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Detailed Training Plan- Opinions Requested

Hi I’ve been a long time reader of the site and looking to start getting back into the gym after a very long absence. I have read the beginner threads/articles as well as kingbeef’s thread. I know the proven programs most often recommended are more efficient for most people at putting on mass, but my goals are a bit different.

I’m looking to put on about 20-25 lbs of muscle, about 2" in the upper thighs, while ignoring the lats, traps, and obliques as much as possible (the fight club body). I realize this is considered skinny by many, but I just don’t desire to go any further. Although my goals aren’t really the focus of this site, there are so many knowledgeable and experienced people here, I believe the quality of responses on this forum will be far greater than most other boards.

Currently: 5’8 122 lbs, 10-12% bf

Training

Phase 1 (until stagnation, not exceeding 12 weeks) Sets/reps Rest Tempo

Monday: Incline dumbbell press 8-10, 6-8, 4-6, 2-4 3 min 3-0-3
Wide grip dips (Gironda style; emphasis on outer pec) 6 x 8 30 sec 3-0-3
Side laterals (“pouring motion” at the top) 6 x 8 30 sec 1-0-1
Skullcrushers 10-12, 8-10, 6-8, 4-6 3 min 3-0-3

Tuesday: 30 min light cardio (steady state)

Wednesday: Squats 8-10, 6-8, 4-6, 2-4 3 min 3-0-3
Calf raises (squeeze at top) 10-13, 7-10, 5-7 3 min 3-2-3
Neck raise (unrelated goal) 3 x 15 1:30 3-10-3

Thursday: 30 min cardio (steady state)

Friday: Chin-ups 4 x #reps 3 min 3-0-3
Bent-over barbell rows 8-10, 6-8, 4-6, 2-4 3 min 3-0-3
Bicep curls (EZ bar) 10-12, 8-10, 6-8, 4-6 3 min 3-0-3
Reverse curls (EZ bar, supersets) 3 x 15 3-0-3

Saturday: 30 min cardio (steady state)

Sunday: Off

Most sets will not be taken to failure; no forced reps. Failure will be a judgment call, based on feel. Generally around 1 set per lift per week, but can vary depending on feel.

After 12 weeks I plan to do a 4 day split (over 8 days) and train arms 2x a week, since they (specifically triceps) are my weakest part.

Diet

Currently: 2600 kc (training days); 25%-35%-40% (protein/carbs/fat)

Meal Protein/carbs/fat

Meal 1: 2 yogurts 25g/40g/5g

Meal 2: (pre-workout) Meat and rice 28g/37g/16.5g

Stack A: Post-workout drink (consumed immediately after) 0/76/0

Meal 3: (post-workout) Meat and pasta (~30-40 min after workout) 34.5g/42g/29g

Meal 4: Eggs and beans 28g/20g/13g

Meal 5: Meat and vegetables 25g/5g/25g

Meal 6: Cottage cheese and fish oil 25g/5g/25g

Total: 162g/227g/115g

On non-training days I lower protein by 10g and carbs by 25g (effectively 100g since no post-workout drink). Every meal is 3-3 hours 15 min apart. The foods listed are samples, but the substitutions are always very close and the numbers always add up. Whey protein makes me feel terrible so I don’t take it. The only exception is when I’m out on the weekends I’ll have a protein bar as a last resort, as they don’t bother me so much. As for raising calories, I don’t have a way of measuring body fat, so I just go by tape measures, pictures and numbers. I’ve been fat before from overeating, so I have a decent idea about when to raise calories. As for the macro ratio, that is what my body craves based on experience of trying many diets.

Any advice on any of the above, no matter how harsh, would be greatly appreciated. I am keeping a training log, striving to add reps or weight each week and build back my mind-muscle connection. As for training plans, I know this one works for me but there might be many others that work as well or better. I’ve been doing the above plan for 3 weeks and it’s working well. But any suggestions on how to improve it (or reasons to scrap it) would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.

I do not see any reason for fats being over 30%. I would add to the carbs.
All the best!

