T Nation

Newbie Looking for a Better Routine

Hey guys,

So basically my situation is that i’ve been a skinny guy for most of my life and i definately want to get passed that. I’ve been working out for 11 months now. 8 months of that time has been strength training. I had 3-4 years of down time so yes i was clearly weak and starting out light. In the time of working out i’ve gained about 20 pounds, and increased my benching weight by 120 pounds. I’ve improved my cardio a lot, and even though my legs need a lot of work, they’re feelin a lot better now than they ever have.

My routine generally follows the rules of as heavy as possible, with as many reps as possible. Though i have been adopting a more proper form of reps vs sets lately. My schedule is very random, some times i will work out for 8 days straight and rest for 4 days, sometimes i’ll work out 3 days than rest for 1.

As for my diet i was previously eating for poorly, than cleaned it all up to fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef, ham. But now that i’ve gotten myself as compact and lean as i can i know i need to gain some size. Keep in mind i’m only 5’7 so going to 250 pounds is not probable for me, though i’m not against the possibility =). But right now i only weigh 135-140 pounds. so there’s plenty of room to work with.

I’m looking for a steady work out routine with a list of work outs i can do with a barbell, dumbbell, and a heavy bag (i don’t train at a gym, so my options are limited) as well as a weekly routing i could apply them to.

I’ve gotten passed all of the crap that has been physically holding me back all of these years and i have made enough beginner gains to look ahead a bit more for the real gains people speak of. So any help would be appreciated! Thank you.

Joseph


Here’s my before and after pictures for a comparison. Thanks again!


And the after pic

A few questions

  1. What are your maxes on the 3 big lifts at the minute?

  2. You say you are following a more formal set/rep scheme. What is it?

  3. Are you still doing 8 days in a row sometimes?

  4. Are you keeping track of what you eat each day and if so can you give us a typical day?

  5. Are you primarily looking for just size or do you need this for a sport?

Thank you, this helps me answer the questions people need : )

  1. My max on the bench press is 185. My max on the dead lift is 190, but before you laugh just know that because of the size of my weights i can’t make it any heavier, if i could i could dead lift at least 250-300. And for squats it’s 110 as i have just started doing them 6 days ago.

  2. Instead of as much as possible, i now do, for example, wrist curls 20 times each arms, 3 sets. Or for squats i do 10 times a set, for 3 sets. Barbell curls are 6-10 times, 4 sets. But don’t get me wrong i haven’t sacrificed weight for these the sets/reps. I just don’t rep as much at one time, and i do multiple sets.

  3. Yes i am. I am very curious, is that a bad thing to be doing? And if it helps your curiosity, YES i do have to balance out my expendixture of energy throughout those 8 days… so if that is an issue i’d love a different routine to change that.

  4. Yes i do. In the morning i will eat 3-5 eggs, 2 pieces of toast, an apple and a bottle of water, or 2. Sometimes i eat lunch but i usually just eat random things in between breakfast and supper (i eat lots of fruits and vegetables in between meals, sometimes some peanut butter). As for supper my prefered meal (and they’re generally pretty similar) is white rice, ham, vegetables and of course water.

My only bad eating habit i have left is eating late at night, but that’s another random part of my routine is my sleeping habits so i’m not sure if it really hurts me or not. Also in my diet is a whey product. It says take 1 dose each drink, but i’ve been taking 3 dose each drink, 2 drinks a day the last week to hopefully gain some extra mass.

5)Though size+cosmetics is definately a concern of mine, I ultimately need this for a sport. Thanks most of all for this question, yes my strength and flexibility has to be as functional as possible. It’s why i have done my best to tone/compact myself, to be as functional as possible than to go from there for weight. The sport i wish to do is MMA fighting.

Go to amazon.com and purchase “Scrawny to Brawny” by John Berardi.

It’s the best book for skinny bastards like you who are still new to eating and lifting correctly.

It’ll set you straight and take you to the next level.

OK. Just some points

  1. You need more weights or get to a gym. Not having the weights is a poor excuse if you’re serious. Look to get your DL to twice your bodyweight at a minimum. Twice your bench would be better. This will also help your squat.

  2. Not enough information here. You need to break it down over a full week. Exercises reps sets and rest days. No need for wrist curls etc.

3 + 5) My brother does MMA and you might want to check out his post on it at

http://wwwneilmctcom.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html#7987035712598775009

There is also a section on this forum for fighting which you might want to browse.

  1. We still need a breakdown of what and when you eat. How many calories a day? What proportion of carbs/proteins/fats. From what you have said I can tell you don’t eat enough especially when you start to do a lot of DLs and squats.

