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Few Gains after Years of Lifting...Suggestions?


First of all, I am no beginner to weightlifting experience-wise, but my strength and physique put me in that catergory. I am 19 years old. Here is a brief history of me and lifting:

I started at 5'8" (haven't grown since), and 130 lbs when I was 16

I used the bowflex off an on, usually about 2 months on, 2 months off, type of deal, with 3 sessions per week. Didn't really do anything but tone my muscles a little. At this point, I weighed 130 pounds.

The summer before I went to college I started "actually" lifting. I went to a gym and worked on the program my college strength coach had designed for my sports team. It was a bunch of supersets of 3x8-12 with you standard exercises - bench/fly/shoulder press/row/curls/pulldown/pull-ups. I used DB for everything.

Since I went to college in the Fall of 2007, I've been lifting 2 days a week with my team during the season, which is Sept-Nov and Jan-Apr, and 3 per week out of season.

I am up to 140 pounds, and I think its all muscle, but I would prefer to gain faster. Maybe 2 pounds per month. Is that unrealistic?

Here are some crude body measurements, hopefully done correctly by me:

                 L              R

wrist 6.375 6.375
forearm 10 10.5
bicep 11.75 12
waist 29.5
Neck 13.25
Calf 13.75 14
Thigh 19.5 19.5
Chest 33.5

As you can see the right side of my body is a little larger despite all the training I've done, so that is an issue too.

As far as strength goes, I usually around this range...DB bench 50's 3 x 12. Squat 155 2 x 20, (I think I need to work on my form though). Lat Pulldown 3 x 12 110lbs. Bicep Curl 25's 3 x 8. I can do 20 chin ups, 40 push ups until failure.

Here is a pic, not flexing. I'm not sure how to add more than one pic to this so could someone let me know?

Am I just not going to gain much muscle right now? Any suggestions/routines? I eat a lot for my size...about 3000 calories a day


Well, the good news is that you look kind of athletic, much better than being fat, or worse, both fat and skinny (overfat with not much muscle). Bowflex will not give you the gains you are looking for, it's (this may invoke some flames) an overpriced gimmick that burns some calories at best.

I'm sure you will get plenty of good advice here, but I'll kick things off: Two pounds per months sounds attainable, but you need to work hard for it: more than your current 3k calories, and up the percentage of protein your calories come from. Do you play sports?

If so, how badly do you really want to gain muscle? Bad enough to drop your other physical activities? Flys are great, but you should probably worry more about compound movements.

Why am I not seeing leg curls and, better yet, deadlifts in your list of exercises? Remember, your legs make up of a lot of your body mass, and big movements (dealift/squat) will make you grow. I guess I'll yield the forum to the other members now...


I am done with the bowflex, that's sold, I agree it was a gimmick. I work out in my college's gym, which is awesome, now. All free weights and dumbells, except for lats and leg curls, (maybe a couple more too).

I forgot to say the work I do now. This is what my coach has designed for us, and its usually some variation of this, but same muscle groups

Squat jumps,situps,ball squats, leg curl, DB incline, chinups, DB RDL, tricep pushdowns, abs (planks 3 minutes)

tuck jumps,russian twists, DB Bench, rear raises, DB Lunge, Supermen, Hypers, Abs (200 reps).

Lunge Jumps, toe touches, walking lunge, SL hip ext, 1 arm DB incline, DB row
Reverse Hypers, Abs, (200 reps)

Me Flexing:


Sounds like you're doing a lot of sports conditioning (jumps, ball squats, tuck jumps, russian twists, dumbell lunge, superman - and what is a hyper?), which I personally like, but won't be the best to gain weight.

Heavy weighted squats, deadlift, bench press, chinups, shoulder press (which I can't do anymore - freakin' rotator cuff), shrug, curls, situps and some kind of triceps exercise (I'm a fan of skullcrushers, weighted dips, and dumbell presses from behing the neck) should, IMHO, be a big core of your routine.


Jesus fucking Christ.

I think my mind just shit blood on itself.

Read this.


I'm going to go eat something now. Which is what you need to do.


I think you should quit OP.


... Dude... I was in your situation at one time.

Your program does not work because it is not designed for your level of performance. What you need is a basic program with basic lifts, low reps (5), and squats 3x a week. One like this has given many people including myself great gains because it is made for the beginner's level of performance. You are a beginner.

