bar". You got to pay your dues man. Hammer down on the basics, and you'll be golden...

Yep, dues is what I'm going to do and it's what I did. I decided to do a full body workout after being hammered by many reputable articles and I hit PR's on almost all exercises. That means PR on deadlift, PR on bench, PR on incline db bench, and PR on db shoulder press. The others weren't PR but I was dominating the weights from the previous week as opposed to struggling. But here's the downside: IT TOOK THREE HOURS TO COMPLETE. I wasn't exhausted, though because I took as much rest as needed, probably around 3-4 min per set. But if I did, I know it probably feel like hell on earth, and chances are, there would probably be no PR's.


Quote:

Originally Posted by BendtheBar (Post 189437)
Well most recreational lifters will never have to workout more than 3-4 times per week. Some powerlifters workout more than that, but it's pretty commonplace for even elite level powerlifters to train 4 days per week.

AAS using bodybuilders can benefit from 5 or 6 day bodypart splits.



I would be glad to help.



I have spoken with Tommy several times. A great guy. I think you can make amazing muscle gains in 2.5 years and get in contest shape in 3 years.



Square one. Start simple, work hard, eat so you can gain. There are many good 3 and 4 day options I could suggest, but first I want to know how confident you are with squats and deadlifts.

Also, what is your current height, weight and age?

It would also help to know about where some of your lifts are poundage-wise. This can help me understand what kind of loads you are used to.

My basic advice will often lifts from the following pool:

Squats
Deadlifts
Barbell/DB Rows
Bench Press/Incline BP, Dumbbell Bench Press
Dips
Pull Ups
Chin Ups
Close Grip Bench Press
Overhead Press
Power Cleans
Weighted Sit Ups
Side Bends
Curls
Calf Raises (If needed)

Let's take a look at your height, weight and lift experience, and then we'll put together a workout and get you focused on progression.

Regarding diet, what is your general structure, meaning calories per day and protein intake?

It brings me great joy to know I could get a reply from you, BTB. I think your real name is Steve, but I could be mistaken. It will also bring you great joy to know that I don't like doing isolation movements. My bodyparts I hate to train are biceps and calves. My biceps and calves are not starting to grow after finally learning what kind of form I have to use and where to flex, but I'm curling a measly 70 lb for 5 reps on the straight bar, and any calve exercise I can't seem to break 45 and a 10 on each side. If I add more weight, I feel like my calves no longer do the work. I'm 5'10, turn 22 in January, and weigh 164.5. I have a coach who is advising me on diet and he is one of the best. His recommendations have been a leak bulk on 2300 calories, and 200 g of protein. We had to bump it down to 165 g, due to the fact that I don't really have the financial means to do so, and every dollar I can save right now is most appreciated. I didn't have faith in the lean bulk at first, even though I expressed to him that if possible, I only want to gain muscle in the off-season, but lo and behold it does work(I also am pretty sedentary as far as activity goes. I walk around the house and that's it, due to the fact I have no job and couldn't get into college classes because they were full) My poundages are going up consistently and if I'm honest, size is too. He said we're aiming for .5 lb per week.

I've been seriously lifting since 18, but implemented the big three decently with good form at 19. It wasn't until 20 that I really put aside my ego after being humiliated by a fellow lifter when he gave me advice and led through the proper form of deadlifting. I couldn't even do 45 on each side. Now, I strive to keep perform form on every rep, including mind-muscle connection, while still striving to put weight on the bar and db. I do have to say I shy away from power cleans because nobody in real life can teach me the right form and it is extremely hard to learn when watching videos online. To this day, I still cannot do one proper power clean. I also prefer not to do side bends, crunches, leg raises, weighted sit-ups and all the like as I feel my core is fully engaged on any compound lift(yes my abs feel stimulated during a db bench set now). Anything else you need, BTB, let me know. And thanks again to you and every single person who posted on here. So far, this is the one forum that strives to offer solid advice WITHOUT the attitude, the flaming wars, and such. I also apologize for the late reply, but I did leave for my workout right after I finished editing the post, and I did do my first workout which became an unheard of(at least for me) three hours.

Soldier 11-16-2011 08:28 AM

You're right that your core is being worked when you do compound lifts, but a little bit of specialized core work is always a good thing. I'm a fan of lower rep, weighted core exercises, and I know that BTB loves his weighted situps.

It's good that you're ready to leave your ego at the door. We all started somewhere, and we got to where we are now slowly, by starting with weights we could handle and consistently progressing, always adding weight to the bar. In 6 months you'll look back and laugh at the weights you're using now and how easy those weights have become. That's one of the joys of slow and steady progression.

Don't worry about power cleans. Done improperly they can do more harm than good. You can get the benefits of cleans with other movements like high pulls, which is basically the first 2/3 of a power clean.

