T Nation

New Member with a Lot of Determination

Hey T-Nation!

       I've been reading your articles for a while and I've finally decided to be part of the community. I've got sooooooooo many questions for you guys, but first I'd like to get some background information on which you guys can base your answers on.

Height-5’8"
Weight-180
Bodyfat Percentage- 20
Age-17
Squat-215x3x5
Deadlift-225x5
Bench-145x5

I’m currently doing Starting Strength, but I feel that I started the program too heavy and will be stalling within the next two weeks. I want to do a whole Weightlifting Make-Over. I’ve been uncertain of how to eat and how to lift for a while and I think it shows because my physique isn’t good without a shirt on. Because I’ve done some seriously fail bulks, I want to do my first cut so that I can start over fresh and try again with StrongLifts.

Given my weight, strength and body fat percentage, what is the best way for me to approach a cutting phase that would allow me to keep my strength/muscle as much as possible? Please be as specific as possible, I’m unfortunately one of those folks who need things spoon-fed to them when they’re new at something.

How would I approach lifting and cardio during a cutting phase? I am content at just staying at 225DL, 215SQ and 145FB until I’m lean enough.

I’ve included a recent, crappy picture of me.
Help a new guy out please? I feel so confused…

I wouldn’t recommend cutting until you put some more size on. Not having much muscle, if you “cut” you will lose the strength you have and be in an even deeper hole to begin from. I think now is where you should begin. Don’t worry about what you look like without a shirt on just yet. Put some size on and get stronger for now. You will put on more muscle this way than if you were to try and cut weight first. If you don’t like my opinion, than by all means cut down first, it may work wonderfully for you. But if you decide to build muscle first, I would be glad to discuss possible routines to do so.
Good luck

-Kirbo

I’ve pondered just bulking (in a better fashion of course), but I feel that I’m too fat. I feel that I’ve put on too much fat and it bothers me. I’m also about to enter college and I want to make a good impression.

Regardless, I’m okay with either bulking or cutting as long as I get much more muscular or much leaner. The fat has to go or the muscle has to come.

Hit me with your best routines :slight_smile:

-Vlad

It’s good to hear that you are willing to do whatever brings the best end results. Judging from the back shot you posted, I wouldn’t call you fat by any means. And “bulking” doesn’t have to come with tons of extra baggage. Keep your diet clean. I’m not a big believer in documenting and measuring everything you put in your mouth, yes it works, but it’s just not my thing. Just use your common sense when eating. Eat a lot of veggies, stay away from alot of fried greasy food, suggary, ect.

As far as the programs go, there are endless routines that will give you great gains. The most important thing is that you absolutley bust your ass every day your in the gym and feed your body. A lot of begginers build a foundation with 5x5 programs, full body programs, upper/lower splits, hell, I used a 5 day seperate bodypart split when I just started out(which I catch a lot of crap for because some people say you cant begin with that), but it worked for me. The best thing I can tell you is to try them out and see what you like best. It all comes down to, whatever you like the best, you are going to put the most effort into, getting the most gains in return. But keep it simple. Don’t go out and think you can start with something like DC, because you cant. I would recommend something like the good old standby…
day 1-chest,triceps
day 2-back, biceps
day 3-legs, shoulders

I enjoyed this workout, but ended up giving shoulders a separate day because legs took too much out of me.

Heh. Interestingly enough I’ve used this sort of approach before, but I can’t remember how I progressed on the program. What kind of exercise/rep/set thing are we going for?

You’ll need to test tha for yourself and see what you respond to best. I would say start out with the standard 8-12 reps and 3-4 sets. I am a fan of doing both high and low reps in the same workout. For instance, start out with a weight that you think you can get maybe 12 times. If you get it 12 times, grab higher weights for the next set. If you can still manage 8-12 move up again. I usually get from 3-5 reps on the last sets of most exercises. Start with your big lifts first. Incline db presses, if you get through chest day and feel like you could do more, throw in flat db bench on your next chest day.

After the big lifts, hit the isos. db flys, crossovers, ect. I always like to end with bodyweight, and on chest day I LOVE ending with wide grip dips. You can throw in a max set of pushups too if you want. I cant tell you how many iso exercises to do because everybody is different and can handle different amounts of work(and someone will bite my head off as soon as I give a solid number). Just go balls to the wall and see what you can handle. Use your first weekor two as a feel week to see what you can do. For back, db rows, pullups and body rows are good. I know I said start with the big lifts, but I feel like back day is an exception. I absolutley love rack pulls for adding mass to the upper back, and I always save it for last, otherwise I will be exhausted throughout the entire workout. Shoulders, definatley arnold press. I had weak shoulders and arnold presses helped a ton.

Then lat raises(i like them on an incline bench) and some bent over flys or reverse flys on a machine. You wont need a huge amount of volume on shoulders because of the pressing on chest day. Front squat for legs and leg pressing with high and wide foot placement to invole the hams more. Leg extentions and seated leg curls to follow them up. End it with box step ups or lunges. As far as the arms go. Keep it simple, dips and pushdowns, bb curls and STRICT chinups should do it. Try not to use straps on back day to get good grip/forearm work in.

