T Nation

Struggling with Bulking Up


#1

For the past 4 months i have been trying to bulk up and although i have definitely noticed a increase in mass and strength i have only gained 5 pounds or so. I have a very thin build (around 6'3 170, yeah that thin!) i have been eating like crazy and also been taking cytogainer between meals and after workouts.

I think the problem is my workout schedule and the fact that i probably need to intake more calories also. For some reason i havent done powerlifts like bench press, squats, deadlifts but more free weight / machine things. Can someone try to put together or put me on my way with a good bulk schedule? maybe a 4 day a week or 3? Im not sure which is best for bulk. Thanks!


#2

What are your meals like, what is your lifting schedule, etc. etc... we need more information.

"For some reason i havent done powerlifts like BENCH, SQUATS, DEADLIFTS..."

The three biggest mass gainers. That would likely be your problem, assuming diet is in shape and you're eating like crazy like you're saying.


#3

Monday: chest/triceps, i start off with dumbbell chest press followed by dumbbell flys then incline dumbbell chest press and flys then i follow that up with dips and tricep pulldowns
Tuesday: biceps/back, i start off with dumbbell curls, barbell curls then proceed to back which are the 4 back machines (sorry im not familiar with the names)
Wednesday: leg machines
thursday:rest
friday: shoulders/triceps: rotating press, dumbbell shoulder excercies, for triceps same as monday
saturday: back/bicep same as tuesday
sunday: rest

Not going to lie i exaggerated a little in saying that i eat like mad, but i definitely intake more calories than i burn


#4

Ok...

Your upper body is <50% of your total muscle mass.

Legs machines won't take you far.

Train your lower half. Train your lower half with squats and deadlifts.

Ditch the machines. They aren't horrible, but they've got nothing on free weights and lifting heavy.

Don't focus so much on bi's and tri's...

Basically, DO squats, deadlifts, bench. Primarily squats and deadlifts.

Edit: This isn't taking into consideration your diet.


#5

That makes sense, thank you. So should i do a 3 day schedule then? Such as
Monday: Chest/Back
Wednesday: Legs
Friday: Biceps/triceps/shoulders
or what do you recommend? I appreciate your help!


#6

I think you should do 4 or 5 days. If you plan on DLing on your back day that needs to be on a day by itself. I'd do this.

M:Back
T:Chest
W:shoulders/traps
TH:Legs
F: Bi's/Tri's

You could make it 4 days if you don't want to put shoulders/traps on their own day, but I like to always give each muscle or bodypart its own day.

As to the rest. You don't necessarily have to barbell bench, DB bench works just as well. If back squat is really awkward for you like it is me, try front squatting instead and do more hamstring exercises to compensate. Learn good form on DL before you go heavy.

I have a friend who is almost exactly like you, except he is 6'4 165, talk about skinny eh? lol. He told me he ate all the time too but I pretty much stalked him for a day and he didn't. He had 3 meals a day and would have like 3 fruit rollups and some cookies as his snacks. So essentially he was eating all the time lol but it just isn't enough. Just work on eating every 2 hours, and make sure it's a lot of calories.


#7

yeah i definitely need to eat more haha... Its just hard because im stuck with a shitty meal plan this semester at college. Also my legs are very weak, i rarely work them ever since i had a acl repair in the summer. its pretty hard for me to bend in the squat form


#8

You pretty much have to just eat everything in sight, and then be super consistant doing that. Dont let a meal plan dictate your diet if you want to change your actully going to have to change things.

Pretty much all the rest of your time should be either working out or sleeping.


#9

It burnnnnsss us.. It burnsss us..

Why do people keep saying they can't gain weight. It's not exactly rocket science: not gaining weight = eat more. Take olive oil shots if you must.

As for the exercises: rows, DB/BB presses, deadlifts, pull-ups/chin-ups, vertical presses and dips, squat variations, good mornings, BB curls

^ these should be your bread and butter. Machines are fine, but I think that with machines, the temptation is there for people to dick around instead of going hard like they should be. Free weights somehow seem more "reliable."


