T Nation

Swine Flu Redemption

Okay, you wanted some input so here it is. First of all, I saw at the top that you want to gain strength and a wee bit of hypertrophy. So you want the most strength gains possible without putting on a lot of weight?
If so, I would do a few things differently. First, I would do more mobility drills to target your knees, ankles and scapulas and especially your hips. This will prepare your joints for heavy loads on a regular basis.

To gain strength without a lot of size, you’ll need to consistently work close to your 1rm on a few exercises (bench press, deadlift, squat). Wendler’s 5/3/1 program is a great program to start with. You’ll work with weight anywhere from 75% to 95% of your 1rm for four prime exercises (squat, deadlift, bench press and standing shoulder press). Each day will focus on one of these four lifts and a couple of other lifts with higher reps (12-15 or 60-75 total reps) as assistance moves.

If you want to minimize weight gain even further, try incorporating some ballistic moves after a prime mover. Post-activation potentiation is great for developing fast-twitch muscle. Do five reps with 80-85% of your 1rm for bench press, then follow it immediately with five explosive pushups. Using 40-60% of your 1rm for a given exercise and moving it as explosively as possible (but never to the point where the weight is not moving quickly, never approaching fatigue) for 6-9 sets is effective, as is combining this method with 6-9 sets of 1-3 reps with 90% or more of your 1rm for a given exercise. Do this for a specific body part, say two maximal lifts, an explosive lift and then a high rep assistance lift. For example: 9x2 bench, 9x2 incline bench, 7x4 explosive pushups, 4x15 dumbbell bench press.

This method won’t give you a huge overall volume, so you can actually hit each body part with only a day of rest or you can use this method to do 2-3 exercises per day that target several muscles (deadlift, cleans, and bench on day 1, romanian deadlifts, standing shoulder press, incline press day 2). This is especially good if you play a sport since the repeated explosive and/or maximal effort on various compound movements mimics athletic movement and contains a low enough volume to also practice. Rather than destroy each muscle group and then give it a few days to recover, you hit it 4-6 days a week to build neuromuscular coordination. If you play golf, you don’t hit 500 balls at the driving range once a week, you hit 100 balls five times a week.

Personally, I think this method is much more effective if you spend a lot of time trying to get bigger first. The above method is basically trying to make your muscles and your central nervous system more efficient, but I have found through experience that strength gains come better if I try to simply gain size and then try to make the added size more efficient. I used to lift this way a year and a half ago when I weighed about 180 lbs. I gained a couple of pounds and my strength gains went way up, but plateaued pretty quickly. So I concentrated on gaining size instead and went from about 183 to 195 in a couple of months (I also do a lot of downhill mt. biking so this is a significant weight gain considering all that cardio) and then started doing more explosive and maximal lifts. My strength gains went up significantly when I added size, but they went up even more and in a shorter time once I went back to explosive/maximal lifts. It’s all different for everyone, but this is what I would do. I saw that you weigh about 175lbs. Try to get up to at least 185lbs and then worry about gaining strength with minimal weight gain.

Thanks very artw for your extensive contribution. It’s greatly appreciated.

I know what you mean on the size issue. I would actually welcome a lot more size however I feel my diet is holding me back somewhat. I’m on a tight budget as I started a new job and don’t get paid for a few weeks so i find I’m eating a ton of shit (burgers, spaghetti bolognese, full fat milk, more burgers). I think this is going more to my belly than it is too my muscles. I’m just trying to develop the mindset of eating constantly though so I guess it has some advantages.

I do next to no mobility work on the body parts you mentioned so that’s definitely a good shout and one that I am going to look into. As I mentioned I feel my dead is affected somewhat by my lack of mobility which is killing me as I feel I should be deading a whole lot more.

The 5/3/1 option is one that I have been contemplating as well. Maybe I could even combine it with my ME days? I’ve been at this program for 6 weeks now. An option would be to move onto another program however the WS4SB template is one that could be done for years as it has so many variables and I feel I owe it to myself to keep plowing through with it until I hit a brick wall.

Once again thanks for the valuable contribution. Your weight advice is definitely going to be put into action. Cheers mate!



