T Nation

Hit a Wall - Program Suggestions?


First ill start on quick background...Im a sophmore in highschool and I have been lifting serious for the past year to prepare for football and do to the fact that im not the fastest or tallest I have used the gym as my advantage..however in the past couple of months i have hit a wall..my maxes have leveled and I have not seen gains in awhile..I have tried swithching up routines over and over but nothing has worked. Therfore I was wondering if anyone could suggest programs or anything that they think would be best in helping me in the offseason. Any info is good


Eat more, and stop switching routines.


the best program for you is eating all day long. You're 6'0 and 170...


I agree...stick to the main lifts and be sure to eat a lot. If I could tell myself this back when I was 17 or 18 I'd be happy to.
I'd also tell myself to do sets with fewer reps ( and concordantly heavier weight), instead of all the 8 to 10 for 3 sets stuff I did do back then.


agreed but i have trouble gaining muscel weight as opposed to fat weight and im really just looking for a solid core lifting program to stick to


The ratios of fat to muscle gains is more to do with your diet than training (unless the training is very inadequate, like too little training days and too little volume).

You need to eat enough protein (roughly 1.5g/lb in bodyweight). If protein isn't high enough, you may be eating too much overall calories, which will make you gain too much fat, and hardly any muscle. You could simply "clean up" the diet, and increase protein to make gains.

If strength gains still aren't coming, or stop again, this is the point where you need to increase over-all calories. You will not get much stronger unless you give your body reason to grow. Understand that to be in an anabolic mode, you will gain a little fat along the way (typically 1/3rd of the bodyweight gains can reasonably be expected to be fat)...so don't restrict calories just because your waist has grown a little. Catabolism = fat loss/breaking down, anabolism = building up (including a little fat)

If you are sensitive to carbohydrates you need to curb them (especially simply ones from things like soda). Some people don't see decent lean gains until they've almost eliminated carbohydrates (e.g. the anabolic diet).

Since you asked about training here you go:

You can't go far wrong training muscle groups roughly every 5 days (this is individual, but most seem to respond well to this). Example split:

Push/Pull/Legs, done 4-5x/week

Push day: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
Pull day: Back/Biceps
Leg day: Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves/Abs

Do 2 exercises/bodypart, roughly 3-4 sets per exercise (last set should be hard/near failure), mostly 6-8 reps/set...except thighs/abs/shoulders which usually respond better to 8+ reps/set.

Make most of your exercises selection multi-joint/compound movements (if in doubt, just pick the exercise that allows the most weight to be moved/exercise that allows the biggest weight increments). E.g. bench pressing vs cable crossovers...or skull crushers vs triceps kickbacks

As you get more advanced, you'll probably benefit from an extra exercise here or there, but don't worry about that just now - concentrate on getting your strength up on the big exercises first.

Don't get distracted by things like periodization/rest periods/reps and sets/changing exercises and routines constantly...If you keep focussed on a basic outline like above you'll be way ahead of 95% of gym goers out there (and do it by your 20th birthday). Knowledge is important, but it's not always a case of training intelligently, it's a case of simply taking action over the long term and putting into practice the basics.

Make strength/bodyweight goals, and don't be obsessed with the strategies of getting there.


Have you tried WS4SB + Eating tons of dense, good food?

I promise it will work.


post your routine as it is now


yeah i ve heard good things about ws4sb


I just started this http://hurricanesports.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/weight-training.html


That looks like a strange routine - legs trained 4x/week? No wonder gains stalled

Would post this question in powerlifting forum, probably more fitting to your situation

Oh, and you're welcome by the way, always nice to get a thanks for the walls of text that I waste my time writing


My fault man, thank you.. the nutrition part was especially helpful and so was the workout template


I don't diss the routine--working legs or whole body movements like power clean very frequently are generally staples in athletic traoning routines as opposed to bodybuilding or even powerlifting. Nothing wrong with the workout per se except that you are probably not to the point you need that much of everything all the time. It might be overkill on overall volume for someone of your limited experience. Remember, these colleges are taking people who have been trained with weights for at least a few years already as their recruits/target population.

I would thoroughly suggest ws4sb part 2 or 3. Defranco has put out tons and tons of quality athletes from the high school level on up, and the workload is probably more in line with your experience level to date. The original ws4sb is great too, bur I think he has drastically improved it in the other versions.
And I thoroughly agree with you not eating enough. The #1 mistake all trainees make--but most especially guys in high school and early college of all people--is not eating enough to sustain gains in strength and mass.


Just a note, my friend, but athletic training programs that work the legs in some capacity 3 or more times a week are the norm, not the exception. That generally only happens in bodybuilding circles. Whole body training is the norm for athletic circles, although not the only way (as mentioned above I love the ws4sb programs). It does, however, hold many advantages for that population.


LOL, thanks, feeling a bit more appreciated now :slightly_smiling:


True, which is why instead of posting in the bodybuilding section where it was initially I recommended posting in a more performance oriented forum (where sports is prioritised over mass per ce...something that skipped my mind when I first posted).

I agree that training large exercises that frequently needs to be done "intelligently"...probably not ideal for a newer lifter following a vague template (likely they'd over-train and not recover properly).

And again (to the OP), with frequent whole body training, it's even more important to eat enough (especially with regard to enough protein).


Ah, my mistake then. I only saw it in the beginners forum and didn't realize it was initially posted in bodybuilding!


Common in athletic circles or not, that routine seems like a mess for a beginner. Beyond the highly technical lifts it has virtually no back work, and includes a number of exercises that are really just not "bang for your buck" lifts.

There was a great thread (in the body building forum I think?) a few years back from a member who played college ball, describing how his biggest advantage in school came from secretly ditching the 'athletic lifting' program and hitting a gym outside of school to do a standard body building routine, succesfully building more strength and mass than his team mates.

You might want to seek out advice from someone who has done what you are seeking to do, but it seems to me that as a beginner you should use a program that allows for simpler progression and works the entire body throughout the course of the week.


I believe you're talking about Bauer, who played at Penn State. I played football in the Big10 and his description of the workouts there shocked me. Anyway, we lifted legs twice a week, so 3x/week wasn't the "norm" for us either.