T Nation

I Bodybuilder Trouble Shooting


I've been through the program now for two cycles and have achieved some nice gains in mass during the time, particularly in the back and chest.

Some issues I've had;

1) The first time I did the program I was able to achieve some substantial gains in strength on some of the main lifts. The second time I did the program my records showed that my strength had returned to the same point from when I started, and I had to work my way back up to my previous maxes over the weeks in lifts like the bench press and deadlift. Seemed like the classic "two steps forward, two steps back"

2) The low rep work just doesn't cut it for my legs. When I switched up to higher reps for my legs I noticed much better results in leg size. Long term anecdotal evidence has always suggested that best results can be achieved using higher reps for legs, so I'm wondering why such low reps are advocated using this program?

Thanks again for your help and continued access to such great information.


Just going to chime in. I remember somewhere that CT stated that the rep ranges in IBB are not the best for some body parts to build muscle. I think he said he did low reps because its easier to focus on the performance of each rep. Read his training question threads though, he gives you the break down for the best volume, rep range, a what not.


I've read it too; if memory serves, he said that for 'foundation' muscles (lats and biceps), 6-8 reps work better.


The IBB "program" was more a teaching tool to learn how to lift explosively, autoregulate and ramp properly. I said that several times.

There is also the fact that I recently came to the conclusion that different muscle groups respond to different rep ranges and rep style.

Upper body pushing muscles respond best to performance training (low reps, higher frequency, heavy or explosive movements, more sets of fewer exercises, etc)

Lats and biceps respond best to more volume (higher reps), high density techniques (supersets, rest-pause, isometric holds, etc.). They do not require the eccentric portion of a lift as much as pressing muscles to grow and respond very well to eccentric-less training. Basically these muscles respond well to fatigue training while pushing muscles respond to performance training.

The lower body responds to a wide range of reps; from low to high, everything works but you need some variation. The lower body also requires a lot of volume to grow, but a lot of lifting volume for the lower body (if using big compound movements) can drain the nervous system and hurt your gains. So adding volume in the form of a lot of sled work is your best option.

Rear delts, traps, rhomboids respond to moderate reps (6-8)... they are basically at the middle ground of the pressing muscles and the lats.


What do you consider "higher reps" with respect to biceps? 10+?


Hey Thib, a buddy introduced me to IBB and I really like the concept and science of it. But last march I was planning on doing a 500 lbs bench and on a warm up with 455 my pec tore off. I had it re-attached but at this time I have only put 55 lbs on the bar and done very slow controlled flyes with 15 lbs dumbells. Much more strength and power exists in the muscles but I have been told to increase weight no faster than 10 lbs per month. Which leaves me with the question, can I/should I begin the program and substitute exercises involving the pecs or wait another 6 months and start it after the recovery process is closer to 100% ?

And props for doing your homework and creating a program based on science and results, even though it doesn't fit mainstream ideals.