T Nation

Getting Big and Strong

Yes, I would do squats and deads if you are sure you can do them with proper form.

[quote]Vicomte wrote:

If you’re a little scared, then it’s heavy.[/quote]

x2

this instructor told you not to squat or dead, smile sweetly and ignore him

Yeah,

It’s a good post. You have some valid questions.

Right now since you are brand new at lifting, I would look towards the 5 rep programs. Getting a base level of strength is by and far the best way to maximize future gains, while making great gains immediately.

Look at the Starting Strength program. Keep a log. Lift heavier every single week. It’s a simple program that is ridiculously effective, easy to follow, and most importantly, taps into the progressive-nature that motivates most of us to keep doing what we do.

Recap:

Trainers/Instructors are good for beginners with little to no motivation. Otherwise, this site used properly trumps any one instructors philosophy and experience.

Lift heavy, run the Starting Strength program as prescribed!

Eat properly. Start educating yourself on what your diet needs to look like to achieve the goals you set.

Execute! No fucking around with short term mindsets. This is for life. Don’t make excuses to miss even 1 session.

Squat and Deadlift. Period.

Good luck!

[quote]Dissonance wrote:

Squat and Deadlift. Period.

Good luck![/quote]

x2

I’m going to start “Starting Strength”, the question is when. I was hoping someone would give the reply I’m waiting for to this post:

It doesn’t look like anyone will, so I’m going to have to ask my more specific question here (didn’t want to hijack the dudes thread).

I’m getting pretty good results with the routine I’m doing at the moment (as well as it being better suited to my schedule; 3 days a week non-consecutive is slightly akward, and I still need to buy the book).

Anyway, in relation to the question in the post above, would it be better for me to continue the routine I’m currently doing, getting decent results, then after the 8 weeks (as planned; I’ve done 3 so far) switch to Starting Strength. As DLs and Squats will be new to me, I’ll get good gains for longer. Or just drop what I’m doing now and switch to Starting Strength?

I guess the real question is: If I don’t switch to Starting Strength now will I miss my opportunity to get some huge beginner gains, or by switching in 5 weeks make it last longer?

I don’t think you’ll miss out on too much in the way of newb gains if you wait to finish your current program, since you say you’re getting decent results.

That, of course, depends on how good your current program is. If there are lunges in it for leg work, if there’s compound movements in it, then there’s a good chance you should stick with it for a while more. If it’s all isolation or machines, then you should rethink it.

Heavy lifting is whatever is hard for you to complete all the reps on. If you’re having trouble getting all 12 reps after your first set, it’s still hard. If you can lift all 3 sets and be able to do a few more reps, it’s not hard and you need to up the weights.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a 3x10-12 routine. It’s just not something to get stuck on permanently. IMHO a beginner is better off putting a good amount of volume in the program, and a good way to do this is more reps. Besides, the coordination needed to do heavy lifts at 5 reps isn’t quite there yet. And in any case, too many people are afraid of “overtraining”–volume in your routine right from your noob stage gets you used to working hard and being sore, and keeps you from being so scared of overtraining that you don’t work hard enough to make gains.

c) Failure/non-failure—it depends. Lifting to failure is not something to be worried about when you’re after gaining muscle. However, when doing strictly low rep strength or power work, it is more of a concern. Besides, there’s more than 1 way to define failure–you could fail at every set, or you could fail at the last set of your exercise. I wouldn’t suggest lifting to failure at every set of every exercise (for now). Define it as failing on the last set. Lift to failure for now. If you complete all your sets, move up in weight.

d) kettlebell will not hold you back from size for the moment, AS LONG AS the weights you are lifting are still hard for you to complete all the reps with, or you fail towards the end of them. If you are completing all the sets/reps that you are told and still have more energy, then the kettlebells aren’t heavy enough and are holding you back.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

That, of course, depends on how good your current program is. If there are lunges in it for leg work, if there’s compound movements in it, then there’s a good chance you should stick with it for a while more. If it’s all isolation or machines, then you should rethink it.
[/quote]

I think my current program is reasonably good. I go 3 times a week doing 2 muscle groups a day (Chest + Triceps, Back + Biceps, Legs + Shoulders). I start off by working the bigger muscle groups first, since they hit they the others. There are some isolation exercises in there for sure, but I think they are mostly compound - although I don’t really know.

I was mostly just worried about number of reps (been told it’s too many by a number of people), lack of weight (since I was told to not worry about increasing yet, but I’ve been able to do it all from the start, which seems too easy), and not doing squats and deadlifts (which, from what I understand, are the two major lifts when it comes to getting stronger and bigger).

