T Nation

No Idea What I'm Doing...


I'm a high school senior and a total foreginer to lifting. A little background info first; I'm 6'0" 170 lbs. I was a 4 year Varsity swimmer, a district record holder, a school record holder, and was ranked 12th in the state of Ohio, 38th in the nation. Next year, I'll be attending Miami University (Ohio) as a part of the Marine Corps NROTC program. Right now, I'm really trying to put on as much muscle as I can between now and mid-Agust. To be fair, I'm physically fit and of moderate strength. I am naturally a bigger guy, and I am not neccesarily lacking muscle tone.

Only thing is, all my swimming training was centered around cardio and cross training. I lifted very, very little, and when I did, it was light weights. When I did my Marine Corps PFT, I scored a 225, a first class score. I did 12 dead hang pull ups, 98 sit ups, and a 24:05 3 Mile (I'll get around to working on running sooner or later..). My goal is to score a perfect 300 on that test next fall. My real problem here is, I have literally no idea how to lift effectively. For someone looking to put on a large amount of lean muscle within 4 months, what sort of workouts would you recommend? For reference, I am capable of about 170 lb bench as is. Considering I'm covering $10k of my tuition, I don't really have the means for a personal trainer right now, so I was wondering if I could find some help here.


Given your experience with lifting weights i would use a routine similar starting strengths 5x5:

Monday: Workout A
wensday: w/o B
friday: w/o A
Monday: w/o B
WEnsday: W/o A
Friday: w/0 B

Workout A
Squat 3x5
Bench Press 3x5
Barbell row 3x5
2x10 dips (weighted if needed)

Workout B
Squat 3x5
Military Press 3x5
Deadlift 1x5 (build up to one heavy set of 5)
2x10 chin-ups if needed

Each workout add 2.5kgs to Bench Press, Barbell row and if you can military press (you should be able to for military press, but if you stall with a weight just stick with it until you get 3 sets of 5)
Each workout add 5kgs to your squat and deadlift. If you find that adding 5kgs each workout to squat is a bit tough just add 2.5kgs. If you stall at all give if a few workouts an if your still stalled then drop the weight by about 10% on that lift an work up again. 1 step back an then 2 steps forward kind of thing.
Dont worry as your strength gets better and your eating lots, you will certainly notice a lot of size gains too.


Read the stickies.


"all my swimming training was centered around cardio and cross training"

  • So is Marine Corps recruit training.



and then following it with

o rly?



Your goal is to score a perfect 300 in four months, but you'll get around to running "sometime"?

The pullup is easy. Adding eight more is a breeze if you work at it. The crunches, even easier. But carving over six minutes off of your run time? That's pretty damn tough. You'd better get to work on that NOW.


Looking back, my first post probably face-palmingly noobish, I'm new to the whole online forum thing. Bear with me here.

kursk01: Thank you for the advice, that seems like an effective workout I'll be comfortable with, I'll start this monday, and I'll up the intensity as I go.

HaveIronWillLift: True, but there is certainly a strength aspect as well. And my sport kind of frowns upon mass and raw strength.

HolyMacaroni: 6'0 170 probably sounds minature to you guys I know, but coming from a sport where the average build is 6'0-6'5 120-150 pounds, it seems alot bigger to me!

JayPierce: "Sometime" was just a way to express my frustration with running, really. I've been working on it ever since my first PT, and I have managed to get in the mid 22 minutes. Of course I'll be working on that along with lifting, it's just something that requires a lot of work. I ran 5 miles today and will continue to work on my running until I leave.

Thanks for the help so far, and bear with me as I find my way around serious resistance training. I'll keep track of my progress and I'll be sure to check in with any questions or concerns.

Let's get started!


There's your problem, NROTC. Just man up and go to Parris Island and experience what being a Marine is really about. You know, getting treated like a dirty sock, having your meds thrown out of a window by the doc when you have the flu, having to take a shit in front of 60 other guys. Good times... good times...


You're running from the wrong direction. Don't do longer distances to work on your speed, it only makes you pace yourself slower.

Run 1 mile every day (or twice a day if you're feeling froggy, it's only one fucking mile). Once you can hit a 5:30 one-mile, your pace will be where it needs to be. Add half a mile every week until you get to three miles, and you're there.