T Nation

My Bulking Begins Now!


Alright! Its time for me to gain some serious weight. Ive been reading some defranco stuff, and articles at elitefts, and decided to start my "bulk" early. Im not a bodybuilder. I just want to gain size and look good, while improving my lifts. But this is the best forum for what im asking.

So im 5'11" 190lbs at about 13-15% BF, and im 25 y.o. I know people usually suggest cutting to 10% before 'bulking', but im gonna go about things a different way. I also know that I dont quite count as a "skinny bastard" but im going to do things as if I were. These decisions are based on my experience that eating more; (even a bit dirtier) usually leads to me losing BF% while gaining mass.

So my overall goal is to hit 215. But as a short term goal, i am aiming for 200+. The highest ive ever been is 196.

And here is my general plan.


-Chicken and Pasta

(I know the importance of chicken in any diet, and pasta allows me massive amounts of convenient calories)

-2% milk in place of shakes
Protein shakes are good, but they tend to fill me up too much and sometimes upset my stomach. I'll rely on a good amount of milk to makeup for only using small amounts of protein powder.

-Spinach and mixed green salads

Not very filling, throw on some oil and vinegar for calories, and i get my veggies in as well. And it was good enough for popeye.

Ok so those are the foods im going to try and get as much of possible. The spaghetti will be something whole grain, like barilla plus.


I will use other "dirtier" foods to accelerate my weight gain. Stuff like, rice krispy treats, peanut butter, whole milk, cheese, hamburger, sherbert/ice cream, etc.... Also, certain convenience items like cliff builder bars will help with taking in calories.

So initially im aiming for a 10lb weight gain, and am going to shoot for it in 4 weeks. I know i probably wont gain this fast, but im going to aim for it. At this point, i'll reflect on my progress, and how much fat gain is occuring. I'll then shoot for 215, but will change things up if needed. (The first change i'll make if needed would be utilizing carb cut offs.)


Nothing is set in stone, but im pretty much hitting the gym 3x per week and doing some form of GPP/Cardio 2-3x per week. I also have loading phases where im increasingly working harder for about 3 weeks, and then a short 1-2 week deload, where i try to supercompensate and recover.

I have a few questions as well.

Ive noticed some strange weaknesses in certain muscle groups. And im hoping that adressing these weakneses will not only help with strength, but will help with my physique as well. Here are the weaknesses ive noticed.

1)vertical press vs. horizontal press

I noticed I could bench my BW for reps (5-10), but my vertical press was almost half of this. Even my push press was pretty pitiful. Ive started working on push press, and am up to about 135-155 for reps, but this is still pretty bad. I have noticed a significant difference in my shoulders though since starting to focus on them.

2)The top 1/2 of pullups, more specifically the last couple of inches.

I know most people struggle with the bottom, but I really struggle with the top. Im thinking this is biceps and lower traps, but am not sure about that. I haven't been doing any direct bicep work, and consequently can only curl 25-30 lb db's for reps. I can do about 15 pullups at 190lbs and 5 at 240 though.

3)Extremely weak at tricep pushdowns compared to tricep extensions

I dont know what the deal is with this one, but i can do db tricep exts. with 30-40 lb dbs for reps, but struggle at rope pushdowns with 50lbs. Whats even greater, is that I noticed my gf was using 40lbs on the rope pushdowns. I can bench 3x what she does, but only do 20% more on pushdowns. This seems pretty strange to me.

What would you guys do to adress these weaknesses?

Should I hit some heavy db curls (1-6 reps) before I do my pullups

Any other advice?

Thanks for listening to my ramble on. And I appreciate any constructive criticism/advice.


Peanut butter is dirty? whaa? Sounds good dude. When will this bitch take off?


Ya PB might not be "dirty" but really nothing is "dirty" it just depends how you think about it.

I'll be starting pretty much immediately. Im finishing my first training cycle next week, and then will do a deload, and mini cut, and then back to bulking. The "mini-cut" will only last a week or so.


Rack Pull Ups to the Front or Back should see you right with the top portion of your Pull-Up

Use a Dumbell or EZ-bar which the guy in the video does. I might try these myself.



Does this mean you want to bench 405 now?


