I’m a 17 year old, 5’ 10", 160lb, under 10% bodyfat kid about to go into his freshman year of college. I spent 3 years of high school lifting, going from about 120 to 160. Some of that growth was due to height, and just adolescence, so it’s not like my training accounted for 40lbs of muscle gain.
In fact, I was making slow progress most of the time because I constantly changed my program because each article I read switched how I thought was the best way to train. Either way, I started making good progress once I began eating correctly, which I didn’t do until my 2nd year of lifting.
Now I may not have trained all the possible ways there are, but I feel like I know basically what different types of training do (high volume, high intensity, split, full body, etc). I’ve also spent a long time perfecting my barbell exercise technique (squat, deadlift, bench, still have some trouble with my lower back when overhead pressing standing up, barbell row, etc).
I’m just mentioning that because I don’t like to think I’m like most teenagers who post stuff like “Hey I’ve got 3 week until spring break, how do I get a six pack?.” I’m fairly knowledgeable about training, diet, and basic supplements (which I generally don’t use - my work money went to food, which works better than any supplement in my opinion)
So anyways, this is my long term plan:
First, my goal is to be just over 200 pounds, at 5’10", with at the most 10% bodyfat, which I will hopefully be able to keep more around 6% or 7%. So that means I need to gain 40 pounds of muscle (a lot…), while hopefully being able to hover around 10% bodyfat. I don’t mind if I go above, but at that point, I might remove some calories from my diet.
Once I reach about 215 pounds, including bodyfat (assuming about 12% bodyfat), I will begin cutting down to about 6% bodyfat, which is a lose of about 13 pounds. My hope is that I will be able to accomplish this before I’m 30, giving me about 12 years.
Training: In order to get bigger, you need to be stronger. Not powerlifter strong, but squatting 400 for 5 reps generally means you’re bigger than when you were squatting 300 of 5 reps. So, my first goal is to get a whole lot stronger. I’ve read Basic Barbell Training as well as the Madcow 5X5 and I think I’m going to follow this program until my lifts all increase substantially.
My 5RM for squat, bench, row, and deadlift are, respectively, 225, 200, 155, 265. If throughout college, I could improve these lifts by about 60 to 80 pounds each (I feel like that might even be a little conservative) then I would have grown substantially too (maybe not like if I had done a split, but strength is primary here).
I might do variations of exercises each cycle, but those 4 lifts are the ones I’m going to measure my progress by. So basically, I hope to add another 45 plate to each side of all my lifts in about 3-4 years.
Once I’m significantly stronger, I might adopt a split routine, but not anything like a 5 day split. Right now, I’m a big fan of DC training and, as it’s really only for advanced lifters, I can’t wait to give it an honest try. I’m a fan of all high-intensity training actually because I find that I’m able to push myself very hard for a couple sets, as opposed to kinda push myself for 12 sets. So I think some form of high intensity training comes after my strength phase, which should be the extra push to get me to grow at my intermediate-advanced stage. Hopefully, I will hit my 215 pound, 12% bodyfat goal here.
The final stage involves cutting while maintaining strength and using a split routine to shore up weaknesses, as most of the programs I’ll have done by now focus mainly on big lifts. This will probably be a more traditional split routine. So say its leg day. I start with a warmup for squats, then do one or two sets of squats with my current weight, to maintain strength.
Then I do 2 or 3 intense sets that focus on a weakness in my quads (teardrop, sweep, whatever). So it’s not super high volume, but it gives attention to places that haven’t gotten full attention. I might try pre-exhaustion as well for this.
Hopefully, manipulation of my diet and cardio will make me lose fat, so I’ll end at just over 200 pounds, 6-7% bodyfat, with some impressive lifts, just shy of 30 years old. I might think about competing in bodybuilding or powerlifting or whatever. So thats the plan - get strong on a basics program, use the strength to gain weight on a high intensity program, lose fat while shoring up weaknesses on a traditional split program (probably a 4-day split).
If I’ve missed anything let me know… Thanks for any advice or comments. It would be pretty awesome if I could get input from any of the coaches on here as well.