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Beach Training for the NOVICE Performance Oriented Lifter?


Hey Christian, quick question please!

I'm a 19 year old weak novice, 6ft tall at 186lbs, at around 20% bodyfat. I've been doing Rippetoes starting strength for 5 months and currently have a 255lb squat, 310lb deadlift,200lb bench press and a 150lb overhead press.

I didn't do too well with the diet, my poor attempt to bulk up left me with quite a bit of flab, hence the 20% bf at 186lbs, increased from 12% at 152lbs.

My current goals are to continue with the program for another 2 months, to squeeze everything i can out of my novice strength gain potential. I'm currently trying to bulk up for my weight class in boxing, i'd like to be at around 170-175lbs and at around 7% bodyfat.

I'm sure you're aware of the starting strength program, but just incase, it's:

3 workouts per week, alternating,


Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Deadlift 3x5



Squat 3x5
Press 3x5
Powerclean 3x5

Sorry for the long intro! Here's my question!

Whilst I have seen great muscle gains in my chest, back, glutes, quads and hamstrings, I have noticed little to no difference in my delts, biceps or triceps. Obviously this is from a vanity point of view and not a performance oriented one.

Though I have seen little development, I lack much development anyway. Whilst having a 42 inch chest, my biceps are a pathetic 14 inches. 14.5 FLEXED!

Would you recommend your 'beach training for the performance oriented lifter' article


for a weak skinny novice such as I?

My dumbbell bicep curl, 3x10 is a struggle using just 40lbs. And my lateral raise is a pathetic 22lbs for 3x10.

Is the program in that article a little too advanced on me, would you recommend focusing on just building strength in exercises like barbell curls instead of changing the exercise each session (cable curls, preacher, etc)? What about the delts and tri's?

I'm not looking for any amazing gains, afterall, 170lbs at 6ft tall is still pretty damn skinny! here's the kind of development i'd like to see in my arms:

I apologise for the long post, I'd REALLY appreciate if you could give me some advice!

thank you!


just a quick note... my diet has been sorted :slight_smile:


I used to ask such questions, until I realized that.......

You expect him to fork over a routine, diet etc when the guy makes a living off of that? And you want it for free?


Perhaps you should reread my question. Then you would come to the realization that I did not ask for any help with my diet, or have asked him to look over my training routine. I'm simply asking whether the program he writes about in his article is suitable for someone of my training experience.

If not, would he suggest focusing on basic exercises such as barbell curls and focusing on getting stronger at it, instead of changing bicep exercises every workout. I also asked if he would recommend this for the deltoids and triceps.



if i was you if focus on getting string a select few exercises, not change every workout


I have to say that you could bring your motivation up a little. (you could listen to one of Skip LaCour's motivational speaches!)
I'm 6'2", 188 lbs 8-10% bf and my liftings stat are pretty much what you posted (I'm just with 5 lbs stronger on both db curls and lateral raises) and I have to say that my biceps are 14 inches (flexed) and my chest 43 inches(unflexed).
You'll inprove over time.

Regarding biceps stuff I have to say that CT recommands fatigue loading with medium volume (read his recent articles about HP Mass and scrubb through his lates work and posts in the forum). As for triceps he sais that a circuit of 2-3 exercises repeated 4-5 times with 6-8 reps (max reps with a weight you can lift properly for 6-8 reps) and for shoulders 3-5 exercises in a circuit for 2-3 times (look at the upper body workout in the training lab).
BUT if you're a newbie I (and I guess CT too) would recommand a lot of heavy pressing work and
and minimalf (if any) triceps and delts isolation work. For biceps there's an article with 3 videos (for the lats and biceps work) that CT posted a while ago.

The point is to keep it simple in the newbie stage. It's important that you learn how to auto-regulate and ramp up the weight from instinct.
BTW, the answer to all your nemesis lies within nutrition. Make sure you cut the junk food short and eat at least 1 g of proteing per pound (preferabely 1.5 grams) and 2 grams of carbs per pound (I usually do 2.5 or so but it's because I'm getting leaner while consuming preety high carbs, considering that I never did a low-carb diet and started at 15% bf at 160 lbs.)

I hope this helps.


thanks guys! how about after each training session, 3 times a week, I perform a superset of barbell curls (or dumbbell) with a tricep exericse? and then a superset of deltoid and trap work? such as in the article? You said i shouldnt perform any direct tricep or delt work if i'm heavy pressing a lot, but i'll only be benching or overhead pressing 1-2 times a week, and only 3 sets at a time as this is what is called for in the starting strength program.

Basically, I'd love to be able to perform the 'beach training for performance oriented athletes', but i'm just unsure if i should be changing exercises so often. Would I benefit more from sticking to just barbell curls and improving strength with that for now, instead of changing each workout? Does it really make much difference?



I would go with 1-2 times (not too much because you're a newbie) work for triceps, delts and traps. I recommand throwing one exercise for each muscle-group in a max-rep circuit repeated 2-4 times. For biceps I'd go only onece a week (and mainly doo what Thib did in the Lats and Bi's video) and I'd recommand using preacher curls over bb curls (and include brachialis training too). The exercise selection doesn't matter much but don't change it very often especially when you're a beginner.

Keep in mind that the more work that socks the body the more you'll grow in a short period of time but it will decrease the growth in the long run (I said that from experience).

Also strive to know more about muscle-building and do some research on biomechanics, anatomy, CNS and work load.

EDIT: An advice regarding volume (and one of CT's mottos): THE MORE VOLUME YOU CAN DO WITH A RELATIVELY HEAVY WEIGHT (60-85% of your 1RM for your experience) WITHOUT ECEEDING YOUR CAPACITY TO RECOVER, THE MORE YOU'LL GROW.

Don't forget NUTRITION and hopefully you won't make the same mistakes I did as a beginner (like emphasizing the eccentric too much, cheating movments and not doing proper form on the big exercises, etc).