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I Want to Build Muscle, 175lbs, 6'2", 15% Body Fat


In the past year I have lost 70 lbs. I went from 245lbs to 175lbs currently. I’m 35 years old, 6’2", and 15%-17% body fat. I don’t show visible abs yet.

I have a swimmer/basketball type body, and I’d like to add muscle and bulk up. Ideal body would be like Thor/Captain America or Tarzan.

I was eating about 1200 calories for a year to lose all my weight plus I was doing a bootcamp like P90x.

I’m starting to add calories back in and I eat about 1800-2000 calories now. I plan to start eating 2500 calories soon, But need help with workout.

Again my Goal is to BUILD MUSCLE, just for aesthetic reasons. For most of my life, I have been afraid to take off my shirt at a beach, so I just want that peace/joy from that.

Here is my workout and what I can lift and some goals. Please critique as you see fit.

Generally I do 10 reps and 6 sets. Then go to next exercise.

Again, I know my lifts are not great. I havent lifted in 2 years. I got fat and weighed 245 and spent this last year getting to 175 lbs.

Below is my workout plan. Hitting chest, back, shoulder, tri, arms, legs

Workout 1:
20 min walk 3.5 speed 15% incline
Bench press, deadlifts, triceps pulldown, seated triceps push, shoulder press
10 min abs

Workout 2:
20 min walk 3.5 speed 15% incline
Squat, Lat pull down, pull ups, row, bicep curl
10 min abs

Current lifts: I know I’m weak/novice. I have a basketball/swimmer body shape currently. Want to get more a Thor/ Capt America or Tarzan body.

All these are 10 reps x 6 sets…this is in lbs
Bench Press= 175
Deadlifts = 185
Squat = 185
Tricep Pulldown = 60
Seated triceps push = 130
Shoulder press = 80
Lat pull Down = 150
Pull ups = 40 lbs assisted machine
Row = 150
Bicep Curl = 70

If I had to list my goals in next 6 months:
Again 10 reps x 6 sets…i dont really do 1 rep Max
Bench Press= 225
Deadlifts = 275
Squat = 275
Tricep Pulldown = 90
Seated triceps push = 160
Shoulder press = 120
Lat pull Down = 190
Pull ups = 0 lbs assisted machine
Row = 190
Bicep Curl = 100

I think I can get to the above goals in 6 months. Going to gym 5x a week. I’m eating 2000 calories now…was going to up to 2500…but I’m being recommended 3000-3500.

I go by the mirror test to see how my body is looking and areas I’m deficient in…which right now is everything haha.

When lifting I basically choose a weight where I can do 10 reps and the last 3 are a bit of a struggle. I usually rest 45 sec between sets.

You say your goals are to build muscle, yet the goals you list for the next 6 month are all strength goals. Gotta figure out what you really want first.

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I would like to add muscle, which I thought to do that I had to increase the weight or the volume to do?

Anyways, I’m open to suggestions…

Sorry just to add. Since I’m 175lbs and about 15% body fat. I’d like to get to 10% body fat…maybe one day 8%.

So I need to lose about 10-12 lbs fat. And at the same time I’d like to add about 15lbs muscle, maybe more. I feel like I have a lot of noobie gains to be made this year, since I haven’t lifted in like 2 years basically.

So yeah, tell me if its feasible to lose 10-12lbs fat and gain 15lbs muscle. How can I do that the fastest?

Well, it’s not exactly 1:1. The numbers you listed, you could conceivably hit all those numbers without adding an oz of muscle. A few years into lifting when I was benching 275 and deadlifting 405 you couldn’t even tell I lifted. It wasn’t until I shifted focus on eating and training to grow that I started to look like a lifter.

Question, why did you stop lifting for 2 years?

So eating wise. I was thinking 2500 calories, 180G Protein, 250G Carbs, and 80G Fat. Daily.

But yeah, not sure how to Train to Grow. I just know Reps x Sets and hitting the major muscle groups. I typically do a weight where 10 reps where the last 3 are difficult.

