T Nation

What's with the Anti-Bodybuilding Philosphy?


Let me preface this by saying that I am not a big guy by any means. But I see on other forums, even this one at times, that starting strength is considering the ultimate program. Yet it in no way resembles a bodybuilding program. Everyone is convinced that squatting 3x a week is the way to go.

Everyone is told they need to "get their strength up" before they can do a bb routine. I've heard "experts" say you need to get to arbitrary numbers before you can work certain bodyparts, like having to DL 500 lbs before you can do shrugs or curls. I even went to the Stronglifts 5x5 FAQ. The program includes on direct arm, trap, or calf work. I lost it when they claimed that the biceps get worked from "squeezing the bar hard on squats and deads."

Personally I feel so dumb for not seeing the logic behind people claiming working a bodypart would make it smaller and weaker, and having some sort of feeling of superiority just because I did squats.
Why is this?


while some of the things you said are true, most of it i think is a little blown out of proportion. having a good foundation is useful no matter what the sport you are pursuing, and yes some people do over emphasize "squats and milk" but its true to some degree.


People who state Starting Strength is anything but a great foundational strength program are completely wrong. It was written as a primer for brand new trainees to learn the basics of barbell training and progressive overload. It was never meant to be taken as a "bodybuilding training routine" per se.

People do need to "get their strength up", regardless of whether they are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, strongman competitor etc. Strength comes from lifting progressively bigger weights, and a side effect of strength is a thing called hypertrophy.

Just go lift, add weight or reps each week, eat a caloric surplus with lots of protein and benefit.


Agreed, but when people typically say "get their strength up", they seem to be suggesting that they can't do it with a split routine.


True. Some may say a TBT style is good for beginners, but I think you can progress on a split as a beginner. Well maybe not a total beginner, but after 3 months of starting strength or some program that focused on training proper movements, I think a split would be apporpriate as long as progressive overload was incorporated.


Every successful bodybuilder and powerlifter uses a split routine. I wish I had the knowledge about how to train correctly when I first started lifting. I would have been much further ahead. Then again learning and gaining experience along this difficult yet rewarding journey has been a satisfying experince because knowing that you have become they way you are without someone spanking your ass and telling you what to do the whole time is very nice.

I hope for any trainees sake that after or year or two training and experimenting that they can weed out the bull shit. I read a Crossgrove book yeas ago which hated on arm training and even made statements like direct armtraining does not affect the growth of the arm past 6 weeks of training and males over 60 with no training experience would grow best from direct arm work but after a shrt while it would not cause any extra hypertrophy. Now I have to find this book to get direct quotes but who the fuck could gunk that our muscles in your arms will respnd differently then muscles in you legs or back or chest. That is so so idiotic. Direct arm work built my arms not benching and rows.


There's more than one way to get diesel.


OP i think it really just comes down to this. You got some newb who is only going to lift 2 or 3 times a week.... giving them a total body routine will give much greater results than if you leave him to thei own devices to just do chest and bis over and over.

Getting newbs to see value in getting strong all over is a good thing. So some untrue side effects have sprung up from this like people telling others "you don't need direct armwork" etc. The thing about newbs and lifting is they will always think whatever their first program was that gave them great results is the end all be all. They then spread the dogma. Its unfortunate.


I think this has been discussed more than once. Seing it more personally, my brother likes powerlifting. He's been very much into it, he likes to be strong, big, and he prefers squats over curls.

Now, his legs and structure are made for squatting, that's why he always bitches me about "pussy, when are you gonna do squats next time?! etc...". But rarely (because I consider him smart) he has bought into the fucking stupid idea that deadlifting will take care of his biceps.

Guess what, obviously his arms do not look the same as mine. And he wonders why, me and another bodybuilding friend tell him "because you don't do much direct bicep work?" and he's like "maybe" but he's just into that stupid idea.

Yeah, you can get a huge frame by squatting, deadlifting and benching, but for complete development, you have to take care of every part of your body where you can grow muscle. And if some PLers see this they may get pissed, but because what I'm gonna say is the truth; a powerlifter may be 275, make it over 300, but most of them will NEVER look as impressive as bodybuilders, we just take care of different stuff.


