T Nation

Bulking Advice Needed

Been lifting for 2 years, seriously for 7 months. My nutrition is good, would definitely consider this a dirty bulk. Clean high in protein food first but I’m not afraid to put down some Oreos if needed. I would consider myself a true ecto, but onto the question. Keeping in mind that nutrition is good what would be the best rep count for majority of my lifts, I’ve been going with 4x4 an 5x5 for most exercises.

Can I drop even lower? say 2 or 3 reps for strength. Should I stay where I’m at or raise even higher. Any advice would be appreciated

I most definetely did not make this up but a saying around here is “train for strength eat for size”.
Another line I’ve always liked is, 3-5 days a week 3-5 exercises per day 3-5 sets per exercise 3-5 reps per set

Current stats? Lift? Goals? WEDYEY?

That might be useful to provide to give a starting point.

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
Been lifting for 2 years, seriously for 7 months. My nutrition is good, would definitely consider this a dirty bulk. Clean high in protein food first but I’m not afraid to put down some Oreos if needed.[/quote]
Your profile says you’re 6’2" and 163. Is that current? What did you weigh 7 months ago?

No offense, but I’m not sure it really is.

There’s no one magic rep range. And even if there were, reps are only part of the picture. Total volume (sets and reps) plays a much bigger role in building size vs strength. 8x4 will do different things to your body than 4x4.

Yes. To all of them. Including some work with lower rep/heavier weight, moderate rep/moderate weight, and (occasionally) relatively-higher rep stuff is fine.

Really though, the best bet would be to pick a program and follow it for at least a few months. That would kickstart you in the right direction. There are plenty to choose from.

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
Current stats? Lift? Goals? WEDYEY?[/quote]

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
Been lifting for 2 years, seriously for 7 months. My nutrition is good, would definitely consider this a dirty bulk. Clean high in protein food first but I’m not afraid to put down some Oreos if needed.[/quote]
Your profile says you’re 6’2" and 163. Is that current? What did you weigh 7 months ago?

No offense, but I’m not sure it really is.

There’s no one magic rep range. And even if there were, reps are only part of the picture. Total volume (sets and reps) plays a much bigger role in building size vs strength. 8x4 will do different things to your body than 4x4.

Yes. To all of them. Including some work with lower rep/heavier weight, moderate rep/moderate weight, and (occasionally) relatively-higher rep stuff is fine.

Really though, the best bet would be to pick a program and follow it for at least a few months. That would kickstart you in the right direction. There are plenty to choose from.[/quote]

7 months ago i weighed 150 and Ive been fluctuating between 161 and 163 for the past 2 weeks. I feel pretty good about my nutrition, diet is 50% protien 30% carbs 20% fats with protein intake around 220grams a day (lean meats, eggs, etc)

And i train 4-5 days a week spilt being
day1:legs, (consisting of back squats, front squats, leg press with maybe some lunges. Some calf work as well)
day2:back, bis ( deadlifts, lots of pull ups, rack pulls, and rowing movements which i like to switch up)
day3:chest, tris (flat bench, dips, incline bench, flys)
day4:shoulders (overhead press, then front raises, laterals and rear delt flys)
day5: any weak points, i usually just end up training legs again
I try to stick mostly compound lifts. goals are for size and strength

Should I go with less exercises but higher volume, say 8x4 for maybe 2 or 3 exercise per body part?

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
Should I go with less exercises but higher volume, say 8x4 for maybe 2 or 3 exercise per body part?[/quote]

One way to look at it – and there’s many ways to look at it – is to keep the total reps somewhere in the 24-32 range.

3x8 tends to focus more on size, while 8x3 tends to focus more on strength.

Another way to look at it is that doing more work at 85+% 1RM will increase strength, and more work at 60-80% will increase hypertrophy. Of course, if you look some of the 1RM calculators, you’ll be able to do 3-5 reps at 85-93% of your 1RM, and you’ll be able to do 8-12 reps at 65-80% of your 1RM. Basically the same thing.

If you’re tired of 5x5 and 4x4, one way to work is to stick with 3-4x8-12 until you stall, then work in 3-5x3-5 until you stall, then switch back.

Just some options and info to work with.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
Should I go with less exercises but higher volume, say 8x4 for maybe 2 or 3 exercise per body part?[/quote]

One way to look at it – and there’s many ways to look at it – is to keep the total reps somewhere in the 24-32 range.

3x8 tends to focus more on size, while 8x3 tends to focus more on strength.

