T Nation

It's Bulking Season!


Labor Day weekend is upon us and that can only mean one thing...it's autumn & bulking season has begun. As I type this I'm sipping on a gallon of whole milk straight from the jug. For those of you doing an Autumn/Winter bulk, what are your goals?

I'm currently 187 at 7% bf, I'm going for 225 lbs. Strength wise my goals are 315 on bench (around 275 right now), 400 squat (who knows right now), 500 deadlift, 315 BB Row, BW+135 Pullup. Physique-wise I mainly want to add more width to my lats, and develop my lower back more as well. I'm going to try and build some explosive strength as well. I don't want to be a slow 225. I want to be a violently fast 225.


Improve body composition, get stronger, changed my program up a bit more directed toward power, hopefully some bigger numbers are being put up come the end of the year.


FWIW, I think you could do a lot better in terms of strength gains for a close-to-40 lb bodyweight gain... More like a ~405 bench (say 375-425 depending on leverages and whatnot)... Pulling those 500 for reps, maybe 600 for a single (or more if you have great DL leverages)... 450-525 squat maybe...
With such numbers, you'd likely be a lot leaner at your 225 lbs, which likely means faster... Less dead weight (fat) to drag around...

Not that you will necessarily make it there on your first try or anything (might have to get to a smooth 240, then hold for a bit, then cut down to your goal weight)... But you might just... 40 lbs is a lot of weight to gain, and if you only improve your bench (for example) by 40 lbs during for that kind of bodyweight gain/in the timeframe of your bulk, you will likely put on something like 20+ lbs of fat, and the other 20 lbs of muscle only then if you can make decent gains on your other exercises...


That's a great point CC....I went from 178 to 212 last bulk and 225 to 285 on benching. If I only add 35 lbs to my bench this time around I definitely did something wrong. Same with Deadlifting. I can pull ~450 right now. I should be a LOT more ambitious with my goals.

also, lol 'dead weight to drag around'.


Basteges, my competition is in March, so ill be cutting in a couple months =(


CC, the thing that you said that he can add at least 100 lbs to his bench in one year, isn't wishful thinking? At least for a natural I think this is close to impossible, except if someone has really bad form and fixes it.


How is that impossible?

I mean, for YOU, maybe since you already think it is, but what the hell is keeping anyone else from doing it?

If you gain 40lbs of body weight and don't make progress like that, something is really fucking wrong.


Well he is extremely lean right now and obviously when he gain 40 lbs there will be a huge difference. But this increase is at least 1/3 of his max. On a non beginner that's really really hard. Just think if someone makes that progress for 10 years (not the same ofc, 100lbs in one year, 50 the other, 25 etc) will be near 600 lbs.


I guess we'll find out lol. I'm sifting back through my records right now, and last time I went from 215 it looks like, to 285. So that was a good 70 lbs. in 4 months I believe it was.


Here 'down under' were about to enter spring then summer..really?! :wink:

But I'd rather achieve my goal of 220lbs in BW by then, rather than do any cutting or what have you :slight_smile: Ive wasted enough time trying to 'impress' people, from here until 30 (one cut will be done at 25, currently 23), im just going to be getting my weight up to 300lbs. Then if I feel ready, do a comp.


I'm in. Started bulking a bit earlier though, went from 175-185 so far in the last 6 weeks or so, plan on going to at least 210 in the next little while. I'm 5'9 on a good day.

Some goals:
- 17" arms and beyond (just under 16 right now, just over 15 in my avatar... always been a weak spot for me)
- Deadlift 585 (475 now)
- Hold the weight for a while, maybe cut/recomp a bit for summer just so I'm more comfortable, then back to bulking for next year up to 220-230+, hold that for a while, then maybe do a real cut.


Nah man, it depends... If his leverages aren't terrible and he isn't a midget or very old already, then going from 275 to 375 or is entirely doable in a year with the right diet and whatnot.

If he makes his 40lb bodyweight gain, he should be able to do it.

Perhaps it will take him more than a year, but at this stage it doesn't have to.


Yeah... 135 -> 225 often only takes a few months, -> 315 + 1 year or so perhaps, can def. be done in less (you can make it from your starting point to 315 in a year total if you do most things right and your setup on the bench is ok, but due to the learning aspect of bodybuilding people just usually don't manage), -> 405 takes quite a bit more effort, but still doable in 2-3 years total training time (it depends) but most don't make it there at all because they simply don't improve their diet enough and such, don't have the resources (are in college or whatever), or some such thing, or they take way longer because they have to learn stuff first, maybe relearn how to bench correctly for their frame, etc...

