T Nation

Need Advice on How to Move Forward


Thing is, it's quite easy for me to gain mass, but my strength developement is painfully slow. I've been lifting for 9 months and I started from approx. 73kg (about 161lbs?) and so far I weight 88kg (about 194lbs?. I am soon turning 18.

It's quite disturbing that people I know are benching in their garages three times per week and hardly doing anything else and having alot better progress while of course being half of my size.

I am using bench and chins here as example:

I think I started somewhere around 5x5 93lbs 9 months ago and currently I can get 5x5 for 135 lbs.

Typically I've done 4x10, 4x8 or 5x6

I can do 8 full range of motion chin ups at the moment with quite fast tempo, without swinging myself. I guess I were able to about 2-3 when I started, which weren't so pure. Note that I am way heavier nowadays.

Usually I've done like 5x3 pure chins with slow negative with having my chin high above the bar.

I really don't know how to design a program for strength goals so here is what I need advice for. I mainly want to improve on benching and chin ups. I would be thankful if someone would take the time to help me by designing a program to get my strength levels higher.

To make things easier, let's say that I want program to improve bench, chins and squats. The reason I think my pressing strength is quite low is because that my triceps are weak since close grip bench is probably the worst of my lifts and I think this should be considered in the program.


You are being a little too hard on yourself. I know it is tough when you are just starting out but, don't compare your strength levels to others right now. You have made progress and thats all that really matters. Get a very basic strength program (don't make one up yourself) and work the hell out of it for a year or two without changing anything. Also, at 161lbs, gaining weight would be a good idea. Get a book, like Power Eating or Nutrient Timing, read it, and follow it exactly.

I would strongly suggest searching for Bill Starrs 5x5 program. If you want to fork out the money and but a good book, get Starting Strength or 5/3/1 or The Max Effort Manual.

Like I said: pick ONE! Stick with it for at least a year. Follow an eating program. Don't change anything with either of them. Most of all, work your ass off.


Ootko kokeillu DF 5x5? Ite ku olin alottelemassa treenausta niin toi toimi hyvin. Sillon sain kesässä penkkii ylöspäin 30kg ( 80kg ->110kg ). Saat ladattua sen ohjelman muistaakseni pakkotoiston sivuilta. Toimii. Your bench press doesn't take off over night!


Couldn't have said it better myself.


I think Bench takes more time to develop a decent level of strength than the other lifts for many young lifters.

I was in a similar boat at your age and couldn't bench 200 lbs until I weighed almost that much. Keep a good basic program like the ones reccomended and keep at it. Your bench will move slow and steady as your body matures and you get better at recruiting motor units and staying tight. West side, 5/3/1, Bill Starr 5x5. All of those will help.

Russian style routines didn't help my bench much until I was already benching 300lbs+, even though they helped my squat and DL.


Stronglifts 5x5 is what gave me my noob gains. Even though the writer is extremely biased and I'm sure a lot of people here will disagree with some of his claims, the program works.

Also the programs STB listed are all great. Wendlers 5/3/1 the gains are much slower, especially for a begginner, but you could probably follow it your whole life just making some little tweaks here and there. I personally went from stronglifts to 5/3/1 when the gains didn't come as easily.


I think one of the biggest problems with beginner benchers is that their technique is poor. Like they say "bench is the lift that everyone does, but almost no one does it right". That being said, I think it is important that time be spent learning proper form. So, I think russian style high volume programs are great. Now not neccisarily benching like 5 times a week, but getting in to bench at least 2 times a week is great. keep weights sub maximal but make consistent progress. Of course, some 'hypertrophy' specific work is also important for beginners IMO because while strength is indeed about activating a great proportion of your muscle fibers in an efficient pattern, having more fibers is also important. So yah.... theres my 0.02.


My form is fine, trust me.

Nevertheless, I used bench just as example and generally all my pressing lifts are rather weak, close grip bench being the weakest and it feels like my triceps are the first ones to fail during presses. Should I perhaps do some close grip benching from pins (top half of the movement)?


It's things like this that will be the reason you will never make progress. You've been training for what.. 9 months? No, there is no way your technique is perfect. It might be passable, but I bet that if you posted a video myself and other lifters could write pages on ways to improve and if you took them to heart your benc would go up 50lb in 1 month. The bench is an extremely technical lift and I know guys who still seek advice on improvements and ideas after lifting for 10 years! So, post a video and then we can talk about weird supplementals like CGBP from pins...