T Nation

Back to Square 1, but Am I Truly a Beginner?

I spent some time going through posts by well respected coaches such as Paul Carter (by recommendation of some users), such as the one on volume, and reading his responses. The main takeaways I’ve taken away are

  • get stronger on the compound basic movements in the 8-12 rep range
  • focus on basic lifts
  • 8-12sets a week

About me, I’m 17, and aside from the noobie gains, I don’t think i’ve accomplished anything in two years of lifting weights. impressive other than maybe a physique that resembles a typical high school male. So basically abs and then nothing. I’l, post a physique pic down below because I think it’s useful in judging whether I’m still a noob or not. My goals are to become stronger and bigger, like everyone else here.

My biggest mistake is not listening to users on here that actually gave me good advice. That will change.

I took some time off from serious gym training this past year in order to set myself up for the future (got stellar grades, finished my sophomore/junior years of high school and now I am in a pretty good situation life-wise). I still “trained” the whole time, but it was half assed training and diet, no commitment. Don’t worry, I am going to fix that. I still lifted, put on a tiny bit of muscle, but obviously not as much as it should have been due to poor training/diet choices. Now basically, after two years, I feel that I’m back to square one- good news is that I’m still only 17, learned from my mistakes . And I’m ready to train, I’m getting back in the gym.

There’s not a single gym within a 20 mile radius that is an actual gym, and not a Planet Fitness tier abomination. .So I went and bought my own rack, and barbell, and pullup bar, and some weights. So obviously I’ve got some equipment limitations as to what I can do. Here are lifts I can build my routine around. I organized them in terms of category


  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Press / Push Press
  • Dips (Weighted / BW)
  • Lateral Raises (done holding weight plates)


  • Deadlifts
  • Barbell Rows
  • Pullups/Chinups (Weighted / BW)
  • Rear Lateral Raises (done holding weight plates)


  • Squat (Front/Back)
  • RDL
  • Leg Extensions
  • Lying Hamstring Extensions

I understand this might not be optimal for mass training but it’s better than nothing. So my question is, how would I structure a routine that fits my goals (strength + hypertrophy) and experience?

Should I “pick back up” with a true beginner routine, even though I’ve been lifting for two years?

22 posts were merged into an existing topic: Listening to Paul’s Advice, Optimizing It for my Situation