Oh yeah, before someone else catches it. Calves, I prefer calf raises on the leg press because of the donky raise type position. Do 6-8 sets from 8-15 reps, heavy. If theirs any gas left in the tank, do some standing calf raises. Do a lower weight set as many as you can do, folled by a heavy as hell set of as many as you can do.

I don’t know. It seems like way too much volume for me to recover from. What do you think of this? It just popped into my head.

Chest/Tri/Shoulders

Flat Bench 3x5
Seated Dumbbell Press 3x5
Diamond Press 3x5
Machine Lat Raise-3x10

Back/Bicep/Forearms

Deadlifts 3x5
Barbell Row 3x5
Lat Pull Down 3x6-8
Barbell Curls 3x10-12

Legs

Back Squat 3x5
Hamstring Curls 3x10
Lunges

I don’t need direct calf or quad work because my quadriceps are unproportionally large/strong to the rest of me and my road biking has gotten my calves an excellent size and shape.

What do you think?

[quote]Blackened wrote:
I don’t need direct calf or quad work because my quadriceps are unproportionally large/strong to the rest of me and my road biking has gotten my calves an excellent size and shape.
[/quote]

Perhaps not an optimal attitude, but as long as you keep squatting and deadlifting, I’m happy.

531? http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_build_pure_strength

Simple enough, not too much volume, will likely get you stronger and bigger and it doesn’t get boring. Add in some isolation exercises and start setting maxes every workout.

[quote]Blackened wrote:
I don’t know. It seems like way too much volume for me to recover from. What do you think of this? It just popped into my head.

Chest/Tri/Shoulders

Flat Bench 3x5
Seated Dumbbell Press 3x5
Diamond Press 3x5
Machine Lat Raise-3x10

Back/Bicep/Forearms

Deadlifts 3x5
Barbell Row 3x5
Lat Pull Down 3x6-8
Barbell Curls 3x10-12

Legs

Back Squat 3x5
Hamstring Curls 3x10
Lunges

I don’t need direct calf or quad work because my quadriceps are unproportionally large/strong to the rest of me and my road biking has gotten my calves an excellent size and shape.

What do you think?

[/quote]

I can understand your concern about the high volume. I do however, feel that you would benefit from a chest iso, whether it be flys, crossovers, ect. But you know what you can handle better than I do.
As far as the not needing quad or calf work. Dont think of it as them being too big, rather everything is too small. Don’t negelct them because they are ahead of the rest of you, just put extra work in to the lagging areas.

Save yourself from confusion and read this: http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/the_bodybuilding_bible_free_of_charge?id=3563919&pageNo=0

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]Blackened wrote:
I don’t need direct calf or quad work because my quadriceps are unproportionally large/strong to the rest of me and my road biking has gotten my calves an excellent size and shape.
[/quote]

Perhaps not an optimal attitude, but as long as you keep squatting and deadlifting, I’m happy.

531? http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_build_pure_strength

Simple enough, not too much volume, will likely get you stronger and bigger and it doesn’t get boring. Add in some isolation exercises and start setting maxes every workout.[/quote]

x2

It’s a fairly easily followed program with a hell of a lot of potential for variation and customization that works.

Thanks for all of the replies. I got 5/3/1 and I love how basic and specific (with percentages and all) it is. I’m gonna give it a shot. Should I not train for a week or do I jump right in since I’m working with 60% of 90% of my max?

Jump in right away, but don’t start too heavy. Taking 2 steps back to take ten forward, as Wendler puts it, is absolutely worth it.

Definitely listen to the advice you’ve been given so far. I agree you don’t look fat by any means. Start basic and work your way up on the 5/3/1. Just make sure your form is good especially on squats and deadlifts.

blackened is a great user name. metallica FTW

anyway, if you have question about the program beyond that article, buy the book, or check out this faq

http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/training-articles/52-most-common-531-questions/

if you STILL have questions or want to bump the program, post in the 5/3/1 thread here

Hola!

Thanks for the articles. I’ve read 5/3/1 over several times and I’m currently loving the program (2 days in but it’s just fun to do that kind of program). My only thing is assistance work, I’m not really used to sets of 15 (too much 3x5 stuff :P),but I’ll survive that.

Do you have any tips for following this sort of program? I’m haven’t been this sore in a while, what can I do to ease the inflammation?

Squat Form- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH7eo-kaiqo
Deadlift Form- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll8sRYENDlw

I’ll start a log soon :slight_smile:

Current Maxes (not 5/3/1 training maxes) are 270 dead, 250 squat, 170 bench and a totally lol-able 117 presss.

Metallica Forever \m/

Bump because it’s my birthday :slight_smile:

You should post those videos and questions on the 5/3/1 thread I liked before, they’ll get more views there.

There’s a lot of experienced guys in that forum, and Wendler himself even posts from time to time.