[quote]Jgrip wrote:

I’m looking to put on about 20-25 lbs of muscle, about 2" in the upper thighs, while ignoring the lats, traps, and obliques as much as possible (the fight club body). I realize this is considered skinny by many, but I just don’t desire to go any further. …

Currently: 5’8 122 lbs …[/quote]

So you want to gain 20-25 lbs while ignoring the largest parts of your back? You’re 122 lbs, you can’t afford to ignore anything. You also aren’t doing any work for your posterior chain. If you ignore your obliques and do nothing for your lower back, what effect do you think that’s going to have on your body or how you squat when you get any amount of weight on the bar.

Your program and training ideas are missing too many things. Don’t try making your own program yet until you understand what you’re doing. If you go through with this program, you’ll just fill your body with imbalances and eventually end up hurting yourself.

I have little to none knowledge on how to make a program…but I LOVE the laterals with the pouring motion at the top, maybe even start off with your arms in a position where you’d end up in a hammer curl then do your laterals like that.

Disclaimer: I have only have a few months experience under the bar. I’ve also done quite a bit of reading. So take that for what it’s worth. As in, just about anything that anyone else says overrides anything I say.

My first impression: what you have is overengineered for your experience level. But as long as you’re willing to make adjustments as you find out what works or don’t work for you, I think that’s ok.

The basic structure of your current program looks ok to me: chest/shoulders/tris, legs/calves/(neck), back/bis.

Exercise selection in general looks ok. I’d be careful with the skullcrushers though and would instead consider other options – read the mountain dog arms article by John Meadows, especially with respect to how he structures the tricep work to avoid aggravating the elbow tendons. (Also, many people on here suggest tricep pushdowns of some sort to warm up the elbows before doing any heavy extensions.)

I also think you should add something for your glutes/hamstrings on your leg day. I like stiff-leg deadlifts.

Volume-wise, you don’t seem to have nearly as much volume per bodypart as most bodybuilding routines. I think if you added more exercises per bodypart OR increased the workout frequency so you were hitting everything twice a week, you’d see better gains.

Diet-wise, I think if you’re serious about gaining the weight, you will need to be taking in quite a bit more than 2600 calories on a training day. I’m not talking about taking in so many you’re getting fat, but rather, taking in enough that you can have high-intensity workout session day after day and be gaining ~1.5-2lbs a week. For me, that number seems to be upwards of 3500 calories a day. When I started, I thought I only needed a little over 2500.

This concerns me a bit, because until you’ve pushed yourself to “failure” and beyond, you won’t really know what your body’s real limits are. As long as you keep adding resistance and/or reps though, you’ll get to that point. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and push yourself to the desired reps, even though you think you’re at failure.

As far as the muscle imbalances that GSD mentioned… I don’t really see it myself – but I could easily be wrong. I think as long as you keep pushing your squats and bb row numbers up, your body should develop the necessary core musculature to support that. I also think the SLDLs I suggested earlier will definitely benefit you.

Now… all of that said… there are plenty of good “beginner” programs that may give you much better results.

The reason you don’t see it is because you

[quote]LoRez wrote:
only have a few months experience under the bar. [/quote]

The program is horribly balanced. You’re going to get little to no progress and end up hurting in the end. There are so many other good routines available on this website, why don’t you just pick one and go with it for a couple of months; a couple of months is nothing in the long run. At least then you’ll get a better idea of what works well and what doesn’t.

[quote]GSD wrote:
The reason you don’t see it is because you

[quote]LoRez wrote:
only have a few months experience under the bar. [/quote][/quote]

I trust you.

just want to point out that OP is ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO POUNDS at 5’8". My girlfriend is considered tiny by all that meet her and weighs this much at 5’6"!

To reach your goal of gaining 20-25lbs, I suggest you first find a way to break out of the POW camp they have you contained in.

Hahaha!

I agree with jskrabac. I try not to laugh in the beginner’s forum because, well hey thats what it’s for: beginner questions. But damn son! You need to eat! And pick a predetermined program and stick with it. You should not design your own program. I can appreciate the desire to learn by doing and the thought it takes to try to work these things out in your head and see if you are right–i’m mostly the same way. But you are going to get subpar results with your program–not enough fundamentals and too much detail (tempo: this is the last kind of detail you need to be concerned about in your position and at your weight!)

