T Nation

Our Own Greatest Gains Ever


T-Nation has given us some great articles by different authors about programs that gave them their greatest gains. I thought it might be a good idea to ask members here what program worked the best for them.

Size has come slow to me (I'm an ectomorphic, college student who keeps getting injured in my rugby seasons). Yeah I know, stop making excuses right? So I've never had really dramatic progress, which is understandable considering I've only been training for 2 years and gained 27 pounds.

If anyone would be so kind as to share with me and the rest of the members a program/diet/change they made that produced some noticeable results. Thanks in advance you guys are a great resource.


obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal




happy to help


I cleaned up my diet and never skipped training, I went from 285 to 175 over the course of 2 years. Then I went from 180 to a solid 250 by not skipping training or meals. The only thing that works is hard work.


Thanks for the input gravel, I know it will take a long time to build a decent physique and I'm looking forward to it.


Started lifting last June, right around when I was graduating High School. I weighed 140-145 lbs, 5'10". Year later, I'm sitting at 195-200 lbs. Not much fat gain, I can still see abs (not that I really care). I'm planning on hitting 240+ before I think about cutting.

Basically, owe it all to consistency, not making excuses, and my diet. No matter what I never made excuses and got my ass to the gym. And as far as diet, I ate a lot. Wendy's $1 burgers help.


My progress stalled at one point and I could not figuire it out i trained just as hard and frequently as I used to. What I found out was I wasnt pushing more weight. I figuired that when I was stronger I would know it by either the weight feeling light or getting more reps then before but youd be surprised at what you can lift if you just attempt it. I was chest pressing 85's for reps and just grabbed the 100's one day and started pounding them out I got less reps in of course but I was surprised at how many i was able to do then I built up to my regular amount of reps in no time. It got me out of a slump big time.


^ Agreed, I hit a plateau and changed from doing straight sets to pyramiding and I instantly noticed a difference. Keeping a journal REALLY helps, force yourself to beat your last workout.


It's funny I've just re-discovered how pyramiding and progressive overload is the simplest and most effective way. And I have NEVER missed a workout, but I can never eat enough. Which is all my own fault but it's hard when your school has a limited meal plan only 12-18 meals a week and you don't have that much money. I have just recently started keeping a log as well.


When I started training seriously for the first time is when I saw the most/fastest gains ever. I had trained before, since highschool, but always just kind of for funzies, doing straight sets, not eating nearly enough protein, or enough of anything for that matter. Once I got my ass in gear and started the pyramids and eating like it was my job, I put on 25 lean pounds in about 6 months. I went from 155 in June to 180 in November.


Yeah, hopefully when I start working more I'll have more money for food and supplements. I wish I, Bodybuilder would just come out already...


Eating lots of clean food, watching my nutrient timing and paying lots of attention to my pre/peri/post workout nutrition.

And of course, constant progression.


At your training experience / weight - I, Bodybuilder probably won't be the best thing for you. Rippetoe's Starting Strength would probably be a better place to start. There is no magic program- it's all about what you put into it and putting more weight on the bar. Do yourself a favor and buy (or download) a copy of Joe DeFranco's movie: "Stronger"- if you think your putting maximum effort into whatever program you're doing right now, your opinion will probably change after watching the movie.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say anyone who is posting in a BB forum, and who wants to look like a bodybuilder, shouldn't start with Rippetoe's Starting Strength. I might go as far as to say that would be a dumb move on his part.


The thing that will give you the best gains is consistency
both in the gym and at the table.


My most impressive gains are in my pictures = )...


I had two times of greatest gains: 1) when I started rowing in high school as a freshman I went from a chubby 120 lbs to an acceptable looking 140 within a year. 2) When I started training in the Evosport fashion i went from that acceptable 140 to a single digit body fat 160 in the span of about 8 months. I didn't grow height-wise at all during both times.

As echoed by everyone else, consistency in training and at the dinner table were both important regardless of either accomplishment. Also, number 1 was newbie gains.


Progression-not just weight but density


Training cliches are all fine and well but no one is really answering the question.

I made my best gains doing something similar to westside for skinny bastards upper lower splits. I modified the frequency a bit and simply did upper body one day then day off then lower body then day off and repeat. All very basic lifts since I was using my home gym at the time.

Focused hard on getting new maxes on flat, incline, and close grip bench and full range back squats and front squats. Every other upper body day I would start with pull ups instead of a bench and max on it so that every upper body day I would max out on a press or weighted pull ups.

Diet was 22 calories per day per pound of bodyweight and two grams of protein per pound. I built up to my personal best on bench(295 to 345)and squat(385 to 445) and gained about twenty five pounds from 205 to 230 in three months. This was the first time in my life when my only training was with weights and I ate enough to gain fat as well as muscle and I saw a huge difference in my growth. I didn't really plateau but just decided I didn't want to be larger and eventually cut back down.