T Nation

Can't Gain In the Right Places

Here is the issue and know I will take some heat with this as well but I am hoping to get some advice

 At 6 ft 185lbs I know I need to put on more size to look bigger, better but the size I get normally makes me look worse and I cant seem to get any width no matter what exercises I choose.

The fat goes right to the waist so I immediately look worse but the real problem is a good amount of the size goes to my chest. I have narrow shoulders that point down at almost a 45 degree angle and my chest is already bigger than I would like it.

So I know I need to squat, bench press, row, etc and eat big and I am doing that now (slow bulk)and I have no problem gaining weight but I have never happy with the results. So what do I do and can you actually change the shape of your body?

Someone else is going to ask you this anyway so I might as well, but what do you actually do in the gym?

Post a sample week for instance by day and it’ll make it easier to diagnose your problem and offer advice.

[quote]Eric22 wrote:
can you actually change the shape of your body?

[/quote]

Seriously?

Its imposible to change the shape of your body, this bodybuilding thing is all bullshit.

All these people that have before and afters used photoshop and Ronnie Coleman was born that big.

Yep…

Dude, It sounds like your diet needs attention. Without feeding your body right, it won’t grow. If you gain weight around your waist easily(which I do) maybe try something like “The Anabolic diet” which primes your body for usinf fat for energy, and builds muscle like crazy. I have used it for the last 2 months now, and have bee getting some good results, especially strength wise.

It depends on whetheyou respond well to carbs or not. I dont, and like you said, gain weight around my waist as well as everwhere else, even when eating a moderate amount of carbs. That is why I decided to try the AD, which is working. When it comes to gaining width, I too had this problems, so I payed more attention to shoulders and back developement earlier in the week, which worked!

Make sure you do chins, and bent over rows for back, plus whatever else you want. For shoulders, heavy presses plus good negatives on lateral raises!

Different things work for different ppl. I am just letting you know whats working for me.

Good Luck

Sounds like your nutrition and workouts are ineffective.

Try posting a accurate full-day honest example of your diet and in detail describe your workout week and a workout-log.

Thanks guys
My diet is very strong , I read everything Berardi writes but, I eat veggies every meal, 8 meals a day and protein at every meal. I do have about 4 cheat meals a week. 10% of overall calories.

Here is what an average day looks like roughly:

WORKOUT DAYS 3800 cal 375 P
325 C 110 F
NONWORKOUT DAYS 3200 cal 370 P 145 C
120 F

All carbs on nonworkout is from veggies, little fruit and incidentals in nuts, cottage cheese, etc.
So I try and keep carbs down and get most around workout and a few meals after

My problem is always when its time to bump calories where to add them to.

Workouts
I have tried many different ones and I try to progress but I do stall pretty easy. The one I am doing now is 3 days a week, fairly low volume. For back
I do 5x5 wt chinups and 2x8 rows and for shoulders I do DB Press and Lateral raises. Chest right now is only 3x5 in the incline, I always try and keep chest low volume.

Hurt my back about a month ago doing dead lifts but its almost better and I will add squats back in. Right now its leg presses and leg curls.

My maxes arent great but they are up 30lbs on this last bulk 320 Deads 315 Squats, I stopped flat benching its just too hard on my shoulders. I can incline about 200lbs.

Dude, you need a LOT more volume. You didn’t say what sets/reps you are using for leg press and leg curls, but if it is the same as what you are doing for back, chest etc it is nothing.

I prescribe a course of Bill Starr’s 5x5. Either buy Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength or go to http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/table_of_contents_thread.htm#PART%20I:%20The%20Program

This program will grow meat on a gravestone.

Seriously your meal plan is way too complicated. Get down some solid meals and make sure you are gaining weight. All you need is enough calories and some protein at least 100 a day.

Start doing some heavy volume programs. Go 6 weeks with 4x10 then 6 weeks with 5x5 heavy at least 75% of 1rm. Try getting new PRs.

Pretty obvious why your shoulders suck. You need some heavy military press and more volume on bench press.

[quote]Eric22 wrote:
Thanks guys
My diet is very strong , I read everything Berardi writes
[/quote]

Maybe that’s your problem.

Diet works I am gaining weight and i get tons of protein.

Workouts are the issue but I dont recover from that much volume. I mean I am very sore and i dont progress.

5x5 wipes me out if I do if for every exercise. I go back and the next workout I am not any stronger.

I do some sets 5x5 like back and was doing squats that way before I got hurt.

[quote]Eric22 wrote:
Diet works I am gaining weight and i get tons of protein.

Workouts are the issue but I dont recover from that much volume. I mean I am very sore and i dont progress.

5x5 wipes me out if I do if for every exercise. I go back and the next workout I am not any stronger.

