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Teen's Road to Physique Competition


So I figured I’d ask now with Friday’s leg day coming around awfully quick. So last Friday I squatted as per the template, went through the workout fine, great mmc, all in all, a killer leg workout, however. The next day, and still continuing the day I write this, I have had this intense pain in my knee. My knee feels almost wobbly, or even on the cusp of locking up. Walking up stairs causes the most pain, even though walking in general still hurts as well. When I sit for too long it gets painful as well. Finally, there is sometimes a clicking associated with bending my knee. Granted, it was most painful the day after and has since gotten better, but the pain is still there. Wondering what my leg day should look like Friday given this?

@IronAndMetal @robstein


I encountered this same thing once upon a time. I’m not a doctor, nor did I see one for this, and I’m not an expert on the matter but here’s my theory:

If you watch people that are new to squatting try a heavy (for them) weight, you’ll notice that one of their knees tends to collapse inwards. For me, it was always my left knee. This occurs, I believe, because the leg muscles are stronger than the joints and tendons (stabilizers) at this moment in time. Meaning, one can move the weight with ones glutes and quads, but ones hips and/or knees can’t yet stabilize the weight throughout the range of motion.

How to fix it? When this happened to me, I was lifting in my basement…I had a barbell and multi-rack…so the only leg exercises I could do were lunges, squats, romanian deadlifts and an improvised barbell hip thrust. I personally took time off legs. But for you, here’s my recommendation:

Focus on leg extensions, leg curls, lunges and leg press for a while. I used body weight walking lunges as a warm-up on leg day for a couple months. I used the upstairs track and would just do the entire lap (roughly 120 steps/60 reps per leg). For leg press, I would keep the weight lighter and super set wide-stance with narrow-stance to feel the pump and burn.

The more important part is the squats. I would take one week off squatting (to let the knee recover). I would keep the weight light and work on depth and explosiveness rather than the amount of weight I’m using. This will help strengthen the stabilizing stuffs (joints, flexors, etc). Personally, I found pause-squats to be very helpful. They taught me how to reach depth, and they strengthened my stabilizers through the required position-holding. I always like a 5 second pause. 5 second pause-squats force the weight to be lighter, but don’t make you look like a pussy in the gym…win-win. :grinning:

The very last thing I did was to increase my fish oil intake and/or my nut butter intake. Those good fats go to cushion your joints. You don’t need to increase these levels forever, but increasing the good fats will help your joints recover a bit quicker (in my experience).

Hope this was somewhat helpful.


Yes since I have been training more bodybuilding style I switched from a more comfortable low bar squat, with more emphasis on sitting back, to a more bodybuilder-esque squat, with a high bar placement and more break in the knees. Given this, though, I am working in the 6-12 rep range and was really controlling the eccentric so I could focus on utilizing my quads more. However, the pain is there so clearly something was being done wrong.

Given that I am using the bodybuilding program template from clay hyght, the 4-day template, what would my leg day look like? Typically it was squats, followed by leg extensions then sldl’s and finished with lying leg curls, then some calf work. Should I just replace the squats with the leg press or put the 5-second pause squats you were talking about in this week, because come Friday that will be a full week off from squatting.

As far as diet, I am currently at 2300 calories with about 65g of fat. Is that enough fat? Funny thing is when trying to eat at “maintenance” with the new training style I’ve actually lost 4 pounds haha.

Regardless, this was really helpful and really appreciate it!


Hmm…Here’s a couple of ideas:

My first idea would be to simply change the order of your exercises for a week or two until the knee recovers. Something like:

  1. Leg Extensions
  2. Lying Leg Curls
  3. Squats (if warmup sets bother your knee, move over to leg press)
  4. Romanian Deads / Stiff-legged Deads
  5. Calf work
    That order would ensure that your knee joint is really warmed up before squatting. That order will also cause your squat numbers to go down slightly because of the already-expended energy of the first two exercises.

My other thought would be to keep your template the same but replace back squats with front squats as a change. Most people always need to go lighter on front squats, which will help with joint recovery without changing the order of your exercises. So:

  1. Front Squats
  2. Leg Extensions
  3. Stiff-Leg/Romanian Deads
  4. Leg Curls
  5. Calf work

RE: Nutrition --> 65g of fat seems about right. My macros are higher (2900 calories with 100-110 being fat). With MY ratios, you should be eating 79/80g of fat. But, that’s fairly negligible. The other concept is that I know my body likes fat and uses it rather than retains it…meaning my numbers are usually higher than others in regards to fat. So, again, I would think that 65g is good enough. That being said, adding in an extra serving of fat every day wouldn’t be a bad thing just to help your joints for a few days.


