T Nation

10 Wks No Improvement

So I just stumbled across T-Nation, read some articles and was overwhelmed by the quantity of information. So I’m asking for help, heres my situation:

I am 5’9 142lbs. Cross country runner that had to stop running a few months ago due to injury and decided to take up weight lifting. I’m about 9% body fat, have a 6 pack whether or not I work it out, and can eat as much as I want with no visible changes.

However I’ve been lifting for 10 weeks with almost no increase in muscle mass either. I do the same workout every other day and its something like this

Pull Ups(med grip) 3 sets to get > 20
Flat Dumbbell Bench 2sets x 10 reps

Lat Pull Downs 2x10
Incline Dumbbell Bench 2x10

Seated Cable Row 2x10
(Just added dumbell chest fly 2x10)

Shrugs 2-3 x 10
Dips 2 sets of as many as possible (5-10)

Front Shoulder Dumbbell Lifts 2x15
Side Shoulder Dumbbell Lifts 2x15
Vertical DumbbellPress 2x10

Curls 2x10
Tricep Extensions 2x10

Then an extensive core workout

Obviously Im putting a lot of emphasis on the lats and pecs, those are the 2 areas Im really looking to improve, but its going VERY slowly even though I am seeing a strength increase

I always lift right before going to dinner so that I can get some protein right after, but other than that my nutrition is terrible.

Also, how long should I wait between sets and between different exercises?

If anyone can offer some advice on improving my plan, or could even just point me in the direction of a thread that would explain part of what Im looking for that would be great.

[quote]Mephetic436 wrote:
I always lift right before going to dinner so that I can get some protein right after, but other than that my nutrition is terrible.
[/quote]

You pretty much answered your own question with this paragraph.

Two basic questions:

Are you eating at least six meals a day? You probably need to eat a lot more than you would ever “want”. I know I do.

What is your injury? Is it the reason you don’t deadlift (which does build lats, among many other muscles) or squat?

[quote]DSmolken wrote:
Two basic questions:

Are you eating at least six meals a day? You probably need to eat a lot more than you would ever “want”. I know I do.

What is your injury? Is it the reason you don’t deadlift (which does build lats, among many other muscles) or squat?[/quote]

No, Ive just been eating 3, but Im changing that starting today.
And the injury is to my sacroiliac joint, which (leg into hip joint) which is why Im not doing any lower body work

Keep a food log. Your macronutrient ratios as well as your total caloric intake will surprise you.

I’m guessing you’re not getting enough protein throughout the day, and probably low on calories as well.

Even though I happen to be one of the people who gain (both fat and muscle) easily, I’ve seen from reading hundreds of posts here that the reason people have a hard time gaining, is usually just because they don’t eat enough.

Train hard. Eat. No wellness!

You have fallen for a common mistake on T-Nation. You have probably read a lot of information and tried to make a program for yourself. Unfortunately you are not at a level where you can do this adequately.

My review of your program has seen one massive weakness which more than explains your lack of improvement, there is no LEG WORK. This is the cardinal sin of weightlifting.

My advice find a good quality beginners weight lifting regime by a competent strength coach. I would recommend these programs Chad Waterburys (on this site)
1st Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy I
2nd Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy II
3rd Total Body Training

Whilst doing these research injury prevention, mobility, periodisation, corrective weightlifting programs.

BTW, www.fitday.com should be a great asset in discovering how much food your eating, also reading the massive eating series by John Beradi to see how much more food you require.

Long Live The Body Science

In addition to the nutrition advice, I would think about reversing your set x rep numbers. Add more weight to those DB’s and get a dip belt for those dips and chins. Do 10 sets of two reps for the pulling and pushing movements. And cut the shoulder reps in half to maybe 3 sets of 6-8. I think this may shock your muscles to grow.

[quote]Mephetic436 wrote:

And the injury is to my sacroiliac joint, which (leg into hip joint) which is why Im not doing any lower body work[/quote]

Are you sure you can’t do any at all? What about machines that don’t require moving your hip, such as leg extensions or leg curls? Or things with light loads such as bodyweight squats?

