T Nation

Hard Time Putting On Muscle

Okay, here’s the deal. I’m not a beginner to weightlifting, but am somewhat newer to bodybuilding. I train 5 days a week- each body part only once, but I need some help with my routine. Each time I go to train, I try to completely and totally exhaust the muscle group I’m working, so that by the end of my workout, I can’t lift even the lightest of weights. Every last set is taken to failure.

Only problem is, that most of the time, I keep on going because I havn’t exhausted the muscle group, even though I’m lifting heavy as I can and even though the sweat is flowin’ off me; so I keep on adding extra sets or reps… I know that more ISN’T better, but I can’t help adding more.
Here’s my routine at the minute…

(Each follows after a 10-minute light jog)

Mon - Chest;
Incline Bench Press 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Bench Press 3 X 6 - 8 reps
Decline Dumbell Press 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Cable Cross 3 X 12 - 15 reps
Incline Flye 3 X 12 - 15 reps
Dumbell Flye 3 X 12 - 15 reps
Dips To Failure

Tues - Back;
Bent Over-Row 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Wide Grip Pull-Ups (Machine Assist) 3 X 6 - 8 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Seated Cable Row 3 X 10 - 12 reps
One-Arm Dumbell Row 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Close Grip Lat Pulldown 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Staight-Arm Pulldown 3 X 12 - 15 reps

Wed - Shoulders + Traps;
Military Press 3 X 6 - 8 reps
Arnold Press 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Upright Dumbell Row 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Front Raises 3 X 12 - 15 reps
Lateral Raises 3 X 12 - 15 reps
Rear Delt Machine Raises 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Shrugs 3 X 15 reps

Thurs - OFF

Fri - Arms;
Alternating Dumbell Curls 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Cable Hammer Curls 3 X 8 - 10 reps
Concentration Curls 3 x 8 - 10 reps
Cable Ez Bar Curls 3 x 12 - 15 reps
Weighted Dips 3 x 8 - 10 reps
Rope Pressdown 3 x 8 - 10 reps
Dumbell Kickbacks 3 x 12 - 15 reps
Diamond Push-Ups To Failure

Sat - Legs;
Leg Press 4 X 8 - 10 reps
Horizontal Leg Press 4 X 8 - 10 reps
Quad. Extensions 4 X 12 - 15 reps
Lying Ham. Curls 4 X 12 - 15 reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 3 X 10 - 12 reps
Calf Raises 3 X 15 reps
Seated Calf Raises 3 X 15 reps

Sun - OFF

Sometimes I’ll even do slightly more if the muscles aren’t exhausted…

I’m an 18 year-old, 130lbs, 5% bodyfat and 5ft 10. I’m having a hard time putting on any any muscle (about 5 weeks of training and 1lb of muscle and a couple of pounds of fat.) Am I over-training?

My diet is great- it’s pretty much totally clean, I never cheat and I usually end up getting around about 200g of protein a day and 2800 calories. I really need some help here- please criticise anything, or gimme suggestions guys

[quote]watermelon_2001 wrote:
My diet is great- it’s pretty much totally clean, I never cheat and I usually end up getting around about 200g of protein a day and 2800 calories. I really need some help here- please criticise anything, or gimme suggestions guys[/quote]

Try just these 2 things:

  1. Hit each muscle group 2 times a week.

  2. Start cheating in your diet…you are eating too little. Add at least 500 calories at first and see if you add weight, if not, add another 500kcal after a couple of weeks. Have a decent size PWO shake as well, say 600kcal.

[quote]watermelon_2001 wrote:
My diet is great- it’s pretty much totally clean, I never cheat and I usually end up getting around about 200g of protein a day and 2800 calories. I really need some help here- please criticise anything, or gimme suggestions guys[/quote]

If you’re not gaining weight, it’s your diet. If you’re not eating enough to fuel growth, you won’t gain. Eating clean isn’t always the best plan when you’re trying to get bigger. Why don’t you give us a better layout of your diet, what you eat, when you eat it, PWO nutrition, etc. Then people could give you some better advice.

3 things:

  1. Eat more.

  2. Eat a lot more.

  3. Try a 4 week phase of heavy strength oriented training to switch things up. Lower the volume, and go to 3-5 reps for your first 2 exercises (after warmups).

Eat more. And cheat if you have to.

