T Nation

Am I Undertraining?


#1

Hey guys, just wanted to get some advice on my chest and shoulder workouts, feeling like I may not be doing enough. I tend to do a lot more volume for back and I feel fuller after my workouts and more sore the next day. I change up my workouts a lot but they follow the same format (2-3 heavy presses then machines, flies, laterals, etc). I'm usually pretty dead at the end of these workouts though.

25 y/o, 5'9, 200 lbs, I don't really max out but here are estimates
Max Bench: 345
Squat: 425
Deadlift: 495
Military Press: 205 :frowning:

I was going to write out my workouts with weight and everything but that would be way too long and they vary.

I usually do 21-25 sets for chest with about 10 heavy benches (6 flat, 4 incline), and some variation of hammer strength, pec deck and cables, throwing in decline, pullovers or dips sometimes.

As for my shoulders, THEY DON'T GROW OR GET STRONGER.
Usual workout is 8 heavy press sets (military/DB or DB/machine), 6-8 sets of laterals (DBs and machine), then 3 each of front and rear delts followed with 6-8 sets of shrugs, sometimes with upright rows.

Sorry for the long post, if anything, I'd just like some advice to get my shoulders a little bigger.

Also, anyone have any opinions on whether total weight moved during a workout is important (moved 22,000 in 184 reps on chest vs 42,000 in 333 reps on back/deadlifts this week).

Thanks.


#2

You’re pretty damn strong, and you don’t know if you’re overtraining or undertraining.


#3

[quote]chobbs wrote:
You’re pretty damn strong, and you don’t know if you’re overtraining or undertraining. [/quote]

Agreed.

Also, you have over 300reps on a back workout. That’s 30sets of 10 reps. That’s 6 exercises with 5 sets. Yes, basic math, well done sexyxe. What Im pointing out is, that’s a lot. Especially if some of those are deadlifts.

The thought of doing sets of 10 of deadlifts makes me nervous.


#4

What are your global goals ?

"Also, anyone have any opinions on whether total weight moved during a workout is important (moved 22,000 in 184 reps on chest vs 42,000 in 333 reps on back/deadlifts this week).

Thanks."

If you are in BB Gironda and others agree about density training.
To beat your log you might lift that amount in less time or lift more in the same time.
With modern life many benefit with doing more pulling for balance(front/back).
Is your posture about optimal ?
How many hour are you sitting ?
Did you start by over focussing on bench ?
A 4-5 days rest should inform you about over/under training.


#5

Ha, yeah sets of 10 on deadlifts would be crazy. No, I stick to the 4-8 range for 5-6 sets… on back, I just find myself doing a ton of different exercises because there’s so much.

My goals are really just to get bigger, and with that get stronger. I have good posture, I guess I sit a good amount of the day. Never really overfocused on bench, that was kinda part of my question as I wasn’t sure if I was doing enough on chest.

As for rest, it usually takes me a few days before I feel able to lift on a body part again. I only hit everything once a week though except for arms.


#6

Consider upping the training frequency with shoulders. Looking at your strength levels, you might be at the point where once a week isnt ideal anymore.

Also if youve always started with pressing, try taking the focus off pressing, and on to laterals, etc. Check out the BB forum for good shoulder movements


#7

You do shoulders after chest, of course they won’t be as strong as possible.


#8

Ok, right off the bat I think you’ve got pretty good numbers and I think your bench is pretty much in line with the rest of your lifts. Your military press is not terrible, but that number does basically indicate that you spend much more of your energy in the week on your bench because of the distance between it and your overhead press.

It seems volume based training is certainly working for you. I’m not surprised or taken back by the amount of tonnage you are racking up in a week. It’s pretty standard for a lot of people where I come from. Keep it going if it’s working baby! And yes, I do believe tracking total tonnage can be very useful as long as that tonnage is above a certain threshold of intensity. Olympic lifters tend to track overall tonnage and manipulate it, especially those from the Russian camps. They tend to track it by intensity zone (70-80, 80-85, 86-90, 91-95, 95+% 1RM ) and they don’t count any tonnage under 70-75% on the classical lifts. Your mileage may vary, and there’s no need right now to break it down to that extend as long as you have a certain minimum threshold for counting towards your total.

