T Nation

New Member Wanting Some Evaluation

hello all,

I’ve been browsing this site for a while now. It’s been an amazing help to my fitness goals and program. But I just want to see if what I’m doing so far is going to be okay.

About me:
6 months ago I weighed in the 230 range with probably around 20+% body fat. Over the summer I started eating “clean” and lost a lot of weight. I’m a college student, and, when I returned, started lifting, and eventually doing some cardio on the off days. Because of my schedule I’ve been slacking lately, although I still get into the weight room at least twice a week. I’ve been lifting consistently for 4 months now, but on and off before this during high school and the first few years of college.

Me now:
20 years old
6’2"
193lbs
10ish% body fat (It was 9.6% last time I checked it)

My current program:
Full body works out MWF
Lifts:
Deadlift
Squat
Assisted Dip (I’m weak)
Assisted Pull up (again, weak)
Dumbell shoulder (military) press
Dumbell Bent over Row
I also do some ab work with the swiss ball
If there’s time I might do arm specific work outs as well, but I think my core muscles need more work at this point

I’m experimenting with a 4x6 set/rep scheme. What I want to do is this: M 4x6 W4x7 F4x8
Each day dropping a little bit of weight, but keeping my total volume increasing. I’m open to any sort of suggestions here. I’m new to this game–really new.

does this work? Any suggestions? The weight I lift is pretty small. I’ve never done the Squat or Deadlift until a few weeks ago (100lbs for each basically. Long way to go).

What do you think? Any advice or recommended reading? I’m not using any supplements right now. I don’t particularly want to use any creatine or the like, but I do want to start taking vitamin supplements. On my list so far: ZMA, some type of fish oil, and a good multivitamin.

My main goal is to increase strength, but some muscle growth would be great.

PS: i’m not sure if this makes a difference: I’m a musician. more specifically, a guitarist–i’m actually studying music for my undergraduate work. I can’t do too many things that will beat the shit out of my fore arms. I work them out 3plus hours a day with just practicing.

well I’m glad you are open to a litlle hypertrophy!

If those numbers are right that is a very impressive turnaround-eapecially given what appears to be your lack of overall strength.

My advice on the 4x6 4x7 4x8 is to forget about it. That is too subtle of a difference to affect any change. But definately change up the exercises and rep schemes as you move along. You can either keep the rep range similar per workout but shift your exercises or you can shift the rep scheme per workout. That’s up to you.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
well I’m glad you are open to a litlle hypertrophy!

If those numbers are right that is a very impressive turnaround-eapecially given what appears to be your lack of overall strength.

[/quote]

I’d be open to a lot hypertrophy, but I want to it functional–to be strong.

I think the numbers are right. The body Fat was on an electronic scale that uses the electric current. The numbers I gave are not my 1RM, I don’t really know what that is yet. I’m going to get a friend to go in and spot me while I figure that stuff out. hopefully sometime next week. So for the dead lift and squat 4x6 at 100 pounds. Probably still really low, but challenging for me.

Thanks for the advice! any reading on varying set/rep schemes? I’m just not sure how to do it effectively.

[quote]boyscout wrote:
I’m not using any supplements right now. I don’t particularly want to use any creatine or the like, but I do want to start taking vitamin supplements. On my list so far: ZMA, some type of fish oil, and a good multivitamin.
[/quote]

In general, supplements aren’t all they are cracked-up to be. My advice would be to find a good protein powder that you can afford, (it’s an easy way to get more protein in your diet), and go for the fish-oil and multi-vitamin. Flaxseed oil is a fine idea as well.

If you have money left over, get some ZMA, it’s cheap, and tends to work well with most people.

Supplements are (sometimes) a way to get progress just a little bit faster, and nothing more.

It looks like you’ve been making good progress, congratulations. Looking at what you have said, you sound like a good candidate for Waterbury’s Total Body Training. Give it a read, and see if its what you are looking for.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=508031

[quote]wbfalcon79 wrote:
It looks like you’ve been making good progress, congratulations. Looking at what you have said, you sound like a good candidate for Waterbury’s Total Body Training. Give it a read, and see if its what you are looking for.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=508031 [/quote]

I might give that a try.
Question: when you change up the set/rep ranges like that, how do you alter the weight? Does it just stay the same for the week? Do you work it so there is an increase in volume?

I know the weight I could do for 3x5 I couldn’t do for 2x15.

From the beginning of the plan outline:

"Load: Choose a weight that forces you to near-failure for the last rep of the last set.*

*This is the recommended load for all workouts."

If you need help calculating certain rep maximums, this link can help give you a ballpark estimate:

The only advice I feel qualified to give you is to avoid the word functional at all costs.

You will find it opens quite a can of worms 'round here.

[quote]boyscout wrote:

I’d be open to a lot hypertrophy, but I want to it functional–to be strong.

I think the numbers are right. The body Fat was on an electronic scale that uses the electric current. The numbers I gave are not my 1RM, I don’t really know what that is yet. I’m going to get a friend to go in and spot me while I figure that stuff out. hopefully sometime next week. So for the dead lift and squat 4x6 at 100 pounds. Probably still really low, but challenging for me.

Thanks for the advice! any reading on varying set/rep schemes? I’m just not sure how to do it effectively.

[/quote]

There is no such thing as a skinny guy who benches 405+ for reps. Oh sure he may not have the chest of “fill-in-the-blank”, but he sure as hell ain’t no pussy shrimp. There is no such thing as a 98lb weakling that benches 405+ for reps…get it?

Numbers can be helpful.
Try not to get obsessed with keeping the body fat % of a 16 yo prima ballerina. If your serious about putting on slabs o’ beef don’t fear putting on a little fat too, and I mean a little.

You got it right, you may be weak now relatively, but just keep focused on what’s heavy for you, and before you know it ( years down the road ) you’ll be strong by any standard, world class probably not, but strong no doubt.

I know that low reps, and sets are great for strength. 3x3 or 5x3 ( power liftish ) will get you some serious strength probably faster than any other set rep schemes, but limited hypertrophy. Many people find 5x5, to be a nice compromise.

There is alot of shit to read on the net, try not get analysis paralysis, keep it simple. 90% of the articles and even discussions on forums like this, are for people way beyond your level, and mine at this point too.