T Nation

Strength Gains


About when, just an average guess...would you expect someone to see strength gains in their workout?

Ive gained about 20 pounds in the past couple weeks, with cardio. But havent seen much gains. I usually switch between rep/intensity workouts. I switch between free, cable, and machines. I just began doing bodyweight again.

Just to give you a little idea. Oh, and if its necessary in any way...i take protein powder and sometimes flax oil supps.


20 pounds in 2 weeks is a lot, are you sure about that?? you must be eating a ton of food. especially if you are doing cardio and all the other stuff.
Strength Gains? just keep lifting, it could take a couple of months, all depending on the individual, it will come. use bodyweight exercises sparingly, you need to overload the muscle for strength.


err, about 4 weeks i meant. but still its alot.

the thing about bodyweight is that its so hard for me though, so wouldnt that be great for the muscle/my strength?


do you mean you have gained 20lb bodyweight in 2 weeks, or you have put 20lb on a lift you are doing?


If you weighed 135lbs, yes it is possible to gain that much and not have your body respond equally in strength gains. Even at 5'7", that is still UNDERweight for your height. It isn't rare for guys starting out that light to suddenly go up in weight simply because they quit starving themselves. Switching between movementrs that often could also keep you from noticing strength gains. Why are you changing your routine so often?


Glad to hear its a normal gain, my friends think im a weirdo haha.

I read on an article in here that you get best strength gains by mixing up between intensity and reps like every other workout day.


I have never gone 4 weeks with ZERO strength gains let alone gaining 20lbs and no strength gains. Maybe one exercise that I couldnt improve on but in general over 4 weeks I will have increased the weight I use or the reps I can do in all exercises if I havent switched them.

Also in most cases beginneres will see strength gains before they see any apreciable muscle mass gains.

Also it does sound like your switching things around alot, pick a solid routine and stick to it for awhile. You can't measure strength gains if you never do the same exercise with similier parameters.


You can't just state that point blank - you have to consider the context. For instance, good way of training the Squat, which was been around for a long time, would be something like:

Monday - Back Squat 5x5 @80%
Wed - Front Squat 3x8 @65-70%
Friday - Box Squat work-up to 5RM

This, however is something with a structure and consisting of similar, yet different movements. It is worlds apart from changing what you do every time, ranging from bodyweight work to machines.

In other words, you're most likely misapplying that principle and changing thing too often without a good base.


Wait, what do the percents mean? and the RM?


Percents relate to your one rep max or 1RM. Similarly, 5RM is your 5 rep max - the weight you can lift for 5 straight repetitions but feel you would fail rep 6.

I got to this thread by using the new "Most Discussed Topics" option, and failed to realize you posted in beginners forum. I didn't mean to confuse you with that notation, I assumed you were alredy familiar with programs here.

The basic point, however, remains. You need to pick up a structured program and follow it. Many have done well on Chad Waterbury's programs, but common trait of all successuful programs is hard work on big compound lifts (Squats, Deadlifts, Benches, Rows, Pull-ups, Overhead Presses). You can supplement that with bodyweight work, if you wish and feel you can handle it. Also, be sure to check Vroom's Beginner Threads (I and II).


Just curious what you guys would suggest for me? a program, i mean. I just want to see what would be good for me.

My bench 1RM is 135 pounds. I usually go 115 with spot, but have knocked it down two days ago to 95 for more reps.

For my upright row with shoulders I think 90 would be my 1RM. I can do 60 with lots of reps, which is what i usually do.
Shoulder press is the same as upright.

For triceps my pushdown is usually at 80 when i go for reps. Ive never tried 1RM, but i think it would be a bit over 110.

My biceps...hmm. My curl is at 30/40. I have incredibly weak biceps for their size. I need to focus on them alot more, but Im guessing their size is from boxing.

I recently just started doing legs. Mostly bodyweight and I received a kick in the ass for it. 3 days sore WITH protein. Its good :slight_smile:

But yeah, any reccomendations for programs off my current status(for the most part) would be awesome!


Ive got another question dealing with these programs ive been looking through. Im not necessarily interested in body building, like the majority of these seem to be made for. I know my diet would be the biggest impact, but if i keep my diet the same(not throwing in the bodybuilder additions), would these workouts be okay for a guy whos not looking to get beefed up? I dont mind growing muscle at all, but thats not my goal with lifting. Its strength.


Even though your goal is strenght, you need a solid foundation first. Gaining muscle is not something that happens overnight and since you're beginner there are surely areas on your body you need to build up before you can focus solely on strength. Also, doing BB work is good for raising work capacity - believe me, that is good and will help you later in your career.

Good choice at this level, in my opinion, would be Chad Waterbury's Total Body Training program. Another good option is this program from late JV Askem:

One thing more: you need to eat! There's a great difference between eating well, but not necessarily as much as needed for gaining mass, and fooling yourself by eating chips and cola all day long.


Im starting the Waterbury Method today. :slight_smile:


If the exercises you know your max's on are bench, upright row, overhead press, curls and pressdowns, I would bet you're neglecting squats, deadlifts, rows, dips, chins and other goodies like that. Make sure you don't leave them out, however, if you're doing a Waterbury program I'm sure you won't.

Good Luck.



Remember to do legs. Big trees need big roots. Squat, Deadlift, Squat, Deadlift, repeat. Oh, and be an arnie, calves calves calves.

You don't want to be super big up top with twig legs. That's just shit.


Yeah before I just didnt know how to do them and was kinda scared to try. Its no big deal now though, the Waterbury program that im using has squats, deadlifts, calf raises, ham raises, and so on. THey also involve chin-ups and dups...which ive also been avoiding. Maybe ill take some before and after pictures and post them when im finished.


dont know if this works for everone but i read that if you want stregnth and muscle mass you have to stick to free/dead weight,and only do cables like once a month to make sure you get every group...that might have been the problem,and if you're just starting then go crazy(i still do)lift things you wouldnt dream of...with a spotter


that actually scared me to think about haha. ill just stick to my program. supersets are my favorite now. they are a rush. but man...i cant believe how WEAK my legs are. they are soooooo damn sore and i can like max my squat only a tad bit above my body weight.

honestly never thought or felt that my legs were that weak!

still have alot alot alot to learn though. getting my movements perfect, eating right, etc.
its good knowledge to have.