I started lifting for the first time in February of this year. My stats then were:
Bench: bar (I began using bar because that is what the program recommended)
Press: bar (bar was actually a challenge on this exercise at the time)
I have changed a lot since then, in weight and strength. Current stats are:
Here are two pictures for comparison: (nothing shirtless)
But I'm really not satisfied at all with my progress as far as my physique. First, I've added a lot of weight and while I'm more comfortable with my body now, I am carrying a lot of excess fat around my ass. I have a slight gut too, but it doesn't bother me as much. Second, I am unhappy with my upper body progress, pretty much all of it, including my back.
So my goals are still to add size, but I want to add more volume and focus especially on my upper body. I am going to start by focusing on my back. I found this routine that C_C posted in another thread that is on point for me. This will differ quite a bit from what I've been doing, which is basically a 5x5 with a couple of accessory exercises.
Chest and tri's (first and after off-day because a fatigued back = weak setup on the bench = easier to get injured and mediocre performance)
A)Incline BP (possibly DB)
B)HS Chest Press
C)Pullover+Extensions (retracted scapulae), upper arms stop at angle, not vertical, or DSE's or JM presses in HS incline machine (not wide incline)... Or In-Human press.
D)DB Extensions, lying, upper arms stop at an angle, not vertical
(E) possibly pec deck...)
Back and Bi's
A)HS low rows or whatever, mind the retraction part. Or T-bar rows.
B)HS High rows or HS Pulldowns or some other width move
C)Shrugs only as activation exercise (want fresh traps for leg day), i.e. explosive triples or so, only a few sets, not maximal weight. Or none at all.
D)EZ or Alt. Curls
B)HS Curl machine / Pinwheels / Hammers / Conc. Curls... Whatever.
Legs and abs
A)Sumo Deadlift (ramped in threes, dead stop, smaller weight jumps, to max force point... Then do doubles at that weight or drop 20% and rep out touch and go or so) or regular deadlift (if you must)
B)Leg Press or Hack Squat Machine
C)Leg curl or Hamstring leg press or Reverse Hyper Machine
D)Ab Wheel Roll-outs
(you can add some extensions after leg press/hack if you must... I don't use them much... Would rather go all out on the leg press/hack)
Shoulders (add a bit of tri work if you wish)
A)Seated shoulder press
B)Machine Lateral Raises
C)Face Pulls or Reverse Pec Deck
Back and bi's
A)Rack Chins (pronated)
B)Seated rows (mind the retraction part)..
E)Shrugs (might not do those due to sumo deadlifts)
C)Pinwheel or Hammer Curls
D)Preacher Machine or Cable or whatever
I'm essentially wondering how much I should expect to progress on the isolation exercises from session to session. On the compound movements, I kind of understand that I should try to add 5lbs per session for as long as I can, and then slow it down to maybe five pounds every other week. But with the other exercises, the dumbbells or plates don't go in small increments. So I have in the past found myself to make zero progress. What has worked for others?