Ok cool, I think I will give the first option a go this week as I like the idea of using the first two exercises to warm-up my knee joint, hopefully, the increased blood flow will allow my knee to feel better. Also, like you mentioned, doing those two exercises first will force me to use a lighter weight which will be beneficial for allowing the knee to recover as well.

As for the fat, I’ll add in an extra serving to hopefully help my knee recover.

Thank you as always!


Don’t mind the lack of abs, I only had three seconds to pose so I was midway into my flex.

Anyway, three weeks on the template and this is what we got so far. I am down to 155 pounds, lost roughly 5-6 pounds since starting this style of training. Calories have been consistent at 2300, with 150g of protein, 290g of carbs and 60g of fat.

I realized that my goal physique is purely aesthetic. That of broad shoulders, with a developed and profound upper chest, delts that aid in that wide look and tight midsection.

I recently posted in Eyedentist’s thread about how he trains and he had a section talking about training for pure aesthetics and this look. After discussing with him he stated that in his eyes aesthetics focuses on the delts, the upper chest, and abs. He was then kind enough to actually take the time to write out what a program, focusing on said aesthetics would look like. Thinking about running that as that is my main goal to develop that width to taper look. Otherwise, I a just plugging along with the training.

Edit: Link to thread with program post, scroll to the last few posts and it is there.

Edit2: @IronAndMetal @robstein I obviously do not want to get into a perpetual state of program hopping but am merely wondering given my goals what would be more beneficial, if I am overthinking it again just tell me to shut up haha


I think your motivation and drive is outstanding, and given your age, I have no doubt you’ll achieve a great physique with time. TIME is what you need, there is no substitute for it. Just my thoughts, I really think you should stop over thinking things (yes you are over complicating things) get on a bodybuilding split, which by the way is a program based in achieving the ultimate aesthetic look, and train and eat and recover properly for a long time, think years. I think you should really focus on bringing up and developing ALL body parts equally. You know what you’ll get with bodybuilding training over a few years? Wide shoulders, a thick chest and a v taper, along with a thick back and solid wheels. Do not ignore your legs! After you’ve been training for a while, you can start worrying about tweaking muscle groups.

Consistency of training, nutrition and recovery, and TIME is the prescription. IMO you haven’t been training long enough to warrant such a specific program, or to know where your weaknesses are or what really needs to be focused on. Train everything bodybuilding style, you’ll end up with a great physique, very aesthetic, and over time can worry about tweaking frequency of certain muscle groups as needed.

The program @EyeDentist laid out is a great program no doubt, and he’s achieved an outstanding physique with those training methodologies. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it eventually, or that training specifically for a physique compeition or look doesn’t have its place. I think a program like that geared towards physique training would be warranted eventually, and you’d do well with it eventually, after you’ve established a more solid foundation.

I cannot stress enough that you just need a basic program, time, and consistency, again just my thoughts. Hope this helps!


Why do I have this problem? Ahhh yea I figured I was overcomplicating it. I don’t understand why I keep digging. But thank you for keeping my head straight, you guys really are a amazing, I come here, pester about a different program and you guys are still supportive.

I just love reading about this stuff and then next thing you know I’m switching it up again.

Anyways, like you said, I really just need to give the template/program time. I have only been training on it for 3 weeks and to be honest I love it. I am developing solid mmc with muscle groups I’ve never felt properly worked before, specifically my lats.

My priority right now needs to be that overall size like you mentioned.

I am committing to just keeping my head down and training hard, eating right and not questioning every little thing.

Thank you again! You’ve helped immensely once again.


I’ve been mad busy with work the past few days getting ready for a software installment for a casino in Vegas…but I’ll just say that I agree with @robstein. The one thing I’ll emphasize (outside of “Just grind for a while and add strength and size”), is this:

Don’t ignore your legs. I understand your goal is physique, so they’ll be covered by board shorts, but having stronger legs will increase your other lifts. The stronger your legs, the more stabilization you have during things like rows or bench presses, etc. I think many of my lifts have increased due to leg strength…and the more you can bench press for reps, the more your pecs will be assaulted, which will lead to more gains. Plus, if you have bigger legs, it creates the X-frame concept…which helps your waist look smaller…if you ever decide to cross into bodybuilding, or are in your underwear or naked or … makin’ the sweet sweet love.

Keep the motivation and keep the drive. I would only change the routine if you absolutely hate it/you have no motivation to continue that particular routine. Otherwise, keep on the grind and you’ll see results. It’s definitely a game of blood, sweat, and years.


This sounds like a good plan! Very glad to help man, keep taking those progress pics and be sure to compare them in the months to come, they’ll let you know everything is working.


