T Nation

Acceptable Strength Gains After 1yr.?

I’m curious as to wether or not my strength gains over a little more than a year are typical or acceptable for that matter.

A little background, I’m in my late 20’s, I started lifting seriously in spring of '07, 5’10, 150(starting weight in spring of '07) now sitting at about 170(had been as much as 183 in 2/08), what my body fat % is, I don’t know, never had it checked, though I’m assuming I started at about 13%-16%, and am probably about the same now.

I started using diet and training protocols from Berardi’s “Scrawny to Brawny” , and have used various routines since then, all pretty much focused on big compound movements.

When I started, after a few months of training I decided to see what some of my max numbers were. I had a 175 bench, a 220 squat(maybe to parallel), I didn’t attempt the deadlift. My chin-up was pitifull, I might of been able to do 5 with bodyweight(155), and maybe 1 with a pull-up grip(prone).

Little more than a year later later I feel dissappointed with my strength gains. I feel as though, according to a lot of the info I read that strength should have come a lot easier, and through simple programs at that.

I recently tested my 1rm on those lifts again, as I had been doing over the past year periodically. My bench is up to 205 from 175, my squat is up to 280(atg), my deadlift is at 320. Chin-ups are markedly better, BW(170+45) is 1RM. None of which I am really proud of.

I wanted to know if these gains seemed subpar? I honestly thought I would be able to bench 225 in only 5-6 months from where I started, and squat 315 in no time, strength gains seem to come so slow for me! I have done no bodybuilding routines either.

Those aren’t bad numbers at all, don’t forget a A LOT of people on T-Nation lift internet weights.

If 1/10th of the people here did half the exercises/numbers they claim, the squat rack, power cage, and deadlift platform would be occupied 24/7/365. Reality says they’re mine whenever I please.

You put 20# on in only a year, that’s damn good progress. Keep up the excellent work!

Here are some guidelines to go off: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm

Putting on 20 lbs of bodyweight in a year is good if it’s all muscle.

IMO, your lift gains are sub-par. 20lbs on your bench? In 50 weeks of training?

How consistent were you with diet, sleep and getting to the gym during this last year? My first year was kinda shot, because I spent a lot of time working out once a week, and pulling all-nighters for a CS class.

[quote]Otep wrote:
Putting on 20 lbs of bodyweight in a year is good if it’s all muscle.

IMO, your lift gains are sub-par. 20lbs on your bench? In 50 weeks of training?

How consistent were you with diet, sleep and getting to the gym during this last year? My first year was kinda shot, because I spent a lot of time working out once a week, and pulling all-nighters for a CS class.

[/quote]

Diet…we’ll say I’ve learned a lot about diet over the last six months, at first I was concentrating too much on calories and the macros, protien, fat, carbs, and not enough on nutrients, green leafy stuff, fish oil etc. which I neglected to take for the first 6 mos. or so. I’ll say I was focusing too much on making the scale weight go up. As for training consistency, I may have missed one or two workouts over the course of a year(at least 3 workouts every 7 days), that was the easy part, as its still fun and challenging. My schedule is the same day in and day out with normal life, so I always get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
I guess what I’m getting at is, I have been conditioned to believe that if your a beginner that strength gains should fall in your lap through relatively simple training routines, and to stay away from more advanced routines, i.e. westside, beast building etc. and just let diet and rest and time take its course. Would it be reasonable to say I’m jumping the gun and need to be patient and put my time in? Or am I right in being very dissatisfied with my strength gains thus far?
just for info’s sake, I’ve been through 5x5 routine twice, ABBH1, some wave loading stuff in S2B. you get the picture.

I’m gonna say a bunch of shit that doesn’t necessarily connect. Bear with me.

So… there’s a difference between a ‘simple’ routine and an ‘easy’ routine. ‘Simple’ routines will accumulate progress. ‘Easy’ routines will get you nowhere. But you knew that already.

First of all, you are correct in being dissatisfied for the time you’ve spent. You should see more improvement (my opinion and experience) in that amount of time.

HOWEVER… it doesn’t necessarily matter what came before this. What’s important is that you’ve got some level of experience under your belt, some progress to show for it, and you wanna kick it up a notch.

My story- I spent my first lifting year going through the motions. I did a ton of heavy compound exercises, I tried out GVT and EDT, I took fish oil and creatine, I made sure to get my lbs in grams of protein each day, I cheated rarely on my diet, and about a year later I had put on maybe 10lbs of muscle and dropped maybe 20lbs of fat. But I’m 6’3", so it looked like nothing changed (tall guys hide weight). Worse, I looked at my training journal and realized I was using the same weight as… six months before (about a year ago).

That was a wake-up call.

So I set a goal. I made a plan. And I failed. And I learned from it. I made another plan, and I’ve made progress this time around- in about five weeks I’ll be finishing a 16-week cut and should have dropped about 30lbs (I’m already down 20).

The point is that it’s normal to mess around, thinking you’re serious, for about a year. And then you get a wake-up call, and you get serious.

This is your wake up call.

Use it.

[quote]Otep wrote:

The point is that it’s normal to mess around, thinking you’re serious, for about a year. And then you get a wake-up call, and you get serious.

This is your wake up call.

Use it.[/quote]

Reminds me of my lifting in college. Otep is right, now that you know what kinda sorta works, kick it in gear and do what really works.

[quote]Otep wrote:
But I’m 6’3", so it looked like nothing changed (tall guys hide weight).
[/quote]

Yeah, being tall definitely sucks in this regard (I wouldnt trade it though). I’ve dropped almost 15 lbs - and overall look pretty much the same.