If you could give an example of how to train to grow vs. adding weight/volume that would be great!

I stopped lifting for 2 years cause I basically lost sight of my health. I paid the price, and now taking steps to not lose my focus again.

Yeah, see that last part tells me your immediate goal should be establishing a routine and consistency. It doesn’t really matter what your goals are 6 months from now if you start skipping days and losing sight again just 6 weeks from now. One step at a time, man.

What’s your ideal number of days/week to train?

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I’m pretty motivated at the moment. I’m going 5x a week. My workouts are about 60-90 min.

There are literally an infinite number of good programs for you, but here’s just an example of something I’d give to someone in your situation just to reestablish a foundation for yourself.

WK 1 WK 2 WK 3 WK 4
A FRONT SQUAT 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B RDL 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
C BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D GHR or LYING LEG CURL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A BENCH PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B T-BAR ROW 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C MILITARY PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
D SUPINATED LAT PULLDOWN 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A BACK SQUAT 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B SNATCH-GRIP RDL 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
C SPLIT SQUAT 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D BB HIP THRUST 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A CG BENCH PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
B CHEST-SUPPORTED DB ROW 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C HIGH INCLINE PRESS 4x8 4x7 4x6 4x5
D PRONATED LAT PULLDOWN 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
A BB CURL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
B LYING DB TRI EXT 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
C DB LATERAL RAISE 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15
D FACE PULL 4x8 4x10 4x12 4x15

For exercises that have descending reps, i.e. 4x8, …4x5, add 5-10lbs per week. For exercises with ascending reps, i.e. 4x8,…4x15, try to keep the same weight each week. So basically you’ll either be progressively overloading by adding weight, or volume on every exercise. You hit every main movement pattern 2x/week with two slightly different variations so you don’t get too bored :slight_smile:

Think of day 5 as a free day. I just picked a few important isolation movements, but feel free to add something for calves, abs, traps, etc. Just as long as it’s not too demanding. Save the big movements for your 4 main workouts.


So, I don’t think any of your goals are an issue. They are conservative and should be easy enough to hit pretty much no matter what you do. The issue I have with your program is that it lack intensity. This is not a criticism of your gym attitude or ambition, it’s about weight and rep selection. If you can do 6 sets of 10 reps, it simply is not heavy enough and will not help you grow in size or strength.
I am by no means a HITite, but there are things to take from it. Your real goal seems to me be be adding some lean mass, and the lift numbers are merely goal posts so that you have something to aim for in training. It is kind of difficult to set metrics for size that you can use in charting progress on individual workouts. That being said, I think you need to really push yourself. You should be shot when you walk out of the gym, and I mean you left it all there and there is nothing in the tank. This is advice targeted to you specifically and based on your posts here and elsewhere. 60 reps is too many for a single exercise. 5 sets should be Everest.


I am the same height and body type and with the same goals.
For muscle building you need intensity.
I would back off some volume and add intensity, that means go to failure and beyond.

I had a good experience with Paul Carters program Guaranteed muscle mass.
Try to give all you got on these workouts for a few months.(feel free to take a deload for a week inbetween, if your body needs it).

One other important thing regarding your goal is to prioritise diet and sleep.
If all that is on point, you will grow.

Good luck!

This and this:

I 100% agree with. In fact I agree with all of @hardartery’s post but these bits the most. If you push your 10 rep max from 200lb to 300lb in any lift - you will get bigger. How much depends on the method you take to get there. But no one adds 50% to a lift with out adding muscle mass.

My thoughts are:
Your bench is only 50lb less than your squat. I would address that. I like big squats and deadlifts. And I’m not sure about anyone else but I don’t measure and don’t care about my pull down strength. Just do it for 8-12 reps. If its too light add another set with more on it.