One thing I want to mention is that short intense sessions are GREAT. I never train for more than an hour, and BTB's sessions usually run just over an hour. In that hour we bust our asses. When I leave the gym I look and feel like I just sprinted a marathon, usually dripping with sweat. Sometimes I have to sit down for 10 minutes to rest before I can even drive home. If you go in the gym and kill it, then 4 sessions a week at around 1 hour each will be PLENTY to make you grow and progress.

If you can survive 3 hours in the gym then you're resting too long and lifting too light.

BendtheBar 11-16-2011 09:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vcjha (Post 189444)
Then for the reason I began to develop a real love for the gym, but liked to do short intense workouts, switched to working out everyday. Yeah, I know, stupid.

We've all been there. After a year of successful training (long ago) I tried an Arnold variation which was 3 on, 1 off. It beat up my body real bad because I was pushing so hard, and I quickly found out it simply wasn't needed.

Quote:

It brings me great joy to know I could get a reply from you, BTB. I think your real name is Steve, but I could be mistaken.
Yes, Steve Shaw.

Quote:

It will also bring you great joy to know that I don't like doing isolation movements. My bodyparts I hate to train are biceps and calves.
In my experience that's a good thing. Overworking the biceps is a common programming flaw.

Quote:

I'm 5'10, turn 22 in January, and weigh 164.5.
Prime years. You are just a hair heavier than I was when I started.

Quote:

I have a coach who is advising me on diet and he is one of the best. His recommendations have been a leak bulk on 2300 calories, and 200 g of protein.
As long as you can gain weight I am ok with this. What we need to add to this mix is hard training.

Quote:

I strive to keep perform form on every rep, including mind-muscle connection, while still striving to put weight on the bar and db
A focus on form is excellent. Regarding the mind muscle connection, I am going to ask that you not worry about it for a while. I want to advise you to focus on only one thing, and one thing only during each set..."more reps." Do as many reps as possible, stopping each set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep, or with the big lifts if your form is going south.

Quote:

I still cannot do one proper power clean.
No problem. Not essential.

Quote:

as I feel my core is fully engaged on any compound lift
True, but I will add that they assist the big lifts. I find that weighted situps help my squat eccentric strength, which helps with form and performance. I respect if you don't want to do them. I did no abs work for 20 years and still made good progress. I will say though at some point down the road you should consider them.]

Lifting...

Because of your experience and age I think a 4 day upper/lower might serve you well. This is a basic template, nothing magical. The magic is in:

1) Persistence.
2) Progression.

Adjust the days as needed.

Monday - Upper
Tuesday - Lower
Thursday - Upper
Friday - Lower

Monday
Bench Press - 3 x 20 goal reps
Barbell Rows/Dumbbell Rows - 3 x 20 goal reps
Arnold Dumbbell Press or Seated DB Press - 3 x 20 goal reps
Close Grip Bench Press - 3 x 20 goal reps

Tuesday
Squats - 3 x 25 goal reps
Still Leg Deadlift - 2 x 20 goal reps (or Glute Ham Raise - 3 x 8-10 reps)
Calves
Dumbbell Curl - 3 x 25 goal reps (or chin ups - palms towards face - 3 x Max)
Abs

Thursday
Incline BP or Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 x 20 goal reps
Pull Ups - 3 x Max Reps
Seated or Standing Overhead Press Variation - 3 x 20 goal reps
Dips - 3 x Max Reps

Friday
Deadlift - 3 x 15 goal reps
Squats - 1 x 20
Calves
Barbell Curl - 3 x 25 goal reps (or chin ups - palms towards face - 3 x Max)
Abs

Goal reps are the total reps you are after for the 3 sets. For example, when you can perform 25 reps on squats with a given weight, add 5 pounds next week.

I also could recommend a 3 day per week fullbody if interested.

We could also add some work to this, but I would ease into things and run it as is for a while, say 4-6 months, just to get in the groove of progression of weight.

Soldier 11-16-2011 09:38 AM

Just to clarify what BTB is saying, if he says 3x25 (goal reps), what he means is that you have 3 sets to get 25 reps where all 3 sets are added together. So that would mean that if you get 10 reps your first set, 9 reps your second, and 7 reps your third set you would have done 26 total reps and reached your goal, which means the next time you do that exercise you should add 5lb.

This is one of the best ways of keeping track of progression because it takes into account all the work you did for an exercise, instead of just the last set. It also forces you to pace yourself a little between your 3 working sets, instead of doing one set all out and killing yourself. Go just shy of failure on each set, rest about 2 minutes (or a little less), then go back at it.

If you're going just short of failure and resting less than 2:00, you'll be out of the gym in less than an hour and trust me, you'll work plenty hard.


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