T Nation

Manual Labour Job Killing My Gains!


For sure man, there are certain core principles over time that I personally believe are important.

  1. Work hard
  2. Eat well (lots of good nutrition vs just lots of food)
  3. Start Light
  4. Pick a few exercises and hit them hard
  5. Lots of core and back work
  6. Change ONE thing at a time (I believe this even though I don’t follow it lol)
  7. Squat, Hinge, Pull, Core, Push, Lunge/Carry
  8. Basics will get you 80%-90% of the way there

I think that’s why it’s good to periodize. I do this unknowingly. I’ll go a few weeks of 5’s or 3’s with really only BW movements as assistance, and then I’ll go a few weeks of 8’s or 10’s with more DB or other bb movements as assistance. Seems to balance out over time.

But yeah man that’s why I’ve never pursued “I want to look this way” goals. I like numbers. I figured from the beginning of my journey if i had a 400 squat/dl for reps, 300 bench for reps, 200 oh press for reps, and was able to do a shit ton of rows and chin-ups I would like my physique. I never had a weight goal in mind, it was more so just eat well and whereever your weight ends up it’ll end up.


A basketball? In a rim that is 10 feet high? Because if we’re talking nerf and the back of my bedroom door, I can also dunk (though not easily).


Yeah regular rim. I can palm a basketball easily so I got big hands for my size. Thank you mama for the genetics (she was a really good hurdler in HS/college).

We are talking about a basic two hand/one handed dunk though. Not windmills and all of that lol. But I’m really explosive. I can do shit like this just to give an idea what I mean by explosiveness lol.


You have to think on one thing: Individualization. Not just regarding your body type (ecto, endo, etc…) but also your nutrition, rest, and training (stimuli).

Have you ever train legs with squats or deadlifts the next day or a couple of days after a 4 hour sleep night or after doing an extra shift? Yes, I also know guys who have hard works and they still perform good, always, in their workouts. but that may be the case of people whose CNS recover fast.

ALL the hard physical activities you do in manual labors count. Imagine a guy that unloads trucks full of 80 pound sacs (just as an example); do you really think that the workers don´t overload (above the usual) when 3 guys miss the shift? Of course that they overload; it’s called volume and if you realize that fatigue or diminished performance is present you have to adjust training acording to.

Maybe you could benefit from maintaining frequency (by your question I guess that maybe you train almost daily) and reducing volume. In this case maybe you could benefit from a program like Best Damn Program for Natural Lifters.

If you post your current program or trainings people could give you more accurate advice

Have a nice day


that’s one of the few strength-related areas where I do have something working in my favor genetically. I have big, strong hands. So I can also palm a basketball, I’ve never dropped a deadlift because of grip, and I’ve never done worse than first place in a grip event in strongman.


I’m 5’9" and can’t come close. For me, I was always fast and quick at sports, playing outfield or shortstop in baseball, and center mid at soccer. But, my vertical is not very good. I can’t even (or ever could) get close to touching the rim. That must be an awesome feeling to dunk.


Just a few thoughts about what has been said here:

-While quitting your job because you want more progress in the gym is not a bright idea, particularly if you are not at any sort of elite level and not about to make a career out of it, if you are doing a physically demanding job that doesn’t pay well and has no potential for advancement then I see no reason why you shouldn’t look for a different job that would better suit your lifestyle.

-If you have a hard time eating enough during the time you have available then drink a protein shake with whatever you are eating or maybe consider some sort of meal replacement drink (you could make your own with protein and carbs of some sort).

-You might be better off training less frequently with less volume per session. If your job adds a lot of fatigue then you simply can’t handle as much volume. Progress will be slower than if you trained more and had less stress overall, but that might not be an option.

-Go easy on the caffeine because it will just burn you out more. Caffeine/stimulants don’t give you energy, they make you burn more energy.

-Deload once in a while if you don’t already.


Anyone ever read about the “get big drink” from the keys to progress? I challenge you to drink a couple of those a day and still not have enough calories.


I will never understand the whining about this. My work affects my sleep patterns and it sucks but the workload doesn’t affect anything at all. I mean most good programs call for GPP. So I get mine during the work day carrying heavy things, climbing things, walking around. Makes sense to me anyway.


Same. I don’t get it either.