T Nation

What I Wish I Knew Then...

I was just wondering what major changes led to everyone making big leaps in their training.

I just posted my age 16 numbers on another thread. I was 6’1" and 138 lbs. I was plateaued at 170 on bench for what seemed like forever. I never worked legs. It made me think of the things I learned that got me to where I am now.

My timeline:

Late 80’s to early 90’s -
pyramid training on bench and dumbell curls led to a major plateau - stats 6’3" and 170 lbs.

Early to mid 90’s -
Brawn by Stuart McRobert and Muscle Media 2000 led to significant gains and I started squatting - stats 6’4" and 180 lbs, and getting stronger.

Mid 90’s -
Training on the Olympic lift variations and reading Science and Practice of Strength Training (John Smith, husband of USA’s one time top female shot putter Connie Price-Smith, loaned me a copy). - stats 6’4" and 198 ripped lbs, and at my strongest. (I was a basketball guy)

Late 90’s to present -
Testosterone.net exposed me to a ton of information and has led to many new training breakthroughs. I am proud to say that I have been here since the first issue with Poliquin spreading those huge guns across the screen!

I am presently trying to stay in shape and preparing to run Master’s track and field next summer (the decathlon). I am still 6’4" and a bit smooth 195 lbs. I am hoping to get back to the ripped 198 within a few months. It is a bit tougher when you are a full time worker with 3 kids, but I am trying to stay consistent. I am confident that my best is not behind me.

I think that a move toward more conjugate periodization and supplemeting with strongman training is going to be my next big event on the timeline.

I look forward to hearing any responses.

I haven’t been in the iron game long enough to run into major plateaus yet… I also started based on finding T-Nation, so I’ve got lots of good advice to help me avoid doing so.

However, I am still trying new things and learning. For example, I’ve done a lot of strength work recently and have just added some EDT zones to my workouts. It’s a good switchup for me. To steal from McDonalds, I’m loving it.

The two biggest things I learned. Don’t fail, and train legs hard.

women should start to train young and stick with it. i was basically inactive for twenty years. wish i had those back!!

I made my biggest jumps in size around age 40 when I started lifting heavier for less reps and did each bodypart once a week instead of multiple times/week. Made my biggest jumps in strength through testosterone enhancement.

3 sets of 10 is not the holy grail. 10 sets of three very well might be though.
No one cared about how lean I was, because I was skinny.

I WISH I knew that:

  1. My metabolism would shit the bed once I hit 22.

  2. Lifting 6 days a week DOES NOT produce twice the muscles as 3 days a week.

  3. Training calves ISN’T just for people who ALREADY have calves.

  4. Training abs once a month isn’t good enough.

  5. Watching what you eat doesn’t mean keeping an eye on the food from the table to your mouth.

  6. You only get one set of joints so take care of them.

  7. Just because your a 5’6" “white” kid doesn’t mean you should jump over cars and try to dunk on people in traffic just because you can.

  8. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

  9. FAMIILY functions are more important than the gym.

  10. GIRLFRIENDS are NOT more important than the gym.

going to train for the summer at Golds gym in Santa Monica in the late70s to learn what it really takes to be competitive in bodybuilding!!! More recently,following Chad Waterburys training guidelines…he`s #1 in my book.

I learned in the late '80’s from an old timer (30+ years training back then!!!) that squats were the holy grail to developing everything else having to do with strength. I’ve held to that even today, just learned more about sets, reps, cycling, etc. as time went on.

  1. Eating more

  2. Using compound lifts

  3. Paying attention to the eccentric

Were what helped me the most. Yeah, pretty basic.

That the whole “overtraining” phobia had been waaaaaay overblown by the media. You can, in fact, train a bodypart not only more than once per week, but actually several (if you have the time) and it will not only grow, but grow even faster (!), provided each workout is relatively brief. And yes, this applies to natural trainers!

  1. The anabolic diet
  2. Avoid failure
  3. Three days a week fullbody routines.
  4. Strongman finishers.


Work hard on your flexibility, even if you are young. It will save you from hell.