T Nation

Got As Far As I Can Go on My Own

I think it’s safe for me to be a little cocky and say that I’ve made some pretty good progress over the past year and a half, but I’m also man enough to say that I need the help of T-Nation’s finest. So tear me a new one, what do I do?

I’ve heard more than once that my chest and arms are my weakest spots. My legs aren’t huge, but I’m not planning on going on the stage or on the field, and they put up big enough numbers for my size. (though if anyone has any ideas to increase those numbers as well, I’m not about to turn that away)

I lift for the love of lifting, and I want to get put up bigger numbers every week. I’m currently increasing my bench 10 pounds a month, and my squat at about the same. I’ve been lifting for about 5 years, but lifting right for only 8 months (since college started). I’m currently on a split training plan, in the order: chest-back/shoulders-legs-arms. I don’t dedicate a day to abs, I feel that squats and deadlifts and power cleans and pullups do enough.

As for the workout:

Day 1:
Bench (3x6 at 235)
Incline Bench (3x6 at 185)
Decline Bench (3x6 at 205)
Flyes (3x6 at 60 each)
Cable Crossovers (3x6 at 100 each)
Incline Flyes (3x6 at 50 each)
Narrow Grip Bench (3x6 at 170)
Decline Flyes (3x6 at 55)

Day 2:
Pullups (3x10 at bodyweight)
Lateral Raise (front) (3x6 at 35 each)
Lateral Raise (side) (3x6 at 37.5 each)
T-bar Rows (3x6 at 180 minus bar)
1-hand Rows (3x6 at 95)
Shrugs (3x6 at 100 each)
Power Cleans (3x6 at 165)
Super Longpull (3x6 at 160)

Day 3:
Squats (3x6 at 330)
Deadlift (3x6 at 330)
Leg Press (3x6 at 540)
Front Squats (3x6 at 225)
Calf Press (3x6 at 420)
Seated Calf Press (3x6 at 135)

Day 4:
Chin Ups (3x10 at bodyweight)
Decline Skull Crushers (3x6 at 100)
Incline Curls (3x6 at 40)
Overhead Tri Ext (3x6 at 100)
BB Curls (3x6 at 95)
Tri Rope Pushdowns (3x6 at 80)
Wide Grip BB Curls (3x6 at 85)
Tri Bar Pushdowns (3x6 at 100)
Narrow Grip BB Curls (3x6 at 80)

I use a treadmill to walk in between sets, it times how long you walk so I can easily keep my resting down around a minute, where if I just sit there I zone out.

Just a heads up to anyone getting ready to suggest using sets of 10+ reps, that doesn’t work for me, I lose strength very quickly that way, and don’t gain quickly. I did that over the summer last year, and wasn’t stupid about anything, I just didn’t gain. At all. For 4 months. Seriously, my max’s stayed exactly the same for 4 months, I’m not stretching the truth to make my way seem like the only way. I don’t know why, it just happened. Also, I like the strength gains I’ve been getting with splits, so if you could keep that constant, I’d appreciate it.

Is the fact that my back day is right after my chest day a problem? or that my arms are at the end of the workout? Obviously I don’t know much about what I’m doing, I just try to read what the authors put up. Also, why is it that my brother (who’s in pretty much the same shape as me, fat %-wise) has a bigger chest, but smaller bench numbers? I can outdo him in any chest lift, but he’s got the big pecs. Why is that?

In case noone read my other post about “plasma donations,” I’m going to put my new stats up at the end of the summer, and if I get a program on here that works well, you all can help create the idea that donating plasma helps improve your performance in the weight room. :stuck_out_tongue: Oh, and in the summer, I’m biking to the weight room, so keep that in mind.

I’d like it if after about 5-10 responses, we could get a general idea as to what I should do, I’d hate it if we got a bunch of smart guys coming in here with completely different workouts, all of them telling me to do theirs. Thanks in advance, I hope you all know what you’re doing. haha

Oh, and not to suck up, but Christian Thibaudeau is my T-Nation hero, so if you could put some of his ideas to use, that’d be great.

Uhhh… If your adding 10# per month then it seems to me like you don’t need help, yet. It is kind of interesting given your training protocol.

I would take out about half the lifts per day and double the sets. If you think your chest is lagging then put more work in for it.

