T Nation

Wanting to Start Strength Training

First off I hope this is in the correct section as I didn’t particularly know whether to put it in here, the combat section (as I want explosive power/strength) or the strongman section. I just want to get stronger overall.

My stats are below:

Age - 21
Weight - 16 Stone (224lbs)
Bodyfat - 15%
Height - 5,10"
insulin Dependent Diabetic
Experience - Been training since I was 15 doing a 5x per week split (1 bodypart per day). I’ve also done Bill Starr 5x5 type strength training now & again.

My Questions:

I’ve been bodybuilding since I was at least 15 years old and during this time I managed to get up to 18 stone (252lbs). I wasn’t happy with my bodyfat at this weight though so I decided to cut & a year or so later I’m now 16 stone. Anyway, I was watching a program on TV the other day (and call me “easily influenced”) and it was about people who were extremely strong & one guy said “it’s great to look stronger than you are or at least be AS strong as you look”. I personally believe this & so now I’m looking to improve my strength to go along with/match my size. I’d really like to start building explosive power & strength. I’m looking to start boxing soon aswell so I’d like to have explosive power & strength in order to help me out. Anyway, I have some questions:

  1. I’d like to keep whatever muscle I already have therefore if I started strength training, would I be able to?

  2. Where exactly would I start when it comes to strength training? I realise some people will suggest different things, but is there a specific program which is generally regarded as a good starting point? Bear in mind I’ve been training for a good 6 years, so in my opinion I know the ins & outs of bodybuilding related weight lifting, therefore I’m not particularly sure if I should be starting off with the very novice type strength training. Although, having never done any strength training before (except 5x5) I may be wrong.

  3. I have a Power Rack, LOADS of heavy weights (olympic barbell/dumbbells), bench etc. Is this sufficient enough for strength training?

  4. Can muscle be gained on a strength routine or will I need to incorporate bodybuilding into it somehow?

  5. In relation to the above question, one person that really stands out to me is Mariusz Pudzianowski. He is ‘arguably’ the strongest man alive, yet looks like a bodybuilder. How is this achieved?

  6. Would isolation exercises be used at all in a strength type routine or would the routine be based solely on compound exercises?

  7. And finally, I heard that strength training with lower reps can give you harder/fuller looking muscles. Is this true and if so, why?

Thank you very much in advance and I’ll wait for people to respond. It’d be great if I could start a proper strength routine as soon as possible although as I’ve said, I don’t particularly know where to start.

  1. Yes
  2. “Starting Strength” is the best program to begin with hands down.
  3. Yes
  4. Yes
  5. By eating enough food to grown and busting your ass… And maybe some steroids.
  6. Yes, do assistance work
  7. No, you can only make a muscle stronger or weaker.

Do yourself a favor and buy Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” book. The program is all over the net as well and is proven tried and true. Good luck.

Thank you very much, that’s great.

Thank you very much, that’s great. Although somebody on a different messageboard where I posted this same question suggested “Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program” as a good place to start. I’m not quite sure which to go with now considering you’ve suggested “Starting Strength” instead.

[quote]Vanchaviron wrote:
Thank you very much, that’s great. Although somebody on a different messageboard where I posted this same question suggested “Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program” as a good place to start. I’m not quite sure which to go with now considering you’ve suggested “Starting Strength” instead.[/quote]

I would suggest reading the programs and deciding which one you think will work best for you. If you aren’t that in tune to your body, try starting strength and give it some time (at least six months). If you don’t like it switch to 5/3/1 or another etc. I know six months seems long, but in the grand scheme of things, it is very little time at all.

Either way you won’t loose any muscle or strength, both will work you just need to figure out which is best for you.

ripple toe said to do his program the way its listed, dont add to it or take away.

Whats your max bench, squat, deadlift

I think starting strength would be a great program for you, assuming you don’t have any major form-related issues (especially on the squat and deadlift).

If you could post a video of you doing a near-max squat and/or deadlift, I’d have a much better idea of where you stand and if Starting Strength would be a program that would benefit you. Squatting 3 times a week with terrible form could lead to injury, so it’s pretty important that your mechanics are good.