Also I’d drop any steady state cardio. Get that sort of fitness by sparring/grappling. You will benefit more from it more. Also, I like 2 on 1 off like the “shotgun method” but this might not be workable with MMA. Should check on the fighting section…

Hope this helps

Thanks Nate! I’ll take a look at it:D

  1. Yes, i know this is an unfortunate situation of mine. I am very serious though, and it’s a only a matter of time before i can up it to 320. So an extra 130 pounds should do me well for a few more months before i have to upgrade my weights to something else. As for my “bench”… do you mean i should be benching 270 pounds, or that i should be benching double my own weight?

2)Ok in one work out i will do this list -
Bench press - 185 pounds 10-15 reps 2 sets.
Dead lift - 190 (waiting to up the weight) 6-10 times 3 sets.
Squat - 110 pounds (once again waiting) 10 reps, 3 sets.
Wrist curl - 70 pounds, 20 reps, 3 sets each arm.
Single arm extension - 35 pounds, 10 reps, 2 sets each arm.
Upsidedown push ups (vertical against wall) - I got for as much as possible, my highest is 45 so far.
Lawn moyer curl - 70 pounds 6-10 reps, 3 sets.
barbell curl - 110 pounds 6-10 reps, 3 sets.

During the week, like i said, it depends when i’ll do the work out. But it generally comes down to these two situations (and a mix of both in between) Working out for 7-8 days straight than resting 3-4 days, or working out 3 days and resting one. But i really like the “shotgun” idea you have! I’ll look aruond the forums to see if it works with mma training =)

4)Ok well i told you what i eat. But i don’t know what i eat in terms of the numbers of waht’s in the food. During the day i will wake up, eat an hour or two after (eating right away usually makes me feel sick in the morning) waking up (i don’t have a time-line routine so waking up is random for me). So unfortunately tell you what time i eat at is like telling you where the cockroach in your room is gunna go next. I generally have the same distance of time in between meals, but no specific set time.

As for the grappling and stuff i have another unfortunate situation going on at the moment lol, and that’d be that i’m in a shitty ass town that has no real mma camps. So i obviously have to get the hell out of here. So unfortunately for now all i’ve got is running for cardio.

Thanks for your time! It definately helps

P.S. I took the time to read that article you sent me. That was a very good read. It was a bit in the middle of what i was trying to do, and what i’ve been told to do here by a few people. It supports the work out i eventually got into - a full body work out, while at the same time goes into a lot more detail about the routine side of it (which is one of the things i’m seriously lacking). So really, thank you! That made me feel more comfortable and confident about the situation. =)

nate dogg have u actually ever done the workouts in scrawny2branwy?? resulrs??

i have the book and was doin starting strength, but dont have very good felxbility so doing the prep workouts for 4 weeks to get it goin, but then the rest of the workouts i dont really like, weird exercises…

besides in perth, west australia i cant find anyone to teach me how to clean and press, jerk etc

As a workaround on the DLs you can stand on a 4" block with a snatch grip (wide as possible) AND add chains. This makes it harder.

On the squats you could alternate between 8" box squats and 1 1/4. If you haven’t heard of the second one I’ll explain. Go Ass to Grass ATG on the squat - stop - come up 1/4 of the distance with NO bounce - back to ATG - back to ALMOST the top - stop 2" short of full lock out and go back down straight away. This can make it much, much harder.

You should want to do Squat or DL first. Bench might be second to give your lower back a rest or your form might get sloppy.

370lb DL is twice your bench and perfectly achievable. Drop the wrist curls. I can see that you don’t really do any back work in your routine. This shows as a real weakness in your “after” picture - you have no lats and your shoulders seem to be rolling forward. We see this a lot with people who train the “DISCO” muscles and, as a future MMA participant, a strong back is MANDATORY!!
I would expect Pullups, Cable rows, Pull overs, DB or BB rows and good mornings.
Your forearms will get more than enough work if you’re not using straps on the back work.

Lets see a flexed back pic please?

The vertical pushups can be done on 2 benches. One hand on each bench and go right down so your face touches the ground. Makes it much harder obvously

You should NOT be doing this routine everyday. You should definitely split all the exercises you have plus the ones I’ve given you over 2 days. Eat and sleep CONSISTENTLY and get your rest day. You will end up training 10 days in every two weeks but your body will get much more of a chance to grow

For the next 3 days take a note of what you’re eating and post it here. If you are lazy and don’t do it you will not get a good response from the older guys here. Remember you need to break each meal down to Carbs, proteins and fat and calories. I believe this will be a real eye opener for you.

If you are not prepared to be consistent how can we help with a “ROUTINE”.

Hope this helps

you need to read the following articles

This one is about training

wwwneilmctcom.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html#7529641971161389473

This one is about your baseline diet and how to work it out.

www.bodyrecomposition.com/Articles/baseline1.html

Thanks Sir.
Unfortunately i didn’t realize my lingo is still a bit behind on the working out stuff so i’ll have to search some of that stuff up to clarify it but thanks.
You are entirely right abuot my back, though i have been surprised by it’s progress considering i have little knowledge on how to work it out (i think it’s the vertical push ups mainly doing it). I’ll put up a pic when i get one.

