T Nation

6'3" 29 Y/O Male Seeking a Program for Size and Definition

Hey Guys,

I am a 6’3" (190cm) 29 y/o male weighing in around 185-190 lbs looking to gain size and definition. I have a job where I am fairly active and before the quarantine, I was playing hockey at least once a week.

While I am fairly new to weightlifting, I was was hitting the gym 5 times a week for 2-3 months on an intermediate split training program, legs only once a week during those 5 days. I was also taking a clean gainer whey protein to attempt to increase size as well as eating fairly clean.

Currently at home I have a bench w/ a high cable pulley, pull-up bar and dumbbells so I am able to do a full workout without many substitutions. For the last 3 weeks, I have been on the T-Nation [2-A-Day Training for Radical Gains] but have been seeing less improvement than when I was doing the split. I have also added an additional arm and chest day at the end of the week.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice or different training programs for my goals. I am looking for an increase in muscle size and definition as well as an increase in strength. The issue I can see with the 5/3/1 program is that I do not have a squat rack.

For a streamlined program to see the best results the fastest, do I need to know my max lift for several exercises?

Any advice, direction or programming would be greatly appreciated.

You, and almost everyone else on this site.

I recommend you pick one of these as your goal, and pursue it with singleness of purpose.


First, @eyedentist is correct - you’re chasing a bunch of different goals.

I think it’s also important to note that you took this:

AKA 2-a-days, 4x a week (which I personally think is silly and doesn’t have any of the benefits that the authors of the article claim), and your response to getting less results than when you were doing a regular split, was to add an ADDITIONAL arm and chest day to a program that has you doing 8 lifting sessions every 7 days.

So between this

and this

You’ve got what seems to be a decent work ethic, but an attitude that is going to lead to disappointment, program hopping, and adding on unnecessary days to unnecessary programs.

If you have access to a home improvement store where you can get some 4x4 fence posts, 2x4s, quick-setting concrete, and a pair of buckets, I can give you a quick runthrough on making your own squat racks. I’ve been using mine for a few weeks and they’ve held up fine. Then you could get started on 5/3/1, but you’d still have to go back and read whatever you can about 5/3/1 again, because asking for fast results is WAY out of the nature of the program. Figure out what you want to do and how you want to train, and if you want to put in a couple hours of work to get squat stands, and we can get you started.

Thanks, and that makes sense.

Based on my current situation I would then want to pursue size initially as that is an area that needs the most improvement.

Looks like this quarantine will keep us all out of the gyms for a while longer so I would not be opposed to creating a squat rack. I also have a ton of time working from home so I have had no issue hitting the weights as often as I like.

As EyeDentist pointed out, I should pick one (size, definition or strength). Based on my current situation I would peruse Size as I believe that area needs the most improvement.

5/3/1 seems incredibly popular for power lifters and individuals looking for total strength. If I want to push size initially, would this still be something to look at for the goal of size?

You said you were having progress on a bodypart split prior to your current program. Why not go back to that? 5/3/1 is about the gradual and long-term accumulation of strength and athleticism, which will eventually accompany size, but there aren’t any bodybuilders using percentage-based training programs.

Squats will still help build size.

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Based on this, you should train like a BBer, and eschew strength-focused programs such as 5/3/1.

My personal recommendation is that you read every training article on this site written by two individuals: John Meadows, and Paul Carter. (They’re easy to access–you can search the articles archive by Author.) You can then develop your own BBing program–or better yet, simply run one of the programs you encounter in your reading.



Just use a 4x4 in front of another 4x4 in front of a 2x4. Then you can use metal plates as j-hooks. The top level is set so that when I stand up with the bar, it just clear the hooks, the bottom level is for benching. Make sure to measure the height at which you’d have the bar on your back, and don’t forget that the post will be a bit higher since it’ll be in a bucket. Then you just tape the posts together and pour concrete into the bucket (1-1.5 50lb bags of quikcrete will do just fine), then hold a level to it and make sure it’s straight up and down. Repeat for the second one, and you’ve got it.

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Initially I was trying to, but many of those exercises were using cables and other machines that I do not have access to. Substituting alternative exercises in would ultimately completely change the entire workout.

I was initially looking for another split workout but couldn’t find one within the parameters I have now. I thought I could be doing more with 24/7 access to weights and more free time.

Ok, perfect. I will look those up immediately and check out the accompanying programs.

I appreciate the detail and assistance.

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Meadows and Carter programs would be great. BUT considering the actual limitations of our time I would suggest to pick something really simple, like The Best Damn program for Naturals 5/6x a week. You’re new to this, you can chase all three goals. Heck yeah why limit yourself! Keep your calories at around maintenance while focusing on being consistent and training hard in the gyms => all three variables will improve I guarantee.

Why were you doing an intermediate program as a beginner? Anyway, if you enjoyed it, no problemo! For gains, just keep protein intake at 1-2 gr per kilo of bodyweight. Probably towards the upper end if staying at maintenance.

This is a 2 a day training which is crazy hard to recover. I know you feel you have too much free time, but as per your training experience, you do NOT need something this radical. Plus you added additional work! This was likely too much to recover

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Interesting. I was down the rabbit hole on Meadows and Carter. A ton of interesting information regarding building muscles but I haven’t found a program that was exactly what I want.

Is this the plan you are referring to; https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-best-damn-workout-plan-for-natural-lifters

If I am looking to gain size, I should then increase to a surplus of calories, correct?

I found the initial full body beginner plan to be too few times a week and I really wasn’t pushing myself. I wanted a more challenging workout.

Honestly I was worried about the recovery as well, but 3 weeks in and I felt like I was wasting the second day of rest, which is why I added the additional day. I had read a lot about the benefits of hitting the same muscle group twice in a week so I wanted to do that. The workouts were twice a day but only 30 minutes at a time on the same muscle group so it wasn’t a huge time consuming, full body lift.

@aldebaran @EyeDentist @flappinit

Hey guys, just wanted to say I appreciate the information and direction.

I ended up building a squat rack as was requested and have started the Best Damn Workout for Naturals Pt. 2 as with Part 2 I have to make the least amount of substitutions.

The squats are kicking my gangley ass. Hips are definitely feeling it. Foam roller and massage ball are getting more time than ever before.

I already like this setup far more, especially with the detailed explanations and guide for each exercise.

Anyways, thanks for the help.


Good job. Go start a training log!