If you’re so hot for CT then why don’t you just try one of his training programs? I don’t know how I came up with that idea, I just did. It must be some kind of divine stroke of genius. I must have been fated to put that together for you.

Good luck sir,

-chris

You definitely look like you lift heavy. Just going by the numbers, I’d say your back needs help though. 3x10 for bodyweight pull-ups is weak. Get a dip belt and start piling on the weight.

Since you like Thib a lot, give HSS-100 a shot, and just keep all the reps on the low end.

Scrap what you have and do this:
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459276
Optimized Volume Training.

CT designed it.
It’s a split, just like you’re already doing.

Oh, BTW, good progress. If you hadnt’ve posted the ‘before’ picture I would have yelled ‘Eat!’ or something.

Now it’ll be ‘Eat sensibly’.

if you love what you’re doing and you see results… wait, what was your question again?

Well good progress so far. Your routine needs work though–there’s way too much stuff there to make the most of each and every movement.

haha ya I guess I kinda forgot to say that I want a bigger chest and arms.

otep, I like the idea, but I’m going to have to put that in my “favorites” for now, it just won’t fit in with the plasma donation thing. I need all the extra cash I can get with this college reaching into my wallet twice a year. However, I will try that in the fall.

I think you’ve done a great job so far. You’re putting up good numbers as well. You’re actually a thinner (less fat) version of me. You stated that you train for strength, but have a lot of isolation exercises. Compound lifts (I’m sure you know) give the most bang for your workout buck.

I’m not going to suggest Rippetoe, but I do think you could take advantage of Bill Starr’s 5x5.

http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm

or Stronglifts Advanced

Lots of compound lifts. No isolation exercises. If you really feel that your arms are lacking, you add chins and dips.

Whereabout in MI are you?

Eppert, you seem to do a lot for your chest already so adding more may not improve your chest.

How about changing it up? I’m not saying these are the best parameters but try a set/rep scheme where you are doing around 24 to 30 total reps per exercise. I would recommend cutting some of the chest exercises if you are adding reps.

Example:

Bench 5 x 4
Dips 4 x 6
Narrow Grip Bench 4 x 5
Inclined Bench 3 x 8
Flyes 3 x 12

I know you said high rep exercises (10+) don’t work for you but perhaps if you had low rep and high rep exercises your strength won’t diminish.

Do you use a barbell or dumbbells for the bench, incline bench, decline bench? If you use barbell try experimenting with dumbbells for those big lifts.

Hmm alright, reading the 2 suggested by dude, and I’ll try using dumbells more often for benches. and I live in marquette, but I’m going to college at MTU. you?

Albron, think it’d be ok if I continued to use the bar for flat bench press though? It’s just that I like the idea of putting on the same weight that I used to max at last summer, this summer. you know, suprise some people I haven’t seen in a year.

EDIT: bill starr’s 5x5 looks a lot like CT’s OVT. I’m just looking at it from a glance, but that’s what it looks like so far. am I right?

[quote]Eppert wrote:
EDIT: bill starr’s 5x5 looks a lot like CT’s OVT. I’m just looking at it from a glance, but that’s what it looks like so far. am I right?[/quote]

Minus the extended negative part on OVT and the fact that OVT is a split and Bill Starr’s is a full-body program… yeah.

If you bench already quite a bit and you don’t feel that it is growing your chest then it might not ever help grow your chest. some people are mechanically inclined to bench with their arms more and some are inclined to bench with there chests more.

As such it might be a good idea for you to look up CT’s article on how to bench differently in order to work your chest more. that or get out the DB’s or hand sliders if you have them. Dips with chains around the neck might also target your chest as well. It should be growing along with everything else.

-chris

I would say keep using the bar for the bench. I’ve heard that DB bench strength doesn’t equate to BB bench strength. I would agree from my experience.

My reasoning for using more DB movements would be to get a wider range of motion and hopefully stimulate the arms into growing more. Anyone have say yeah or neigh to this?

[quote]albron wrote:
I would say keep using the bar for the bench. I’ve heard that DB bench strength doesn’t equate to BB bench strength. I would agree from my experience.