I actually have another consultation with the guy in 5 weeks, maybe he’ll get me onto deadlifts/squats then.

a) refer to my answer for d.

b) refer to this link to determine what constitutes a respectable weight: exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm

c) Did your fitness instructor specifically instruct you not to do squats or deadlifts? Did she also tell you not to do power cleans? Or did she just not mention either of these exercises? Perhaps you should just ask her to instruct her in the proper execution of a squat or deadlift.

d) First off, you haven’t told us what your goals are. This is part of the problem with your questions. Is your goal to look good naked? Are you trying to put on as much muscle as possible for football? Wanting to compete in a local powerlifting meet? Each of these different goals will necessitate a different approach to reach that goal. Secondly, failure means different things to different people. You can find articles on T-Nation about it and you can find flame wars about it in the forums. Doing curls until you can’t do any more curls is not such a big deal. Doing deadlifts until you can’t do any more deadlifts will really hurt.

e) You should give your body time to recover. At first, since you are young you might be able to adapt fine. As you are lifting heavier weights, you will find that you really really just need to rest, eat and sleep during your off days. So maybe some kb swings on your days off, but not a huge amount. I used to do them and found that lots really killed my lifting progress. Great form of man-cardio, though.

As for the other question re: changing Starting Strength, don’t mess with the program. Unless you’ve trained more people than Rippetoe and you are smarter than him. :slight_smile:

Good luck young newbie! You can do it!

[quote]palindrome wrote:
b) refer to this link to determine what constitutes a respectable weight: exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm
[/quote]

Thanks.

[quote]palindrome wrote:
c) Did your fitness instructor specifically instruct you not to do squats or deadlifts? Did she also tell you not to do power cleans? Or did she just not mention either of these exercises? Perhaps you should just ask her to instruct her in the proper execution of a squat or deadlift.
[/quote]

He just didn’t mention them. If he doesn’t next time, I’ll certainly ask him to show me them though. I did some squats and deadlifts on Tuesday, but I’m not sure if it felt like I wasn’t doing them right because I’m not used to it. I only felt it in my legs (and can still feel it!), so I’m taking that as a semi-good sign, as in I’m probably not doing them too badly to begin with.

[quote]palindrome wrote:
d) First off, you haven’t told us what your goals are.

Is your goal to look good naked?
[/quote]

I guess so. I just want to get a lot bigger, whilst being functionally strong. I don’t want to get freakishly huge, but a lot bigger than I am now. I don’t really care about visible abs, I just don’t want to be fat.

[quote]palindrome wrote:
So maybe some kb swings on your days off, but not a huge amount. I used to do them and found that lots really killed my lifting progress. Great form of man-cardio, though.
[/quote]

I prefer snatches personally, but I’ll do swings as well. How many do you consider lots? I was going to do as many as I could in 2-12 minutes (amount selected by rolling two die), although I couldn’t do that right away with my 24kg - keeping good form anyway - and I can throw around my 16kg like it’s nothing, so I’ll probably stick with the 24 (should have bought a 20).

If I were you, I would get Starting Strength and read and re-read it in 4/5 weeks it’ll take you to complete your current programme…

My college course involves becoming a qualified gym instructor and after gaining experiance in quite a few gyms, it has become apparent to me that the vast majority of gym instructors do not know their stuff when it comes to strength and size training. Not to say that your instructor does not know anything, it’s just something to be wary of…

Get Starting Strength. Go mad and spend that $30. Here’s an Amazon link(be sure to get 2nd Edition)-

Do not, and I really mean this, do NOT attempt to simply find the programme on this site or anywhere else on the net and take it from there. The book gives very in-depth, detailed and most importantly necessary descriptions of the proper executions of the exercises, what muscles they work, why and gives many helpful tips on common errors and avoiding injury. And gives all this information in a very simple and clear manner.

Nothing can compare to the book. Please just take my word for it, you will not regret buying this book.

Best of luck

Pay attention to your progress. If you’re not making any, stop with the kb.

And if you want to put on lots of muscle follow Jereth’s advice; get SS, and make it your bible, torah and/or koran for a year or so.

I’m respectfully disagreeing with both Jereth and palindrome. Frankly I don’t like Starting Strength a whole lot. It’s useful for some newbs, but for the most part I think a more volume oriented program is better.

I used to think it was more useful, but I’ve been changing my mind recently…This is becoming more and more clear to me because of the increased amount of people worrying about overtraining when there’s no possible way that can happen. IMO a lower volume program feeds into that mentality.

RE: your concerns–don’t pay attention to the people who are telling you it’s too many reps, unless you’re doing 8 exercises every training session (not including abs). Correlating to my first point in the first paragraph, I often wonder how the people that tell others not to do so many reps every workout could conceivably get through HSS-100, one of the best mass building workouts there is. They must wilt just looking at the volume. I don’t buy it unless the exercise selection is excessive and/or you’re doing all your work at 6 or less reps.

The lack of weight is a minor concern but easily fixable–you move up in weight for an exercise when you’re able to do all the reps in each set for it.

