T Nation

Just Need to Lift Heavy?


Hey everyone, im a bit of a gym junkie but the time has finally come where im no longer competing in sports and I wanna pack on some solid muscle.

Sports wise ive fought for years in judo, boxing and mma then moved on to racing road and mtb bikes. because of these sports ive always had to keep my weight low to 70kgs and focus on my core, speed, endurance and mostly power.

I admit im not too clued up on the whole "get big" idea and ive been looking at various training methodos here but still don't know what I really need.....

Is it just a case of lift heavy and often, lots of sets and reps???

Thanks neil.


Your goals and questions seem quite vague. At a minimum, the answer is lift lots of heavy weight and eat lots of good food. But you probably should decide what you want more precisely and then pick a pre-set program and follow it.


Presuming you were following a decent lifting program designed for your former goals, you should respond pretty well to a "classic" bodybuilding-type routine like this:

Whenever building size is the goal, eating is super, super important. There are tons of articles that talk about "bulking diets", search the Archives and they should come up. And don't be put off by the term "bulking". Gaining some bodyfat is usually a given when you add muscle, but depending on how lean you are right now and exactly how you train (how much, if any, cardio you incorporate), you should be able to keep a handle on things while progressing at a good rate.

Yes and no. Everything works for a while, so it's just a matter of trying something, seeing how you respond to it over the course of a few months, and either stick with it, tweak it a bit, or drop it to try something new.


thanks for the replies lads, well ive got a training partner and have been training with him all week.

he's a big power lifter / bodybuilder / plays rugby and from what we've talked about seems the right kind of person I need to be training with.

he has me doing a single muscle group daily and hitting it hard as heavy as I can, doing a 3x8 routine for each exercise. he like to call it destroying the muscles lol.


yea I know from my sports eating is a major part in fitness, but he has talked to me about cramming as much GOOD foods into me as I can. I know a good bit about the nutrition side of things as I was always training at a high level and needed to keep my body healthy especially when doing weight cuts for fights.

thanks neil.


Well yes and no (get used to hearing that answer a lot btw). Yes, this is a case of you having a large large history and base in endurance oriented training from all your sports so the short answer is: Lift heavy and often (with crisp form obviously, you can't pack on muscle if you're injured).

Long answer is there's a system, just like for your sports. Just like for eveyrthing in fact. Many ways to do things, but they all land on the same principles.

Your situation is actually very very good--you have a monstrous work capacity due to your endurance background, so you don't need to worry about overtraining. You are in good shape. You just need to work hard. I would maintain a minimum in your cardio, to keep a semblance of your endurance but honestly you're in about a perfect position to pack on muscle--if you eat and train for it.

My short answer is this--to pack on muscle, and since you are a competitive sports guy you will understand this--you should look at the biggest, baddest athletes out there and train like they do. Maybe not exactly, because you have to get used to things and not everything an elite NFL linebacker is doing will matter. But in general. Who's big strong and jacked? NFL players, college football athletes. What do they train like? Go for that.

With your sports background and work capacity I would NOT suggest a body part split. Train like a big football player, with some more reps. HOWEVER, if you have tired or gotten bored of training like an athlete for so long you can try the following: I would suggest an upper/lower split, or Whole body/emphasis split. The more muscles you involve in every workout, the better the growth stimulus.

Upper/lower is self-explanatory, but the Whole body/emphasis split is something else. Basically you take the the 1st 2 exercises after the warm-up is done and they have to combine to cover the whole body (example--squats, push press. Or deadlift, bench press. Or power clean from floor and push press. You get the idea). Then the rest of the workout is spent on working a movement pattern or group of muscles. Example below.

Mon---squat/push press. Then upper body pushing
Tues---deadlift/bench. Then legs.
Wed---squat/push press. Then back.
Thurs--OFF or cardio to recover.
Friday--Squat/push press. Then both chest and back.
Satur---Legs--or, cardio or conditioning
Sun----cardio or off.

This isn't perfect obviously, I just whipped it up in about 15 seconds, but it gives you an idea. Your "priority #1" emphasis group goes on Mondays and Fridays--I am assuming that is going to be chest lol. The "whole body lifts" at the beginning should never be done to failure, and should be done in such a manner that you are still snappy and crisp on the last set (in other words, don't get so tired you're sloppy. You should always be 100% sure you can complete the set without danger). They're for strength and speed, lower reps most of the time, something like 3 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 3.

If anybody else has questions/criticisms about this split, I can easily defend it :slightly_smiling:


Aragon mate you are a legend your info totally clears things up for me.

I know what your saying about not going to failure but saying that its something im used to working with, as my mma trainer regularly had us go to failure and constantly train in the lactic acid zone because in a fight that's when it makes and breaks a fighter.

But ill keep an eye on it and try not to over train.

I like what your saying train like the biggest baddest sports men, hmmm ive been watching lots of old Arnold Schwarzenegger training footage and the rock, its really giving me the drive to train and eat like a monster, think ive got my 2 training heros picked lol.

thanks LOADS for the help