T Nation

Lifting Methods


To Whom it may concern:

I'm 18, and have been working out for 5 years now. I've been through several different methods of working out and wanted to get advice on the best ways. My goal, probably just like everyone else in the world, is to gain muscle while decreasing body fat. I'm currently 5'11" and 190 lbs. I am currently in a workout that works one individual muscle group a day. Chest Monday, Biceps/Triceps Tuesday, Lower body Wednesday, Shoulders Thursday, and Back Friday. I had heard that working out in this fashion builds more muscle and with higher reps and short to no breaks, will burn more fat. Could I get any advice?

Thank you to all in advance!



You have a lot of reading to do! But this is the right place.


Read a lot of articles here, they will help you.


You need to pick a goal, either burn fat or build muscle. Trying to do both at the same time will get you no where.


hence why he has been working out for 5 years and still needs the most basic of help.

to the op, read professor X: a request and cephalic carnage: how do you train?

both are better than most articles that are written because they arent selling you shit. they aren't coaches looking to promote themselves. they are people that have gotten big by doing the right things in the real world not some crazy training facility in the mountains of Norway.


Yep, i wish i just read the basics about form and nutrition then looked on forums and found my own way. when i first started out i was figuring it out for myself then i got caught up in a load of faddy stuff now ive ended up more or less doing what i was originally just with little bits ive found helpful from reading along the way.


you're so right . i Fkd around like this when i started about 10 years ago then found t nation .
the advice you get here is second to none .
im still only 175 with a squat of only 220 but i started at 135 with a squat of 66.


I'll be kind and post my selection of favorite articles

Exercice selection

Lifting method

Back training

These are what comes to my mind. Don't dive immmediatly in coach Thibaudeau's training articles, they are indeed awesome, but I believe they are written for people on juice!

And if there's one author I'd recommend reading first, it'd be Chad Waterbury. What he recommends is the most "one size fits all" for anyone new to the gym and you WILL NOT waste time if you follow his recommendations.


Read the article on the homepage by Dr. Clay Hyght about mistakes he made as a beginner. It will help you tremendously.


Rule no. 1 - Building muscle is NOT complicated

Get stronger and stronger in a medium rep range (6-12 reps), especially in the multi-joint movements. If your muscles aren't getting bigger, stop looking at the latest article talking about "muscle fibre types" and actually add some weight to that 150lb squat :wink:

Don't obsess over routines.

Don't over-think how muscle is built

Don't look for the "newest" "coolest" method of building muscle (be wary of most articles)

Don't under-estimate your potential strength/size gains; aim high!

Don't try to get big and lean at the same time (focus on getting bigger 1st with moderate fat gains)...the more muscle mass you have, so long as you didn't screw up your insulin response (usually via too high carbs/not enough carbs) and get "too fat" with a crap routine, the easier it is to cut.

Don't zig zag; that is, don't bulk for two months, and cut the next minute. Make your mind up, sort your diet out (not too many carbs/fat, have plenty protein), and get stronger each week. You can re-comp (if fat levels get out of control, e.g. 18%+ bodyfat), but don't go into a full blown "get ripped" diet, you'll loose your strength gains/muscle if taken too far.

DO follow those who've already been there and done that.

Be consistent with your routine. Find a half decent one and stick to it (a decent one has you hitting muscle groups twice every 5-8 days, and doesn't over-do the exercise selection). If you're not getting the results you were looking for, it's likely lack of rest/calories that's the problem, not the routine (unless it was really bad to start with).

Eat enough (including protein/total calories). If you struggle to eat enough, increase in fatty foods a little (e.g. beef/oil/eggs/nuts etc). Incidentally, increasing your protein foods will increase calories via more fat too, so you can't go wrong with increasing protein.

Avoid very low carb diets (long term ones especially), you'll just get fat/flat/weak (carbs are NOT evil). Adequate carbs are essential for good performance, hormone balance...which overall effects muscle gain and fat burning etc.

Take rests when appropriate. If you can no longer push as hard, or feel as motivated as before (you should feel relatively psyched before lifting) then you need to go easier for a few weeks in order to 'recharge' (reduce load somewhat, skip a few workouts etc)...if this happens too often (like your strength keeps going up and down), then you need to either increase calories or re-asses your routine if it's much different from 'normal' (e.g. too many exercises especially big ones, too many sets, frequency too high/low etc).