Then on to 495 is really difficult and can take years of additional training time and usually you'll have to weigh like 245-250 at average height perhaps... Plus/minus depending on leverages and setup.

585 is something even most really serious trainees never reach. Unless you have a genetic gift for benching like Hoornstra and co, you'll have to weigh quite a lot to get there (even so, if you don't have at least decent leverages, you're probably going to get stuck between 500-550 or so even if you do absolutely everything right, diet, training and setup wise and are weighing a drug-free 280 or 300... Guess you may blow past that if you made it to a seriously fat 325+ with a huge arch on the bench lol), have a setup going that's works perfectly for you, lots of tri and shoulder strength (pecs only depending on your setup style really, but of course some)...

Gotta say though, I don't see gains like that happening on madcow 5x5 :wink:
Your routine certainly matters to an extent here, too.


Bench-wise he is still a beginner from my point of view.
315x1 is sort of the start of the intermediate level for pressing for guys of average leverages and below imo... Someone with nice bench leverages will laugh at that and get it in a few months training unless he messes up... Even at a relatively low bodyweight...


Yeah... That's imo one of the reasons why so many guys mess up on when bulking... They just focus on gaining bodyweight and just train and eat in ways which just don't allow for good strength gains... Your body has no reason to make 3/4 or whatever of that weight gain muscle unless you force it to somehow... A 40 lbs gain in bench strength doesn't require nearly as much size...

Now, in order to break into the heavier weight classes, of course there's the problem esp. for natties of rarely being able to gain enough strength without eating so much that they'll invariably gain quite a bit of fat along with that (and then most just cut down right away after their bulk without holding their weight to boot... Good bye gains)... Temporary sacrifice most will have to make if they want to break past the "typical" size of most drug-free guys... But for lighter guys (most people on here), that's not much of an issue really.
If lighter people gain a lot of fat when bulking, imo something just ain't right.


Ok all that you said sound very good in theory. But in the real world, saying that many people can reach double bodyweight BP in average height and bodyfat below 20% is kind of unreal. Around that level of lifting can net someone top 3 in many powerlifting meets.

In my opinion, anyone can bench 315 for 6-8 reps in their lifetime as a minimum, but from that to say that it is above average to rep 405 is a big gap. 405 for reps its not just above average. Maybe you are a bit biased because of your good pressing genetics, happens sometimes :stuck_out_tongue:


I do have fairly good pressing leverages, that is true... I'm basing the numbers on people I've been helping out at my previous gyms here though...

And you are correct, in the real world most people don't achieve them, especially not in the time-frames I've given. As I mentioned above though, that is more likely due to certain key factors being suboptimal... Dietary composition (and/or overall intake if gaining weight is necessary), training, setup and execution, other muscle groups...

210-230lbs of bw at ~5'10 reasonably lean (doesn't have to be single digits at all, say 10-15% or so?) with perhaps just slightly above average (nothing special really) leverages should net you a 405x1-2 rep bench in a few years training... If you do most things right. That's always the caveat.

People have to learn stuff first, and just reading articles doesn't count... Your body also has to learn. Oh, and then they actually have to DO IT... Especially when it comes to diet and setup that's problematic... Most just won't go all the way.


I just hit 315 with a full setup the other day, took me 25 months of training, could have been sooner if I'd kept gaining weight but I felt sloppy. Going from 160-250 I gained a lot of fat so I dropped to 225-230 3 months ago and stayed there. I probably could have gotten there sooner if I'd just stayed with one type of training the whole time but I get bored like most people and goals change, I think this is the downfall of some guys that train alone. I think I'll shoot for 260-280 this winter though and see where my numbers go.

Another point I'd like to raise is that I was training alone the whole time trying to learn things from the internet, if I had some RL direction early on I'd no doubt be farther along in my training.


Yes, there is a huge difference in gains by people I (for example) have helped in person vs. those on the net... Not all of course, some on the net just "get it" like H4M (limited in BW due to marines though), Bug, Josh etc... But it's much more difficult to teach correct setup and motivate people via the net, plus I can't really help them out as thoroughly... It's mostly just some basic tips here and there...

And the second thing (switching routines etc a lot)... You're spot on there, that's an absolute no-no for strength gains... One can work some sort of automatic change into a routine (like the triple rotation in DC training or similar cycles in westside) but imo for beginning bodybuilders that's not needed at all and way too easy to mess up.

If you have to change your routine a lot to make any kind of progress, something just isn't right... Likely diet or your routines are not set up right for you or something...


Okay Im 205 now.I'm aiming to be 230-240 by this time next year.I could say I bodypart to bring up but at this stage everything needs to go up.