Friday rolls around, the tights come out and that can only mean one thing… leg day! However, these past two weeks have been a battle. Two Friday’s ago, following my leg day I woke up with tremendous pain in my knee, couldn’t squat, lunge, twist, essentially use my left leg, even walking was causing me problems. I would get a clicking on the outer portion of my knee, it was terrible. However, two weeks have gone by and the knee is feeling better, still not 100%, but definitely better. I feel like it is some form of tendonitis, so I will still not be squatting again today. Plan on doing some strength work for my sumo deads, 5x5@315, then some high volume leg extensions. Follow that up with some sldl’s and lying leg curls, hit some calves and will call it a day, going to keep taking it easy on my knee, and hope to get squatting again soon!


Just a bit of an update. Walking around anywhere from as low as 148-151. Just been plugging away with training. Nutrition has been a little sporadic as I am currently going through pledging here at college so meals aren’t as consistent as they should be.

As always, I am open to any critiques and/or recommendations as to what to do.

Thanks guys!


Cold and rest help with knee pain.

I would suggest you take a look at your technique on lifts that stress the knee joint.

Some other things that may help:

1 You should include a leg curl movement in your program if you don’t have it already.

2 Focus on strengthening your hips (of course if you are a physique guy, upper body is your main focus but hips should be the secondary focal point if you have knee pain)

3 Eliminate all movements that cause pain


wow it has been way to long! What an interesting past couple of months it has been. I have had some of the most crazy experiences of my life this past semester and unfortunately my training has suffered because of it.

When we spoke last I was set on eating at maintenance and following the 4 day split from Dr. Clay Hyght as laid out in his article of the tried and true bodybuilding program template. I was also trying to overcome an apparent knee injury that did not allow me to squat and/or bend my knee past 90 degrees. Now that we have a time frame of remembrance for where we were let me update you all as to what has happened since.

Where to begin, the second semester of school started and with it, rush began. Being within my personality I ended up pledging a fraternity this past semester and oh boy was that something. Sparring the specifics, my training obviously suffered as did my diet. In essence I was on an unstructured training program and with pledging ended up losing roughly 15 pounds, hitting a low of 144.8 at a certain point. Being constantly underfed, aka a caloric deficit and not following a sound program, aka program hopping, my lifts have since plummeted. My deadlift has fallen to roughly 335 conventional and 365 sumo, my bench fell to 195 and obviously i was not squatting due to the knee injury.

As for my knee, its more of a positive spin. As of last week I have actually been squatting my most recent session was today where I hit 225 for 3 sets of 5, pain free.

Now to where I desperately need your help, my goals have not changed in the sense that I want to achieve the men’s physique look and compete in a competition. This was a major set back to that goal. For the past 3 weeks that pledging has ended and having finally crossed I find myself in a bit of a limbo of what to do, almost spinning my wheels in essence. I am basically unsure of what to do right now. I will include a picture of my current physique to aid in possible guidance at the bottom.

For the past 2 weeks roughly, I have been running the barebones starting strength of the following Workout A: squat press deadlift B: squat bench deadlift, in an effort to bring my lifts back up. However, like I mentioned above I am looking for guidance, with my goal in mind as what to do.

As for my diet these past three weeks, I am struggling. For some reason I have been binging at night, just gorging on tons and tons of food. Ill be fine during the day and then at night all hell breaks loose. my goal macros have been set at maintenance for the moment at 2400 cals, 140g of protein, 305g of carbs and 70g of fat. But again any recommendations as for what to do nutritionally are also wanted.

For some reason I feel like I am back at square one and just really need a push in the right direction of what to do right now. My current stats, still 5’6" still 19 and am 150 pounds with the physique to follow.

Thank you all!

Physique: https://i.redd.it/720ti2ek3tty.jpg

@robstein @IronAndMetal @Aragorn


I’ve thought about how to respond to this for a few hours now (I’m at work, so it’s not like I sat and dwelt on it forever…), and I’d like to pose a question before I respond fully. Before the question, I’ll throw some context for the question at you.

I remember college. College was fucking awesome. I went to a party school and I PARTIED, and I chased a lot of girls and got a lot of girls. I traveled in a rock band in college, and I was broke as shit all the time. What that amounted to was this: I didn’t have the time or cash to devote to ‘proper’ nutrition or ‘proper’/‘consistent’ training, let alone a contest prep. But I trained when I could.

Training was a way to hang with the guys in the beginning. It was just fun and I didn’t really see any ‘gains’. After a couple years, once the rock band settled down and I was on campus consistently, and I decided to stop smoking is when the gains started to come.

Touring in that band dropped my body weight to 112 pounds ( pretty low weight at 5’10") because all my money went to gas, cigarettes, music gear, and hotel fees. We were lucky to eat one meal a day and get some free drinks at the bar we played. But in two years of training and eating, I jumped up to 165. I wasn’t cut up and aesthetic, let alone stage ready, but I gained a lot of muscle mass, overall size, and strength.

