T Nation

Relatively New to Bodybuilding

Hey T Nation!

Just recently joined and pretty new to the weight training scene. I’ve read a few articles here before, but didn’t realize just how much there was scattered around the site. Barely managed to scratch the surface!

Anyways, I wanted to come to you guys with a dilemma I’m having. I started lifting ~3 months ago and began with Starting Strength after looking around a bit. From the few accounts I had, it was THE program to start with so I figured it would be the logical way to go. In that time since I started, I’ve gone from ~155lbs to ~175lbs (probably a decent portion of that being fat) and I’ve been making decent newb gains in the big lifts. However, my original goal was more oriented toward bodybuilding, and getting muscle. In some respects SS answers this, but its aimed more toward Strength Training with muscular gain being a secondary effect of this. Don’t get me wrong, I think SS is a great routine, but after reading around more I realized my goals were somewhat the reverse of what SS is aimed to do.

I’ve begun to look a bit at routines more oriented for hypertrophy. What I was wondering is if you guys could offer any advice on whether or not I should stick with SS for awhile longer, or switch to another routine. Haven’t really decided on anything yet, but after looking around this site and a few other places I’ve been considering switching over to 3 or 4 day split of some sort. Thoughts?

20 lbs in 3 months is pretty damn good, even for newb gains. Why change what’s still working? I would stick with it until you hit a plateau in your size and/or strength. JMO.

Here is the thing, I used a SS type template and made great gains. I stayed in the 4-7 rep range RAMPED and ate like a fool. I focused on adding weight to the bar as often as I could. Suck linear progression dry. Don’t over complicate shit. Keep things as basic as possible. the complication will come as you get more advanced. But stay a newb as long as possible. Just eat and pound fucking weights.

What I neglected was my arms, delts, chest. (SS also lacks rowing…)

Arms are simple. Add in some direct work at the end of your workouts.

Chest, well i was a tricep and front delt bencher. It took me fucking forever to find a groove where I used more pec than anything.

Delts, well unless you are gifted in the genetic department, overhead pressing probably isn’t going to be enough, do some lateral raises from the beginning. At this point you might have a hard time getting a good mind muscle connection with them. So, don’t spend a retarted amount of time with them if you do. Just try and feel them working, and do the lift. (face pulls and other rear delt work is also recommended. rear DB flies, etc.)

Other shit to focus on early in your lifting career is back width. Particularly if you have a narrow frame, don’t be afraid to toss in some neutral grip pulldowns with your chins and rows. Oh yeah, do some fucking rowing. that is a pretty big hole is SS IMO. DON’T STRESS OVER THIS SHIT. Just add in some close neutral grip pulldowns and get stronger on them, like anything else. Width takes forever, and some say you won’t be able to add too much after the first couple years or lifting. So start early.

Focus on teh big compound lifts first, add in the smaller accessory work after. Don’t be afraid to work your arms or side delts, just don’t neglect the big compounds for them.

So Something like if you like the 3 days a week thing


OH press
shoulder raises

OH press/raises

You can stay pretty simple for awhile at this stage and make good progress. The 3x5 scheme worked for me, but I ramped everything. So if my bench max was 155x5:

bar x 10
95 x 8

I’m not saying that is ideal or perfect or anything, but it worked for me and I got stronger. I got a “decent” amount of volume, decent warmup and by the time I got to my top set, it was a struggle to get all 5 reps.

God I’m sorry this ended up such a long post, I kind of rambled, does it even make sense? I’m really tired right now.

^^I would like to x2 the arms bit. I fell into the trap of “Oh I’m so functional, I don’t need direct arm work blah blah they get hit by rows and presses” and now my arms are marginally larger than way back. And I’m not in the habit of working them. SO DON’T NEGLECT DIRECT ARM WORK!

So I’m just better off just sticking with SS and adding in a few additional exercises? What about rep ranges? Should I stick with the 3x5 formula that the routine as opposed to something with higher rep ranges? I’m using a modified SS routine that utilizes rows (wanted more back work when I started), I’ve been doing dips/chins/pullups after workouts, but I’m pretty terrible still at chins and pulls, so I could probably start throwing in curls too.

I am by no means big or strong, but I find nothing wrong with varying rep ranges. Doing a heavy triple one week, a damn hard set of ten the next, adding reps to your previous 5RM after that and so on. Making progress in several rep ranges makes it easier to keep making progress, IMHO.

Countingbeans and A Ninny Mouse are absolutely right about arms. Mine are still very small from years of never really being worked.