As for the wrist curls, if it weren’t for them i wouldn’t have the definition i do in my arms… so if there’s a work out i’m missing for that i’d like to hear it, as a bench press does not focus on my fore arms anything like that lol.

Unfortunately for the food, apples and bananas do not have a list of amount of carbs and stuff in them so i can’t make a list of that. Unless there’s a missing sticker i haven’t seen all of these years on those damn fruits and vegetables lol.

The only things in my house that i have that tell me what’s in them is shit food that i’m keeping out of my system so i don’t go backwords. I’m sure it would be an eye opener if i had the means of knowing how to measure it all, but i guess i’ll find out in time.

Well i’d say i’ve been pretty consistant in my work out, dispite how random it has been in many areas. So i’m willing, which is why i’m asking. Definately wouldn’t be asking if i didn’t want to try for something better.

Thanks again.

[quote]RobRayner wrote:
nate dogg have u actually ever done the workouts in scrawny2branwy?? resulrs??[/quote]

I purchased Scrawny to Brawny many years after I started out as weak, skinny and small. However, I’ve used some programs in the past that were VERY similar to the workout in Scrawny to Brawny with good results in strength and size.

I wish Scrawny to Brawny had been available when I first started lifting weights (about 15 years ago). It would have definitely made a much bigger impact on my progress and overall results.

[quote]i have the book and was doin starting strength, but dont have very good felxbility so doing the prep workouts for 4 weeks to get it goin, but then the rest of the workouts i dont really like, weird exercises…

besides in perth, west australia i cant find anyone to teach me how to clean and press, jerk etc[/quote]

What exercises seem weird? You can substitute a different exercise if it makes sense to do so or if you don’t know how to perform a certain lift.

Well i can’t get my hands on scrawny vs brawny,
but i’ll try to find some other read that’ll help. Thanks again Nate.

As for my back picture here’s one of my crappy back. Any work outs with dumbbell/barbell that could really help? Thanks.

Joey

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
RobRayner wrote:
nate dogg have u actually ever done the workouts in scrawny2branwy?? resulrs??

I purchased Scrawny to Brawny many years after I started out as weak, skinny and small. However, I’ve used some programs in the past that were VERY similar to the workout in Scrawny to Brawny with good results in strength and size.

[/quote]

Do you happen to remember where to find the other programs you’ve used?? It’d definately help me immensely. Thanks!

Day 1

Morning - 1 Banana, 2 pieces of toast, 4 eggs, whey shake 2 doses, 1 bottle of water.

in between breakfast and lunch - Shake with 2 bananas, 2 packets of plain oatmeal, 2 scoops of whey powder and milk.

Lunch - 5 eggs, 1 apple, 1 baggle 2 bottles of water

in between lunch and supper - One whey drink, 2 doses.

Supper - 2 slices of pizza, 1 apple, 1 banana, 2 bottles of water.

nate dogg - was goin to use the initial prep phase, all the nutritional advice and then for following workouts, use the rep range and volume but alternate the excercises…

sound reasonable??

just wieghtlifting excercises i cant perform so doing something like push press 3x5 and deadlift 3x5 on a day your meant to do clean and press 5x5??/

[quote]Kingu wrote:
Nate Dogg wrote:
RobRayner wrote:
nate dogg have u actually ever done the workouts in scrawny2branwy?? resulrs??

I purchased Scrawny to Brawny many years after I started out as weak, skinny and small. However, I’ve used some programs in the past that were VERY similar to the workout in Scrawny to Brawny with good results in strength and size.

Do you happen to remember where to find the other programs you’ve used?? It’d definately help me immensely. Thanks!

[/quote]
If you’re looking for programs this is a good place to start

http://www.menshealth.co.uk/chatroom/topic/316849

I know it’s mens health but ignore that ;o)

[quote]Kingu wrote:
Nate Dogg wrote:
RobRayner wrote:
nate dogg have u actually ever done the workouts in scrawny2branwy?? resulrs??

I purchased Scrawny to Brawny many years after I started out as weak, skinny and small. However, I’ve used some programs in the past that were VERY similar to the workout in Scrawny to Brawny with good results in strength and size.

Do you happen to remember where to find the other programs you’ve used?? It’d definately help me immensely. Thanks!

[/quote]

They were some programs that I got years and years ago based on some of the Brawn and Hardgainer workouts (by Stuart McRobert). I have two mini books. One is called “Big Bench” and the other is called “Big Arms.” I can’t remember how I got them. They came as a bonus with something I bought.

If you look up “Brawn” or “Hardgainer” you may find something about them. In fact, Bill Starr’s 5x5, Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength and other authors have all written similar programs.

They all focused on the big lifts (squats, benches, deadlifts, chins, cleans) and a couple accessory exercises for full-body type programs that used heavy weights and low reps.

Scrawny to Brawny takes those very basic programs and adds a few nice changes (different exercises, different sets/reps and a diet plan!).