If you are after a programme:

Or to build on Hard artery’s points:
Build your own programme around these principles:

The works outs can be full body:
Squat, bench, barbell row
Stiff leg deadlift, press, T bar row

Or push pull legs:
Press, Incline bench, bench press
T bar row, bent over row, pull down
Squat, SLDL, Lunge

Add a bit of fluff like curls ETC. Those are SOLID work outs.

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When I’m not sure, I like to pick a rep target and work up in weight. That way the sets and reps take care of themselves - you ensure you hit something hard and you get in some volume.

Dumbbell Bench - I want a top set of 8
(Now the “work” sets start)

So I still did 4 sets of 8 in that example, but I hit a top weight without having to think about it. As you get better, that last set can be a drop set or something.

Something feels off…

Question for my weight lifting friends out there…picture the below scenario and select whats better for building muscle

Scenario 1) I can bench 175lbs 10 times and do 6 sets or I can bench 195lbs 6 times and do 6 sets. What is better? In first one I’m doing 175x10x6= 10,500lbs vs 195x6x6= 7,020

So is it better to gain muscle to lift 175lbs 10 times or 195lbs 6 times?

People keep telling me that I’m too weak and I do too many reps (10vs6) and I do too many sets (6 sounds good).

Some people are saying I should lift 5reps and only do 2 sets…and I should be crazy sore after that

195 for 6 x 6 is better. Better everything. More work, more growth, more strength. Everyone is different, so 2 sets may not get it for you, but 5 reps should be a grind if you want to grow. On compound stuff anyway. Isolation work can vary depending on what you’re doing. @The_Mighty_Stu , or @BrickHead would know about ranges for hypertrophy.

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Just train how you want to train. Whether you do higher volume at lower intensity or lower volume at higher intensity is going to make a lick of difference compared to the effort you put in.

Unless we’re talking about you winning some major contest or something…? Build good habits, get good results, keep it up for your entire life.


As a rule of thumb, you probably need each set you perform to be within 5 reps to failure to illicit hypertrophy. Across a session, the total number of reps you do for a muscle group that are within 5 reps of failure will be a solid indicator for the hypertrophy response.

If the total number of reps within 5 reps of failure is the same between the 6x10 or 6x6 options, the result will be the same. The problem is that it’s very hard to do 6 sets of 10 reps at straight weight and have them all within 5 reps of failure. Usually, the first few sets will be too light to illicit hypertrophy and are thus “junk volume.” In contrast, it’s “easier” (as in, more probable) to perform 6x6 with each set being within 5 reps of failure.

Why are you so attached to the idea of doing 6 sets?

Also, if @BrickHead and/or @The_Mighty_Stu do see this, I’d to hear their thoughts on Chris Beardsley’s theories (upon which I am basing this response)

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Yeah, that’s something I found worked much better in my own experience. You have to remember that there are several different mechanisms being called into play to produce muscle growth. Yes, you can have cumulative fatigue from a purely volume standpoint, but by working with a relatively heavier load, in this case six reps instead of 10%, you will be creating more mechanical overload and stress then going for a higher repetition range which might veer more into the metabolic stimulus/effects of training.

The key, and it took me a while to realize this, is that by doing a lower repetition range each set, you should also add more sets. So, your volume would theoretically be the same number of repetitions, but you would achieve it by more sets of less reps as opposed to less sets of more reps.

The key, and it took me a while to realize this, is that by doing a lower repetition range each set, you should also add more sets. So, your volume would theoretically be the same number of total repetitions, but you would achieve it by more sets of less reps as opposed to less sets of more reps.



I usually did more sets the lower the reps were. So 4 to 5 sets on the first compound exercises, 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 for secondary exercises, and 10 to 15 reps on “finishers” (cable or machine isolation exercises. @j4gga2


Hehe, I had a period where I did the inverse of this. There were I lifts where I just went “I have to have at least X kgs on the bar for this to count as a workset” and then just added reps for a while until it got too easy. Come to think of it, it was pretty successful but also entirely predicated on X being a weight I could actually lift!

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