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Increased Size But No Real Gains


I've been hitting a bulk hard this semester in college now that $ is right but I don't think I've made gains in strength like I should have. Bring me back down to reality if my gains are good and I'm just bitchin or let me know there's something wrong.

Former skinny bastard here. Not big now though, for sure. 5'9" went from the 150 beginning this semester (mid august) to 173-4 as of right now. The 20+ lbs did not go to a tire around my waist if that's what you were wondering, but got a little soft of course (can see flexed abs to some degree if that helps). Old lifts: Bench 205x3, Squat:315(4inch or so above parallel, been working on depth) Deads:305
New lifts:
Bench:225x2 (biggest gain I think)
Squat:335x2 (still need about 1-2 inch for good depth)
Been doing something similar to ws4sb with slightly different exercises, but kept it very close to original.

There are only 2 side notes I think are important...
About 6 weeks ago I had some pain in my lower back from arching in the bench, so I switched to the feet out in front for leg drive which helped.
For the last 2 weeks I've been having pain in my coccyx area that acts up when I do anything straight-legged (never locked) or close. It also acts up when I sit down. I notice it the most when I study and find myself tilting my head forward which really pulls at my lower back. I would think it's tight hams, but I feel like it just might be more due to my glutes being too tight/stiff. Been hitting foam more now and stretching 2x a day, but no luck so far.

Any thoughts are appreciated fellas.


Why modify a good program like WS4SB?

Maybe your form just sucks? If you're still not hitting depth on your squats, that's a pretty good indicator. 4" above parallel? seriously?


I would add more volume to the main lifts. Instead of working up to 1 heavy set of 3-5, I would bump it up to 3 sets. Maybe aim for 3 sets of 5, and when you get all 3 sets of 5, move up in weight.

If you're eating to gain weight, you can handle the extra volume and it will carry over. Assistance work is great, but isn't a replacement for the core lifts. I think until you are strong enough to get a training effect from 1 heavy set, adding in more volume in the form of more sets is an easy fix.

Check out 'mobilitywod.com' for mobility/stretching/stuff. It is pretty varied and if you do it every day, eventually you will fix your issues and find trouble spots. Also, I'd post vids to make sure your form is ok.

I'd add deloads in too, if you aren't doing it already. If your back issues are the result of cumulative fatigue they should start to fade by the end of the week.


You might just need more time for the strength gains to "set in." Keep lifting heavy and your maxes will catch up.


Actually, if your squat went up 20lbs. AND you improved your depth, that's a pretty decent gain. My max squat varies by a healthy 20-25 lbs. if I cut it a couple inches high.


Fix your squat immediatley. I was like that and thought I was making great gains and then I had to fix my squat form to IPF depth (with a ton mobility work and stretching).
best of luck


One or all of these is the problem:

  1. You changed the program too much and added way too much volume
  2. Your form sucks
  3. You arent working hard enough

If you really want to get strong, cut out the "burnout sets" or "drop sets" or whatever Flex calls them this month and work on lifting heavy ass weight with good mechanics.


Thanks guys

Some comments,
My squat is lower, but not perfect. I plan on posting all all my big 3 lifts for form comments, may have to wait until next week since the school gym closes soon, who knows, maybe I'll get it in by then.
I'll try out some -more- mobility stuff from the website, thanks. I know I need it.

My squat used to be 4" above, now it's only got another inch or so for good depth. Also, what I mean by changing westside is the exercises, for example. Barbell 1 arm rows in place of db rows, simple things like that. The only big change is the box jumps, which were replaced to a more hypertrophied time under tension approach for legs with a narrower stance. Everything stays the same really.



1) Take weight off the bar on squats. How much? as much as it takes to get below parallel. Then establish a new squat max and start progressing slowly from there.

2) I'm not familiar with west side for skinny bastards but if you are lifting the same weights every week you need to change something up.

3) It's good to evaluate but you may be expecting too much too soon. I'd give WSFSB (or whatever you are doing) at least 5 months before I tested my 1RMs. Testing isn't training and right now you need to train.

Good job on the gains but be patient. If you rush it you will only stall out more quickly. Take it nice and slow and you will get stronger over the long run. You've done well but don't get over anxious, true gains take time and work.


Your lifts are going up and you put on 25lbs in three months? -Yes you're bitching.
FFS Keep doing what your doing.


Exactly....these kids go into the gym and expect to be Andy Bolton in a couple months...it aint gonna happen man...

Your gains have been pretty good..in three months: 25 pounds of mostly muscle, +20 for reps on bench, +20 in squat with more reps and better form, +20 on deadlift....the only thing that MIGHT be lagging behind is deadlift, but you have nothing to be complaining about man....

Think of it this way, if you were a powerlifter you probably put about 30 + 20 + 20 = 70 onto your total in 3 months....if you make that kind of progress over a year for a couple years, you will be an elite powerlifter

stop whining, go eat, and lift hard


Thanks guys, I'll keep hitting it hard. I guess I've just been stuck at those previous numbers and wanted more gains because the scale has been moving....

VTballa- the total number is a good way to look at it, I've never thought of it like that.