[quote]Vanchaviron wrote:
First off I hope this is in the correct section as I didn’t particularly know whether to put it in here, the combat section (as I want explosive power/strength) or the strongman section. I just want to get stronger overall.

My stats are below:

Age - 21
Weight - 16 Stone (224lbs)
Bodyfat - 15%
Height - 5,10"
insulin Dependent Diabetic
Experience - Been training since I was 15 doing a 5x per week split (1 bodypart per day). I’ve also done Bill Starr 5x5 type strength training now & again.

My Questions:

I’ve been bodybuilding since I was at least 15 years old and during this time I managed to get up to 18 stone (252lbs). I wasn’t happy with my bodyfat at this weight though so I decided to cut & a year or so later I’m now 16 stone. Anyway, I was watching a program on TV the other day (and call me “easily influenced”) and it was about people who were extremely strong & one guy said “it’s great to look stronger than you are or at least be AS strong as you look”. I personally believe this & so now I’m looking to improve my strength to go along with/match my size. I’d really like to start building explosive power & strength. I’m looking to start boxing soon aswell so I’d like to have explosive power & strength in order to help me out. Anyway, I have some questions:

  1. I’d like to keep whatever muscle I already have therefore if I started strength training, would I be able to?

  2. Where exactly would I start when it comes to strength training? I realise some people will suggest different things, but is there a specific program which is generally regarded as a good starting point? Bear in mind I’ve been training for a good 6 years, so in my opinion I know the ins & outs of bodybuilding related weight lifting, therefore I’m not particularly sure if I should be starting off with the very novice type strength training. Although, having never done any strength training before (except 5x5) I may be wrong.

  3. I have a Power Rack, LOADS of heavy weights (olympic barbell/dumbbells), bench etc. Is this sufficient enough for strength training?

  4. Can muscle be gained on a strength routine or will I need to incorporate bodybuilding into it somehow?

  5. In relation to the above question, one person that really stands out to me is Mariusz Pudzianowski. He is ‘arguably’ the strongest man alive, yet looks like a bodybuilder. How is this achieved?

  6. Would isolation exercises be used at all in a strength type routine or would the routine be based solely on compound exercises?

  7. And finally, I heard that strength training with lower reps can give you harder/fuller looking muscles. Is this true and if so, why?

Thank you very much in advance and I’ll wait for people to respond. It’d be great if I could start a proper strength routine as soon as possible although as I’ve said, I don’t particularly know where to start.[/quote]

I’m not sure if I even understand where you are coming from. Most bodybuilders are very strong. Increasing a muscle’s cross sectional area is directly related to it’s capacity to lift more weights.

There are also plenty of guys who lift heavy weights and have packed on plenty of size doing so.

When I was growing up, the biggest guy I ever saw at the gym I trained at gave me a spot one day and told me that if I was pressing a weight that I could do more than 5 times I was using too much weight. And on the other hand, there a plenty of people who are putting on plenty of strength doing higher rep work like in 5/3/1.

Point is if you bust your ass in the gym (without overdoing it), eat enough, and sleep enough, and try to lift progressively heavier weights, you are going to get stronger and bigger at the same time.

The strongest powerlifters and strongmen have plenty of size, and the biggest bodybuilders have plenty of strength. I’m not too sure why you see these as being two very different things.

To answer your questions, I would recommend 5/3/1. If you are really 15% bodyfat at that weight/height, you are too advanced for starting strength IMO.

I’m also interested in starting a strength training program. I’ve only been serious about lifting for the last 6 months, and have been following the old mass building 12/10/8/6 routine, with a 5 day a week program working a different muscle group each day. I’m happy with my aesthetics now, and the big moments for me are when I hit new kg/rep PRs.

My stats are:
31 years old
73kg=160lbs
10% body fat

  1. Am I still too junior to even have any business embarking on a strength cycle? I’m not competing, but just like to move the big weights…
  2. Will I need to pile on more weight? Or can I maintain my current body fat?
  3. I can see the logic of 5/3/1 for strength building for compound exercises like squats and bench, but I’m uncertain if this pertains to all muscle groups. Do I really need to be doing 5/3/1 for smaller muscles like say deltoids or biceps?

Please forgive my poor search skills if this has already been addressed.