I’ll stop my rant there and just ask this one question now: How do you want to experience college? When, in your mind, will you compete (a year, two years, after college)? The answers to those questions will definitely frame my answer for you.


Why did you create another username and post another thread 5hrs ago?

Do you feel that the actual smoking restricted your gains, or simply this is when you made the ‘switch’ from an unhealthy lifestyle to one more geared towards making progression in size/strength?

I’m just curious, as you have surprised me with interesting facts on more than one occasion.


wow, I never truly thought about it, to be honest, but to answer your question I’ll start with I guess my own little anecdote to put some perspective on my final answer.

So my training background, in terms of lifting weights, has primarily been for the acquisition of strength to aid, in at the time, my sport, which was wrestling. The only program I ran with true consistency was stronglifts 5x5 and the powerliftingtowin novice program. Essentially I trained for strength and nothing else. During this time I also read everything I could get my hands on in regards to training and nutrition and developed a decent knowledge base of the basics when it came to the above topics. My junior and senior year of high school I tracked my macros in the offseason and lifted with a linear progression program, like the ones mentioned above. When the season came I would do what I had to do to make weight and then would essentially “reset” when the season ended in terms of my strength.
I was recruited to wrestle at Rutgers University coming out of high school and for the first three months of this past year, school-wise, that is what I was doing, wrestling and school. Staying small and lean for wrestling. However, I developed some unhealthy habits with food as the struggle to make weight is taxing and mentally started to get into a bad place as making weight took over my life. With that, I went to my parents and we all felt it was in my best interests to no longer pursue my career in wrestling due to the unhealthy relationship with food that it created.

With this, I was “free” to train however I wanted, I no longer needed to keep my weight low and just focus on getting strong I could try and build my physique to my goal, which is still that men’s physique look. This is where the downward spiral began. I had only ever known how to train for strength, which is where the origination of this thread came from, I wanted, for the first time, to train to look good, to train for aesthetics, to train for physique rather than sports performance.

You and rob were kind enough to guide me along and suggested the bodybuilding split by clay hyght and that I eat at maintenance macros and see where that would take me. You guys answered any questions I had and I cannot thank you enough for that. I was consistent for 6 weeks or so and then pledging began and you know the story of what happened with that. Everything sort of blew up in my face.

Now you are probably wondering why I gave you essentially my life’s story (training wise), I feel it adds appropriate context for my answer to your question.

Now that I no longer have to train for sports performance my training goals have become, at the root, to look good without a shirt on and to me that is the men’s physique look. Wide shoulders, the v-taper, small waist.

In relating that to my college experience this is where the “problem” comes in. I feel that through my career in athletics I have used to that as my identity, I was the wrestler and with that, I had that lean, ripped look that I was happy with. I feel my problem is that I put too much stock into my physique in defining myself. I want to have fun in college, I do, hell I pledged and joined a top-tier fraternity at my school. However, I also have my physique goals, I want to look amazing without a shirt on and those two goals clashed. I found myself refusing drinks or passing up on going out with friends because I didn’t want it to affect my diet and feared it would ruin my physique. Fraternity brothers joke around with me how they have never actually seen me “go nuts” because I never really let go in terms of alcohol, not that that is a bad thing but in relation to a typical frat bro it is different.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to be able to have fun in college and for me, part of that fun, would be having a killer physique.

As for competing I know it is unrealistic to compete in the time frame you gave (1-2 years after school) and know it wouldn’t be until much further down the road, but I would love to make great strides towards it while in college.

Sorry for the long post, but I feel it is warranted to truly describe where I am at and to answer your questions.



I wasn’t thinking clearly and just wanted an answer, it was stupid of me and I regret it looking back now.

I acted impulsively in posting that and am sorry for it.

I guess I am just a little-overwhelmed atm and was not thinking straight.

My apologies.


No worries fella, no harm, no foul.

Patience, young grasshopper


I think it was a bit of both? I mean, this is totally hindisight. Originally, I decided to stop smoking to get ‘better’ girls (ha!) and because it was becoming too expensive. If I remember correctly, a pack of smokes increased $0.50/pack 6 months before I decided to quit. With my 3 pack per day habit, that was $1.50 per day…and you do the math. I also remember that smokes increased nearly $2 a pack a couple months after I quit.

Going hand-in-hand with that, I found that working out would lessen the headaches I had. Obviously, this is is because working out releases all those lovely brain chemicals that smoking does. So, I increased the amount I’d work out to help with my cravings.

That’s the switch from unhealthy to healthy you mentioned. And it’s probably the biggest thing…just the mindset difference.

More hindsight, I think the lack of nicotine helped my body in many ways: better blood-flow, better appetite, not as lazy, better lung capacity (over time). All of those things will help contribute to training intensity and recovery.