Starting Strength.

Do this program. It will work for you. Keep a training log.

Alternate these 2 routines. (eg. first week, ABA, second week BAB)

---Workout A---
Squat (3x5) *as in 3 sets of 5 reps
Bench Press (3x5)
Deadlift (1x5)
Chinups (3x to failure)

---Workout B---
Squat (3x5)
Overhead press (3x5)
Power clean (3x5)
Pullups (3x to failure)

Just try to get all the reps and add weight to the bar each workout. When that stops working, come back to us.

I suggest you buy the book off amazon or ebay.


I'm guessing that happened cause I'm so skinny...haha, I know.

Alright, I will try to eat more. Maybe like 6 regular meals a day or something instead of my current 3 "stuff yourself" meals.


Right, obviously my current program is not going to build muscle, but I have to do that routine with the rest of the guys on my team, workout is mandatory.

So, my question is: If I do my team's workout Mon and Wed, can I do your workout Tue, Thur, Fri? (weight room is closed Sat/Sun). What would be the best way to do this considering I can't drop my teams workout.

Lastly, I am having flexibility issue with squats, I can't get down to parallel, so I'm doing stretching to work on that, but as long as I go down as far as I can without sacrificing form, I'll still build muscle right?


Hyper is short for hyper extension. There's probably a video of it online, but not many people do them. They work your core and you lower back, it like a reverse sit up basically


No, you need to focus on one program or the other. You need rest days. As for your problem with squatting below parallel, go for a wider stance. Practice with just bodyweight until you get it right. You really need a copy of that book I posted.

Starting Stength is THE source for exercise form. That is not my program either. It is Mark Rippetoe's. Do a search at the top of the page for "starting strength" and read up on it. You asked how to build muscle and I am telling you. You have to get stronger on those lifts before the magic happens.

Also you need to be counting calories and increasing the # if you aren't gaining weight. This is regardless of which program you choose.


Right, I figured that would be the answer. Well, basically, since I have commitments to my team (D1 + scholarship...so I can't just quit the weight program) I will have to do your books routine whenever we have some time off (summer/winter). I'll look for that book

Thanks for the advice


I'd have the reps a little higher myself(8 or so), but okay, that is a pretty solid routine. Why only one set of deadlift, though? Here's two more cents: No, I don't think you should incorporate both workout routines, especially since you're kind of ectomorphic in nature.

In the meantime (until your committment is up), make sure you work to failure on those exercises (except for the calesthenic ones, that's next to impossible), and try to optimize your diet.... good food, lots of protein.


take my advice, do deadlifts and eat a lot of food.


I thought the first pic was a before pic...

You got alot to learn, so start reading.


How can you possibly expect 2lbs of muscle per week when you have only gained 10lbs in 3 years, and not all of it muscle.

Any good lifting will contribute to hypertrophy if there is a caloric surplus. Nutrition is the key.

What puts you in the beginner category is this statement

"Alright, I will try to eat more. Maybe like 6 regular meals a day or something instead of my current 3 "stuff yourself" meals. "

The sport of body conditioning is more than about moving a weighted bar correctly. It is the understanding of nutrition, programming, technique and lifestyle.


Nice encouragement. You know, he DID post in the beginner's section. Stop being such an elitist.

OP: Starting strength is probably a good reccomendation. The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat more. Do a Search on "Massive Eating". I garantee you aren't eating enough.


After 3 sets of heavy squats, only 1 set of heavy deadlifts is needed to keep that lift going up.

OP you can't get that book at a bookstore, it has to be ordered off the internet. It's loaded with pictures and illustrations. Covers the basics of what you need to know. I understand you have to do your coach's routine right now. Just do that program when you get the chance. It's a strength program and will make you a better athlete since a stronger athlete will always beat a weaker athlete if the skill level is the same. Good luck!


Please. All of his questions are addressed by the stickies at the top of this section. Starting Strength even has its own sticky thanks to Otep. Did he read any of them?


I actually designed a routine of squat/bench/row/military/dips, with variations like deadlift for squat. Maybe I should have just posted that and asked if it was good. Probably won't be able to do the routine till after college though. Anyways, you guys have confirmed what I've researched, so thanks to everyone for the help