#10

Well, see things like that are kinda sorta essential to tell us. ACL reconstruction is a pretty major thing. Squats may be out, but you should still be able to do lunges. Also, you NEED to work on getting your mobility back with your ACL. Avoid things that put a lot of weighted tension on the ACL, but you need to stretch it out and get your mobility back, so you have to push the envelope somewhat. It's not going to snap under your body weight or light weighted exercises. But it is imperative that you get to work on increasing the strength of the ACL and its ability to stretch.


#11

What?! That's proposterous!

I wonder if that ties in at all to eating LESS when wanting to LOSE weight...?


#12

Maybe you could actually offer the guy some help instead of making a pointless comment? Just a thought....

OP I would suggest you start on a Push, Pull, Legs routine as you are still a novice you would make good gains on this type of workout and its also a simple format.

Day 1: Push
Day 2: Legs (deadlifts)
Day 3: Pull
Day 4: Legs (squats if your leg allows)

That should bring up your legs and also give your upper body more than enough stimulation. Keep the volume highish perhaps no lower than 6's and stick to the big lifts.

Good luck if you need more detail on a good pull/push routine just ask.


#13

Do you know how many calories your taking in? What does a typical day of eating look like? How many meals do you have in a day? It doesn't sound like you're focusing on what your diet enough. Also are you progressing in the your lifts by adding weight or reps to each workout? I noticed that over the last month I've stalled on progress on my bigger lifts and not coincidentally stalled on my muscle gain. That's shows me how the 2 are interrelated.


#14

Your only concern should be re-hab of your knee. You will have a difficult(impossible IMO)time bulking with no wheels.


#15

You have to overcome this problem you describe. Eating, combined with time, is the number one component of gaining weight.

If your meal plan covers buffets / all you can eat, then you need to make going to those part of your day- more important than lifting. Eat as much as you can handle, then buy stuff that you can eat in between classes or back in your room, like cans of tuna, cups of yogurt, chicken sandwhiches and/or sausage biscuits, for example (which are good cold, imo). Basically, you need stuff that's easy/convenient to eat, since you are not much of an eater right now. Also, you need to keep eating as much as you can and over time you will be able to eat more and more as your body gets used to it.

Your split and exercise selection matters, just not nearly as much as increasing your appetite and caloric intake.


#16

I fond gaining weight (muscle mass) is easier when you focus less on your training program, and more on your diet.


#17

In my experience, light leg presses and/or one legged leg presses are great for getting your range of motion back. After that, front squats are MUCH easier to get a full range of motion than back squats after ACL surgery (wish I had learned that one earlier). Also, you may be far enough along that if you want you can add leg extensions, but you MUST be careful with them, and don't go past around 90 degrees where it starts to put more pressure on the knee. That being said, I think presses/squats are a better exercise. Be smart with your weights, but keep pushing yourself to improve.


#18

Thanks for all the feedback. It really looks like i need to start eating more because at this point i have 4 meals a day with 2 shakes a day in between meals. Breakfast is french toast with eggs, lunch is usually breaded chicken sandwhich/pasta and dinner tends to fall along the lines of stir fry/pasta/chicken and a late night small pizza. Im going to test out the lunges and frontal squats tonight and see how those go. Once again thanks for all the feedback.


#19

Dude, I'm eating more than you, and I've been cutting/maintaining...considering you have 8 inches on me, you need to eat up man! Add some olive oil to those shakes, eat a little fast food, eat lots and lots of beef (pan frying baked beans and 80/20 beef topped with cheese and mustard is pretty cheap, healthy, fast, and most importantly, packs a bunch of protein!), milk, eggs and the like.

Food is your friend, not your enemy. And do those front squats, they're awesome for the quads.


#20

eat more = weigh more = not rocket science = rum and coke do it do it.