My diet is pretty good, I think;

9.10am Get Up

9.30am Breakfast;
80g Oats
200ml Skimmed Milk
Scoop Whey Protein
Medium Banana
Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
Cup of Black Coffee
Multivitamin Tablet
(640 Cals/ 45g Protein/ 85g Carbs/ 15g Fat)

12.15pm Snack;
100g Turkey Breast Meat
2 Slices Wholemeal Bread
Tbsp Salsa
Lettuce
Medium Apple
(365 Cals/ 35g Protein/ 50g Carbs/ 5g Fat)

2.45pm Lunch
100g Tuna
Tbsp Light Mayonnaise
200g Mixed Beans
300g Boiled Sweet Potato
(540 Cals/ 40g Protein/ 90g Carbs/ 5g Fat)

4.15pm Pre-Train
3 Creatine Capsules
Cup of Black Coffee

TRAIN 4.30 - 5.30/ 5.45

5.45pm - 6.00pm Post-Train
3 Creatine Capsules
40g Dextrose
20g Chocolate Milkshake Mix (with added vitamins)
28g Instant Skimmed Milk Powder (with added vitamins)
Scoop of Whey Protein
(430 Cals/ 35g Protein/ 70g Carbs/ 2g Fat)

7.30pm Dinner
100g Wholewheat Pasta
100g Tomato Pasta Sauce
115g Tinned Salmon
Tbsp Light Mayonnaise
Salad
(555 Cals/ 40g Protein/ 70g Carbs/ 15g Fat)

10.30pm Late Snack
150g Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
20g Milled Flaxseed
2 Ryvita Crispbread
(280 Cals/ 25g Protein/ 20g Carbs/ 10g Fat)

11.00pm Bed

Total;
Calories- 2810
Protein- 220g
Carbs- 385g
Fat- 52g

(This is an example of what I’m eating today- usually the fat content is higher, around about 60 - 70g)

Have a look over and tell me what you think

Eat more like others said a LOT more anmd rest more

Phill

Yeah you could use more food, anything lite, fat-free, or skim is no good for you right now.

I agree with everything said above.

Another tip. Your diet is too clean and flavorless. Bulking is a magical time when you don’t have to eat fish from a can. Don’t be afraid of beef, cheese, etc.

If you’re trying to bulk you shouldn’t just not be afraid of beef, meet in general, cheese and other things like that. You should love them more than your mother.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for relationship damages caused by the loving of one watermelon_2001’s sirloin steak being greater than that for his mom. :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. Eat-already said, no need to beat to death. But most people I know beginners or who have been doing it a while and are stalled out, are absolutely amazed after they start eating like a champ. They look back and realize how obvious an answer it was and can’t beleive they didn’t eat more sooner.

  2. Personally I know after about a year or 2 of lifting a BB style split, like you have, and being stuck at the same weights I busted through my plateau going to a every other day total body workout. I did it to cut before summer and was pleasantly surprised with the gains I made in LBM and the amount of weight I was moving in the gym (while on a cal-restricted diet no less). Sometimes you just need a drastic overhaul of your workout for a month or two to make progress.

Summary:

  1. Eat more
  2. Eat more & consider grabbing a total body routine or a push pull routine or anything with some more frequency for a month or 2.

PS @ 5’10" and 130 you clearly don’t put on much fat. Some people just need massive amounts of food so don’t get caught up on the numbers. 3000 cals to one person can be different than 3000 cals to another. My boy I lift with can eat 6-7000 cals daily for months and not gain much weight (muscle or fat).

I look at carbs and fat on the same plate and put on weight. Everyone is different. Use 2800 as a starting block and keep adding 500 a week till your gaining about .5-1lb a week on the scale. If that ending number ends up being 8000, it don’t matter, its where you want to be.

[quote]watermelon_2001 wrote:
<<< My diet is pretty good, I think; >>><<<Total;
Calories- 2810 >>>[/quote]

No it’s not.

As in…“no it’s not pretty good”, or “no it’s not 2800 calories?”

What you are basicaly saying is-
1.you are 130 lb. with very low body-fat
2.you train 5 days a week
3.you eat less than 3000 calories

If i were you,I would start SEE-FOOD DIET.Basicaly,you eat whatever you see, eat as much as you can.
Train hard.

When you hit 200 lb. body weight,you can start worrying about eating clean,body-fat percentage,etc.

Keep it simple!
Lift heavier weights on basic lifts and do more reps with them and eat like an elefant!

Good luck!

[quote]TBoZ1244 wrote:

I look at carbs and fat on the same plate and put on weight. Everyone is different. Use 2800 as a starting block and keep adding 500 a week till your gaining about .5-1lb a week on the scale. If that ending number ends up being 8000, it don’t matter, its where you want to be.[/quote]

I disagree with you on this note, Tboz. The 0.5-1lb a week rumor has no scientific merit or research backing that I know of.

