T Nation

20 Lb. Lean Bulk in 7 Months, Possible?


#1

A little background here-I’m 20 years old, and about 213 Lbs. in the offseason (at 6’ even). I also wrestle in college. Right now I wrestle at 197 pounds, but my coach wants me to wrestle heavyweight next year weighing about 230, while also being about as lean as I am now. For reference we get our bodyfat tested as a part of the weight certification process and I had ~11% bf on a 3-site caliper reading. I’ve been training hard for about 3 to 4 years at this point, and can pull 560, squat 500, and bench 375. My strict overhead press is sitting at 245 and my power clean from the hang at 330. Most of my training to this point has been in the 3-10 rep range. My most burning question right now is if a 20Lb bulk in 7 months is possible at this point, and if it is how I should go about it.

Tl;dr Is it possible for me to put on 20lbs of lean mass in 7 months at this point in my training?


#2

essentially, no. first, I’m going to assume no PED’s. If that’s incorrect, let us know. if you gain 20 lbs in 7 months, I’d say best case scenario is you’re looking at 10ish lbs of it being lean. Which is really really good. And you could shed the fat gained later. But 20 lbs of muscle, at your current size and strength, just isn’t happening in that short time period.


#3

As flip said, probably not going to happen. If you’re on gear at all, it’s a stretch, but maybe, but probably not still. Honestly, don’t worry too much about staying über lean. You wrestle. That’ll keep you in great shape. Just eat enough and well enough, slowly increase cals, and keep training.

Any reason why he wants you to go up?


#4

his youth makes him a different case from me, but his strength and size are pretty similar to me and i can’t imagine adding that much solid weight, even on gear, in that period of time. I’d love to add 10-15 solid pounds by next summer, which is enough time for 2 good cycles, lol


#5

Only reason I said maybe. Ha guess I should have bolded it to give it more emphasis.


#6

He thinks my style of wrestling is a lot better suited to heavyweight matches, and he’s had a lot of success with ‘light’ heavyweights at nationals.


#7

Yeah no PEDs, we get randomly tested enough and I can’t justify the potential health risks down the road. I also don’t really enjoy the idea of cheating, since they’re banned in the NCAA.


#8

i certainly wasn’t suggesting you use them, lol. just wanted to make sure i was dealing with the correct set of facts.


#9

Definitely possible.

Absolutely impossible, unless your coach was giving you a nudge-and-a-wink to run a cycle. Even then, like Flip said, it’s a stretch at best.

If you’re a legit 11% bodyfat, you’ve got good definition so there’s leeway to bulk up without getting too sloppy. But even then, I’m not totally sure why you would (other than “Coach says to”, which is generally a valid excuse.) The short timeframe is another major limiting factor. You’re basically talking trying to make a year or two’s-worth of progress in about half a year.

So, you can gain the “weight” in time, for sure. But it’s not going to be all muscle and you’re not going to stay as lean as you are. Then there’s a practical factor of being able to wrestle at 100% while carrying the new weight, accounting for the conditioning, mobility, etc. Putting on 10% of your total bodyweight isn’t insignificant and your speed and endurance will take a hit until your body catches up and learns how to work with it.


#10

These were my initial reactions as well-How much weight do you think I could reasonably put on in that time frame while staying under about 15% bf?


#11

it’s really really difficult to say. Best thing I can offer would be a range. But your genetics, how you eat, what you do to get there, everything will cause variance.

If you’re willing to add 4% bodyfat, that’s roughly 8 -9 lbs of fat. With that being the case, I think on the upper end, 20ish lbs of weight gain is possible, if all things go well and you respond well to ‘bulking’. On the lower end, you could be looking at a ceiling of 7-8 lbs total weight gain, if things don’t go so well. Your expectations should be somewhere in the middle.


#12

What’s wrong with gaining 10-12 lbs and wrestling up anyway? You have to decide if the extra weight will benefit you because you’ll be adding fat just to tip the scale. Being heavier makes you harder to move but it can also make it harder for you to maneuver. You’ll have to evaluate this as you go.

The plus side of wrestling up is that you don’t have to make weight!


#13

Not gonna lie, the idea of not cutting 10-12 pounds once or twice a week is sounding very attractive at this point lol


#14

Welcome friend. I didn’t wrestle in college, but I wrestled through high school as a small heavyweight (230-235) as a sophomore/junior and then as a big cut-down-to-215 as a senior. I understand (perhaps better than some of the others here) why the coach might think your style is better suited to heavyweight, and there have been a number of successful heavies recently that were in the 220-230 ranges, so I get it if you’re on board.

As noted above, you’re not going to put on 20 pounds of “dry muscle” but I certainly expect that you can come back at 230ish and in good shape. It’s debatable whether there’s a benefit to being 220 and still shredded vs. 230 and starting to get a little blurry; my thinking would be that you should train as hard as you can while eating as much clean food as you can, and don’t worry too much about whether the number on the scale lands at 224 versus 231.

Having wrestled as a smallish heavyweight, though, I’d lean towards “get as big as you can without feeling like you’re getting sloppy” - don’t worry about keeping veins-in-your-abs leanness, as long as you’re not getting outright fat. I was a pretty decent 215-pounder as a senior (32 wins, sectional champion, state qualifier) and when I had to bump up to heavyweight for a dual match here and there, I really noticed the missing mass (i.e. even some mediocre heavyweights, I’d beat like 12-1 instead of scoring a fall because I just didn’t have the “mass” to score the fall).


#15

Yeah a lot of times when I have to wrestle the heavyweights live in practice I’m able beat them fairly handily but my top game suffers a lot, as they’re able to simply lie there and I can’t do a whole lot to move them. But I think getting fat or wildly out of shape is a huge concern because I wrestle a fair amount of freestyle in the offseason. Nothing like in-season shape, of course, but still decent cardio


#16

Are you D1, D2, D3, or Junior college? Why does your coach want you to move to heavyweight? Is there a lot of guys clumped at 184? Or is he having a hard time recruiting heavyweights? 195 and 220 are often weak high school weightclasses…but recruiting for heavyweight doesn’t seem that hard. Also you have to decide if it’s the best move for the team or are you going to be selfish and stay at 197 if AA is possible? I assume you wrestle 97kg in free style? Not much of a cut…but 86kg would be a bit much.


#17

It’s a combination of factors-this is for next season, and I’m already cutting ~20 Lbs. to make 197; this of course isn’t difficult to do once but the season is 5 months long and we have about 20-25 weigh-ins. He thinks next year I’ll be too big to feel decent at 197. We also have quite a few above average 184 pounders and are fairly thin at heavyweight. He also thinks that it would be easier to aa at heavyweight, although I’m in a good position to AA (D3) this year as well. And I’m at 97kg in freestyle but I’d only have 1 or 2 weigh-ins which makes cutting to 97kg pretty easy


#18

Passing the hydration test is a pain for certifications unless you have a trainer that turns his eye and circles whatever weight the coach says. Allowing the top 3 from each region to go to nationals instead of the two changes things.


#19

With Longendyke and Roseberry graduated…maybe go heavyweight…


#20

You’re very strong for your age and used to pushing your body hard so I actually think its just about possible in terms of lean-ish 20lb gain(obviously not pure dry muscle).

Try a heavy and very high volume approach like these below and as a young guy as long as eat clean will be very hard to get fat even if on significant surplus…

get 10 hours sleep 1+ days a week and load up intra workout supps/nutrition, perfect world get some biotest products like Workout fuel, if not look into stuff like karbolyn, bcaas, leucine etc