Also, how come you aren't eating any lean beef? I know you mentioned hamburgers but that's not what I'm talking about. Chicken has so few calories I don't see how it can be a staple in a bulking diet. I'd throw in 1.5 lbs of 85% or 90% lean ground beef/sirloin with some veggies once or twice a day.

Chicken/pasta will get old REALLY fast.

As for training,

1) What made you choose push press, why not do DB shoulder press or military press? Push press is a lift very dependent on leg drive, when you do it correctly you are only doing about 1/2 a rep with your shoulders.

2) I still don't understand why people neglect biceps, I would hit the BB curls and DB curls hard and heavy 4-8 range. Do NOT neglect muscle groups!

3) I don't think you can really compare the two exercises. If I were you I'd start hitting some close grip presses or reverse grip presses hard and heavy, once again 4-8

And no I would not do curls before pullups. If you are going to do them, they should be done after you finish back


I was going to say this, but then I thought someone would probably come along and put a funnier spin on it.

I should have just gone ahead and posted, haha. j/k


I agree about the chicken, its so bloody boring it's not funny, not in the least comparable to juicy sirloin lol, i have chicken twice a day and i end up choking it down than enjoying it.

Even any fish Tuna (i might add this :P)


Hmmm...... Those look interesting and pointless at the same time. Its really just an inverted row with weight added, but im not really sure what these can accomplish that pullups or chest supported rows wouldn't hit.

Im thinking im going to either need direct bicep strength work, or something like a weighted isometric hold at the top of a pullup followed by a slow negative.

Thx for the suggestion though, i may try those for RE work sometime.


Thx for the advice.

For beef, if I buy it and am making it at home, it will usually be ground sirloin or a really lean beef. And this is how I would make my hamburgers. If I get it at a restaurant, then im not really worried about what im getting and just except the extra fat.

But ya, i wont limit myself to JUST chicken, but it will be one of my staples. And the calories/fat not present in chicken will be easily made up for in other areas, like PB, whole milk, cheese, etc.

1) As for push press, I have found it to be the best way of hitting my triceps and shoulders. I dont use a strong leg drive, I do it the way CT suggests where you only use enough leg drive to get the weight moving. This allows me to use more weight, I lockout and then try to lower slowly or controlled. But as I fatigue I do tend to use more leg drive.

2) I have never really hit biceps heavy directly as ive always been doing pullups/chins heavy and didn't have the energy to go heavy on curls. But now, im focusing less on strength for pullups using them more for RE work, so i should be able to hit curls heavier. I'll probably start with 4-6 reps and go from there, but am still thinking it would be better to perform them before my pullups.

3) Ya i'll have to experement with these. I think the reason I am strong at tri-exts. is because for quite a while ive been doing DB floor press with a neutral grip. And there is a huge carryover between this and extensions. I think your suggestion about reverse grip presses and maybe even some reverse grip JM presses will target my weakness a lot.

Thx again for the advice.


Oh, and no i still dont want to bench 405. My current goal would be my current BW (190) for 20+ reps. And then when I get to 215, my goal would be 215-225 for 20+ reps.


what would you estimate your 1 rep max to be when you can bench 225 for 20+ reps?


hahahaha probably close to 405


Peanut butter.....dirty???.....only when you use it on a girl. And then that's not that dirty, just a bit sweatier than usual.


Anyway, on topic, Dankid, I've read many of your posts on this site since I been a visitin, and you seem to bounce around all over the place doing this and that type of training. What's happened with your sled training and your full body power type work? You even give that a chance? Are you actually going to get stuck into this and do it for a proper period of time?

You need to pull finger and really do this for real, and stop being a pussy on your bench. Your point on the other post (don't want to bench 405) doesn't mean shit if you actually want to build muscle. I was fine with your various do it your own way statements that I've seen, cause it was obvious you weren't really interested in "bulking up". But seriously, if you want to add mass, trying to bench your own body weight for 20 reps is bullshit. That won't add shit when it comes to muscle mass. It won't substantially boost your 1RM either.

If you are doing high intensity sets and gradually getting your lift weight up higher and higher, you'll be able to do your 20 body weight reps cause your 1RM will be through the roof. Get your 1RM up, then lifting your body weight will be piss easy. Repping it out on your body weight only will do shit.

