T Nation

Question About Programming


#1

I have tried following a few different programs and progress is slow for me. I have good technique and diet, but usually I am eating at maintenance calories or below because I try to remain a bit lean. I understand this will hinder my progress but it's the way I am choosing to do things.

My bodyfat is around 13%, 6'0, 175lb and I have a very humble 940lb total. I have been weight training for many years but only training as a powerlifter for the last 1 year.

My squat really sucks and to try and improve this I am trying to squat 5x per week which seems trendy right now.

Is there any problem with also increasing the frequency of deadlift and benchpress? I know a lot of people bench 2 or 3 times per week and some as high as 5. Will this work for deadlift too?

I am trying to create my own routine, since the ones out there are so diverse and contradictory, why not just experiment on myself?


#2

It sounds like you’re setting yourself up for some errr “learning experiences”. I recommend reading Paul Carter’s article on writing a program posted here a few days ago rather than heading down the path you seem to be travelling on.


#3

[quote]WhyDoesGodHateMe wrote:
I have tried following a few different programs and progress is slow for me. I have good technique and diet, but usually I am eating at maintenance calories or below because I try to remain a bit lean. I understand this will hinder my progress but it’s the way I am choosing to do things.

My bodyfat is around 13%, 6’0, 175lb and I have a very humble 940lb total. I have been weight training for many years but only training as a powerlifter for the last 1 year.

My squat really sucks and to try and improve this I am trying to squat 5x per week which seems trendy right now.

Is there any problem with also increasing the frequency of deadlift and benchpress? I know a lot of people bench 2 or 3 times per week and some as high as 5. Will this work for deadlift too?

I am trying to create my own routine, since the ones out there are so diverse and contradictory, why not just experiment on myself?[/quote]

Your lack of progress is directly affected by your diet. You MUST be in a caloric surplus to make gains in muscle or strength. Until you do that, it doesn’t matter what program you do. You won’t make significant gains. You might edge your way there, but the body needs a reason to change. You aren’t giving that to your body. Up the calories and grow.


#4

Explain to me why squatting 5x weekly is good to do for you other than it somehow being a trend? If I were to tell you squatting 2x a week and deadlifting once a week would probably net you better results would that be too contradictory? As a beginner don’t assume to know anything, follow a proven template or program. And 6’ 175 isn’t going to give you much to work with as far as strength and development. In context I’m the same height but weigh 100lbs more than you


#5

You can definitely get strong and stay lean. I’ve seen guys under 10% bf deadlifting 500 for reps, it’s not magic, it just takes time and hard work. It’s not like I’m looking to break world records.

To Cparker, sure I could choose a program and stick to it. 531 has squats once a week, traditional westside has squatting once every two weeks, programs that utilize DUP often have squats 3 times per week, and bulgarian method has squats 5+ days per week.

All of those have worked for some people, so it really doesn’t seem to matter which one I follow as long as I stick to certain principles of overall volume, intensity and periodization.


#6

[quote]WhyDoesGodHateMe wrote:
You can definitely get strong and stay lean. I’ve seen guys under 10% bf deadlifting 500 for reps, it’s not magic, it just takes time and hard work. It’s not like I’m looking to break world records.

To Cparker, sure I could choose a program and stick to it. 531 has squats once a week, traditional westside has squatting once every two weeks, programs that utilize DUP often have squats 3 times per week, and bulgarian method has squats 5+ days per week.

All of those have worked for some people, so it really doesn’t seem to matter which one I follow as long as I stick to certain principles of overall volume, intensity and periodization.[/quote]
Fat doesn’t move weight, muscles do. At 6 foot and 175 lbs. that’s exactly what you are lacking. Strong guys in low weight classes are almost always short. Unless you gain a significant amount of weight (MUSCLE) you have very little potential.

What you are saying to CParker makes no sense. 5/3/1 has multiple templates, Westside involves squatting on every DE day and most ME days - up to twice a week, and the Bulgarian method is the last thing a guy like you should be doing.

Don’t ask stupid questions if you don’t want to hear the response.


#7

Sure you’re right, muscle moves weight, but for a natural guy to put on weight your body composition will change and you wont be lean anymore, I think we can agree on that. I know some guys can be 200lb+ and maintain low BF while natural, but I can’t, I’ve been there, tried that, this weight is pretty high for me with my current bodyfat.

I already stated in the original post that I know progress is slow when you’re not prepared to gain weight. I don’t believe it’s impossible, like I said I’ve seen guys below 10%bf lifting seriously heavy weights. And not guys whole bulk and cut either. I’m talking about guys who are lean (and natural) all year round. It’s harder, but it’s possible with years of training.

And aside form 1 error about westside (I forgot speed day, but they do alternate deadlift and squat, so ME is sometimes once per 2 weeks for squat), sure 531 has multiple templates, at LEAST one of them has once per week squatting. My point was that here’s a bunch of different recommended frequency from popular programs, and that point stands despite your corrections, so to say it made no sense is a stretch to say the least.

I’ve never heard any disclaimer about what kind of people should be doing bulgarian method, other than you should not jump right into 4+ days per week. Since my previous program had squats 3 times per week I didn’t see it as a huge shock to my body.