As for shoulders, I’d like a better layout of your week from day to day (eg: monday–chest, tues, back, etc.) with rough sets/reps/exercises. Doesn’t need to be exact, just give a good picture.

My suspicion right now is that you are not doing enough work for your shoulders, or at least not enough of the RIGHT TYPE of work. My suspicion is you also don’t work them frequently enough. So, could you please write out an example split for your week?

I’ve got some serious favorites for shoulders, but they’re not typical movements (well, not all of them anyways). Let’s see what ya got.

EDIT—one of the big things I notice is getting shoulders more indirect work throughout the week, as well as keeping tension on them for long periods of time. So one of the things I do is I use every gym warm-up–no matter what I am working on that day–do focus on getting the shoulders more volume and work. I also roll shoulders into leg work, trap work, and back work. For instance I warm up for legs with overhead squats, do overhead shrugs (Hise shrugs) for traps, and use snatch grip high pulls and things like that for back work. And I also press with a snatch grip in my warm-ups: see Klokov Press below


#9

I know it’s the hot trend right now but, for shoulder training try some of Meadow’s stuff. Seriously, those swings he advocates are nasty. I found that switching to his style for a bit then going back to a more “traditional” style of training really helped to jump start growth in the shoulders.


#10

[quote]Sancho2812 wrote:
I know it’s the hot trend right now but, for shoulder training try some of Meadow’s stuff. Seriously, those swings he advocates are nasty. I found that switching to his style for a bit then going back to a more “traditional” style of training really helped to jump start growth in the shoulders.[/quote]

i friggin LOVE Meadows swings. been doing them for a long long time now, but stopped to experiment with some other stuff. They’re great.


#11

[quote]Sancho2812 wrote:
I know it’s the hot trend right now but, for shoulder training try some of Meadow’s stuff. Seriously, those swings he advocates are nasty. I found that switching to his style for a bit then going back to a more “traditional” style of training really helped to jump start growth in the shoulders.[/quote]

yup, do this for shoulder day…

also drop upright rows for good -they’re crap for scapular health


#12

wow, thanks for all the info guys… I appreciate it and I’ll def look through it.

My split is usually Chest-Back-Off-Legs-Shoulders-Arms-Off… sometimes moving legs before chest if my arms are still sore. Either way I try to keep chest and shoulders separated by a couple days. I’m gonna try and throw some shoulder work some other time in the week.

I did shoulders yesterday in case anyone’s interested…

Machine Laterals - 3 sets moderate weight
Military Press - 4 sets, 3x135x10, 155x6
Machine Press - 3 sets 90/100/110 8-10 reps
Arnold Press - 3 sets, 45x10
DB Laterals - 3x30x12
Cable Front Raises - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
Rear Delt Flies - 3 sets, 10-12 reps
supersetted with Upright Rows 70/80/90 x10

Good to know I can drop upright rows though! I guess I’ll replace them with hang cleans.
BB Shrugs - 135x20, 225x15x3


#13

Well I am posting this from my phone so I will probly have to come back later to post more (thumb typing is a bitch lol), but id you do sub in hang clean I would do them first in the workout rather than last. If the goal is shoulder however, as opposed to athletic movement, I would do snatch grip high pulls first in the workout (use straps when grip gets to be an issue). Bar should sit right above your hip bones when your arms are straight, so use that grip.

Outside of that I would warm up for chest, back, and legs with something that involves the shoulders. Light weights fine, just get them involved and firing. I’d also look at mountain dog style shoulders if youre going to keep them once a week. I prefer more often personslly, but whstever.