T Nation

Strength or Size First




powerbuilding is the answers

squat, deadlift and bench heavy while doing assistance at higher reps


You are weak because you have little muscle. 5x5 would be stupid if your ultimate goal is to get bigger. Keep doing a proper BBing split.


Starting strength. Aint nobody got bigger moving the weights you are moving.
Consistency now will trump intensity. FOR NOW. Ride Starting Strength until you get strong.
Eat clean and plenty, and slowly work the weight up and up. When you top out with Starting Strength, then and only then consider a hypertrophy phase. Buy the book used on Amazon or do a little searching here.
Getting truly strong is not about the all out one rep max with gear and spotty form, it is doing things relatively well with the goal of making gradually heavier and heavier weights a lot lighter.


I like the bill Starr 5x5, which is essentially a powerbuilding program. I think focusing on getting up to a reasonable 2x bw squat, 1.5bw bench and 2.5bw deadlift before focusing solely on hypertrophy would be wise. i also think that just focusing on steadily increasing you poundages will get you to your goal, but I don't think it would be the fastest nor optimal route.


You need a lot more solid of a strength base before hypertrophy is even an option... In fact at your body weight, height, and body fat % you should be much stronger then you are currently especially if you have been lifting for a while.. CT has some great programs for adding size and strength at the same time.. 5/3/1 plus bodybuilding is another great one to use by Jim Wendler...

Whatever your doing with your current routine is not helping you gain any strength so get on a solid program where you can gain some size while focusing on building up your strength for a bit of time and go from there..


I stayed stuck for soo long when I was younger cause I failed to properly strength train. Long explanation put short, you gotta strength train to build up your work capacity and connective tissue so you can later knock out much heavier weights for reps.

Start with a speed day as you have clearly not developed your explosiveness yet and starting strength is priority number one. A westside type speed day is a great way to begin to condition your body and grease the groove on the essential, multi joint compound movements.

Deadlift with multiple sets of low reps so hard u start to see stars, and no im not kidding. Do those deads so damn hard you almost black out on the last rep and get a lil dizzy. Iv seen it so many times, skinny kid starts killin the deads and their whole body begins growing at an alarming rate. All neural transmissions telling muscles to contract go from brain thru spine and when u train this link u will develop much more neural drive to all muscles you work, making them contract harder and become stronger.


Focusing on getting stronger + eating enough = size.

It's not rocket science. You don't just start focusing on strength without gaining any size.

Eat enough food, work on getting stronger and you'll grow.


I was on a 6 day a week split when I was skinny and cutting that in half put 30 pounds on me in about a year of better,less frequent strength training. Id say 3 or 4 times a week should be enough, doing 5 or 6 days a week of high rep training will not put more size on you at this point in your training.

Great strength programs are all over the place here at tnation. Poliquins ADVANCED german volume training is my fave one/ thats 10x5,10x4,10x3 NOT the 10x10.

5/4/3/2/1 is another great one that teaches you how to build strength progressively

5x5 cluster training is an ass whoopin and a half and will damn sure get u stronger

Westside protocol obviously works pretty damn good, speed work will do wonders for you


IMO, if your goal is a physique model type of physique DO NOT do starting strength. It's a program designed for athletes and will undoubtedly leave you with potentially flailing imbalances if asthtetics is your goal.

You're going to want to build a sold base strength level but don't neglect things like arms or rear delts. GTFO with that "they get enough stimulation from _____"insert whatever pulling/pressing exercise here you want something to grow you train it specifically.

Good luck OP.


Some really stupid advice here, except for Greg who went the same direction as me.

Especially from sesumatse - "westside type speed days" and "deadlift so hard u start to see stars"? You post some stupid stuff.


Lol,tell Bill Kazmier, Arnold, or Steve Reeves the 5x5 wont put any size on you jackass totally didnt work for them either LOLLLLOL!!! O deadlifts dont build strenght and size?

Funny how Arnold said the single best exercise for gaining mass was the deadlift, but what would he know compared to you, mister keep doin the same thing ur doin thats not working for u and expect a different result tardfuck... again LOL!