Chin Ups - 3 x 10 (BW)

CG Lat Pulldown* - 3 x 10 (55kg)
Rear Delt Flyes* - 3 x 12 (24kg)

Military Press - 4 x 9 - (45kg)

Power Shrugs* - 3 x 10 (105kg)
Tricep Pushdowns* - 3 x 13 (17.5kg)

Changed the Bench to Chins to give my shoulder a break. Was tired as hell doing the workout and pissed off that I could only bang out 3 sets of 10 on the chins front. Thought I could have done more however was brought back to earth with a bump. Looking at it now I fucked up by doing chins as the CG pulldown would have covered that so it was mostly a back workout. Plus my shoulder pain has spread to over my right trap area. Constantly aching. I don’t want to stop the program though. I think my fatigue levels were also affected by the fact that I done my sessions 3 days in a row.


ME Lower Body

Deadlift 4 x 5 (60,70,80,90kg)
4 x 3 (100,110,120,127.5kg)

Bulgarian Split Squat - 1 x 9 (44kg)

BB Step Ups - 2 x 8 (45kg)

Cable Pull Throughs - 3 x 12 (35kg)

Not bad session however done one set of bulgarians and felt the most intense pain shoot up the left side of my neck and into my brain. Scared me to shit. Genuinely thought I was having a brain haemorrhage. More than likely paniced though. Changed to step ups to give my brain a break.


ME Upper Body

Close Grip Bench Press - 3 x 5 (60,70,75kg)
2 x 3 (80,85kg)
1 x 1 (90kg)

DB Floor Press - 2 x 15 (56kg)

Seated Row* - 3 x 8 (55kg)
Face Pulls* - 3 x 8 (22.5kg)

High Pulls - 3 x 9 (47.5kg)

Cable Curls - 1 x 10 (27.5kg)
2 x 8 (30kg)


DE Lower Body

Box squats into Vertical Jumps - 7x3 (BW)

Box Squats - 10 x 3 (62.5kg)

Romanian Deadlift - 3 x 8 (80kg)



Push Ups - 1 x 30 (BW)
1 x 25 (BW)
1 x 20 (BW)

CG Lat Pulldown* - 3 x 12 (60kg)
Rear Delt Flyes* - 3 x 8 (28kg)

DB Shoulder Press - 3 x 9 - (22kg)

Power Shrugs* - 3 x 10 (110kg)
Tricep Pushdowns* - 3 x 12 (20kg)


ME Lower Body

Deadlift 4 x 5 (60,70,80,90,100kg)
3 x 3 (110,120,130kg)

BB Step Ups - 3 x 8 (50kg)

Cable Pull Throughs - 3 x 12 (37.5kg)


ME Upper Body

Close Grip Bench Press - 3 x 5 (60,70,75kg)
2 x 3 (80,85kg)
1 x 2 (90kg)
1 x 1 (92.5kg)

DB Floor Press - 1 x 15 (60kg)
1 x 12 (60kg)

Seated Row* - 3 x 9 (55kg)
Incline Rear Flyes* - 3 x 9 (28kg)

High Pulls - 3 x 8 (50kg)

Cable Curls - 3 x 8 (30kg)


DE Lower Body

Jump Squats - 6x3 (40kg)

Box Squats - 10 x 3 (67.5kg)

Romanian Deadlift - 3 x 8 (82.5kg)



Push Ups - 1 x 32 (BW)
1 x 27 (BW)
1 x 22 (BW)

CG Lat Pulldowns* - 3 x 8 (65kg)
DB Power Cleans* - 3 x 8 (20kg)

DB Shoulder Press - 3 x 10 - (22kg)

Power Shrugs* - 3 x 8 (115kg)
Tricep Pushdowns* - 3 x 15 (20kg)


ME Lower Body

Squat - 4 x 5 (60,70,80,90kg)
2 x 3 (110,105kg)
2 x 1 (110,115kg)

BB Step Ups - 3 x 8 (52.5kg)

Cable Pull Throughs - 3 x 10 (42.5kg)

Have took a bit of time out from the log due to work constraints however have been plowing away like a bull on horny goat weed shakes. Lifts are steadily increasing and I think I am well on my way to breaking that 100kg bench press, at least for 1 rep. Have also put on a wee bit of weight. Weighed myself in work the other day and came in at 85kg. A wee bit of fat but thenm thats to be expected as I have been eating some amount of shit, good and bad… Very pleased with my progress so far.