Another way to look at it is that doing more work at 85+% 1RM will increase strength, and more work at 60-80% will increase hypertrophy. Of course, if you look some of the 1RM calculators, you’ll be able to do 3-5 reps at 85-93% of your 1RM, and you’ll be able to do 8-12 reps at 65-80% of your 1RM. Basically the same thing.

If you’re tired of 5x5 and 4x4, one way to work is to stick with 3-4x8-12 until you stall, then work in 3-5x3-5 until you stall, then switch back.

Just some options and info to work with.[/quote]

thanks for the replys, definitely got some things to think about and try. With strength will come size so im going to mix it up and keep my body guessing

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
7 months ago i weighed 150 and Ive been fluctuating between 161 and 163 for the past 2 weeks.[/quote]
Under pretty much no circumstances would I consider a gain of 12 pounds over 7 months time anything close to good work for someone your age and size. Not to burst your bubble, but you probably would’ve gotten those “gains” whether you were lifting or not.

What’s your long-term goal?

You’re tall and skinny (ditch the “ecto” label), which means you need to try even harder to stick with a high calorie eating plan, consistently, seven days a week. The biggest plus you have is your age. You’re still young enough that you should respond really well to basically eat a shit-ton and training hard as balls. Sounds simple, but if there’s a time in your life to go crazy eating and lifting, now is it.

The biggest mental hurdle guys your age have is their abs getting blurry. With those tattoos (which do look pretty sick, nice work), I’m guessing your instinct is to try to stay lean while building size, which is the slow route there and definitely isn’t the best idea for someone starting off where you are.

Check this article for some more tips. Especially think about the “hour of power”, basically sitting down for 60 minutes twice a week and making believe you’re a cybernetic eating machine sent from the future to destroy buffet lines.

Um, I’m not a math whiz, but if you’re eating around 220 grams of protein… and your protein is 50% of your daily calories… you’re only eating like 1700 calories a day. Dude, a junior high girl might eat that during tennis season, not a guy who’s lifting weights trying to get bigger. But you’re not afraid to put down some Oreos if needed?!? Brotherman, they’re needed.

Also, a low fat diet is one of the worst things for building muscle. Not only are fats essential for hormone production and other keep-your-body-working stuff, but they’re a dense source of calories. If you think you have a high metabolism, increasing the healthy fats in your diet is a simple way to increase your daily intake.



The WEDYEY that Apoklyps mentioned stands for: what, exactly, did you eat yesterday? So we can get an idea of what you’re actually doing food-wise.

[quote]Fabrezeo wrote:
With strength will come size[/quote]
This is 100% untrue if you avoid a surplus of calories.

Powerlifters train for strength and avoid size by, basically, not eating too many calories. That’s pretty much the path you’re on right now.

“Keeping your body guessing” is the last thing you need. You need consistency. Consistently eating more than enough calories, seven days a week and month after month to make the scale move, and consistently lifting while increasing your strength week after week after week.

If you are an ecto I would definitely recommend more than 20% carbs, I’m surprised nobody mentioned that. If you have trouble gaining weight and have a fast metabolism, don’t listen to those people that say the only carbs you can have is ezekiel bread and 1 lick of a dried prune. You need that insulin son, and carbs give it to you.

I promise you won’t just wake up and be a fat ass like many will have you believe, the fast metabolism individual should liken their dietary struggle to someone climbing a steep cliff. It takes a lot of work to go up, some work to stay put, but if you do nothing you will slip back down. Likewise it will take you eating real big to grow, eating big to stay put, and no effort to lose weight.

As far as lifting protocols go, when I was a beginner and considering sets/reps I would base it off of 3x8=24 and try to ball park total reps to land somewhere in the mid twenties, while keeping the weight something just shy of failure for completion of the set.

So thats 3x8, 4x6, 5x5, 6x4, 8x3… you get the picture. It worked as a gauge to ensure a consistent volume for big lifts. Smaller isolation moves need more volume because they are less intense and thats where you tend to employ your dropsets, stripsets and things like that.

However when trying to train for strength I quickly realized that it helps to pyramid your way up to your max attempt, in fact that is predominantly how I train for strength, leading each of my workout sessions with a heavy single for each of the big lifts, nailing each 2x per week, I wouldnt start that way though or you will fuck up your joints. 8 reps 6 resp 4 reps 1 rep. Or something like that depending on how many increments you need to go up.

Don’t be that guy who goes up in increments of 5 lb plates its a waste of energy, 3-4 sets bumping up 40-50lbs a time (maybe less if your numbers are low to start). But dont forget you need volume as well, so after its best to drop the weight back and do a working of set or two of 8-10.