T Nation

Journey through Hades


After much deliberation, I've decided to seriously go after getting bigger.

Stats: Age 22 (this month)
Height: 5'11
Weight: 163

I've been very skinny for my whole life. Even a few years ago when I got overweight to 190 lbs, my arms were still skinny. I just had a big gut. I didn't like that to much, so I lost 40 lbs by basically using a diet an anorexic model would: eating very little, sometimes not at all. I also ran alot. I successfully lost all the weight and had a flat stomach, but I realized that being a stick figure is just as bad as having a big pot belly. So I want to build muscle, especially on the arms. I've been trying for a while now with little results.

At this point I'm pretty sure I have the diet down: I eat almonds throughout the day, milk, milk with weight gain powder, baked chicken, protein bars, steak, eggs, multigrain begals, black coffee (always), water, sirloin burgers, bananas, apples. This is basically all I eat, besides the occasional subway turkey sub.

As for the training program I will use, I'm a little unsure at this point. First I need to know if my form is down on a couple things. Here are a couple of vids of deadlifts and pullups.

Def need suggestions on which program to use but in the meantime, I do P90x, some benching, and some deads


What is wrong with my form on these?


June 16, 2011 (late night) I workout in my basement or room, not a gym

Squats 3x10 @ 70lbs
Bench 2x5 @90
Bench 1x4 @100
Deads 3x20 @110
pullups 1x3

tomorrow, p90x shit with the dumbells (biceps, triceps, shoulders)


Deads form needs some work. Your whole lower back is rounded out at the bottom of every rep.

is what you should look like throughout a rep.

How many days a week are you planning on lifting?

And while the foods you posted are clean, how much of them are you eating? Do you have any idea of your calorie intake/macros?


Poit taken on the deads. I am eating about 3000 cals per day and it seems to be working as far as weight gain goes. I'm confident I can handle the weight gain part. I will lift 5 days a week, mon-fri.


Am I the only one who is going to tell this kid to cut out P90X? You are trying to put on weight and gain strength you are going to have to stop the high intensity cardio for now yo...Your best bet is find a beginning strength program and stick to it to the letter. That way there wont be any room for rookie mistakes in program design. There are a million on here in the forums or on the site...you came to the right place I promise tho!


Right but I already know to skip all the cardio. I only do the dumbbell exercises (concentration curls, static arm curls, etc). Just the bicep/triceps focused stuff and the pushups.

I'll strt looking for a program...


Tonight was light work unfortunately

Pullups 1x3
Bicep curls 1x15 @ 20 lbs
In-and-out Curls 1x10 @ 20 lbs
Pushups 1x14
Lawnmowers 2x20 @ 25
Bench 1x3 @ 100


So I've finally decided on the exact program I will use. It will be the SS. Here's my base format:

3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

3x5 Squat
3x5 Press / Bench Press (Alternating)
1x5 Deadlift

3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

I'm tempted to add in what I did yesterday night (prev post) on tues and thurs to make a complete 5-day workout. So far I'm doing all of these in my basement and I don't have enough weight equipement (set only goes up to like 130 lbs) so I may need to join a gym. But I do have a pullup bar here, dumbells, and other things I need.

I don't want to join Planet Fitness but at 10 bucks a month...jeez that's beyond affordable


Where's the rowing? I feel like you've replaced rowing with a press, which is a no.

I'd consider adding rear delt and direct bicep work as well.


You're gonna have to remember that I'm a novice. Explain what rowing is exactly and the other things you mentioned. How exactly should I change that SS format?


If you're going to do SS, don't fuck with it too much. Meaning, don't add workouts on tuesdays and thursdays.

If you want to train more than 3 days a week, then SS is not for you.


Don't change a thing. If you're doing SS, then do SS and stick with it as written. Watch Rippetoes instructional vids on the exercises and keep filming your work sets.


Hmm, it looks like you're doing the basic Practical Programming Novice Program to the T.

I thought that one of those pressing days was originally barbell row (what I meant by rowing).

Quick Ben: There's a reason that Cephalic Carnage says he wouldn't recommend the basic outline of SS or any of the basic starter programs to anyone without changes. They simply aren't balanced and don't really hit certain muscle groups (rear delts and biceps for example.) No, the minimal carryover work from pullups and chins doesn't count in that respect.

Agreed on the whole "doesn't need more than 3 days if doing SS", but that doesn't mean he can't incorporate the work in those three days. Adding face pulls or rear delt flies to the pullup day and barbell curls to the chin-up day won't hurt anything and will help prevent imbalances.


I don't disagree with any of that, and it was Cephalic Carnage who was my "coach" when I got started, so to speak :slight_smile:

However, he asked you to explain what a row IS, so why not take a couple of weeks to get into the groove and learn the basic movements first. Not a big deal either way.

I suggest to the OP that he finds himself a vet to bug the shit out of through PM's, like I did when starting out. It lends itself to less confusion doing it that way, than having it out in the open where everyone and their brother can post whatever they want. There is just less bullshit to wade through that way.

Hell, pm me if you want, I'll get you on your way.


Monday, June 20th

Squats 3x5 @ 90lbs
Bench 3x6 @ 90 lbs
Chinups 2x3


June 22, 2011
Yesterday was one of those bad long work days. Still did what I could

Bench press 2x5 @100
1x5 @110
Lawnmowers 1x20 @25

Couldn't do squats or deads because I had some problems with my kneee and wrist. Gotta join a gym asap because my equipment isn't enough


Today I weighed in at 166. Was pretty pleased with the gain.

Bench Press- 3x5 @110
1x5 @100

Deadlift- 3x5 @110
Squats- 3x5 @70 (I can do more than this I just lack the right equipment)
Pullups- 2x3

Pushups- 1x15
In-and-out bicep curls- 1x15 @20
Lawnmowers- 1x20 @25

I took Blaze_108's advice and improved my deadlift form. Here is what my deads looked like today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYZR5ZQV6n0


Squat form


Deads looks better.

If I were you I would reset between each rep on the squat. There are a lot of things you need to think about when squatting, so I would recommend really focusing on each and every rep until you find your form.

You want to take a deep breath before descending into the hole and keep it held until you've finished the rep. This will help you keep your core tight. Push your elbows under the bar (the elbows should stay in that same position all the way through the lift.) Keep your chest high all through the lift, and push your traps into the bar. Also you need to squat deeper, getting at least to parallel.

That's a long list of ques, so you can see why it's better to take a little time and reset between each rep :slightly_smiling:

I watch this video every time before I go squat. Awesome form and heavy as hell!