T Nation

Not Happy, Want a Change from High Volume Split


30 year old Male. 6’1 177lbs

Last year I started a high volume routine from an online trainer (Artemus Dolgin). I started out at 205lbs, skinny fat and no real muscle anywhere. I dropped down to 175 lbs, started feeling good about the way I looked and bulked up to 185 and felt good.

My strength, on the other hand, was/is awful. I had gotten to a 225 1rm on bench, 265 squat and 315x7 sumo deadlift at my best. After a year of no lifting whatsoever, I am at square one. I eventually would like to compete in physique or classic physique in 2017-2018 but I am weak as a wet paper bag. My current bench 5rm is 165, squat about 185 for a 1rm and deadlift sitting at about 300x1rm.

I feel like im spinning my wheels with volume but not getting much benefit because my strength is such crap. I am willing to take advice and put it to work to get myself into a better position.

Would I still benefit from going back to a Full Body routine or is something like Eric Helms Upper/Lower Push Pull Legs going to work just as well?


Remember you have not always gotta get elite level strong to build muscle mass. If what you have been doing isn’t getting you stronger or improving your physique then maybe a change would be good

sounds like you want strength increases and more muscle mass, on that basis maybe try something like…

training for easy-gainers 2 by Ct
Guaranteed muscle mass by Paul carter

Both of these have worked well for me at packing some size on and getting stronger


I’d try this (3-5 days) a week to get back into it…

then move on to something like that Paul Carter routine above


do you not think that maybe this is the more important thing to address than the routine?

Muscle building progress is measured by the year and if you’re not being consistent then you’re up a certain creek lacking a certain instrument of propulsion


I am well aware of that issue. I have been hitting the gym again the past few weeks and I am feeling the repercussions of all that time off.


[quote=“solidfoods, post:1, topic:223249”]
I eventually would like to compete in physique or classic physique in 2017-2018 but I am weak as a wet paper bag.[/quote]
Set some specific goals instead of trying to go in two directions at once.

If you want to compete in physique, you won’t build a ton of 1RM strength, but you’ll certainly get stronger along the way (going from squatting 155x10 to 185x10 is getting stronger). If you want to build a ton of strength, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be building muscle along the way. Also understand that “strength-focused training” doesn’t automatically mean skipping isolation work for smaller bodyparts.

I’d suggest finding a specific date for the physique contest (preferably 18+ months from now), then figuring out what “not being weak” means to you, and working around the rest of the details around those.


I’m looking into the easy hard gainer routine by CT. I like the Deadlift volume in the first 4 weeks. That’s one of my weakest areas as far as form and what I can handle. Thanks for the info and link!


The deadlifts on this absolutely killed me, never done it sumo before so was a nice change. My deadlift is pretty strong but sumo I was weak as hell, by the end it was not far off my normal dead.


I’m assuming on the 2nd upper and lower day if I can’t superset just finish all sets of 1 exercise like usual?


I’m assuming you mean the impracticality of doing this in a busy gym is making the super sets hard. I only really had this issue with the front squats because our leg machines and squat rack are in different rooms. I swapped front squat for goblet squats so I could do it right in front of the leg extention.

I would do all the ones you can as supersets as I think that’s part of the magic of how it’s set up, it’s understandable that it’s not always possible though.

Is there any particular pairing your struggling with?


It was mostly the front squat leg extension superset. It’s very different from what I am used to doing but Im going to give it a shot.