T Nation

Gaining Weight, Upper Body Lifts Not Going Up

I’ve been doing the intermediate bodybuilder starting strength program
So I workout MWF, alternating between the following two workouts.

Workout A
Back Squat 3x5, 1x8
Bench Press 3x5, 1x8
Bent over barbell Row 3x5, 1x8

Workout B
Front Squat 3x5, 1x8
Seated Press 3x5, 1x8
Knee Press 3x5, 1x8

I do the knee press instead of the romanian deadlift, because after squats, I always feel sore in my ass and hams, but never my quads.

Currently, I’m gaining a little over a pound a week (which makes me feel sick since I’m always full). I started at 160 and now am at 165, but all my pressing lifts have stalled.

On the Seated Press, I’m stuck at 135 and on the bench press I’m stuck at 185.

Is this just a problem with Starting Strength, even when modified? Previously, I was doing Max OT, and my bench press and shoulder press were going up by ~5 lb every 2-3 weeks.

[quote]oab729 wrote:
I’ve been doing the intermediate bodybuilder starting strength program[/quote]
I’m going to make a leap and say that, A) An intermediate program is neither appropriate nor necessary for you; and B) A “bodybuilder starting strength” program is an oxymoron of jumbo shrimp magnitude.

That feeling comes with the territory of frequently and consistently eating for size. Good job powering through and sticking with it though.

[quote]I started at 160 and now am at 165, but all my pressing lifts have stalled.

On the Seated Press, I’m stuck at 135 and on the bench press I’m stuck at 185.

Is this just a problem with Starting Strength, even when modified? Previously, I was doing Max OT, and my bench press and shoulder press were going up by ~5 lb every 2-3 weeks.
Not to call bullshit, but I’ll call… um… confusion. Four months ago, you weighed 158 and your bench was 180.

Now you weigh 165 and your bench is 185? But your bench “was” going up 5 pounds every few weeks? As my neighbors to the North might say, what’s that aboot?

And if you were seeing progress with Max OT, though it’s not clear if you were, why’d you change?

Lastly and least important, what in the wide, wide world of sports if a knee press?

Sorry about the confusion. I continued cutting, and eventually, my bench dropped to 175. Then I started eating again. That was about two months ago. Now I’m back to 185, but I decided to try an intermediate progression to Starting Strength because my squat was increasing on Max OT.

I thought I was at intermediate now, because I couldn’t get any more gains in Starting Strength (even though I was eating enough to gain 1-2 lbs/week), having reset all my lifts twice.

Also, I meant the leg press not knee press.

I guess my main issue is that I feel like I’m still a beginner, esp. in terms of my numbers and weight, but I can’t seem to increase my numbers, even though I’m eating enough.

I forgot to answer why I switched from Max OT. The reason was that mainly my squat wasn’t going up and that i didn’t have time in my schedule to workout five times a day or even four times.

Before I pulled my hamstring snowboarding, my squat was 250 3x5, but lately, it’s been stuck at 210 3x5 on Max OT, so I wanted to do a modified starting strength because that’s what got my squat up there. However, the problem from the previous starting strength was that my Bench and shoulder press never really went up.

You arent getting stronger becuase youre doing a dumbass program that isnt forcing you to get stronger. Put some actual demand on your muscle and see what happens.

How bout a 3 way split with 1-2 off days per week.

Back/triceps/posterior delts
Chest/biceps/lateral delts

2-3 exercises for each muscle group. Overlap is a good thing because your volume wont be that high

So would something like this be okay:
A-off-B-off-C-off repeat


Flat BB bench 3x4-6
Incline Dumbell Bench 2x4-6
Dips 2x4-6

Standing Barbell Curl 2x4-6
Reverse Curl 2x4-6

Lateral Delts:
Standing Lateral Raises 2x6-8
Upright Row 2x6-8

Squat 3x4-6
Leg Press 2x4-6
RDL 2x4-6

Shrugs 2x4-6
Snatch high pull 2x4-6

Chin ups 3x4-6
Barbell Row 3x4-6

Close grip bench press 2x4-6
rope extension 2x4-6

Posterior Delts
Band face pull 2x4-6
bent over rear delt raise 2x4-6

One of the things ive laerned over the years about ISOLATION exercises is that doing more sets of one exercise is better than doing fewer sets but adding another exercise.

Meaning: For lateral delt head I think it’d be much better to do 4 sets of the exercise that hits the lateral delt head best instead of 2 and 2.

I’d also add more bicep work. 8 sets of biceps is NOT too much.

I also dont think you need an off day after each workout. Id recommend you NOT do that unless its an absolute necessity. If you dont feel like you need an off day, dont take one.

That isnt a leg workout. Not even close. How about 2-3 sets of leg extensions to pre-exhaust the quads. Then 5 sets of squats everything ramping up of course. Then 3 sets of ham curls followed by 4 sets of romanian deadlift. 5 total sets for quad stuff is a warmup for most people.

Your back is a huge group of muscles. You can not properly stimulate it all with just rows and pullups.

Add a lat pulldown variation, neutral or overhand grip. Id also add rack pulls or kroc rows.

Instead of the rope extensions do PJR pullovers with an ez curl bar. Its sort of like a skull crusher but the bar never comes over your face. It’ll hit the long head. Neither of the things you listed hit the long head partticually well.

posterior delts: same advice as lateral delts.

Good luck. Welcome to a real split :slight_smile:

Thanks Bonez.

The plan Bonez laid out is leaps and bounds better than what you were doing, though I’d disagree a bit with that particular split, but I’m not really a fan of an essential beginner having so much leeway (rest days, sets, reps, etc.). I think it’d be better, for now, to have something a little bit more structured.

Take a look at Dr. Clay’s Blending Size and Strength program:

I think it would be worth following for several months, learning how you adapt and react along the way, and then trying something like Bonez is talking about. Or do them the other way around, make your way through a few months of the mostly-self-made plan and then switching to a pre-designed template that you can better customize.

Just something to think about.

Yes I definitely agree that the plan I laid out is not that basic. A 3 way split with minimal rest tends to become a bit tricky. A 4 way split with one or two rest days is defintiely easier to set up and more simple on a day to day basis.

OP just make sure the program you decide to do is thorough and intense. Thats really it.