T Nation

A Few Noob Questions.


Hello T-Nation users, I've a novice lifter and heard great things about this website, and thought I could get some great insight. I've been lifting on and off for close to a year. I've been going 3xweekly using all these lifts- Squat, Bench, Bent Row, Press, Deadlift and chin ups. I think people usually refer to this program as a 5x5?

I could be wrong, but I've made some decent gains I guess, but not what im looking for. I don't have a working scale so I can't tell you my weight, but im pretty damn skinny. 6 foot, anywhere from 145-160. I'm really narrow, and would like to make the best with what i'm given. My lifts-Squat 2305x5, Deadlift-270 1x5, 315 for 1, Ohp- 110x5, Bench-1603x5. These aren't maxes, but what I can do fairly easily, except the ohp is grindy. I enjoyed squatting every day at first because I could really work on form, but as the weight got "heavy" for me I really dreaded coming into the gym. Could be lack of recovery, but i'm looking to change up my programming a bit, if anyone could recommend a decent routine with my lifts I would really appreciate it. Also, if anyone has any "food hacks" for skinny dudes I would also appreciate it lol.


Those are okay-ish lifts. If you're positive that you can't make any more progress on what you're doing, here are a few suggestions:

  • Madcow 5x5. Pretty much a continuation but pushes the progression less aggressively.
  • 531. Your weights get heavier on a monthly basis here.
  • Westside for skinny bastards. The title says it all.

(of course, there are plenty of other good ones)

Food hacks: first, get two scales. One for your food and one for yourself. You need to know your own weight.

Get enough protein to grow. The general consensus is 1g/lb of bodyweight, but I've seen 0.8g/lb work as well. Once that's covered, get your calories from healthy fats and carbs. They are cheaper and easier to consume in larger quantities. Some high-calorie foods are

  • milk
  • oats
  • white rice
  • nuts
  • olive oil

Good luck.


Thank you for the reply! I have not heard of those programs so i'll look into them! anything that's 3-4 days is great, I really liked coming in for an 1-2 hours 3 times a week because of how time efficient it was, but im guessing most 3xweekly setups are similar, squats every day adding weight each time etc, im looking for something a little different, but mainly strength based as well. I know my lifts suck, but that's probably because im a skinny bastard LOL. I could grind my lifts up using this format if I ate like crazy and recovered, but I just dread squatting 3xweekly, its like a constant stall, and attacking the same style might just not work for me. As for the food, im not picky by any means so im going to pick up a scale, and eat everything in sight (mainly good foods) im not too concerned about fat gain at the moment.


I think mass made simple is perfect for you right now for a few reasons:

1) It seems to meet your (assumed) no.1 goal of getting bigger
2) It should give you a change of pace from the low rep work you're currently doing
3) It should provide you with some useful tools that will help you throughout your lifting life
4) It's hard fucking work. Do not underestimate the importance of part 4.


Well, if you wanted to change it up and not back squat every day of the week you could easily just change styles. For example, Monday you can back squat, Wednesday front squat, and Friday you can do pause squats. Your squat is the most important move you can do, so you will have to learn to love it.


This. Not only will squatting like that drive gains, the pause and front squats will drive your deadlift. Well, they do for me so they might for you.


Where/who do you lift with?

You sound like you've gotten the lifting and bug and seem pretty motivated.

The best thing you could do is lift with a good crew. Even if it's just the environment and you're not necessarily training together.


I will share everything I know about "food hacks":
olive oil in everything
lots of peanut butter on graham crackers before bed w/ milk
drink more milk
are you drinking milk right now?
atleast 8 eggs a day, try for 12
1lb at least of meat a day
vegetables are good too sometimes I guess


x2 on the olive oil especially.


Thanks again for the replies. A little update about my current lifting. I'm doing a 4 day Upper/Lower, this might be a little advanced for me but I love the layout and will stick with it. I plan on doing this on a bulk.

Monday-Heavy Lower. Squat-3x6, Deadlift-2x6. Optional Exercise-3x10. I picked Glute-Ham raise for lower body optional.
Tuesday- Heavy Upper. Bench-3x6 Upper Back exercise- (Barbell Row) 3x6 Shoulder exercise-(Military Press) 1x6 Upper Back exercise#2 (Bodyweight chins) 3x6. Bicep Exercise 2x10. Optional -3x10.

Thursday- Lower Control- Pause Squat- 6x4 Pause Deadlift- 3x4. Optional Exercise 3x10
Friday- Upper Control. Paused Bench- 6x4, Paused Upperback- 6x4. Upper Back #2 (No pause) 6x4. Shoulder1x10, Biceps 1x10. Optional Exercise 3x10 Increase weight on Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Upper Back- 0-10 pounds weekly, I plan on doing 10 pounds for lower, 5 pounds for upper weekly. Same increases for paused movements. Shoulders and biceps are 10 pounds every 3 weeks.

This is a novice/intermediate Powerlifting program. Go heavy twice a week on main lifts and some accessory. Work on form twice a week and some accessory. Would like to know everyone's opinion on the format. My starting weights are Squat-185, Dead-245, Bench-150. Pause Squat-180, Pause deadlift-210, Pause Bench-135. All of these weights flew up and are easy, I finished my first week on the program and enjoy it thus far. Will be eating lots and increasing my weights next week.


Many good suggestions in this thread, I especially agree with Dan John's recommendation of mass made simple, and add that you'll like the peanut butter & jelly bulking recommendation :wink:


Doesn't matter as long as you love it and stick with it - you'll get results that way. Besides, it actually looks pretty decent.


I agree.

Your 5/10lb increases every week might turn out to be a bit high is my opinion, but the only way to find out is to try.


Yep, should have noticed that. Ten lb per week might be ok for about six weeks if you're lucky. I've found five lb per fortnight works well; or 10 lb per fortnight for lower body and five lb for upper.


The 5/10 pound increases were just an example, I go more on how I feel technique wise. I would rather my sets feel great instead of grinding, although the grinding needs to happen to make any progress. I'm going to stick with 5 pounds weekly and just focus on technique if it feels easy. Does the program I posted seem unbalanced with upper to lower ratio? or should I just not concern myself with that in my current state, I'll probably add another lower body assistance once I get used to the program.

I just recently got a scale and I'm 157 pounds at 6 foot (Stringbeann is an appropriate name lol) I try to eat a lot, but don't have any idea what my total calories are. As a novice, would anybody recommend counting calories? Myfitnesspal for example. I don't currently have whey powder or anything due to money issues, so I'm going to get used to eating- lots of eggs, milk, meat (usually always have a home cooked meal every day) Sausage, Sandwiches, veggies, fruit, peanut butter etc. Since my frame is so tiny and I don't even look like I lift, I would love to be 200 pounds one day. I don't lack effort in the gym, I never miss a day. Diet really will be the factor here. Thanks for the replies everyone. :')


If the weight feels light, you should be focusing on using compensatory acceleration and contracting the muscles explosively. It should not feel easy after a few sets.


Yeah! I quite agree. Nutritious food will help. Good advice. It helped me a lot some time ago.