T Nation

26 Y/O, 5'9", 190 lbs

Hey everyone,

I have been a lurker on the forums for a while and decided it was time to drop some photos for an assessment. A little background about myself, I have been training for around 6 years and competed twice in USAPL for powerlifting. I now plan to do my first bodybuilding competition in 2021, most likely the back half as I’m not happy with where I’m at currently and want to be as competitive as I can. I plan to compete in classic and physique. I am 26, 5’9, and currently a fluffier 190lbs. Where I live there are not many serious gym go-ers or anyone experienced with competitors so it’s hard for me to get realistic feedback/critiques. I tried taking the photos in poor lighting with no pump. I apologize in advance for the posing as it’s something I am working on and definitely need help with in person. My current training is built around bringing arms, chest, and back!
t1|375x500

/calves up. All detailed feedback is appreciated.

Wow very impressive quads !!
Any tips for us ?
Your physic over all looks really good,
Your Arms and lats could do with some more attention I think,

Yes, those quads are impressive. You could use more thickness on the tris, traps and calves (your quads are so big, those calves are gonna need to be a bit bigger just to show up), but I think you have a good start.

Thanks! I’ve got the best results from squatting twice a week heavy, 6-8 reps for 3-4 sets. The past 6 months or so I have exclusively done that rep and set scheme with narrow (platz style) heel elevated squats (with 5lb plates) and my ROM is basically sitting on my calves. I’m also a big advocate of between set stretching for 20-30secs. For quad accessories, I normally stick to leg pressing or extensions for 2-3 sets of 15-20.

My upper body for sure lags behind lower in strength and development. Been trying to focus a lot on back/arms this mesocycle and will for sure make it the main focus next. I appreciate the feedback!

I appreciate it! I thought I had taken a back spread picture but I guess I forgot it on upload so feelsbad. Yeah my tri’s are my weakest area I think, in terms of look, with traps being a close second. I’m hoping the heavier I get, they will catch up. This upcoming meso I’m going to try a few things out with exercise selection, frequency, and start workouts by hitting lagging areas first (basically pre-exhaust) before compounds and see if I get a good response. Any recommendations?

Nice one bro, keep up the Good work!

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My arms get big pretty easy, and prior to lifting I had decent arms. When I lift anything my arms seem to grow. I think my chest lags and when I bench it hits tris quite a bit, so I’m probably not much help there. As far as traps, I hate upright rows, so I do a lot of shrugs with a slow tempo and 2 second pause at the top. That and when I started deadlifting again, others started commenting on them more. Good luck in your competition.

You look like a PLer–big quads, tris and chest. Delts are better than expected for a PLer, so that’s good.

Your biceps are a little short, which will limit their aesthetics.

The inferior portion of your posterior chain–calves, hams, glutes–is lagging, and you’ll need to modify your lower-body training accordingly.

You didn’t post any back shots, so it’s hard to comment on that aspect.

For feedback more informed than mine:
@BrickHead
@The_Mighty_Stu
@robstein

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Yeah my traps were bigger when I focused on PL for sure. Most deadlifts I do nowadays are RDL so I don’t feel it as much and the weight is lighter. I appreciate the advice and well wishes!

I will add some back shots to this reply if I can, meant to put in the original post but left out by accident. I appreciate the feedback. I start a new training cycle in 3 days so I will make sure to focus more posterior, I feel like my quads retain size on lower volume fairly easy. For my upper focused days, what do you think could use the most work? I will also tag, thank you. @BrickHead @The_Mighty_Stu @robstein


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Brad is 5’10, and I am 5’8, so I guess that puts you right between the two of us. Brad was also very lower body dominant, so you might want to actually hunt down his contest prep thread to figure out how we balanced it better for his contest.

Some advice I got when I was getting ready for my very first show, was that you should prep until your cheeks sink in. Now, I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but the bottom line is that everyone underestimates how lean and they have to be. People also overestimate how much muscle they have, which is a shocking reality for people who have kept normal body fat levels while packing on muscle years upon years.

Yes, I agree that your arms are a definite weak point. Your quads look very good, and your chest and back are indeed solid. Depending on how much time you give yourself, and how intelligent you are setting up your plans in terms of training, you could possibly do some damage. Height and weight can give a decent idea, but there were plenty of guys I competed against food with less than me, but actually looked larger on stage. I think I was just talking about this in another thread last week if someone remembers and would like to link it.

S

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I hunted down his thread and found it so I will definitely read through it and see what you guys did. That sounds like good advice. I well expect to lose 30+lbs, but I have never been single digit bf% since training so I have no idea what to expect really, just that it’s gonna suck.