My reasoning for using more DB movements would be to get a wider range of motion and hopefully stimulate the arms into growing more. Anyone have say yeah or neigh to this?[/quote]

But he didn’t say he wanted to be “stronger” on bench. He said he wanted to “develop” his chest more. So it really is a null point if DB doesn’t translate into BB. DB will on the other hand allow him to put more of the work into the pecs and remove it from the triceps to some extent.

I would also say neigh to using DB bench to develop the arms. there are better movements for developing the arms like dips and arm specific work.

So in this case it’s not a “Question of Strength.” Oh no what a terrible joke, tragic.

-chris

[quote]albron wrote:
I would say keep using the bar for the bench. I’ve heard that DB bench strength doesn’t equate to BB bench strength. I would agree from my experience.

My reasoning for using more DB movements would be to get a wider range of motion and hopefully stimulate the arms into growing more. Anyone have say yeah or neigh to this?[/quote]

When i was younger i never used the bar because i didn’t have any one to spot me so i used dbs, when i started training with a mate i was able to bench 100kgs with the bar a after two weeks of using the bar it just took me a week to get the bar balance.

So for me personally i think if you have a strong db you will have a strong bb. It might not go the other way round because you go a fraction lower with the db then you do with the bar. But i am no expert

[quote]Avocado wrote:

But he didn’t say he wanted to be “stronger” on bench. He said he wanted to “develop” his chest more.
[/quote]

wrong, and right, in that order.

in my first post to start this thread, I mentioned my fondness of putting up big numbers, but I only mentioned it so I can see why it was missed.

I just don’t understand how my bench can increase, but my chest doesn’t. OK, that’s a lie, I know that if my arms took most of the pounding…but my flyes are increasing as well (from 45 in fall to 60 now). I also maxed out the flye machine up here for 6 (200 lbs) with good form (thanks to the many many mirrors in the weight room haha), but my chest is still small.

[quote]Otep wrote:
Minus the extended negative part on OVT and the fact that OVT is a split and Bill Starr’s is a full-body program… yeah.[/quote]

haha ya, like I said, just a glance.

oh, and since we have the thoughts of using better chest-specific exercises, what are the thoughts on arms? why can’t I get them to grow, even though the numbers are going up? I think they’ve grown 1 inch since June.

[quote]Eppert wrote:
Avocado wrote:

But he didn’t say he wanted to be “stronger” on bench. He said he wanted to “develop” his chest more.

wrong, and right, in that order.

in my first post to start this thread, I mentioned my fondness of putting up big numbers, but I only mentioned it so I can see why it was missed.

[/quote]

My bad. what i was trying to say was that strength increases in your bench (for now) likely won’t help develop it size wise as well as other movements. Like I said learn to “squeeze bench” (as described in on of CT’s more recent articles on chest training. In fact why not try the HSS-100 chest training routine?)and you can help recruit more chest muscle but id say there are better options.

[quote]

I just don’t understand how my bench can increase, but my chest doesn’t. OK, that’s a lie, I know that if my arms took most of the pounding…but my flyes are increasing as well (from 45 in fall to 60 now). I also maxed out the flye machine up here for 6 (200 lbs) with good form (thanks to the many many mirrors in the weight room haha), but my chest is still small.

Otep wrote:
Minus the extended negative part on OVT and the fact that OVT is a split and Bill Starr’s is a full-body program… yeah.

haha ya, like I said, just a glance.

oh, and since we have the thoughts of using better chest-specific exercises, what are the thoughts on arms? why can’t I get them to grow, even though the numbers are going up? I think they’ve grown 1 inch since June.[/quote]

Arms are hard to grow. they look in proportion to your body and you should likey think of gaining some more overall back/chest/leg mass and they will be able to grow more.

-chris

I’d hate to go all frankenstein on CT here, but I think I might have to, and “modify” his plans a little, because I have schedule conflicts with the way it’s spread out. maybe if I…I’ll see if I can move some things around. I know it’s set up the way it is for a reason.

[quote]Eppert wrote:
Hmm alright, reading the 2 suggested by dude, and I’ll try using dumbells more often for benches. and I live in marquette, but I’m going to college at MTU. you?
[/quote]

Sorry man, I live 20 miles North of Detroit. Could use a good workout partner.

Tech is a great school. Engineering major or playing hockey? < joke>