T Nation

The Training Crossroads


I've recently hit a sort of training crossroads: I finished university, where for the majority of 3 years, my weights programs were given to me by the rugby club, with increased strength and speed in mind.

I've made fairly good progress. The problem now is that after 3 years, I can now do what I want in terms of training. I can't play rugby at the moment, so I don't have to stress too much about my 40m time or VO2 max, but I can more or less train however I want.

This is why I'm at a loose end; the sort of training background I come from is mixed strength sports, powerlifting and bodybuilding. I've done a little bit of Strongman training too - I feel like I should pick a direction and go with it, but I'm having a hard time deciding which.

Has anyone else been similarly spoiled for choice and clueless as to which direction to head for? And was there anything which helped you make your decision?

FYI, at present I am still looking generally at improving my physique and strength - I usually start my sessions with some maximal strength work and work down from there, utilising bodybuilding style techniques etc. Currently doing a 3/5 day split (Upper body pushing/Upper body pulling/Legs), with sledgehammer & tyre sessions 2-3 times a week.

I wasn't sure which area to post in...that's kind of the point.


Just about everyone that trains is in this same boat. There is definitely something to be said for having limited options when it comes to progress. It keeps you focused. That's probably the hardest part about being able to anything you want.

Personally, I just lift to get bigger and stronger. I don't really worry about whether I'm bodybuilding or powerlifting. I just lift weights and strive to improve at it.


It seems that you really need to define your goals before you can decide.

If you just want to get stronger with some focus on muscle gain, traing like a powerlifter. 5/3/1, westside, Coan/Phillipi, etc.

If you want to improve your physique with probably slower strength gains, train like a bodybuilder.
A basic bodypart split, BBB, etc.

If you like strongman and want to compete, train like it.
(honestly don't know any specific strongman programs) but farmers walks, heavy pressing and deadlifting, tire flips, atlas stones, etc.

If you want more than one of the above, tweak a program or find one that will meet your goals.


That's cool, I'm just finding it tough because in the past I've basically been told what my goals are - it's nice to know that I can reach my goals, but I have so many (physique, strength, athletic) it's tough to decide which to chase first. I don't think there will ever come a point where I'll say "I'm going to compete in powerlifting until I'm in my grave" for example, but I do like to make a plan and stick to it.

I'm just looking for my turning point, and stories of others' turning points too. Thanks for the input!


I was in the same boat as you, and it wasn't until I just picked one and went with it that I found my path. It's not like you can't go back and try something else if that path isn't for you.

You may also find that once you focus on something, the demands of that path may push you in a different direction. I started going the powerlifting route, and found my joints and spine generally did not like lifting that heavy on a regular basis. I might have been able to do it if I had spent a lot more time and money on recuperative methods, but deep down I knew I didn't want it badly enough.


That sounds like a good option actually, just pick something and go for it. Due to my schedule and training environment at the moment it would probably be a more bodybuilding style route.

Thanks for the suggestion.


To be honest my goals probably come down to a split between your first two options. The goals I care most about are strength and physique goals, all of which could probably be achieved ultimately using variations on a couple of training cycles, so very much what you've said. Cheers!