Look–you might be right that you end up wanting to stop when you hit 145. I don’t believe you will, but maybe you do. Maybe you’re happy at that weight. Fine. The bottom line is that the most successful programs at getting people to the status of “fucking jacked” are also the best programs to use to get to “fight club” status from beginner newb ranking. The difference is usually the food intake, except that YOU don’t need it. There is no difference in food intake for you–pretend you want to gdt to 200 lbs of pure muscle. Then do everything required to do that until you reach 145/150 and see how you feel.

Get started with a pre-written program. Upper/lower body split preferably in my experience. Body part splits can work but there is no earthly reason you need an entire arm day when you’re 120 lbs.

From what I see, you could use more rear delt/upper and middle back work along with lower back and hamstring. Back/bicep day I would start out with pendlay rows ranging from 6 to three reps focusing on your rhomboids/traps, then followed up by a lat exercise, then weighted chin ups going heavy and trying to use your biceps then some curls for higher reps really focusing on squeezing your biceps.

Leg day would be heavy ATG high bar squats, followed by heavy deadlifts, then good mornings with a wider stance, or stiff legged deadlifts off the floor, or romanian deadlifts this can range between 6-12 reps afterwards high rep calves, and whatever else you would want.

Your chest/tri/shoulder day would probably be best started with a barbell bench of some kind for a lower rep range, then think of a relatively heavy tricep (close grip, floor press normal or close, JM press, anything that you can go heavy on safely that uses the triceps extensively), afterwards some rear delt work and higher rep triceps. (extension of some kind) That’s my two cents on that. There are probably people who can give better advice though…

[quote]Jgrip wrote:
I know the proven programs most often recommended are more efficient for most people at putting on mass, but my goals are a bit different. [/quote]
Your goals aren’t as different as you think. You’re trying to add muscular bodyweight. That’s what 95% of people on this site want to do. The biggest difference is that you’re starting off way behind the curve. That’s a plus, actually, because it mean that your body is primed to soak up the right nutrients if they’re provided and can, initially, respond relatively-quickly to training if you follow a well-designed plan.

[quote]I’m looking to put on about 20-25 lbs of muscle, about 2" in the upper thighs, while ignoring the lats, traps, and obliques as much as possible (the fight club body).

Currently: 5’8 122 lbs, 10-12% bf[/quote]
Brad Pitt was just a little taller than you and around 160 in that movie so, really, you’re looking at a long-term goal of adding about 50-60 pounds and then cutting down to that size.

[quote]Training

Phase 1 (until stagnation, not exceeding 12 weeks)[/quote]
Your training, as has been said, is totally screwed up. Over-emphasizing small details (like rest times and tempo) while entirely missing out on the more important points (like training your entire body for improving strength, total body muscle, and joint health).

Also, “no less than 12 weeks” would be much, much more appropriate.

What is this “unrelated goal” that has you training for a big, weak neck with small traps and a weak back?

Your arms are your weakest part in the same way that bad penmanship is the weakest part of Stephen Hawking’s communication skills.

[quote]Diet

Currently: 2600 kc (training days); 25%-35%-40% (protein/carbs/fat)[/quote]
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

Why? Not only is this an essentially pointless practice, but 10 grams of protein is, what, not finishing two bites of steak?

I promise you, on the fluffy tail of my kitten Mr. Fuzzball, you do not need to base your meals on such a strict timetable.

These, along with your performance in the gym, are actually the more effective measures of progress. Good choice.

What did you weigh when you were fat, and how long ago was that?

What’s your dieting and training experience? How many years have you been at it and what results have you seen?

It looks like this program isn’t as balanced as I thought, but I’m glad I got feedback here before devoting several months to it. Thanks again to everyone who has given advice.

[quote]BHappy wrote:
I do not see any reason for fats being over 30%. I would add to the carbs.
All the best![/quote]

I tried 30% fat and the results were great, but I always craved a bit more. Wouldn’t hurt to try 35% for carbs and fat though.

[quote]GSD wrote:
If you ignore your obliques and do nothing for your lower back, what effect do you think that’s going to have on your body or how you squat when you get any amount of weight on the bar.[/quote]

You’re right, it’ll get injured once the poundages get high enough. I’m not planning on squatting very heavy for a long a time (don’t want a lot of leg mass), but it still needs more balance.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
…[/quote]

Thank you for this reply. You make a good point about the tendons, I think I’ll switch the skullcrushers for a compound move like dips at this point and try french presses after a few months. As for DLs, I’ve never been able to do any variation without lower back pain, but I’d like to at some point.