"U are weak because u have little muscle" again lol- I mean ROFL really


O I forgot...

Who Is this Louie Simmons guy,what would he know about strength training.. really LOL!

Speed day is useless LLOL, tell that to Louie and the world record holders he trains then get back to me net chump bet u do shit in the gym go on and type brag, wow.


What an impressive comeback. You could be become a writer.


You do not need a strenght oriented program in order to gain strenght.. esp if you eat enough and are pretty new..

If it were me going back in time id have start my training days with a big lift for lower reps (like 6) and id log my results for THESE LIFT. Then id probably have a couple isolation exercises where id focus on trying to feel the muscles (mmc)


Chest day :

1) inclined bench --> strenght. 3-4 x 6
2) flat db press --> strenght 3 x 6-8
3) some type of decline machine press focusing on feeling the pecs and squeezing hard x 8-12
4) pec deck focusing on the stretch and squeeze x 12-15

First two exercises id go to failure for set 2-3
Last 2 I would try to be 1rep short of failure


Btw most of you guyd paid no attention to his end goal when replying..

He wants to be a fitness model.. not a 240pound bodybuilder..


rdogg, take the advice from zraw.
With your end goal in mind...

I actually train with a fitness model at the moment and he trains similarly although he trains EVERY day.
Here is his split:
Sunday: legs, abs
Monday: traps, forearms, calves
Tuesday: back, abs
Wednesday: chest, forearms, calves
Thursday: biceps, arm flexors (hammer curls, reverse curls), abs
Friday: triceps, traps light
Saturday: shoulders, calves

he has TWO routines he alternates:
for 6-9 weeks he follows this
exercise 1: 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps (reps fast and explosive)
exercise 2: 3-4 sets of 6-9 reps (reps fast and explosive)
exercise 3: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (reps controlled with peak contraction)
exercise 4: 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps (usually an exercise that stretches the muscle, think cable flyes, one arm dumbbell row, incline db curls, etc with the reps slow and controlled and a pause in the stretched position)

after that program he will do this for 6-9 weeks (same exercises, same split):
set 1: 12 reps with 13 rep max (meaning leave one rep in tank but still work very very hard)
set 2: 10 reps, again leave a rep in tank
set 3: 8 reps
set 4: 6 reps
increase weight when on last set you feel you can easily do 8 reps.
He will do 3-4 exercises like this and work for about an hour. 30-60 seconds rest in between sets, more on legs.

Like zraw mentions: first exercise is ALWAY a compound exercise!

Sunday: Squat
Monday: Heavy Shrugs or high rack pulls
Tuesday: Bent rows
Wednesday: Bench Press
Thursday: Biceps curls or pull ups with close grip
Friday: Tate Presses
Saturday: Push Presses or Military presses

Hope this gets you in the right direction.

Oh, cardio is 15 min a day..
He warms up for 2 min, runs hard for 1 minute and repeats that till 15 are up.
Every day either right after training with weights or at night..

His diet is coffee in the am, meat and veggies before training during lunch hour, egg and veggies right after, protein shakes with pineapple till work is over.
carbs and protein are at night, very little fat. no more food after 9PM.




You barbell bench press but don't dumbbell press? Doesn't DB flat bench build better stabilizer muscles, and also as a secondary better triceps use than BB?


This most important part of the OP's post and almost all of you ignored it...

Fitness models aren't the largest guys on the planet--they're usually decently muscular with very low body fat and small waists. Slim legs are also quite common in the industry, so all of you wanting him to get Powerlifter thunder-thighs are just plain ignorant of what his end goal is. Is strength beneficial to adding mass? Absolutely. But should he switch his scope to strength entirely when it's not his end goal? No freakin' way!

OP: the routine you outlined just a couple posts before this one looks absolutely fine assuming all the hypertrophy work you've been doing thus far has been to your satisfaction. Hell, you don't even need as much volume as you have for the strength movements--5x3, or even 3x3 would probably be enough.