T Nation

Scrawny to Brawny


Hey guys, i have a friend who recently decided to join the T-club. I'm helping him get started by training him first. Since his physique isnt too big, i thought i'd start with helping him gain mass first, before training him for functional strenght.

Do you think that's a good idea? Or should i just neglect the mass gaining and go straight for functional strength. He weighs a lil bit below 100lb at around 5' 4". So yes, lots of work to be done but i think i can turn him into a BEAST!


NO FOCUS AT ALL at this point. Just get him lifting in proper form and eating and Both qualities will come. I say for the first 8 weeks at least stay in high to mid range reps and nail form. Learn all the lifts 8-15 reps.

Hope that helps.


bulk or functional strength??? HUH?

gaining lean body mass and training for a specific sport do not have to be at odds with each other...

training can be grouped into three catagories:

1) general conditioning (sled dragging, uphill sprints, skipping rope, etc.)
2) general strength training (squats, bench, deadlift, power-cleans, pullups, core work, ect.)
3) sport specific training - training specifically designed to improve in a given sport (for example: batting practice for baseball players)

all three of these aspects can be accomplished at the same time given a decent training program, plenty of food, and plenty of rest...

does your friend play a specific sport? or does he just want to get more muscular and have a good degree of general strength level?


Sorry, it was a rushed post so not a lot of details were given.


Speaking as someone who was a beginner not long ago, the two most important points to teach him are:

1) 90% of the prople in the gym do not know what they are doing. That includes the people with logos on their shirts.

2) Mirrors are evil.

Otherwise, just practice form, explain to him that the pump is not muscle growth, and do the big 3 compound lifts. In two months time you will both know which muscles need extra work and will hopefully started reaching some balance. Your friend will rack up better number quickly in the beginning, so let him enjoy it in a simple structured way by concentrating on doing a few exercises with good form.

Sooner than you know, you will be laughing at the know-nothings in the gym together.


i see, i understand now.

i totally agree with you about the mirror = evil part. I never worked out in front of a mirror before. Nor have i looked at how my muscles were developing. After 3 months, i went to a new gym with mirrors and started lifting in front of it, i was amazed at how much i have changed!



This reminds me of that Henry Rollins story "The Iron".


Ten basic exercises.

Compound basics, a lot of eating. The end.

Dan "The Iron" McVicker


Not to hijak, but:

Not necessarily, I use them occasionally towards the ends of my deadlifts or squats to make sure me form is in check.