I've recently decided to pick up the "I,BODYBUILDER" workout. I love how it's broken down into phases. My remaining question is this: Are these short, explosive reps meant to build mass? Also, is this workout calling for 3 sessions a day? I'm sure everyone on this site has at least glanced at this stunning program.


Those reps do build mass, so long as there are enough in total. Even if it doesn't work for YOU, it's a good way of boosting gains (lower rep training, especially when not taking to absolute failure, helps you get stronger in the higher rep training).

I bodybuilder is mainly meant for advanced lifters (not sure what level you're at?), hence the reason why there are different phases. The way it works is that as an advanced lifter, you have limited "recovery resources", so it's better to specialise in certain muscle groups rather than work on them all equally hard at the same time. That's the gist of it, no doubt CT would explain it better though.


I like to pick a weight up, move it from point A to point Bizzle, rinse and repeat.

Yeah buddy!


this is rather... harsh.


I lol'd


At least give the guy a break for starting at 13. He's probably only had two years of productive testosterone.


haha i don't mind the criticism, i appreciate all the help. Ultimately i want to lose body fat the get more definition and from what everyone has said, i can't successfully cut weight and gain mass simultaneously. I've been reading up on cutting while maintaining strength and stumbled upon I, Bodybuilder. Would it effective to cut weight while doing the I, Bodybuilder workout to maintain muscle mass? Also, what is more effective, cutting weight then gaining muscle, or gaining muscle then cutting weight.

Thanks to all



You CAN loose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but it's rare to do both to a large degree and usually only happens as a newbie. What we call recomping, is where you eat at maintenance (or varying above/below at different times of the week/month) and this makes you hold onto your muscle while losing a little fat, and sometimes even gaining a little muscle...it's just a slow version of a proper cutting phase but it helps you hold muscle/strength easier.

Thing is, it's hard to know what advice to give you because we haven't seen your picture or even had a rough % bodyfat figure. For all we know, you could already be quite lean and just paranoid about fat...or you could be in desperate need of recomping (like if you just look like a fat man lol).

Until then, all I can say is workout often, and eat enough:

Lifting boosts testosterone.

Food boosts testosterone.

Lift plenty (e.g. 6 days per week), eat plenty (e.g. 4000 cals per day). Whatever your goals are, adjust you diet accordingly (for recomping, eat enough to keep your bodyweight the same each week - if you are loosing pounds frequently each week, increase calories by say 500...and if the body fat calliper reading isn't decreasing, decrease calories by say 500).

As for a lifting split, simply follow a good 3 way split. A 3 way split done 6 days per week will train bodyparts twice a week (which many feel is necessary for newer lifters, and/or those wanting to trim). A 3 way split could look like this:

Mon - Push
Tue - Pull
Wed - Legs
Thu - Push
Fri - Pull
Sat - Legs
Sun - Off

Do two exercises per bodypart, and split them over two days so that you're doing one exercise per bodypart per day.


Mon = Flat bench press (overall chest), Thu = Incline bench press (upper chest).
Tue = Row (back thickness), Fri = Wide pulldown (back width)
Mon = Triceps pushdowns (overall triceps), Thu = Hammer grip triceps extensions (long head)
Tue = Barbel curl (biceps overall), Fri = Hammer grip curl (long head)
Wed = Deadlifts and 1 small leg exercise (e.g. leg extension), Sat = Squats and 1 small leg exercise (e.g. leg curls)

The reason why you split up the exercises like this is because you don't want too much training volume in each session since you'll be training frequently and need to recover quickly. There is some over-lap, but because the workout volume is pretty low this shouldn't affect performance too much.

Do 3-4 maximum effort sets per exercise. Keep the rep range within 6-12 reps, so if you "failed" at 6 reps on one set, you'd lower the load by about 10% to get 6+ reps on your next set.


Are you telling me that I need to consume a good amount of calories (about 4,000) but of the right food to maintain weight but lower body fat%? Also, 'its_just_me,' what are your thoughts on the I, Bodybuilder workout? I did read all of if but I'm sure you have a better understanding.

  1. What are the goals? Gain mass, strength?
  2. Since my goal is to lose body fat, would this workout be best or should I do the three way split?
  3. Cheap food full of protein?
  4. Will chicken breasts on a George Foreman grill suffice?

Thanks to all



oh yea, one more thing, how do you get a picture on here?