This was the point everyone else was trying to make in that other thread. In a bodybuilding context, you will limit yourself if you don't try to lift HEAVY WEIGHT. Don't set your goal to something like an endurance task, get there by getting HEAPS stronger and bigger by lifting heavy weight.

Anyway, I hope you actually stick at this and do it. If you fuck around and decide in 2 weeks its time to cut then you FAIL.

Do this, and do it for real. And don't diss the peanut butter!!!! This is mana from heaven!!!!



Wow. No Einsteins in this generation.


You wasted a lot of energy with this post. Someone truly driven would NEVER...and I mean NEVER set some limit to how strong they WANT to get.

This is a joke....only not funny.


urrghhhghghhhhhhhhh chicken and pasta..disgusting.
If all you got though..all I do is eat my chicken with BBQ sauce..nothing else. I just eat that shit as quick as possible..2-3 pieces (40-60g's protein) and then get my carbs from whatever lol.
The best thing to eat with chicken is a fajita type thing..or even just sour scream, lettuce, tomatoes, cooked peppers etc. yummmmm.

man..you want to bench 405 just admit it. if you lift weights, wanna get your reps n whatever ON THE BENCH..why wouldn't you want to post up a good bench of 405? what's the big deal lol.
Youuu scaaaaaaaaaared? lol.


Ummmm? Maybe 405+, but thats not the point. My goal isn't to bench 405+ or whatever. My goal is to bench a certain amount for 20+ reps. Im not competing in any sports and this just fits my goals better. Ive been lifting "heavy" for a long time, and am very strong for how I look. This would be great if I played in a sport or something, but since I dont, its time to just focus on building muscle. Now I know this is always argued. If I bench 405 i'll be much bigger, but also if I bench 225 for 20+ reps i'll be much bigger. Im just choosing to take the latter route.

People misunderstood the whole "i dont want to bench 405lbs" thread. It wasn't that I was lazy, or a pussy, it was that it diddn't matter to me to bench 405, and that is why i haven't tried to. I AM constantly trying to achieve my goals, and changing things to meet them, but the goals are what I want to do.

***I'd also like to be able to push press BW for reps, but probably not 20+ (at least not initially)


Thx for the input.... I AM still doing the sled training and complexes and am loving it. I plan on using this on and off during the next 6-12 months. I'll probably rotate between this, WS4SB and EDT. But im really loving sled training. Nothing will ever allow me to get such a burn in my legs and feel like such crap at the end of my workout, only to feel great 3 hours later. The only problem with sled training for my goals is that there isn't an eccentric movement, but I dont think this will limit my gains at all.

My heaviest sled workout thus far was pulling a car tire that weighs about 20lbs +130lbs of weight on gravely cement. It was freaking brutal, but good.

The complexes are good as well. Ive worked up to 135lbs on them, and am now switching to more of an intensification phase with them. The volume will drop, but i should be getting to 155lbs or so by the end of that short phase.

The only problem with my current plan is that there isn't any room for heavy lower body lifts. This is ok for now, because they have always been my strong area, and the sled gets the job done nicely as well, but I am missing heavy deads and front squats.

Oh and just as an example, here is my previous workout:

A) Complex (Clean,Push press, front squat, RDL, Row) (135lbs)

4 x 1,2,3

B) Pullups (BW) As many sets as it takes to hit 20 reps


***Im following a plan i saw on elite fts for this one that should get my pullups to 20 reps in one set. Then i'll add some weight and build back up to it again.

C) Hammer curls (20's)

2xAMRAP (20,15)

***And this is my weak point for sure, and i'll have to start hitting them heavier.

A similar workout is done M,W,F but the complex switches from BB to DB, and the RE work swtiches from pull to push.

My sled work has been S,T,TH and has been short but very intense. Something around 8x100ft with long rest and maximum speed.

After my deload next week things will switch up, and i'll hit the complexes heavier (for strength) and the sled work will become hypertrophy work. I'll probably go up to 12-16 pulls of 150-200 ft, with shorter rest.

And next time I switch phases again, i'll be needing to upgrade to a truck tire, because im out of weight to add.