T Nation

Lean Bulk Progress [Photo]


Current condition:
27 yo
height 5"8’
weight 170 pounds
bodyfat - not measured
deadlift 430 pounds
bench press 335 pounds
push press 235 pounds
chin ups bw + 150 pounds
squat - unknown due to injury

Sup guys, how do you reckon I am doing so far? I have dropped squats due to a hip flexor injury for the past 1 & 1/2 year, so tbh legs are not up to par.
Do you think I should try to bulk up to 180-185 for the next few months and then cut or try to keep getting stronger while maintaining my current weight ( the latter strategy is what I have used for the most part of my training)? I have definitely not plateaued on any of my lifts tbh but strength gains do come kind of slow.
Any weak areas I should focus on?

I don’t really watch my diet at this point but I plan on embarking on a cut later as summer approaches. We 'll see how it goes. I don’t really have any aspiration for competitions, just doing it recreationally.

Impressive physique. Impressive progress.

Weak areas that jump out at me are upper chest, and biceps/triceps.

As for what you should do next, IMO that should be determined by your short- and long-term goals.

Wheels are solid, especially for being injured. Maybe I should look into getting a hip-flexor injury. ;^)

Thanks boss. Much appreciated.
You are completely right on biceps and upper chest. Really bad muscle/tendon insertions on these muscle groups. It is amazing how much of a difference muscle/tendon ratios make in determining how a specific body part looks.
I may have to bump up the volume on arms and incline stuff.
As for the legs, they grow out of deadlifts and leg extensions/curls. I will incorporate squats as soon as I heal up.
Long term goal is 180 pounds with 5-6%.
From a performance oriented minsdset, I strive for a 405 bench, and 585 deadlift in the very long term.
I think I will increase my calories in the near future and then do a proper cut starting early May…

Let’s don’t go blaming your tendons just yet.

You’re benching almost double your BW–a tremendous accomplishment. However, it suggests to me that the lion’s share of your Chest workout time/energy has been dedicated to flat benching. Many guys (including me, at various times) get caught up in improving their flat bench, and treating other aspects of Chest training as ‘ancillary’ or ‘supplemental.’ This can result in the physique you have, ie, one in which the upper chest is lacking in comparison to the lower.

So before you conclude the problem lies with your insertions, try this. Consider the intensity and enthusiasm with which you approached flat-bench work throughout your lifting career. Then, make the conscious decision that, henceforth, you are going to bring that same level of intensity/enthusiasm to upper-chest work. In other words, invert your approach: Treat incline bench as your main Chest movement, and the flat bench as supplemental. Get as jacked up about inclining as you’ve always gotten about flat-benching. You do this for a while, and I’ll bet your tendons/insertions will suddenly seem a whole lot better. Of course, all this is assuming your desire to balance out your chest development outweighs your impatience to reach your goal bench of 405. Good luck.

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
Let’s don’t go blaming your tendons just yet.

You’re benching almost double your BW–a tremendous accomplishment. However, it suggests to me that the lion’s share of your Chest workout time/energy has been dedicated to flat benching. Many guys (including me, at various times) get caught up in improving their flat bench, and treating other aspects of Chest training as ‘ancillary’ or ‘supplemental.’ This can result in the physique you have, ie, one in which the upper chest is lacking in comparison to the lower.

So before you conclude the problem lies with your insertions, try this. Consider the intensity and enthusiasm with which you approached flat-bench work throughout your lifting career. Then, make the conscious decision that, henceforth, you are going to bring that same level of intensity/enthusiasm to upper-chest work. In other words, invert your approach: Treat incline bench as your main Chest movement, and the flat bench as supplemental. Get as jacked up about inclining as you’ve always gotten about flat-benching. You do this for a while, and I’ll bet your tendons/insertions will suddenly seem a whole lot better. Of course, all this is assuming your desire to balance out your chest development outweighs your impatience to reach your goal bench of 405. Good luck.[/quote]

Eyedentist: You are completely right on a number of counts. It is true I have severely neglected upper chest work by having it more as an afterthought after spending most of my energy on flat bench. 2-3 sets of incline bench presses (after flat bb bench and weighted dips) as a last exercise and I would call it a day - and not even consistent at that sometimes would skip incline dumbbells for extra flat dumbbell work.
Then again I have always believed that you can’t preferentially target the upper chest as both the clavicular and sternal portion share a common origin of insertion. Then again, there could be some counterargument at this regarding the different innervation of motor units across the muscle (targeted by different exercises) plus the anecdotal evidence by experienced lifters that corroborate with what you say.
Thanks very much for the input, I will indeed prioritize incline bb press and see how it goes.

Dam your weels look SICK at 170 bro…dam…
Id keep bulking man… your pretty lean for bulking…you’d look sick at 180…

IMO, i think you have the perfect physique now. just enjoy it !

Looking lean bro. Very impressive. As far as chest goes, I started adding all fly days in and it has helped tremendously.

great job

you only weigh 170? You look like more. I weigh close to 200 nowadays and look pretty close to your bodyfat and muscle growth. But I guess we’re all built differently

Looking great man. I give you an 8, mostly because we have remarkably similar specs: height, weight, strength and general development.

Your quads are very well maintained for lack of squatting.

Based on the first few pictures I think your upper chest would look better if you simply flexed your upper back, pulled yourself straight, and positioned your shoulders right.

You don’t have a lat spread picture posted, hopefully they show better from the front than mine.

Feels great to receive such positive comments (and advice) from experienced lifters and athletes . I really appreciate it guys.
Yes, it is true I look somewhat bigger (even in real life) than what my weight suggests. I attribute this to small joints, light skeletal frame, and relatively good body composition. My quads, as I have said before, respond quite easily indeed. I should say I have full squatted 2bw x 10 reps several times in the past. I have also front squatted (atg) 2xbw x 2 reps. I also come from an athletic background (track and field, 60m/100m). However, for the quads, I am positive that it is the muscle shape/insertions (genetics) that gives off the illusion, not so much the past training. To be honest, my legs were not significantly better back then for whatever strange reason, despite the fact that I was a naturally good squatter.
My weak points are my upper chest and biceps. My clavicles could stand to be wider too. When I lean out though, they don’t stand out that much as weak body parts. I am of the opinion that ultimately, how one looks, depends a great deal on one’s relative proportions.

I also believe that you cannot force feed your “muscle gains” (especially without chemical assistance).

Thanks.

You have my mid-to-lon-term dream physique man! I’m 5’7 160 now, but you look much leaner than I do and your proportions are very nice! Hope to be near you at your age (Turned 20 not so long ago). I’d say keep lean-gaining until you reach close to 180 (6-9 months down the road) and then cut. You’ll look INSANE.

You look great man! Would love to have that physique. Nice work. I’m jealous that your wheels look that good with no squatting… crazy! You look like you’re at a great body fat level to continue making lean gains IMO.

lookin good man, keep it up…ps. you get an 8 for the creative squiggly blue lines you used to cover your face