Aching After Gym?

Hi people!
I have been reading the forums for some time and have now decided to join in! Quickly about me:
5ft 9
been going gym since 18ish and am now just 20, i started off at about 135lbs and at first had no idea what i should be doing in the gym really and nutrition i completely ignored as at the time i knew no better!

I slowly got more serious and decided to put on some extra mass which i have done so far. However i have never been truely serious yet and would sometimes go for a few weeks with little time in the gym!

Anyway now i would like to get more serious about this and my first main goal is to get to 200lbs with as clean as a diet as i can achieve!

so onto my question! Basically i am now going to be going to the gym about 4 times a week, however i find that apart from the first time in the gym for a few weeks i never ache after! A few hours after im obviously tired and maybe abit tenderish but by the next day i usually will feel perfectly fine.

Does this mean im not training well enough? or is it because of my young age so i am able to recover quicker?

I currently train on a split type routine, a chest with bicep day would look like something abit like this:


warm up set *12
set 1 * 10 reps
set 2 *8 reps
set 3 * to failure (on these sets i ramp the weight up as i go through each one, failure is usually around 8 ish reps)

Incline Dumbell press

set 1 *10
set 2 * 8
set 3 *to failure

Then biceps are done in same way, i would use usually 3 sets of alternating curls followed by 3 of hammer curls.

Any help is much appreciated, and please try not to flame me for this being really bad or something, im just looking for help!

So you’re doing 6 sets for chest, and 6 sets for biceps… once a week?

Yeah I would say you could go ahead and do more. Like, twice as much in fact.

Yeh thats about right, i have an off day at the moment every other day. so it would look something like this:

Mon: Chest,biceps
Tue: Rest
Wed: Shoulders, Triceps
Thur: Rest
Friday: Legs, abs
Saturday: off
Sunday: Back, abs

then an off day Monday so everything moves on a day and so on.
For each muscle group i will usually do just the two different excercises like i showed and example of. Therefore equalling 6sets for each muscle group about once a week.

What do you think is the best way for me to add more volume then? more exercises per muscle group?, More sets in the excercises? or maybe less rest days?


There is no reason to take a rest day after every training session.

You generally want 3-4 exercises per muscle group, and although once a week is fine, realize that there is nothing set in stone saying you can only stimulate a muscle group once every 7 days (in your case every 8 days)

To give you an example of a more effective routine:

day 1 - chest/biceps
day 2 - legs
day 3 rest
day 4 - shoulders/triceps
day 5 - back
day 6 rest
day 7 rest, or repeat

And traditionally we try to get anywhere from 10-20 sets per muscle group depending on experience level and personal preference, so a “chest and biceps” day is going to look more like this:

Flat bench, pyramid upx12,10,8,6, failure in the 6-10 rep range
incline bench, 4x12,10,8,6-10 (same deal)
decline bench, 3x12,10,8-10 (etc…)
DB flyes, 3x12,12,12
Barbell curls 3x15,12,8-12
DB curls 3x12,10,8-12
DB preachers 3x12,12,12

Hope this helps.

Yes thank you, looking at this it does make more sense, i will give it a go.

If you have a good amount of volume should you ache the next day after your workouts? Because currently i do not feel anything to be honest!

you obviously know you do not know enough to make your own program so why dont you get a proven program like Westside for skinny bastards or wendlers 5/3/1 instead of your plan. The both of you are making a stupid ass program.

Ok, i did a little bit of research on both of these. I have seen a few people talking about Westsides programme being quite an advanced one? Do you think therfore Wendlers 5/3/1 would be the better option?

I just want something that challenges me abit more than what i currently have as im sure it cant be doing enough to stimulate hypertrophy, which is probably proven by the fact that my lifts havent really gone up in a while now.

there’s nothing wrong with following the template mr popular laid out, despite what poopypants up there said

I think that will be a good option then really as im used to this routine and i think it works ok its just the volume must not be there. so i will stick with what Mr Popular helped me sort out!

