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Is a Split a Waste of Time for Weak Lifters?

I’ve been doing a ton of reading while injured and waiting to start training seriously and bulking again. I still can’t answer this question for myself. I’ve read loads of the stickies/best of threads, and learnt loads. Some say a split is ALWAYS best for bodybuilding/aesthetic goals. Others say if you are weak, do a strength routine first.

Take me as an example, 18 months experience, 6’1 195lb, and i cant bench more than about 140 for 3 sets of 8. Obviously i can train this by trying to force the strength up on a strength program, or i can do say 3 sets of 6-8 and every time i hit 8 reps, increase the weight so im starting at probably 6 reps again. But is the weight im training with too light to bother with this type of routine?

You can use a split and work your basics on a strenght orientes range Let me use the common chest-shoulder-tris as an example:

A-Bench press 3x3
B-Overhead press 3x8
C-Dumbell incline press 3x10
D-Dips 3x12
E-Tris extensions 4x10
F-Lateral raises 3x20

This depends on the goals of the lifter. What are your goals? The guys who can help you here won’t be able to answer your question without knowing that. There’s no single best way to do things for every person.

If your hypothetical question has to do with a lifter who is trying to gain a ton of mass, even for aesthetics, then my personal opinion (from a novice’s point of view) would be that a strength program is necessary if you’re not hitting certain weights relative to your bodyweight. A 140 pound bench for reps at 195 lb’s qualifies for a need to gain strength. I’d also guess that, with your focus on bench press, your other compound lifts need a lot of attention and will do you a bunch of good, all around.

Read the stickies again, and ask yourself one more time if the answers to your questions aren’t in there. If they aren’t, then at least post your goals and see if anyone more knowledgeable can come in and help out.

Sorry, my main goal is to be 200lb at 10% BF. Most people with those stats seem to bench about 250 or more and deadlift over 400. My deadlift is 310 1RM, squat 250 but i need to work back up with better form. Honestly i have done a ton of reading, and have more knowledge for it, but i cant make a distinction between being 100lb short of benching what i need to be benching, and training how i need to be training. If i just chase the numbers, i`ll probably end up getting fat and not stimulating as much muscle growth, as stated on all the good threads, a split is essential for best hypertrophy. I feel that i get more growth from hypertrophy sets/reps, but strength gains are slower, and im miles away from where i need to be strength wise.

I was thinking of a 4 day split based around the big 4. Deadlift (back + bi) Squat (legs) Bench (chest + tri) press (shoulders) and just up the weight when i hit the high end of the rep range

[quote]stinger70 wrote:
I was thinking of a 4 day split based around the big 4. Deadlift (back + bi) Squat (legs) Bench (chest + tri) press (shoulders)[/quote]

Just as many other guys on here, I’m pretty partial to 531 due to the simplicity and adaptability it has. I would definitely say some strength focused training would do you well. If you can move MORE weight, you can create the time under (enough) tension later on to elicit some good hypertrophy.

I’m pretty sure you’d add plenty of size if you went with a basic 5/3/1 template like BBB. Eating a lot of quality food, a small amount of walking or something not very taxing, and plenty of rest would do you well.

Starting strength would do well. I lift at Rippetoe’s gym and I’ve seen some pretty skinny kids get bigger on SS with a ton of milk and meat.

I’ve been on SS, worked to an extent. I put on a lot of weight, got fatter and stronger, and my upper body didnt grow. Most of the best of threads on here bash SS, saying its too unbalanced, and even a beginner should start with a bodybuilding split if they have aesthetic goals. There was a whole thread about SS making people into “big butted spiders” and irreversible disproportion. This was pretty much my experience with the program.

[quote]stinger70 wrote:
I’ve been doing a ton of reading while injured and waiting to start training seriously and bulking again. I still can’t answer this question for myself. I’ve read loads of the stickies/best of threads, and learnt loads. Some say a split is ALWAYS best for bodybuilding/aesthetic goals. Others say if you are weak, do a strength routine first.[/quote]
Many people have come up with many different ways to stimulate muscles to produce hypertrophy.

