Natural Bodybuilding as a Teen Roadmap

Hey guys, so I’ve been training strength oriented for the past year or so. Currently got my lifts to 195 bench, 315 squat, and 365 deadlift. Basically ran linear progression programs to get to this point. I am 5’7" 19 years old, and 150 pounds, roughly 14% bf. Currently in college, I want to eventually do a men’s physique competition. My question is how to transition from strength training to training for size and aesthetics in general? What type of program should I be on, I really just need a push in the right direction, as I am a complete novice in regards to this style of training. Any diet advice and training direction are greatly appreciated. Basically a roadmap of what I should be doing, or who I can go to to learn about this. Thanks, guys!!

Try this, I’m 19 and in college as well. Works well for me.

Please visit the now ongoing threads that have brought back some much needed CPR to the forum: Rob’s Road, my Leaning Out/Contest Prep thread, Bidybuilding Training, and Bodybuilding 2.0. Ask questions in there and be ready to dump “strength oriented programs”.

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High-volume full-body training in the 70-80% intensity range 3x per week paired with a caloric surplus of about 500 extra calories per day will pack some mass on you.

For example,
Monday: Squat + Bench 75% for 3 sets of 5
Wednesday: Deadlift + Press 80% for 7 sets of 2
Friday: Squat + Bench 70% for 2 sets of 8

Shoot for about 2lbs of weight gain/month. If I were you, I’d bulk up to 170 and then cut from there, which means over this next year you have 10 months to bulk and 2 months to cut, at which point you can either start bulking again, or continue cutting and do a show. Good luck!

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@RyuuKyuzo He said he’s going for physique. Your suggestion is NOT for physique transformation, certainly not for going for the physique look, of all aims.

@pitbull97 [quote=“pitbull97, post:1, topic:222249”]
My question is how to transition from strength training to training for size and aesthetics in general?

You simply get on a split routine that has you hitting every body part every five to seven days with the appropriate exercises, volume, and exercise sequencing.

A split routine that allows you to bring up any weaknesses and pack on mass generally.

@willisrhood suggests a very good article, as are all of Clay Hyght’s other articles on bare-bones bodybuilding training. Read all of his articles on here. As for nutrition and training, there are thousands of articles on this site for your needs. I strongly suggest you stay away from any articles by “strength” writers, personal trainers and strength coaches who solely train athletes or regular folks and so on. That is, if you want to look like a physique competitor or bodybuilder, pay attention to those who speak about bodybuilding or compete themselves.

Read CT’s beginners’ series on nutrition. That’s enough to start with, as you are asking for a tall order for someone to write a detailed diet for you.

DUMP the powerlifting/“strength training” mindset. You WILL gain strength, maybe even A LOT of strength, on a properly implemented split routine, as if this is necessary to grow, and a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle, regardless of the style of training that was used to make the muscle bigger.

Get in on the other threads.

For the overall size/ getting up to say 180lbs you’ll make the fastest progress alternating between templates like this…

This is the top natural physique guy on the site, lots of good tips here…

Wow, thank you so much for the recommendations! I will read all the articles by Clay, and start lurking in those other threads you mentioned. For the time being, I will stick to what @willisrhood suggested above, and will look at the CT articles on nutrition. Thank you for all the help!

Thank you, I will definitely start following this template, thank you!

Just to update all, I have decided to follow the template provided by @willisrhood, and am following the diet advice in the two articles by CT. Just one last question, i am approximately 15% bf. Cant see abs relaxed but can see them flexed, top 4 clearly. Should i cut or bulk first?

Keep calories at maintenance for now and see what changes come about from proper trading likeca bodybuilder. Then see what happens.

Ok i will, thank you!

That was going to be my suggestion. If you don’t feel like you are recovering correctly/you don’t have great energy, bump up the calories SLIGHTLY (by, say, 10%). Your body should respond amazingly in a short amount of time since you haven’t trained in this way yet.

Good luck. Post pictures and stuff after a few weeks. Everyone likes a good transformation story.

Is that right? I wasn’t aware the optimal way to build muscle is bad for guys looking to compete in physique.

In that case, your advice about having a 150lb kid at 14% bodyfat doing splits to “bring up his weaknesses” (lol) is much more solid advice.

If a guy or gal is looking to compete in a physique competition, then yes, splits are the way to go to evenly develop OR address weak areas. I guarantee you won’t find a physique or bodybuilding competitor that looks great that does a 3x per week full body program to get there, at least not as the foundation of their training. The OP didn’t ask for a strength program or mass program, he asked for a program designed for a physique competition, which would be standard split routine, or a modified split routine to address weak points as needed. I don’t know why anyone would think a split routine is not a good or “optimal” way to build muscle.

Personally I’ve done many full body 3x per week programs and even prepped for my first show on one, before transitioning back to splits. Although I resorted to 3x per week because of my schedule. Full body programs absolutely have their place and can build fantastic mass, but for a physique/aesthetic competition where you’re judged on stage, splits are standard for a reason. It is absolutely possible to build very solid LBM on a split routine as pretty much all bodybuilders do.

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If you’re a standard 150lb noob with a bodyfat in the mid-teens, then IMO regardless of what your end-goals are, you should adopt the method that builds the most muscle as quickly as possible. Why focus on bringing up weaknesses when everything is a weakness?

Furthermore, there’s absolutely no reason why a full-body routine can’t target weaknesses. That’s what assistant lifts are for, and if every day is a full body day, every day in the gym is another opportunity to discover and give extra attention to your weaknesses.

The other thing to consider here is no one, not even OP, knows what his build and genetics are best for. He might come to realize the physique he’s able to build is better for classic bodybuilding, or maybe even strength sports. There’s no reason to be so myopic this early into his career, which is why I say he should focus on building his foundation and let his body tell him what it’s most suited for.

If it turns out he really is best suited for physique, then what has he lost? Will a year of building his foundation ruin his chances of being a physique competitor? Will his glutes and quads accidentally get too developed over the course of a year? No one has ever accidentally gotten too big, so there’s no worry whatsoever that he’s going to become “too muscular” for physique competitions in his second year of lifting. As far as I can tell, there’s no downside to prioritizing systemic muscle growth and there’s no benefit to using a training system that slows down his gains just to shoehorn him into the physique look this early into his training career.

Ok i will, thank you for the help!

so is the program I am going to, what i should be doing? just reading the conflicting advice

So then should I be following the advice you laid out then? I’m sorry, there is just conflicting advice, and am just not sure what to listen to. I used to wrestle, and entering college I was no longer wrestling, so I finally have the chance to put on a size and look like I actually lift. All my lifting prior to this was just to get stronger without adding weight, obviously, for wrestling, I didn’t want to get bigger, just stronger. So now, it is different as I do not have to fear adding size, and my ultimate goal is to compete in a physique show, and i just need a roadmap to get me there.

When you say “physique show,” do you mean specifically you want to compete in Men’s Physique, or that you want to compete as a bodybuilder to show off your physique?

Physique guys are typically smaller than bodybuilders and they wear shorts instead of bodybuilding briefs, so judges don’t see their thighs or glutes. They also don’t do the classic bodybuilding poses.