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What am I Doing Wrong?

Hello guys,
I am 21 years old and I consider myself a “bodybuilder” in the sense that my only goal in the gym is to increase muscle mass.

I’ve been training for about three years, but I’ve trained really bad most of the time, jumping from program to program and doing nonsense.

I found myself much bigger, even though not that big in general, (from 53, very thin, to 73kg at 1.80m) but very weak (less than two plates on the bench, three in the squat, and 4 in the deadlift).

Even though I considered myself “intermediate” I therefore understood that I was a beginner and stared following the starting strenght (plus some accessory work) in a few months I reached 100kgx5 in the bench, 140x6 in the squat and 160x4 in the deadlift. However, even with a large calorie surplus, I grew very little muscle-wise.
I was wondering if the problem could be: too low volume or too low reps and I wonder how, despite having become a lot stronger, I have barely grown muscularly, and possibly if you advise me to change your approach and some ideas on how to train or some routine with which you have been successful.

Incidentally, I was considering some “old routines” with which thousands of people have had success such as the generic bulking routine of lyle mcdonald, hst, max ot, or dc training, then choosing the one that inspires me the most and following it for a long enough period of time.

I can almost guarantee you are not consistently eating enough of the right foods, especially with not a single mention of diet in your post.

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Your goal is to be a bodybuilder but you are not eating and training like one.

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Well, the reason i did not mention my diet Is because i like to keep It simple: keep track of my calorie intake, weigh myself every morning so that i aim to gain .5 kg per week. And eat about 1-1.2g of proteins per Pound.
Anyway if am doing something wrong please tell me.

But even though i gained some weight in the past few months my muscles grew much less than i did previously (i would argue that my arms even look smaller even though i perform minimal bicep and tricep work) and so I wonder what’s wrong training-wise.

What do you mean by training like a bodybuilder? And what routine would you reccomend to start with (even though i understand that you Need some experimentation)

I fixed that for you.

Honest question, don’t you think that the correct conclusion would be that your arms aren’t growing because of the fact that you are doing minimal arm work, rather than they be small despite (???) you doing minimal arm work?

Anyway, in order to effectively help you, we need you to provide us with this information:

  1. What’s your training exactly like?
  2. What’s your eating exactly like? Calories, macros, foods
  3. How much weight have you gained recently? Not what your monthly or weekly goal was, what is the amount of weight you actually gained?

Actually Is a version of greyskull the was in gslp book
Squat 2x5+1xAMRAP
Bench 2x5+1xAMRAP
Bent over row 2x5+1xAMRAP
2x8 bb curl
2x8 overhead bb extension

Trap bar dl 1xAMRAP
Weighted chinup 2x5+1xAMRAP
2x8 floor press
3x12-20 face pulls

I gained 5 kg since semptember. I don’t have exact macros, I Just male site i do eat kcals and proteins for that day since oftentimes i can’t meal prep

I don’t believe Johnny Pain has trained a single bodybuilder to a stage of any note. Find a program that is aligned to your goals, I’d start with something by John Meadows.


More food, more reps, more time.
When I did more bodybuilding style training I always enjoyed John Meadows programs
There’s a complete free program on here as well as many individual ideas
Keep at it

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So, your main goal is to look like a bodybuilder but, you are unsure of your macros and follow a full body powerlifting program? Got it

If you mean that you grew less in a certain amount of time than you did previously for the same amount of time, then that’s normal. I’ll apply arbitrary numbers to make sure we’re clear.

If you gained X pounds during your first 18 months, but you gained significantly less during the next 18 months, then that’s normal.

With any luck, you train hard and proper during your first 1-2 years and experience all the newb gains your body has to offer. After that, it’s a grind. Don’t expect to gain 10 lbs of muscle in a few months.

You’re neither eating like a bodybuilder, nor training like a bodybuilder. But gaining 20kg (44lbs) in 3 years is pretty good, especially if it’s mostly lean mass. Bodybuilding is a long game and getting huge takes time.

Focus less on how much weight you can lift and on the quality of contraction with a more conducive rep range. Not sure why you’re following that program, but it doesn’t look ideal for hypertrophy.

Record everything you eat: what, when and how much. Chances are you aren’t eating enough.

I’m thinking:

You haven’t been at this long enough to look at the part. Couple more years. Not enough mass unless u are super lean at your height either so maybe over time aim to be heavier but don’t do it all at once and gain mostly fat.

Getting at stronger squat/bench/deadlift is great for powerlifting and will put on mass all over but u may want to also be pushing your other movement patterns and hypertrophy friendly movements like horizontal/vertical pulls and accessory movements. May not be most efficient to build muscle with those movements either if your goal really is bodybuilding e.g. a deadlift may take a lot out of you but a better stimulus to fatigue ratio would be using Romanian deadlifts

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What Kind of routine would you reccomend? (Maybe some tried and proven ones)

You’ve had Meadows suggested to you 2 or 3 times in this thread


And i clearly undersand it Is going to be really effective, nonetheless i would like to know some alternatives i can choose from, so that It fits my psychologically (thousands of different bodybuilders had success with thousands of different approaches)… I can’t see anything wrong with that.

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Fair enough

Keep in mind, the title of this topic is “what am I doing wrong”.

You have demonstrated a not great ability at determining if things are or are not wrong, as they relate to diet and training.

In turn, instead of trying yet ANOTHER approach to this (seeing what alternatives are out there so that they fit your psychology), were I in your situation, I’d relinquish my powers of autonomy and rely on those that have a better understanding of the process.


There is a recurring theme with people that come here and ask for advice, and end up being successful.

It’s usually a repeating paradigm and can be summed up like this

User comes and asks for advice -> gets advice -> does NOT question the advice he got -> goes to work and applies the advice -> reports back = success

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That’s exactly what I al doing i al Just investigating further: summing up, it’s a matter of diet and training, where the problem Is that i am training as a bodybuilder.
I am further investigating alternatives which dall’ under the “bodybuilder training area” and clearly John Meadows knows his shit, but OBVIOUSLY HE IS NOT THE BE ALL END ALL, so It Is not that i don’t get or I question the advice, I want ti know more and then to apply what fits me more and what I like best (between various effective options)


I am saying this is a poor idea. You’ve already tried doing things that fit you and what you like the best, and it did not work well. You’ve demonstrated a not great ability to do this.

In such a situation, I would do what OTHER people say, rather than trust my ability.