You should get a qualified doctor’s opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do. Maybe you need to be doing some rehab work?

You work out too much. Squats only on MWF. Bench and Row on TRSat. 4 sets of 10, add weight when you can do that.

Eat a lot, no garbage, no fast food except for Subway. No donuts or shit like that.

My .02
Eat!!
-Lots
-Often
-Clean Foods (in general)

Lift
-Heavy
-Intense

Goals
-Make short term
-Make long term

Keep a food log and a workout log.

AD

There’s nothing wrong with quiznos or D’angelos either. And there are some things at every fast food chain that aren’t bad as far as getting nutrients. But that’s not the issue. As others have said you are most likely not eating enough and 3 meals a day is a bigger problem than most think.

That grumbling noise between meals you get means “I’m running on empty I can’t get any nutrients to my muscles”. That’s bad. Nail your nutrition and contrary to what others have said I’d increase your reps a bit.

Your floating a bit towards strength than hypertrophy. I’d be shooting for 24-50 reps for muscle groups. I don’t usually do 50 because I think that’s too close to endurance training but 20 is a bit on the low side.

Switch it up for a few weeks especially if you’ve been doing 2x10 for 10 weeks. Switching up reps has a big effect on gains.

alright. So im upping the calories and the meals.

Just trying to build muscle and not worrying about cutting fat at all heres what Im shooting for:

3400 calories on lifting days
2700 on non lifting days
always 40% Carbs 40% Protein 20% Fat

Make my 3 main meals smaller, add a meal between lunch and dinner, and if theres ever more than 3 hrs between meals have a energy or protein bar

Its definitely an improvement, but is there more fine tuning I should do?

[quote]Mephetic436 wrote:

Its definitely an improvement, but is there more fine tuning I should do?[/quote]

Give it two weeks. Then do fine-tuning based on results - meaning mainly LBM gain.

you’ve been an endurance athlete, now you need to transition to being a fast twitch muscle building machine. High reps do not build muscle. Reps for someone your size don’t need to be above 12-15. But i would suggest a good few months of a 5x5 protocol.

What worked for me was a push, pull split, 4 days a week, 2 days each. Looks like this: Monday chest, front delts and triceps. Tuesday Back, rear delta and biceps. Repeat on thursday and friday. I would use 5 sets of a big compound back or chest exercise, 3 sets for 2 other compound movements, then 3 isolation exercises, three sets each.

This will build functional, fast, powerful, strong, BIG muscles. Stick with it for 3-6 months. Rest three minutes between sets. Every time you can repeat 5 or 3 sets with the same weight increase the weight 2.5kgs the next workout. Progressive overload and it works. I am going back to this training cos it worked so well.

Uhm… the workout you describe looks more like what I do to just maintain what I have ~ Like everyone else has said fix your nutrition. If you want to keep that six-pack keep it clean and healthy just many more portions and larger amounts. Stick to seeing what 6 meals a day will do.

MORE BLOODY FLESH!

But I wouldn’t expect to really grow based on how much of a load your placing on your muscles, just be volume alone, it’d be more of a workout to get the blood flowing…

Definately recommend you look at the various workout articles posted here.

There is a huge resource.

Give your muscles a reason to grow.

Yeah i ate like a horse. At least 4000 calories a day, more like 6000 most days. This would work well for a beginner. I trained with two newbs and they both put on muscle and lost fat, i’d been training with mainly 50 reps for a year before. With creatine (suiting that rep range) i put on weight each week for a while, as well as weight on the bar.

where did you run?

Did you get stronger?

Then you improved.

Get strong enough and it will be a visible improvement.

Diet will help.

One Lift a Day. Simple, effective, and far heavier than you’re doing now.

And, EAT MORE.

[quote]bigdude wrote:
where did you run?[/quote]

if you mean geographically Pittsburgh PA and Chapel Hill NC

if you mean terrain a mix of trails road and track