[quote]
Take me as an example, 18 months experience, 6’1 195lb, and i cant bench more than about 140 for 3 sets of 8.[/quote]
Your doing something wrong. I’m not trying to call you out or be a d*ck but if after 18 months your working sets are 55#'s below your body weight, and you’re not obese, something is lacking.

  • Consistency
  • Intensity
  • Calorie intake
  • Recovery (rarely is it this with beginners)

Your routine sounds fine. If in doubt use an established routine designed with your goals in mind. Your strength, or lack there of, does not negate the set, rep and frequency in a well designed plan.

[quote]JLone wrote:
Your doing something wrong. I’m not trying to call you out or be a d*ck but if after 18 months your working sets are 55#'s below your body weight, and you’re not obese, something is lacking.

  • Consistency
  • Intensity
  • Calorie intake
  • Recovery (rarely is it this with beginners)
    [/quote]

There are a few reasons that i havent made maximal progress.

  1. extensive time away in hotels, could only do maintenance lifting at these times
  2. for the same reason, my bulk cycles have been limited in time
  3. spent the first 6 months without a bench press or squat rack, poor routine.
  4. flexibility and posture issues causing poor form and injuries

1,2 and 3 are no longer an issue. 4 i’m still working on but its getting better. When i started weighing 135lb, a 1RM bench was…the bar. So i’ve added about 130lb to 1RM. Also i carry a ton of fat in my glutes and have 25" quads, so im bottom heavy, which may explain why i cant bench BW. I’m probably 16% BF.

LOL @ probably 16% bf!

Consistency and calorie intake are probably your problem. I’m gonna need a pic (w/shoe) to determine that 16% claim.

How can you laugh at my BF% then say calorie intake is my problem? I’ve gained 60lbs since i started, so calorie intake is not my problem. I dont have a shoe picture but i can give you this reent picture which shows that im not that fat, but most my fat is on my ass so its difficult to judge a percentage.

picture wont work

[quote]JLone wrote:

[quote]stinger70 wrote:
I’ve been doing a ton of reading while injured and waiting to start training seriously and bulking again. I still can’t answer this question for myself. I’ve read loads of the stickies/best of threads, and learnt loads. Some say a split is ALWAYS best for bodybuilding/aesthetic goals. Others say if you are weak, do a strength routine first.[/quote]
Many people have come up with many different ways to stimulate muscles to produce hypertrophy.

dude read what JLone wrote and that’s it! here’s your answer. Find basic, proven workout and get on right track. There is no magic here.

[quote]stinger70 wrote:
How can you laugh at my BF% then say calorie intake is my problem? I’ve gained 60lbs since i started, so calorie intake is not my problem. I dont have a shoe picture but i can give you this reent picture which shows that im not that fat, but most my fat is on my ass so its difficult to judge a percentage.

I was laughing because you guessed such a specific number. Good job on the 60lbs. Remember, weight gain and strength gain aren’t linear. Sometimes you’ll not make gains, but if you continue to put in work, it’ll swing around and even out

Ok thanks. So i will go with a 4 day split, based on the article about building a routine, and the shut up program and i will run it for about 3 months and see how it goes. Here is the routine i have come up with. I will add weight every time i hit the top end of the rep range for all sets. Except deadlift, i will attempt to add 5lb to my main set every week for as long as possible. I will be eating a surplus enough to gain 1lb per week.

chest/tri (SAT)

bench 3 x 6-8
incline 3 x 10-12
flyes 3 x 10-14
close grip bench
extension
pushdowns

Back/ abs (SUN)

deadlift 1 x 5 (ramp up)
bent row 3 x 6-8
lat pull 3 x 10-12
DB Row 2 x 10-12
abs

legs (TUES)

squat 3 x 6-8
RDL 3 x 8-12
leg press 2 x 10-15
leg curl 2 x 10-15
calfs 4 x 15

shoulders/bi (THURS)

OHP 3 x 6-8
DB press 2 x 10-12
laterals 5 x 10-15
BB curls 3 x 6-8
incline curl 3 x 10-12