T Nation

Getting Stronger While Getting Bigger

I’m just stuck as to how to program my upcoming block of lifting (I go by semesters which are 3 months long) Ultimately the goal is to get bigger but I am currently pretty weak so I’m thinking about working on maximal strength while adding size specifically to the bench press and overhead

Would a undulating/conjugate method where I have a heavy day and a volume day in one week be optimal? In that case how would I measure progressive overload (I’m at a point where I have a hard time just adding weight to the bar)? Total volume wouldn’t work as I would never be able to surpass the volume day’s volume on the heavy day, or do you keep these separate and just measure density for each day as a benchmark? Or projected 1RM?

At a 200pound 1RM bench (for calculation purposes) this leads to

Ex) Monday - Bench Press 85% 1RM 8*3 Total volume: 4080

Friday Bench press 70% RM 4*10 Total volume: 5600

Help would be greatly appreciated!

I think you are overthinking this. It is going to be VERY hard to get bigger without getting stronger. Pretty much every decent program out there is going to do it for you. Conjugate, undulating, DUP, 5/3/1, Cube Method, Juggernaut, etc etc. Do whatever you like and you’ll succeed.


What’re your lifts at? How tall are you and what do you weigh right now? Can you still make daily progress, weekly, or monthly?

1 Like

In General;

Let the days be Separate. The whole point of two different workouts (or 2 “intensity zones”) is that they are a “break” from each other. Heavy is more weight, less reps, so less volume. Light is less weight but more reps for more volume.

Heavy Day #2 builds off Heavy Day #1.

Light Day #2 progresses off of Light Day #1.

More Specifically;
I think 8 x 3 is too much for heavy day. Other programs (Texas Method/ Bill Starr/ Wendler 5s Pro/ Westside) Ramp to a single heavy workset on heavy day.

Also, I really like Heavy/Light or Undulating, so it’s totally cool. But that doesn’t mean it’s Optimal or Best. Plenty of routines have the heavy and light work together in 1 session.

1 Like

We definitely need your current height/weight/fat level and your current PRs on the big lifts. Knowing the context will help to setup a plan.

But there was an article the other day that basically discussed this exact situation - increasing strength in order to add size: https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-build-your-rep-strength-build-more-muscle

Long story short, work on getting stronger for reps. So, using your example, work on going from 70%RM 4x10 to 80%RM 4x10.