T Nation

Looking for Advice to Gain Strength

Hi Guys,

Ive been working out for about 5 weeks now and want some input on my plan. My goal is to drop some weight and increase my strength as well as the whole definition route. Hopefully you guys can pass on some ideas.

Currently I’m 6 feet tall and 247 lbs. Im not fat but not slim either, as I do have some muscle mass. Here’s my workout plan:

I am currently working out 5-6 days a week. I start with cardio, looking to burn 400 calories. Takes me about 28 minutes on the eliptical and 37 on the bike.

Mondays I do Chest and triceps, doing each exercise for 4 sets at 8-10 reps a set.

Chest:
Incline press : 95 pounds
Flat press: 135 pounds
Incline dumbell press: 35 pounds
Pec deck: 165 pounds
Dips (Assisted) two sets of 10

Triceps:
cable pulls: 120pounds
Dumbell kickbacks-45 pounds
Skull crushers: 80pounds

My big concern here is my chest. I don’t feel the workout when doing bench work, but when doing dumbells and the pec deck I feel it. Am I doing something wrong?

Tuesdays: Legs
Squats: 185 pounds
Leg press: I start with 450 but work up to 810 pounds
Calf raises: 135 pounds with free weights sitting
Calf raises 310 pounds standing

Wednesday: Shoulders and biceps

Lateral raises: 25 pounds
Horizontal raises:25 pounds
Arnold presses: 35 pounds
shrugs: 85 pounds

Biceps:
Cable pulls 80 pounds
Dumbell curls I start with 35’s and go up to 50’s
Ez curl bar close grip: start with 60pounds work up to 80 pounds

Thursdays: Back and abs ( With forearms for good measure)

Lat pulldowns: 165 pounds
Cable rows: 165 pounds
T bar lifts 100 pounds
Pull ups ( Im up to 4)

Crunches: two sets of 35
leg raises: two sets of twenty

Forearms: Wrist curls with dumbells: 40 pounds
Hammer curls: 40 pounds

Fridays: I usually do the chest routine again.

Saturdays: Usually just cardio, but I sometimes do spot work if I feel I didn’t hit something right.

Well thats my routine. I could really use some advice as ways to increase my strength gains, what I may be doing wrong, etc. Any advice will be appreciated, thanks

The gateway to your goals

www.elitefts.com

Thanks for the recommendation. Where would you suggest I start?

If your final purpose is to gain strength…then you should stop bodybuilding and change to OLifting, PLifting, Strongman, Highland, USAWA, etc.

Although bodybuilding exercises and program can build significant strength…to gain strength as quick as possible, a more specialized and “objectively measurable” approach is required. Seeing you situation…I’d go for powerlifting first.

Not to be a pain, but what exercises would you recommend to begin with? I see lots of information, but nothing that I would call a plan…

Ever heard of “overtraining?” For someone who has only 5 weeks training under your belt you are overtraining.

Do full body workouts with less exercises. You should concentrate on the three basic one, Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. After 2 months add Bent over Barbell rowing. After a further 2 months Barbell press and after another 2 months some arm work. Always use the heaviest weights you can WITH PERFECT FORM! Vary sets and reps.

In contrast do cardio every day preferably in the morning if you can not more than 20min. Cut out sugar and sugary foods (pop, cakes, candy, etc). Drink lots of water. Look at all the excellent nutrition advice on this site.

Lastly the mental aspect, visualise yourself as you would like to be the mind is the most important thing in any endeavour especially the hardest sport in the world “Bodybuilding.” Ignore all the crap you will get from envious people around as you make progress. If you go down this path you will not only change your body but change your life.

Finally never, never, never, NEVER GIVE UP!

You dont state your age but my sugestion is if your over 35 train body parts once per week. Your overtraining now. Dont work arms or shoulderss directly for a month. Then start back on shoulders doing shoulder presses only. If your goal is to get stronger. Do bench presses shoulder presses to the front only. squats, deadlifts and rows. use as much weight as possible to only get 4 or 5 reps max. Eat lots of protien and only do cardio 3 times a week. Doing to much cardio will help you lose weight but also muscle. Its a slow process of lossing weight but if you get stronger then its worth the wait.

[quote]TigerFighter wrote:
Chest:
Incline press : 95 pounds
Flat press: 135 pounds
Incline dumbell press: 35 pounds
Pec deck: 165 pounds
Dips (Assisted) two sets of 10

Triceps:
cable pulls: 120pounds
Dumbell kickbacks-45 pounds
Skull crushers: 80pounds

Tuesdays: Legs
Squats: 185 pounds
Leg press: I start with 450 but work up to 810 pounds
Calf raises: 135 pounds with free weights sitting
Calf raises 310 pounds standing

Biceps:
Cable pulls 80 pounds
Dumbell curls I start with 35’s and go up to 50’s
Ez curl bar close grip: start with 60pounds work up to 80 pounds

Lat pulldowns: 165 pounds
Cable rows: 165 pounds
T bar lifts 100 pounds
Pull ups ( Im up to 4)
[/quote]

I just wanted to mention that those are some WIERD weight combinations for your lifts. 135 bench press and 165 pec dec? And 120 cable pressdowns! but only 80 for skullcrushers and 45 pound kickbacks? (Strict?). And only 165 pulldowns but you can do 4 chins at 247? I guess that you probably have some double cable setups and the weight is probably only half of what your listing. I could only heave down maybe a 120 cable pressdown, but I could lockout 435 from the midpoint in the bench. Maybe I’m the weird one, but I think you are stronger in the bench, squat and pulldown than you think.

Do a search for articles by Ian King, Iron John, Jack Reape. I’m a newbie also presently working with a wave loading program by Ian King and fine tuned by Jack Reape with great results so far.

Concentrating mainly on compound movements. Bench, squats, deads, pullups. No isolation movements at this time. Starting bench was 185 5 months ago, presently 280 and growing weekly. The advice on this site is amazing. Just do a little research through the search mode, and good luck.

JUST A FAT BASTARD WORKING

Are you purposely taking it easy on squats? You should not be doing 185 for squats if you can do 810 on the leg press. Squats are one of the money exercises. You should definitely give them your all.

Thanks for the info guys. As far as squats go, yeah I am a little nervous doing heavier weights. I have gone through three workout partners in this time frame. (Younger guys who have lives after all)

The cables are single, not doubles, from what I can see. I have started to increase my bench, now up to 205 for 4-6 reps. Again it was a lack of a spotter holding me back, I think. As far as the odd weights I was one of those “arm builder” when I was a kid, and never worked on my chest so I suffered for it. 7 years of moving furniture built up my legs. However I don’t recommend it.

I have heard about overtraining, but I don’t feel the effects of it. I still eat plenty, I get enough sleep, I can stay focused, my lifting weights have increased. My arms feel bigger, as do my legs and chest so Im not losing muscle growth yet.

I’ve been looking around and the site is awesome. Thanks for the help guys and keep it coming!

assuming you’re over 35, take hede of the immortal words of Jack LaLaine…“make haste slowly.” At the age of 48, I’ve been working out since frashman year of high school, my biggest adjustment has been to force myself to do less.

I’m as strong or stronger today than I’ve ever been, but it far easier for me to over train at this age. My best adivse is to take the long view. There are no great gains in three weeks. Great gains take three years and more. I keep my 10 year goal in mind and plan tiny increments by the month. Good luck.