T Nation

Striations in Chest and Shoulder


Hi CT,

I have been doing Starting Strength for the last 2 plus years On and Off along with some assistance work. I have tried a few other programs with lesser success and to be honest with lesser interest.

The result of this kind of training is that I look big but I don't look like a BB. Now I want to try some BB programs to change my look. I tried PHAT in the last 2 months but I felt as if I was losing strength on that program. What kind of a routine would you suggest for a BB kinda program which can keep strength intact(if not increase it).

Also I would want to know how can I achieve Striations on my chest and shoulder muscles. Like I already mentioned I have enough size but Dips/Over Head Press and BP aren't going to get it.

Please help.



1) There are NO exercises that will give you striations, NONE regardless of what "bros" will say on the internet or in the gym. It's all about getting SUPER lean. If you "look big" but do not have striations, then you simply have too much fat covering your muscles. And to be honest most people need to be REALLY lean to have striations, a real sub-8% at least.

2) I'm the wrong guy to ask about a bodybuilding program, my philosophy is much closer to starting strength/Wendler or powerlifting than to bodybuilding


Does bodybuilding even work for those not on the secret sauce?


Thanks CT !! I know well about you :slightly_smiling:

Ok, what would be a High Frequency Strength training program which you would suggest which is light on the nervous system. I can train frequently but the difficult part is to manage nutrition because I travel a lot for work.



I thought you designed the I,Bodybuilder program...


That's just the name of the program. When I refer to "bodybuilding program" I'm talking about traditional bodybuilding training, sets of 6-15 reps (or sometimes more) 4-5 exercises per muscle group, each muscle group once a week, going for the pump


depends how you define "bodybuilding"... Typical 24hr fitness bodybuilding (Bro-lifting) does not work. Hardcore John Meadows-style bodybuilding does work as do the old school 20 rep squat programs. Waterbury's HFT system works incredibly well. (I don't have to mention how well CT's training style works since you're already plenty familiar with it. His physique training would likely be termed "powerbuilding" anyway) A natural trainee can learn the most from the bodybuilders that trained before steroids complicated things--Grimek, Kono, Reeves...


Interesting you mentioned Waterbury's HFT. Actually my obsession with rings came from his latest HFT training program (essentially targetted ring work for a muscle group every day).

He's blogged about how rings/paralletes match (and even surpass) barbell loading and is convinced that had he trained himself and clients with rings earlier, upper body development would be way better than having gone the iron route.

I gave his program an honest go and got good results but it's hard to really assess whether its "superior".

Cognizant that his ring emphasis may primarily be marketing, it's still interesting to see old timers do gymnastics/use rings in addition to barbell training. Gives me more conviction on a mixed training style for physique development.

CT's stuff aligns more with grimek, dezbo tan, o-lift obviously but he's always experimenting so it's cool to hear his take "having tried everything" and to see what works optimally.


you looking for the holy grail?


haha always. In CT we trust for the journey


I gotta wonder out loud here, how's a guy supposed to replace barbell squats with rings?

GG if you actually deliver me an answer, I am stumped.


Couldn't really. He includes heavy squats, deadlifts, O-lifts, explosive stuff for lower body. Just ring work exclusively for upperbody.

I did that for 2 weeks: basically alternated snatch grip high pull/deadlift variations with ringwork everyday. Fun as hell. Ramping/layering feels totally different from bodyweight tension/ring progressions.

I think this probably creates a great physique but would miss the bench press, OHP, etc.


@ Seagil:

Is that you in your avatar?


is that you in that avatar?


go for it!
when you find it, it will be inside yourself.