You might be right about the volume. I’ve never tried a high-volume routine, only low-volume 1x week, taking most every set to failure, and it worked extremely well for large muscles but …less amazingly for smaller muscles like arms and calves. But that might have been due to noob gains and enough calories, meaning almost any good program would have given those results.

[quote]DSSG wrote:
…[/quote]

Thanks, I’m not familiar with a lot of those lifts, will definitely try them out.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Your training, as has been said, is totally screwed up. Over-emphasizing small details (like rest times and tempo) while entirely missing out on the more important points (like training your entire body for improving strength, total body muscle, and joint health).[/quote]

I’m definitely scrapping it. The rest times/tempo were just there so I could track progression easier.

[quote][quote]Diet

Currently: 2600 kc (training days); 25%-35%-40% (protein/carbs/fat)[/quote]
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?[/quote]

Yesterday I ate the exact foods/amounts from the OP.

I promise you, on the fluffy tail of my kitten Mr. Fuzzball, you do not need to base your meals on such a strict timetable.[/quote]

That would be nice :slight_smile:

What did you weigh when you were fat, and how long ago was that?

What’s your dieting and training experience? How many years have you been at it and what results have you seen?[/quote]

I started at ~122, almost 4 years ago and got to 175 at ~15-20% bf in about a year. Most of the gains came from the routine in the OP, but instead of the current chest/tricep day, I did BB bench press, BB shoulder press (same reverse pyramid scheme as the other lifts) and bw dips. Meal frequency was the same and macros were 30p-40c-30f. If the scale didn’t move on a given week, I just added 200 calories.

I got up to 175 and blew out my wrist wrestling. It took years to heal, and during that time I stopped training and eventually lost all of the gains I made. It’s fully healed now and I’m motivated to train again, but I no longer want to put on as much muscle as possible.

I would have just picked a proven program from the beginning but I would still prefer not to put on a lot of mass in the lats and traps (not saying I won’t train them, or want them to be weak, just that I want to limit their growth as much as possible for visual reasons), and considerably less in the quads than I had before. I don’t know of any program written with that in mind so I figured I’d try and come up with one.

Thanks again to everyone that has given advice in this thread, it’s been a tremendous help.

[quote]Jgrip wrote:
As for DLs, I’ve never been able to do any variation without lower back painp[/quote]
That’s because you’ve used this terribly deigned program before, and it left you poorly developed (muscle and strength-wise) and injury-prone. You’ve got to wrap your head around the fact that, whether you think your goal is to build a “fight club-style” body, you need to build muscle from head to toe, to establish a base that’s not there yet, before you think about refining anything or not building anything “too much.”

[quote][quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?[/quote]
Yesterday I ate the exact foods/amounts from the OP.[/quote]
Generic meat, random vegetables, and Acme brand workout shake (Carbs only, no protein. A bad idea). Okay, glad we cleared that up.

[quote]I started at ~122, almost 4 years ago and got to 175 at ~15-20% bf in about a year.

I got up to 175 and blew out my wrist wrestling. It took years to heal, and during that time I stopped training and eventually lost all of the gains I made.[/quote]
So, to summarize: you were underweight, gained about 50 pounds of fat and muscle using an inefficient program, got injured, lost about 50 pounds through inactivity, and now you’re back where you started a few years ago and you’re trying to get slightly-less underweight and your instinct was to go back to the same inefficient program.

It’s fine to minimize direct trap training, bodybuilders like Steve Reeves and Frank Zane have written about that before. But the back is a large chunk of physique real estate and it’s responsible for a lot of strength in other lifts, not to mention muscular balance. Limiting back growth will, inevitably, limit your total growth. And with the size you’re trying to reach, you can’t be that picky yet.

The majority of “powerlifting-style” programs (obviously with monitored nutrition) will primarily build strength moreso than size because powerlifting is weight class-specific. Generally lower training volume (lower reps and fewer sets per exercise/bodypart) and avoiding muscular failure would be the keys.

I honestly thought every male lifter wanted monsterous traps, hell…maybe only I do