Another quick question i need some help on, this is probaly also the reason i only do 3 sets of each excercise and only two diffeent excercises per a body part at the moment:

When i do for example dumbell press i will do a quick warm up set for say 12 reps, i will then use a weight which i can do quite easily for say 10 reps, then second set i will up the weight again and this will be a small challenege to get say 8 reps out, i will then do the final set, upping the weight again. I struggle with this set, usually getting 5ish reps but they are sometimes maybe not complete reps and are done quite slowly so there is no explosive type power i suppose you could say.

So this leads to the problem of if i was to do another set or 2 i would have to lower the weight to be able to push out say 8 reps. It also means for the next exercise which would be incline dumbbell press that i am particular tired and so am doing less weight than if i was fresh! however i guess that is the second excercise and will never be done to its full potential anyway?

So really what im asking here is should maybe i lighten the weight and possibly even add a cuple of reps or something? i have thought about this before but i just feel by lightening the weight that im almost going backwards!

Any help as always is much appreciated! Thank for your help so far aswell!

I don’t think mr popular was suggesting you do more than one working set. His 3 and 4x whatevers are including the warmups you are already doing, ramping up to your one working set. I would say that if you’re struggling to get five reps with decent form, you might want to drop the weight a little. Your working set is generally going to be to failure, so you may have to grind it out some, but it shouldn’t be a big struggle from the start.

And no, you’re not going to be as strong on the second and third exercise as you would be if you did them first. That’s fine.

I have been to the gym now twice and have slightly lowered the weight being used for some of my exercises where i found my self struggling aswell as upping the sets and reps a little bit. So pretty much following the plan that was set out!

I feel that this has really helped my technique in the lifts and something i have began to notice is feeling abit more worked in the areas i was trying to hit.

Reading some of Arnys bodybulding encylcopedia helped me with this aswell. He says somewhere how it is sometimes possible to lift a weight heavier than you can with a certain muscle which in turn naturally causes others to become involved. which he go’s on to say is good for lifting things in the real world but for stimulating the muscle you are trying to hit it isnt the best method.

So from taking this knowledge aswell i feel that although i have lowered the weight i have actually caused more trauma to the desired area aswell as having more volume which has also helped!

I remember also seeing Bonez i think it was saying to someone about feeling the muscle work and to really concentrate on this and i now think i am getting the feel of that alot more which i think can only be a good thing!

Hopefully with these changes i will begin to see some more progress in the numbers again! Thank you once again!

I would absolutely echo the suggestion to lower the weight you’re using a little bit in order to get a good set of 8-12 reps. Focusing on the target muscle is important, and over time you will find that you’re able to really pump up the exact muscle group you’re working on with your heaviest sets.

Don’t think of it as going backwards, because once you realize that being unable to focus on the muscle group you’re working is hampering your progress anyway, lowering the weight in order to get a more productive set is a big step in the right direction.

And yes you will be slightly weaker on the second and third exercises than you would otherwise be, but that is fine, and in fact over time you will find that the discrepancy becomes smaller and smaller as you improve your mind-muscle connection.

Jumping in here a day or two late, but…

I like Mr Popular’s program (the one he laid out for Chest/Bi’s)…

I do 3 exercises per bodypart as well, but will do 5-6 sets… If I’m aiming for 12 reps, then (for me) anything that I can do beyond 12 reps I consider a warm-up/ramping set… I also keep a journal, so I know what weights I was using previously and will scale accordingly on how I’m feeling walking in the gym…

I also think it’s important to feel the muscle work, so when you’re doing a pressing movement, as you finish the rep, squeeze/flex the muscles for a second… You’ll start to feel what works best for you body doing this, as I’ll do a DB bench and will rotate the weights at the top to get that squeeze.

As for muscle aches, I can guarentee that if you increase your volume and reduce your rest time between sets, you’ll be sore.

Make sure you eat enough as well as getting enough rest…