Looking for Direction

Hey T-Nation,

I am 23 years old, 5’11 and about 205lbs. I recently “bulked” from about 188lbs to around 210lbs, but I got sick and lost a little bit of weight. This took me from September to the middle of December. I am looking for some feedback on my pics to see where I can improve.

I am at a military college, so the diet is really hit or miss. I do my best to eat high protein meals, but sometimes shitty carbs are my only option. I try and eat around 4 meals a day and a shake totaling around 4000 calories.

What direction are you looking for? What are your goals? What is your training like? Best lifts?

You look good and decently proportioned from the pics, and lean to boot. You could prob put on another 40lbs and still look good.

I was really looking at what weak points to improve. My goal is to keep building a well-proportioned and balanced body. My training right now is set up to fit my schedule. It will raise a few eyebrows I am sure.

As of last week, I started lifting weights 2x a day, 3-4x a week. For example, I would do chest/tris around 1300 and then back/bis at around 1800. I know it is not ideal, but I do not really have the facilities to train on weekends. Every other day I will do some cardio on the erg or bike, but not too much.

For my training sessions, I usually stick with 1 or 2 compound exercises at 3 sets. I also do 1 or 2 isolation exercises at 2 or 3 sets. I try and ramp the weight with the compound movements. I trained a lot with lower rep ranges (3-6), but I think I am going to start dropping the weight some and training in the higher rep ranges (8-10) and 15+ for legs.

My best lifts were like 325 bench, 195 military press, 405 squat, and a 455 deadlift. I used a belt on the squat and the deadlift.

Cool. Like I said, you look good. Your posing isnt the greatest, but maybe give a little more attention to back width. Check out John Meadows’ stuff on this site.

Otherwise, keep doing what you’re doing!

Ok awesome I will definitely look into some of his articles. It is funny that you mention back width because looking back on my training I have never really worked specifically to get the width.

Hey man, you got some pretty good developement goin on in a bunch of places! Quads are really lookin good! Your improvement area is def. in your back. I was just recently helpin a friend of mine in the gym who wanted weak point help and had a generally good physique and he had the same problem.

I noticed you posted your deadlift at 455. I would suggest takin a good look at your deadlift form, from what I see in the gym, even guys that lift up good weight do so at the cost of sacraficing that deadlift form either with super wide stances or incorrect lift mechanics such as just muscling the weight up no matter what. Doin deads with extra attention to the form could really thicken up ur back and rear delts for a great all around look since you have great developement in other places!

If you think ur dead could use a lookin at my suggestion would be lose the belt if possible and grip straps. Pop ur rep range up to 15-20 reps, pick a weight thats tough to hit 15 reps with and then try to bring it to 20. Pickin a higher rep range should give you more leeway on practicin that form under tension, also if you start deadliftin high weights at high reps ur body is sure to be shocked and spark some growth in those areas.

Remeber during deads if ur roundn ur back just a bit ur sacraficin developement and safey. Keep that back correct and get a solid squeeze in ur back and delts in reps. After 20 good reps at a tough weight u shud huffn and puffn and ur back should be wrecked after a few sets. That kindof energy expenditure during those sets may even help shred u up on the way. Hope this helps, im sure theres tons of vids with deadlift forms around the site.

Finishin up the width, you could do some wide pullups or pulldowns, make sure ur using the lats as best u can!


Thanks a lot for the feedback. When I do deadlifts I feel it in my lower back more then anywhere else, so it probably is a form issue. To be honest, I’ve never really felt sore in my hamstrings/upperback from doing deadlifts alone. I know I am not rounding my back, but still the lower back is the major point of soreness.

Maybe it is just a weak point and I need to work on it more. For the record, I almost never use a belt now, but when I lifted in high school our coach had us use them for every set of squats and trap bar deadlift.

its likely a form issue my friend, remeber a deadlift’s primary mover is your glutes not ur back. That does not mean ur lower back shouldn’t get sore, I used to wobble on the floor like a fish out of water from hittin my lower back so hard with high rep heavy deadlifts, it made my lower back like a steel plate. But anyway, when i dead i lift off the ground in the same form as the bottom position of a squat, from there i dont bend down that far anymore, my knees only go bend down about half the distance of a squat and my bar hits the floor in the position. It basically becomes like a hinging motion with my hips just bending back and forth and my arm holding the weight. Its all about pointin your butt back real far then pullin it in with a sharp shoulder/back squeeze for the end deadlift stance.

My point is if you fire the glutes right (and use the same dead positioning im describing) not only does ur upper back get beaten from finishing the motion completely, but firing the glutes properly will def hit the hamstrings hard for ya in a way and function that hamstring curls wont.

On a funnier note, take a look at how bodybuilders flex their stuff, knowing how to show off your hard work is important too! You got a great build but you dunno how to make it look its best. (Arnold explains it in Pumping Iron lol)

You look good.

But hit those lats. Lats lats lats. Horizontal pulling, vertical pulling, pullovers. Make sure you feel them working

Agree with Bonez/Bug, keep putting in the hard work.

Sorry it took me a few days to reply. I usually get an e-mail saying someone responded to the thread, etc.

@ Matrix,

I have been watching a bunch of videos and reading “Starting Strength” by Rippetoe about the deadlift issue. I went lighter on the deadlifts yesterday, but still used a low rep range (4-6). Next back workout I am going to do sets of at least 10 and see how it goes.

Agree 100% on the posing and showing what I have. I admit I could have spent some more time researching that before I posted in the forum, but I will work on it for the next time I take pics (many moons from now).

@ Bonez,

I appreciate the feedback and the constructive criticism from a more veteran member of the boards. I have really been focusing on the lat width the past two back workouts and will continue to work on it. Lat width has always been a weakness in mine (didn’t spend much time on it in high school), so now I need to make up the lost ground.

@ Rational Gaze

Thanks for the feedback. Good luck with your training.

Hey many looking great. hit those glutes hammys some more. and definitely listen to everyones advice on widening out your back some more. I could also say you would gain some shoulder width if you focused some more on your rear delts. great work. GL

@ Achilles

Thanks for the advice. I have been really working on getting a deeper squat and a better deadlift for the posterior chain. In addition, since I got some feed back I have doing many more pull-ups. I work rear delts a lot now, but I think most of the imbalance is from a lot of pressing in high school and not enough pulling.