T Nation

Get Strong on Basic Exercises for Size?


It's a been awhile since I've posted here and from my previous thread, my speed and strength have increased considerably. Now I'm more focused on gaining muscle, and a lot of it. It seems from all the advice of the vets such as holymac, dave, carnage, bug, and others the number one thing is to get strong in the hypertrophy range, say 8-12.

I hope this is different as I'm not the person who likes any isolation. I like doing the minimum, meaning if squat, bench, and deadlift, and overhead press is all I need, that's all I want to do. Actually that's what I prefer because I really can't do much after going balls to the wall on these lifts and the more isolation lifts to me means less chances of PR's the next workout.

Could I do a workout like this: Ramp up with warm-up sets of 4, possibly 5-6 warm-up sets. End exercise with one working all-out set of 8-12 reps, and another set with same weight trying to as many reps as possible.

Sorry if this seems like a retarded post, it's just that the weight I can do on skull crushers or flies doesn't mean shit to me anymore. In fact, I'd rather work on these exercises than work on rows, chin-ups, stiff-legged deadlifts, or even close-grip bench press. I don't mind someone telling me this is a fucking stupid post, but I would love some advice. In the end all I'm trying to do is do what I think is best for gaining muscle: putting up heavier weight using good form and mind-muscle connection in the hypertrophy range.

Literally like this:
Bench-switch between incline/flat
Squat-switch between front/back

Deadlift-switch between sumo/high-hips position
Standing Overhead Press


My first bit of advice would be to at least include those four exercises you just disregarded.


Hey man, long time no talk. Thanks for the advice from the previous thread. Actually the reason why I didn't want to include them is I train really hard on any set now, not to brag. I literally won't stop til I cannot do another rep with proper form. So it really hurts my performance the next day. I've been training 2 days on, 1 day off. This is the routine:

The two days:
Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Chins 15-20 total reps, add weight or use assisted.
Optional: Cable rows, 3x8 bicep work, 3x8 rear delt flyes, do this at your own discretion. If you don't feel like it, don't worry

Front squat 3x5
MP 3x5
Deadlifts 1x5
Optional: 15-20 reps of dips, 3x8 tricep work

Each workout takes me 2 HOURS TO FINISH.


This is the BB forum so take what I say with a grain of salt, I care way more about strength.

I'm actually doing something similar to that right now, and getting damn good results on it, strength-wise, not physique-wise as it's too short a period to tell. However I'm 100% positive it's not gonna be effective as a long term program.

Honestly, if you are working hard enough on the big lifts, I think it's fine to stop there. Sometimes.

For instance, 5/3/1 with BBB template.

Again, I'm way more worried about strength, and this probly won't work forever. But if you are seeing good gains, maybe stick with it til you don't.

One thing that does stick out though, on your B day, you got 7 sets of work total, with some 'optional'. That's damn near 20 minutes per set, if it takes you 2 hours. Sure it's big lifts (and I assume near maximal loads, as per your description) but that's a while.

Anyways, bottom line: what you are doing isn't necessarily terrible, but I think it's not tailored to your goals, at all (hypertrophy)


Yeah,I can't figure out for the life of me why I can never get out under 2 hours. I do tend to have one time every workout that I happen to talk for ten minutes with someone. If I'm honest, I probably rest 3-5 minutes between every set because I train every set balls to the walls. but even then, that still doesn't add up.


poor conditioning


Is that you in your display pic? Because if it is it's obviously working for you. So keep truckin on I guess.


This. I don't care how hard you train, it doesn't take 20 fucking minutes to recover from a set.


............. HOW does doing this take TWO HOURS????? B workout can be easily done under ONE.

something does not compute.


Sincerely doubt he'd be asking questions as basic as these if it was him....

OP, neglecting isolation work doesn't mean you'll make more progress in "big" lifts. If you only do bench for chest and triceps, whichever one is dominant will start doing more and more of the work, while the other falls farther and farther behind. Isolation work for the lagging one will help it to stay on par with the dominant part, which results in a stronger lift, and more well-rounded body. This applies to all compound lifts.


Sound approach to get stronger in the basics, but I wouldn't get locked into any rep range. Stay in a range for a while and milk it for as much as it is worth, but if you stop being able to increase the load, change it up. Do you ever go into higher rep ranges? 12-15? Can be a bit of a shock if you hang in the low rep ranges for a while.

I too am using a minimalist approach and I am enjoying the progress. Between a vertical push, vertical pull, horizontal push, horizontal pull, hip dominant, knee dominant, and some rotational work. Loaded carries are fun too, and it is something that I should be more diligent about doing.


Yeah, must be. I'm really pushing for a plate squat for 5 reps by the end of this month. Actually I'm really trying to push every exercise up 5 lb each workout. And it is tiring trying to do 5 reps when you're only able to do 4. Doing that for 3 sets makes me want to faint. That last 5th rep takes almost 7 seconds to get to the top. Front squats is easier and seems to progress very well.


Oh damn, I wish, but probably no for at least 2 years.


You're right. Maybe I have to start watching rest time. Keep in mind for chin-ups and other 20 rep exercises, I use 4 sets to get to 20 reps. Probably only other assistance exercises I may go as high as 8, if my body allows, but heavy training is the name of the game for every exercise.


See what I mean? Maybe I should start wearing a stopwatch. But if I'm already this tired, I wonder what cutting the reset periods will do to me. Also, that's 20 sets. So 10 minutes rest per exercise I suppose.


So true. Looks like I'll have to spend more time trying to stick it out.


Am I reading this correctly? You're pushing to squat 135 for 5 reps right now?


It's 315 for 5 reps LOL. I made another thread called "point me in the right direction." I'd appreciate your advice in it as well.