I do some sets 5x5 like back and was doing squats that way before I got hurt.
[/quote]

OK, obviously you need to get used to the volume first. Do the 5x5 program I linked to, but for the first six weeks or so don’t try to increase the weight. Also, use a weight for the straight 5x5s that you could lift for 10 reps without killing yourself. Where you are ramping the weight up, your last set could be a bit higher. This should be fairly easy.

Eventually you will get used to it and the soreness will go away. Then you can start to make some serious improvements in strength and mass.

[quote]Eric22 wrote:
Diet works I am gaining weight and i get tons of protein.

Workouts are the issue but I dont recover from that much volume. I mean I am very sore and i dont progress.

5x5 wipes me out if I do if for every exercise. I go back and the next workout I am not any stronger.

I do some sets 5x5 like back and was doing squats that way before I got hurt.
[/quote]

The problem is your perception, and always has been. I often wonder why those who hang on every word of “insert favorite author here” seem to be having all of these problems with gaining muscle mass. You would think they would be passing everyone else up in terms of progress if the Holy Grail was truly following every word from whomever.

Your original post screams, “I can’t deal with any fat gain at all and shoot myself in the foot if I don’t see ONLY gains in muscle mass”. Someone like that will always have problems like the ones you listed.

Your routine isn’t one you constructed based on your individual needs…it is one you copied. Do you even know why you are doing everything that you are? Why “5x5”? If I were having all of those problems, I would quit doing what was causing them.

You were told your diet is too complicated. Your response is that you are following Berardi and then you go on about how strong it is. Gee, if you believed that, then why would you be complaining?

Here’s a hint: “your diet is too complicated”. Your routine sucks if your shoulders are lagging that much. Your approach sucks if you are getting injured that often at your stage of training. How many more posts before you realize that you need to go back to the basics and that no one cares how many authors you can quote?

today’s article is about exactly what you are asking about:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1529595

sure it has ‘Figure Competitors’ in the title but muscle is muscle.

the article is about bringing up certain body parts (in your case shoulders) while either maintaining or decreasing others.

flame away everybody…

Now i know what i’m getting into here but what needs to be said, needs to be said. You need to focus on a little more isolation/assistance work if you aren’t gaining in the right places.

Blasphemy!!! Listen it’s not. The point of bodybuilding is to shape your body, and if you aren’t gaining muscle where you want then it takes common sense that you need to focus more attention on your lagging areas. I’m just saying that you are taking everything that you have been told as is and neglecting assistance work.

I bet you have one of those Bench, Squat, Deadlift, Military Press, and that’s all routines. Now these are fine and dandy, but in order to “tailor” the muscle to go where you want then you need to go into more focus on the muscles. Hmmm, kinda like one of those split routine things you here people talking about.

Like it has been stated, compound moves are fine for mass,(for instance the squat) but the body doesn’t care that you just want massive quads, it just knows that a big weight is falling on you and it will use the best muscles possible to do the job, instead of the muscles you want to target. That is why isolation exercises should be a part of your workout routine.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
Now i know what i’m getting into here but what needs to be said, needs to be said. You need to focus on a little more isolation/assistance work if you aren’t gaining in the right places.

Blasphemy!!! Listen it’s not. The point of bodybuilding is to shape your body, and if you aren’t gaining muscle where you want then it takes common sense that you need to focus more attention on your lagging areas. I’m just saying that you are taking everything that you have been told as is and neglecting assistance "work.

I bet you have one of those Bench, Squat, Deadlift, Military Press, and that’s all routines. Now these are fine and dandy, but in order to “tailor” the muscle to go where you want then you need to go into more focus on the muscles. Hmmm, kinda like one of those split routine things you here people talking about.

Like it has been stated, compound moves are fine for mass,(for instance the squat) but the body doesn’t care that you just want massive quads, it just knows that a big weight is falling on you and it will use the best muscles possible to do the job, instead of the muscles you want to target. That is why isolation exercises should be a part of your workout routine.

[/quote]

At 6ft 1 and 185, I don’t think the OP is quite ready for this yet. His main need is overall mass.

To the OP. You may think your diet is spot on, but if you are gaining in the “wrong” places then this could be where your problem lies. Berardi’s approach is good, but not right for everyone. However, you MUST accept that some fat is going to come along with the muscle.

My recommendation would be to try one of the various low carb approaches on this site, eg anabolic diet, T-dawg 2.0. Experiment and find what works for YOU.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
At 6ft 1 and 185, I don’t think the OP is quite ready for this yet. His main need is overall mass.
[/quote]

And you think isolation exercises cause someone to not gain overall mass? I can only say I am glad I didn’t have this line of thinking thrown at me when I started. That may be why I didn’t have all of these problems. This shit is common sense. Anyone will have lagging muscle groups if they do NO isolation exercises AT ALL. Some of you sound like you listen to some of the stuff you read way more than you listen to your own body.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
At 6ft 1 and 185, I don’t think the OP is quite ready for this yet. His main need is overall mass.