The squats/deadlifts is the biggest concern, but really if you’ve got lunges in there for legs along with some other stuff you’ll be ok until you can see him in a few weeks. Ask him to teach you proper technique for the lifts and put them in the program. If he doesn’t want to, THEN we’ve got a big problem. They are the two best mass and strength builders, but there are also good substitutes for squats when you’re getting into learning how to lift.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
RE: your concerns–don’t pay attention to the people who are telling you it’s too many reps, unless you’re doing 8 exercises every training session (not including abs).
[/quote]

I’m doing 6-7 exercises (not including abs) each workout.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
The lack of weight is a minor concern but easily fixable–you move up in weight for an exercise when you’re able to do all the reps in each set for it.
[/quote]

I’m doing that now, and every workout this week has been a lot harder than the previous 2, so I’ve felt it more, which I’m very happy about.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
The squats/deadlifts is the biggest concern, but really if you’ve got lunges in there for legs along with some other stuff you’ll be ok until you can see him in a few weeks. Ask him to teach you proper technique for the lifts and put them in the program. If he doesn’t want to, THEN we’ve got a big problem. They are the two best mass and strength builders, but there are also good substitutes for squats when you’re getting into learning how to lift.[/quote]

I do Leg Press, Leg Extensions, and Hamstring Curls. I’m not sure how good any of those are; pretty sure the only compound one there is Leg Press, and I’m only just starting to get to a point where I have a reasonable idea of how much I should be lifting on it (still haven’t found where I max out yet - by max out, I mean unable to perform 3 sets of 12 reps - but I was closer today than the previous 2 weeks).

My legs get a ridiculously easy time with my current workout, which is why I was really concerned about not doing squats/deadlifts.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
I’m respectfully disagreeing with both Jereth and palindrome. Frankly I don’t like Starting Strength a whole lot. It’s useful for some newbs, but for the most part I think a more volume oriented program is better.

I used to think it was more useful, but I’ve been changing my mind recently…This is becoming more and more clear to me because of the increased amount of people worrying about overtraining when there’s no possible way that can happen. IMO a lower volume program feeds into that mentality.

RE: your concerns–don’t pay attention to the people who are telling you it’s too many reps, unless you’re doing 8 exercises every training session (not including abs).

Correlating to my first point in the first paragraph, I often wonder how the people that tell others not to do so many reps every workout could conceivably get through HSS-100, one of the best mass building workouts there is.

They must wilt just looking at the volume. I don’t buy it unless the exercise selection is excessive and/or you’re doing all your work at 6 or less reps.

The lack of weight is a minor concern but easily fixable–you move up in weight for an exercise when you’re able to do all the reps in each set for it.

The squats/deadlifts is the biggest concern, but really if you’ve got lunges in there for legs along with some other stuff you’ll be ok until you can see him in a few weeks. Ask him to teach you proper technique for the lifts and put them in the program.

If he doesn’t want to, THEN we’ve got a big problem. They are the two best mass and strength builders, but there are also good substitutes for squats when you’re getting into learning how to lift.[/quote]

This is the internet, you can’t disagree respectfully.

I think we a need a “newbie” program round table where all the cookie cutter programs like SS, 5x5 Variations, WS4SB etc are decomposed and analysed.

[quote]echelon101 wrote:
I think we a need a “newbie” program round table where all the cookie cutter programs like SS, 5x5 Variations, WS4SB etc are decomposed and analysed.[/quote]

Agreed. That would be very handy to link to.

@ w00tage—That’s a retardedly easy leg workout. Get him to give you something with balls. You could even just add 3 sets of lunges before those exercises and it would get harder, and better. Just make sure you’re stretching your stride out and not shortening the steps when you do lunges. Hell, replace leg extensions with pull throughs so it’s

lunges
leg press
pull-throughs (look up how to do them on this site)
leg curl

That’s a good set-up. 2 exercises that involve the quads, 2 that focus on hamstrings. Lunges SHOULD focus on the whole leg (re: stretching your stride out to get the hamstrings and glutes involved in the lunge rather than just a quad dominant short stride). But there’s a lot of quad involvment there so they’ll get worked well.

5-6 exercises is generally the highest I go in 1 workout, but if you’re doing only 3 days a week and working each body part only once you can probably do 7, for now.

I wouldn’t suggest sticking to 7 for a long time though, just because the last 1 or 2 exercises always suffer because you’re tired. But because you’re working only a body part only 1 time a week, you need to get a lot of volume to it.

[quote]chimera182 wrote:

This is the internet, you can’t disagree respectfully.[/quote]

Fuck you fucking fucker. I hate you. You deserve to die, die and burn in hell. I hope you get raped…twice. Maybe then you’ll change your mind you bastard.

Is that better??

[quote]w00tage wrote:

I guess so. I just want to get a lot bigger, whilst being functionally strong. I don’t want to get freakishly huge, but a lot bigger than I am now. I don’t really care about visible abs, I just don’t want to be fat.

[/quote]

I think this statement clearly defines why SS is perfect for him.

I’m not saying SS is perfect, but these goals are exactly the type of results it boasts and will give him a brilliant base of strength from which to work from in future

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
My advice is don’t think as much as you are right now. Lift heavy, and eat big. That’s the best thing you could do.[/quote]

x2 Thinking = bad at this stage.