#8

I’m not sure where you are getting this information about programming and everyone gets huge and fat as soon as they start putting on weight. And you don’t sound very responsive to advice from people that are stronger and more experienced so just go try whatever program because it just doesn’t matter anyways right and have ___ results.


#9

Please highlight the part where I said everyone gets huge and fat whenever they put on weight. I don’t seem to remember saying this.

What I did say was that I cannot gain any more lean muscle naturally, therefore a weight increase would mean a change in body composition I could probably be 200lb at 18% bf but I don’t feel comfortable like that. I am experienced enough with training and dieting to know this about my own body.
The second thing is my question which was ‘what’s the best way to gain strength while staying lean.’

No one seems to have any answer other than “you can’t”. Which is BS otherwise there would be no strong, lean people (and there are plenty)

I think that’s a pretty reasonable thing to say, I don’t really know why there’s such a negative backlash. I even pre-emptively said in the opening post that I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest or optimal way of doing things.


#10

It would be poor judgment to look at a guy on a platform and conclude that is how they are all year around.

A popular protocol is to repeatedly slowly “bulk” to 15% then “cut” back to 10% just slow enough to maintain slow strength increases during the weight loss

The end result is you fit into the lightest weight class you can without sacrificing performance and you’ve spent the maximum time possible in calorie surplus.

Anyway, you’re seeking validation and not willing to deviate. Just do whatever you think is going to work. Why do you want some stranger’s acceptance of your idea?


#11

[quote]WhyDoesGodHateMe wrote:
What I did say was that I cannot gain any more lean muscle naturally
[/quote]

Bullshit. See my profile pic? Heavier than you, leaner than you, and only 5’8", after 3 years of natty training. Maybe your genetics will allow you to get larger than me and maybe not, but I can say with a high degree of certainty that using your genetics as an excuse with your level of size and strength is a cop out. But that’s a good thing! It means there’s still so much more you can do.

Not impossible to get stronger and leaner if you’re smart about it (up to a point). I build strength while cutting all the time. It’s not really optimal for strength gains, and doing crazy things like squatting 5x a week while eating at a deficit are not going to do you any favours.

What are your goals? Strength? Powerlifting? A certain look? Are you willing to make sacrifices to lesser goals in the short-term?


#12

Like others said,have to eat. I Started working again in april,but on a low calorie diet,sure I had abs,but repped the 140 5 times @118 lbs. Started calorie surplus in June,just for fun repped out the 140,20. Im not even doing a powerlifting program,but might start one soon. EAT!!!


#13

OP, in answer to your first post, the fact that you even asked whether deadlifting up to 5 times per week will work shows you should really listen to other advice on here who know what they’re talking about. I wouldn’t say you have to follow a set program, personally I never have, but it sure has taken me some trial and error time to figure out what works for me and I think I’ve been relatively lucky with above average genetics for strength gains (in the least arrogant way possible).

Also as others said, pack on some muscle, 175lbs at 6ft is not much, especially not at 13% bf. I understand wanting to remain somewhat aesthetic, personally I’m now around 15-16% and I don’t particularly like having this much bf, but I understand that it will help in the long run. Following on from someone else’s suggestion, you could always cut to 10% while maintaining then ‘bulk’ back to your usual bf %.

For what it’s worth, I also disagree that you have to put on much bodyfat at all while putting on muscle, as long as you’re sensible and patient.


#14

If only you were as humble as your 940 total. Either stop being a fool or don’t waste your time with powerlifting, because I can guarantee that you won’t get anywhere. Nobody is telling you to take steroids or get fat, you ask for advice and don’t want to listen to anyone.

Good luck.


#15

Your technique and diet aren’t good enough. If technique were good, you wouldn’t be struggling to gain strength/muscle. If your diet were good, you would understand how to put on muscle without worrying about body fat because body fat can easily be removed (at least down to around 10%) when you have enough muscle mass and a good grasp on how you respond to both training and diet. It might sound harsh but it’s something you’ll realize later on so might as well hear it now. Years down the road you’ll find that gaining muscle and strength are not mutually exclusive. If you want to get somewhere in powerlifting, you will have to learn how to prioritize both (whether in phases or simultaneously). If you don’t believe this to be true, give me a specific example of a highly competitive powerlifter who doesn’t have much muscle. Also, search around for how people look in the same weight class you intend to compete in.

Do whatever program you want since it seems you’re fixed on that. But make sure to prioritize building a big back. Overtime, add in a lot of volume for vertical and horizontal pulling. Hit your back from many angles because your back has many muscle groups that are useful for all lifts. Build the volume over time and don’t use only heavy intensity for it. The more work you do for it, the more you can eat to support building muscle. Don’t be afraid of body building work because you need to grow muscles to get them strong. If you have gained significant weight in the past and found that it was mostly fat, it was likely because you weren’t handling enough volume to force your body to build muscle and the excess calories were simply not needed.

If you want to be competitive at the state level, you’ll probably have to get up to at least 200 lbs. Stop comparing yourself to other people. You are not them. Listen to the advice people are giving you now instead of coming back full circle in the future.