And you think isolation exercises cause someone to not gain overall mass? I can only say I am glad I didn’t have this line of thinking thrown at me when I started. That may be why I didn’t have all of these problems. This shit is common sense. Anyone will have lagging muscle groups if they do NO isolation exercises AT ALL. Some of you sound like you listen to some of the stuff you read way more than you listen to your own body. [/quote]

Did I say this? I think you’ve misunderstood me. My point is that an emphasis on isolation exercises at this point in his lifting is not likely to be all that helpful.

He is already struggling with what appears to be minimal volume. Until he gets a handle on that, he is best off concentrating on the “most bang for your buck” exercises.

When he can handle a decent volume of them at decent weights, then add isolation stuff by all means. But a couple of cycles of 5x5 isn’t going to hurt anyone.

BTW, I don’t think the OP has lagging muscle groups. I think he has an obsession with excessive leanness which is causing him to be concerned about the little bit of fat that comes with added muscle. Come on, at 6ft 185, ALL his muscle groups are lagging.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
At 6ft 1 and 185, I don’t think the OP is quite ready for this yet. His main need is overall mass.

And you think isolation exercises cause someone to not gain overall mass? I can only say I am glad I didn’t have this line of thinking thrown at me when I started. That may be why I didn’t have all of these problems. This shit is common sense. Anyone will have lagging muscle groups if they do NO isolation exercises AT ALL. Some of you sound like you listen to some of the stuff you read way more than you listen to your own body. [/quote]

Did I say this? I think you have misunderstood me. My point is that the OP is already struggling with a feeble volume of a very limited range of exercises.

He needs to build up work capacity more than anything. In the process of doing so, via a solid, proven program like 5x5, he will add considerable muscle and strength. Then he will have the foundation on which to build the superstructure.

Another point: compound exercises that use lots of big muscles have greater potential for stimulating growth hormone release. Thus it is possible to get a reasonably balanced (obviously not to bb standard) physique without doing lots of isolation exercises. Not to mention that a lot of lifters don’t care about the aesthetics as much as you.

BTW, I think as far as the OP is concerned, ALL his muscle groups are lagging. I think like a lot of young guys he has an obsession with being lean which is getting in the way of him building any appreciable muscle.

He should probably throw away all his mirrors, find a gym without them and spend the next two years trying to become the biggest, meanest, strongest mofo in the gym. (If he finds a gym without mirrors, he probably won’t succeed, but it will have done him no harm trying.) Much like what tora no’ shi has achieved.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
Professor X wrote:
sharetrader wrote:
At 6ft 1 and 185, I don’t think the OP is quite ready for this yet. His main need is overall mass.

And you think isolation exercises cause someone to not gain overall mass? I can only say I am glad I didn’t have this line of thinking thrown at me when I started. That may be why I didn’t have all of these problems. This shit is common sense. Anyone will have lagging muscle groups if they do NO isolation exercises AT ALL. Some of you sound like you listen to some of the stuff you read way more than you listen to your own body.

Did I say this? I think you’ve misunderstood me. My point is that an emphasis on isolation exercises at this point in his lifting is not likely to be all that helpful.

He is already struggling with what appears to be minimal volume. Until he gets a handle on that, he is best off concentrating on the “most bang for your buck” exercises.

When he can handle a decent volume of them at decent weights, then add isolation stuff by all means. But a couple of cycles of 5x5 isn’t going to hurt anyone.

BTW, I don’t think the OP has lagging muscle groups. I think he has an obsession with excessive leanness which is causing him to be concerned about the little bit of fat that comes with added muscle. Come on, at 6ft 185, ALL his muscle groups are lagging.[/quote]

I didn’t misunderstand you at all. The “biggest bang for his buck” is learning how to work everything. That includes the suddenly hated “isolation exercises” that people are somehow mistaking for some right of passage when most people don’t need to be avoiding all movements like that.

Unless someone is so weak that they don’t even have average strength for an untrained person, they need to work everything. That includes lateral delt raises and direct triceps training.

This fad has gotten a little out of hand when you won’t find many bodybuilders over the last 50 years who approached training that way unless they started as strict powerlifters.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
My point is that an emphasis on isolation exercises at this point in his lifting is not likely to be all that helpful. [/quote]

Who said anything about “emphasis”? How is doing tricep pushdowns after benching and doing flyes “emphasizing” isolation exercises?

You guys act like anyone who says do isolation work is telling people to skip bench, squats, and dead lifts. Where has any advocate of isolation exercises ever said to skip prime-mover exercises?

Please cite one credible example.

He needs to concentrate on working harder in the gym. If he can’t handle a one-hour workout (and if you can’t finish in an hour, you’re screwing around), then he needs to find another hobby - since it’s obvious bodybuilding is not his lifestyle.