T Nation

Programming Help


#1

Hey guys,

New to the site, looking for some guidance. I'm a 6'1", 165 pound, 21-year-old looking to gain 20 pounds over the next 6 months. I understand I won't gain a single pound if my nutrition is bad. I'm shooting for 4,000 calories a day, half of those coming in form of carbohydrates. I'm also shooting for 250g of protein/day.

I've read countless programs for taller/ectomorph/hardgainer/novice trainees. My take home note and what I found to be universally true was my emphasis definitely has to be put on the bread and butter lifts.

Where I struggle is putting a program together with the variables of intensity, volume, frequency and recovery.

Right now, I'm doing my working sets sitting at 75% of my 1RM, with a volume of about 10 sets, 2x/week for pressing, rowing, pull-ups and squats. Deadlift only once a week. I shoot for 8 reps.

I've read some interesting articles on the importance of not only tension, but stress and damage. Regardless of all the variables, going forward I want to lift with a tempo of 4121. The most important being the 4 second eccentric, 1 second pause at the bottom of the lift. I may not be throwing more weight on the bar, or "progressing" as quickly as some, but I am not going to cheat myself.

Lifting with a 4 second eccentric and pause will defiantly make my 75% 1RM of 8 reps, much tougher, where now that may be be only a rep I can get to 4 or 5. Should instead of trying to throw on more weight, should I shoot for 5, 6, 7, 8 reps and then increase the weight when I get to that point?

I've read reps of 10+ for squats are great for growing the lower half. I've also read a ratio of 2:1 for pulling to pushing is important. What do you guys think of those two theories?

How would you program my wants of strength and mass using eccentric lifting style, pressing/rowing/squatting twice a week, mainly in terms of overall volume?

Also, any nutritional tips would be beneficial to me because I'm not only trying to get stronger at 165 lbs., I'm trying to get bigger too.

Thanks guys, and advice would be a great help.


#2

Most of what you’ve said (barring the tempo training, in my opinion) is good, it just sounds like you’re having a hard time putting it together. I would recommend a proven program for a while, and making sure you have a good handle on your nutrition and how to make it a habit. My personal preference would be 5/3/1 and a simple meat and veg, slow cooker style diet, with an approached based on the following article:

Disclaimer: This isn’t the article I was trying to link to, if you can find “7 steps to a flexible diet”, by the same author.


#3

I agree with dagill2. You’ve obviously done your research and if you manage to eat like that consistently with good training you’ll grow.

Personally, I don’t think at this stage you need to worry about tempo too much. Also, I don’t think worrying about theories is really worth a damn compared to trying them out. The 2:1 pull:push idea I can see working, for what its worth but generally if you want your presses yp get better, especially the bench press, you are going to need a bunch of pulling anyway so it should pretty much take care of itself.

Off the top of my head I would say that any of these programs would be good for you:

5/3/1 Boring But Big
Christian Thibaudeau’s Complete Power Look Program
Greyskull LP

Those should pretty much set you up just fine.


#4

I guess the point with tempo I was trying to make was is going 5 reps with an eccentric-pause better than 8 reps without? Just a food for thought for how I can get the most out of every rep/not waste reps and shoot up total volume.


#5

I originally was recommended to try out Mark Rippetoe’s starting strength program, and that just didn’t seem to have enough volume and assistance work to help me get stronger in big lifts. I liked the idea of big lifts and big lifts only, but as a novice, ectomorph lifter I need the help and more volume.

You recommend a 5/3/1, and I really like everything that comes with this: https://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/boring-but-big-3-month-challenge

The same for the Power program by Christian. Emphasis on strength in the big lifts with mapped out assistance work.

Thanks for the advice. I’m going to try one of these out after I look over them a bit more.


#6

[quote]kingbrady wrote:
I originally was recommended to try out Mark Rippetoe’s starting strength program, and that just didn’t seem to have enough volume and assistance work to help me get stronger in big lifts. I liked the idea of big lifts and big lifts only, but as a novice, ectomorph lifter I need the help and more volume.

You recommend a 5/3/1, and I really like everything that comes with this: https://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/boring-but-big-3-month-challenge

The same for the Power program by Christian. Emphasis on strength in the big lifts with mapped out assistance work.

Thanks for the advice. I’m going to try one of these out after I look over them a bit more. [/quote]

Happy to help. Either one will do fine for you.

Don’t get too hung up on the ectomorph thing. Some people build muscle more easily, some don’t. Some people build muscle best one way, others another. That can also change over time as your body adapts.

Bottom line, in your situation if you eat like you plan to and follow either of those programs you’ll get bigger and stronger.

With the tempo thing I honestly can’t tell you which is better. At your stage, I think focusing on anything other than moving the weight up as fast as possible isn’t ideal. When you’re bigger and stronger, then you might benefit from looking at tempo.

EDIT: also, you most probably don’t need anywhere near as much assistance as you think to improve. Not yet. Your biggest route to improvement is getting better at the main lifts technically. Assistance work comes later, when you can’t just do the main lifts to progress. It is really easy to fall into the trap of over-assisting early on when all you really need is a lot of practice. Nothing wrong with some assistance work, especially for the back and abs, but focus first on getting good at your big lifts. You’ll notice the vast majority of your work in 5/3/1 is main lift, and a the same is pretty true of the Complete Power Look.