This kid is 130lbs of pure skinny. I don’t know his height. But chances are, after comming off of a restricted calorie diet, if he ups his kcal he will be putting on a couple pounds a week. Why fight the weight gain? Why try to limit what is comming on naturally?

If you are a beginner, you should be making beginner gains and putting on weight much faster than 0.5lbs a week. Do you seriously want to be in the 130lb range for 4 months? Seriously?

Try this routine:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459321

and each a lot

[quote]Chickenmcnug wrote:
TBoZ1244 wrote:

I look at carbs and fat on the same plate and put on weight. Everyone is different. Use 2800 as a starting block and keep adding 500 a week till your gaining about .5-1lb a week on the scale. If that ending number ends up being 8000, it don’t matter, its where you want to be.

I disagree with you on this note, Tboz. The 0.5-1lb a week rumor has no scientific merit or research backing that I know of.

This kid is 130lbs of pure skinny. I don’t know his height. But chances are, after comming off of a restricted calorie diet, if he ups his kcal he will be putting on a couple pounds a week. Why fight the weight gain? Why try to limit what is comming on naturally?

If you are a beginner, you should be making beginner gains and putting on weight much faster than 0.5lbs a week. Do you seriously want to be in the 130lb range for 4 months? Seriously?

[/quote]

You know what I can’t argue with you on that. I am from the school of thought of “screw the 6 pack and put on size, then worry about cutting down.” I don’t recommend it exactly how I did it (put on 40lbs in a summer from 240 and prob around 15-20% bf to 280 and who knows how much bf, but I never made gains on my lifts like I did that summer even as a begginer.)

now I’m back round 240 and leaner than ever in my life(not saying a whole lot cuz not ripped, but its something)) but I definately think eating big and lifting big is the way to go until you have some appreciatable mass. And you are also correct in saying this kid can still grow alot and put on a ton of size. I figured atleast if he started upping his cals till he saw some gains it would be a start compared to being stuck at the same weight.

I appreciate you checking me on that. Like I said I would love to have the problem of having to eat more to reach my goals. This kid has a lot of room to grow and should try to pack it on, so maybe reword to keep increasing cals till you are getting atleast a pound a week like I originally said and then add in "Then keep eating more cuz you got a lot of potential for growing left.

Again, good call I think I was focused on trying to get SOME KIND of progress in my post and didn’t mean to imply in anyway that he should set .5-1lbs as his target and adjust to limit it to that, just set that as his minimum, like if you aren’t getting atleast some progress then eat more. Just writing “eat more” doesn’t seem to get kids to eat for progress so I tried to set a goal.

But beleive me, we are on the same page in terms of gaining size, till you can claim over 200lbs when LEAN I think its bulking season(I’m fairly tall so maybe not so much with shorter people but you get the idea). I remember going to buffets when they opened and staying there for 4-5 hrs with my boys until they kicked us out or it was time to go lift.

Lower the volume on your exercises. 3-4 Exercises for big body parts and 1-3 for small body parts. If you say your diet is good, and you aren’t gaining weight you obvioulsy need to make some changes. So increase your calories by 500 and see if that helps you gain weight. If it does great, keep at it, if it doesn’t then keep increasing.

I don’t believe you are getting as much protein as you think. For instance, at the snack, how do you calculate the 35gr of protein. As far as I am aware, 100g turkey breast is less than 1/4 lb, and a quarter pound of lean turkey breast has about 20 grams of protein. The rest would have to come from the bread?

Anyway, you are doing way too much in your workouts. Your nervous system must be shot. Take a week off. Going to failure all the time is a recipe for failure. Raise your weights, reduce the exercises and reps, and work each bodypart twice per week.
Keep your reps about 8 per set. Add weight, not sets or reps.

Eat more. Your diet is clean, just not enough volume. Eat more and you will gain the weight you want.

Good Luck.

[quote]watermelon_2001 wrote:
As in…“no it’s not pretty good”, or “no it’s not 2800 calories?”[/quote]

It’s not enough, as a bunch of guys have said. Plain and simple. You do not have to get fat, but if you spend your time avoiding any soft gain at all your hard time gaining will not get any easier.

Also, if you simply must tighten up every summer fine, but it will take you quite a while longer to accomplish what could’ve been done in a few years, yes years. Anybody with designs on getting truly large will be willing to work for it for years.

Add in at least one more scoop of Whey protein or heck…add in a higher calorie protein drink that contains whey and casein.