T Nation

What to Do Next?


Since the middle of June I've been following 5/3/1. I've made good progress, increasing weight every cycle. However, powerlifting has really never had the same allure as bodybuilding to me. I've made some weight gain on 5/3/1 but not a substantial amount. Right now I'm on the last week of a cycle and wondering where to go next.

I'd like to get on a hypertrophy based program but I see so many thrown around to beginners that I really don't know what to do or who to listen to. Stats are needed I suppose so here they are:
Age (if it makes a difference) - 16
Height - 6'0 - 6'1"
Weight - 185 - 190
Squat - 350
Bench - 230
Deadlift - 280 (I started doing deadlifts in June)

Should I stay on 5/3/1? Should I jump on a 5x5 program? Should I do something else? Any advice would be much appreciated.


If you want to bodybuild, why would you keep doing powerlifting programs?

Just start training like a bodybuilder. Also, when you say you are on the last week of a cycle, are you referring to a program, or a cycle of anabolics?

I would suggest a 3 or 4 way split, training 5-6 days a week.


Since June, how much bodyweight have you gained?

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

If you've been seeing strength progress with 5/3/1, stick with it. It's designed to be done for long periods of time and you've barely been on it three months.

You should see even better progress for your goals if you use something like the "Boring But Big" template or something with more bodybuilder-style accessory work after the heavy lifts. It's actually not that far off from a "regular" bodybuilder routine. Of course, the lifting is just one part. You've got to improve your eating to see any actual muscle gains.

However, I suggest taking a week or two to do a basic bodyweight plan. I recommend it to all younger lifters to make sure their bodies are fully prepped for even more intense lifting.

Three days a week:
Squat 2x15 (No weight, keep both feet flat on the floor.)
Push-up 2x15 (On your toes, go until the chest almost touches the floor.)
Lunge 2x15 (Alternate legs, 1 rep left/1 rep right.)
Neutral-grip pull-up 2x15 (assisted if necessary. Could be substituted with inverted rows.)
Plank 2x15-count (Hold the top part of a push-up, on the toes, arms straight, keep the whole body straight. Count to 15.)
Burpee/squat thrust 2x15

If that entire session is easy and you can handle each set of each exercise with good form, jump right back into the lifting.


Cycle would refer to a cycle of 5/3/1 training. I'm on the 5/3/1 week. I intended to use it to build a strength base to work from.

Only about a 5 pound gain since I started 5/3/1 but I wasn't eating nearly as much as I should have been.

I've been hitting my hamstrings with 5x5 good mornings on squat day and 5x5 RDL on deadlift days since they're really weak. My quads were by far overpowering my hamstrings. Other than that I've used a 5x10 approach. Squat, hammys, 5x10 abs Monday; Bench, 5x10 row of some sort, 5x10 chest movement of some sort Tuesdays; Deadlift, hammys, 5x10 shrug movement Thursdays; Military press, 5x10 shoulders, 5x10 bis, 5x10 tris Fridays.


give time to time, you barely started 5/3/1, you will enjoy it.


Bodybuilding template 2/3 down:



and you didn't eat anything??


if you enjoy 5/3/1 this is a good split he recommended.


You're going to have to buckle down if you want to see results, bud.

Like I asked, what exactly are you eating?

I'm sure we can tweak your nutrition, within reason. Do you cook any food for yourself, or do you just eat whatever the family does (grabbing double portions, of course, ha).

I'm not saying extra ham work is a bad thing, but why did you think this?


I haven't been keeping a food log. It's something I need to start doing. I cook some myself but not a lot. Definitely double portions of everything. I'll see if I can get in the habit of writing everything down. Of course at school I have to take food myself since they hardly feed us.

I went to the chiropractor partially because my knee was hurting. He took a look and told me that my ACL was being pulled out of my tibia because of my quad dominance.


If it's not already blindingly obvious there's your problem. The program is fine.


It couldn't hurt, for sure. But I'm literally talking about just yesterday.

From memory, what did you have yesterday? (Just sayin'. 9 times out of 10, when I ask people this, they either ignore it or have excuses like "well, I totally don't usually eat like that, it was just a weird day.")

Don't overthink or overanalyze your diet, but do be aware and try to make good choices more often than "bad" choices.

One tip: Hard boiled eggs. Easy to make, easy to carry around, great muscle-building snack.

Gotcha. I'd follow whatever he recommends then. Remember that doctors who see you live and in person get preference over Internet people.



Off day lifting
Breakfast: Rice, ham, protein/creatine shake
I honestly can't remember lunch. I do know that the school hardly feeds us though. I'm assuming it's about 1/3 of the standard 2000 kcal diet posted on food labels though. Governmental nonsense food standards and all.
Snack: Some trail mix consisting of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and raisins.
Dinner: Subway steak and cheese on flatbread. It's great with salt and pepper.
Before bed: Peanut butter sandwich

Need to go grocery shopping soon. I'm out of milk and normally I'll have a few cups per day. Before bed I usually have 2 peanut butter sandwiches (quick and easy) and a 16 oz glass of milk so those throw in a few extra kcals.

Overall I can definitely see that's low. I'll be trying to increase that but it's certainly not easy, especially with the way money is right now.

Thanks for the help Chris. I've not been a fan of hard boiled eggs but I'll give them a try. I'm not much a fan of EVOO either but I've done that before.


Read up on diet threads. You aren't getting anywhere near enough protein.