I plan to compete probably in August/September/October depending on show schedules for my region and where I’m at come April. I want a few months to grow my weak points, and will most likely look at 16-20 weeks for show prep but I want to collect as much feedback as possible now and up to prep. I will most likely log the prep too as that seems like a good idea. Do you have any general tips for fixing lagging arms? I tend to hit them twice a week at the moment on their own day so I can put all energy towards them and start with triceps normally.

I appreciate all the help and advice.

Yeah, I used to drop about 25-30 lbs for a show each Spring, and as daunting as that might sound, it’s not as horrible as it first seems if you’ve got a plan and you focus on small weekly goals without letting yourself be overwhelmed.

Recognizing your weak points (which is a relative term, but something you need to objectively do if you want to make the most of your contest) is necessary, and as you’re doing so well ahead of the game, you can tailor plans before you even officially start your prep.

I did that when I coached Brick, and I did that when I coached Rob (and countless others who aren’t so open or on this forum with the fact that I was coaching them). You’d be surprised to see how much work can be accomplished in a short duration with the proper motivation - You’d also be surprised to discover that you can indeed make gains while on a contest prep! Something I know Brad has repeatedly spoken about after his contest experience.

I don’t want to ramble too much in one reply, because I gave Brad a little heads up to pop in here so he can share his experience, as his physique was very similar to yours.

S

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I am looking forward to it and seeing how much I lose and what I really look like under all the fat and water. Absolutely, people compliment me in the gym but I need regular criticizing from people who compete and have experience in the sport so I appreciate your time in responding! I am really motivated and hope to continue improving and one day be considered serious and experienced. I have heard about the contest prep gains before from someone but I can’t remember who exactly. May have been a podcast with John Meadows or someone else. Do you offer prep coaching regularly? I know I will need loads of help with posing and nutrition/training the closer the show becomes and you have a lot of experience and are a pro.

You and Brad both have great physiques, so I appreciate it and hopefully, I can get close to his shape and conditioning come time.

Thanks for the tag @EyeDentist!

@nohours congrats on taking the first step to the stage! I concur with the great advice given my @The_Mighty_Stu, who coached me through my first two competitive seasons and a pro card!

Definitely some strong points and solid potential. If I had to pick your biggest strength, quads for sure.

Shoulders and arms look relatively proportional, but it’s AMAZING how much your arms lean out and how much smaller they look once you’re down to 5% body fat. You’ll want to bring them up over time.

Chest could look fuller, that’ll take time but you can make some solid growth as @The_Mighty_Stu mentioned by implementing increased frequency and some other helpful tools. Looking at your side tricep, you want that chest to fill out nicely in front of your abs.

Rear delts can use some attention as well, your front heads look good but it’s clear on the side chest and side tricep the rear delt needs work to have a nice full and rounded shoulder.

On your last shot, your quads are super dominant (nice!) so you’ll want to bring up your hamstrings to even and round out your legs. Sitting down a little more in the pose will help, but I’d recommend raising frequency in hamstrings to twice a week for a while. I did that my second year competing and it made a big difference!

Hope this helps! Feel free to check out my current and previous prep logs for any insight that may be helpful as well, and keep us updated with any further questions, progress etc.

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Let me start out by saying your middle and lower back has the look of an advanced competitor. Your erectors are thick. Nice!

A word of caution dieting into you first contest. From my experience helping a few bodybuilders prep for their first contest, most seemed to lose a significant amount of muscle while trying to reduce fat. But, on the plus side, the subsequent attempts to peak for competition were much more successful. That is to say, if you happen to fall into that category, you need to take heart that the next time should be better. Disclaimer: The above was my observation. I was not their coach. I just offered assistance when asked. I did not know their exact diet.

@robstein @EyeDentist @The_Mighty_Stu

Not to highjack at @nohours thread but I have a question. Is their any specific literature out there whether free or for purchase that you recommend on competition dieting? I have similar interest to the OP but I have no idea how to properly food prep. I appreciate any insight.

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Thanks for the tags and mentions in here. I am going to respond when I get to my laptop. @The_Mighty_Stu

Yes, I highly recommend this book, written by my current coach Cliff Wilson. Extremely detailed and thorough! https://www.amazon.com/Bodybuilding-Complete-Contest-Preparation-Handbook/dp/1492571334/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Cliff+Wilson+bodybuilding&qid=1607025522&sr=8-1

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Thank you! Reasonable price too!

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