Let's just put it this way. If I could go back to when I stepped into a gym weighing a buck 26. I would have sat my ass down and told me not to fuck around with full body this and that. Would have done a 3 way split instead and would have incorporated machines when I could.

So I pretty much wasted my first year, or you could call it a learning experience lol. Except I ate like an animal though thankfully and got some good out of it. Even if it wasn't huge gains.

I'm no ripping on Rippetoe, he is awesome in his field which is wait for it strength and conditioning. Not bodybuilding! This line alone would have knocked some sense into me...maybe. Then I came here and got bombarded with CW TBT. Got sucked into that...fuck me.

Then I finally started talking more and more to the bigger guys. They were all of course using splits be it upper/lower or conventional BB splits!!


That's basically what Kroc said on his RX Muscle interview. He phrased it a bit different, but the same idea.

AS for the OP's question, I agree with some of the other comments. Full body or a 2 day split will help beginners the most especially if they are only in the gym 2-3 times /week. After a few months of consistent training, they could start breaking ito ut a bit more, but it all depends on personal goals and commitment.


Newbs get pointed to the 5x5's because they are nearly idiot proof and, when the same question gets posted every two days, it's a lot more convenient to post a link than to type out the same shit that no one is going to read before posting the tireless "Hai guiz how do i gets hyooge?".


Agreed. I was a sickly 5'8 110 lbs last september, and now I'm a slightly less sickly 5'9 145.

It frustrates me that I still have a while to go before I get the lean, muscular, "he must work out" look. I made some progress doing rippletoadz for the first few months and neglected my arms, and I then I realized that no one was stopping me from doing arm work, so I switched to a more basic (but somewhat unconventional) split and made good gains.

I'm going to start another split soon, actually having a day for arms, and being able to eat enough to make gains.


I personally think it may have something to do with the fact, that good strength levels may allow you to endure high volume training, especially when you're taking just enough calories to sustain or gradually put on muscle. With strength training, one has to often go a little overboard with the calories. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, need to worry about their waistline, definition and all.

But then again, this approach might work for some, it might not for other. IMHO, no such thing as the perfect, universal training plan that can accommodate just about everybody.


I've found that unless I work every single muscle group as hard as I can then my lifts don't go up, period.

Everything is connected. If one link in the chain is weak, your lifts will stall.


It's called starting strength for a reason. Figure that one out yourself. The idea is that you can make better gains at the start, and you can include all of the compound lifts in 1 workout 3x a week. At no point does it recomend going all out on all exercises every workout forever. If you'd of read about it and you'll see that.

Why squat 1x a week if you can squat 3x, and put weight on 3x faster>?

It's not meant to be the be-all-end-all of programs. It's intended to build the foundations and nothing more.


I agree, the best gains are when I do one big muscle group or two small and smash them. Sincerely I can't get how some guys even say Upper/lower, and TBT is just moronic. That's obviously just my point of view, there could be some guy who gained 50+ on TBT, but really exceptional let me tell you.


Every successfull powerlifter does not use a split routine (I assume you mean bodypart) its closer to, most successfull powerlifters use a variety of routines: bodypart Ed Coan, Whole body Sheiko, upper lower westside inspired splits, and even with a three day movement split bench one day and so on. World records have been set with all of those routines and most member of any of those camps will swear by their philosophy.


I find it hard to believe that so many people are so weak when they start that they can't start on an push/pull or upper/lower for christ sake.

Why ignore muscle groups?

Why the fuck would anyone in their right mind promote an utter newb with no coach to walk into a gym and squat, dead & fucking powerclean with form learned from a book, but tell him he can't curl? That is utter nonsense.

You talking about untrained individuals doing big compound movements, with progressive overload, and drinking a gallon of whole milk a day. ANYONE on earth will grow from that. There is not magic what-so-ever to that program.

SS is not a good starting program for someone who wants to be or look like a bodybuilder.


For the record i do think splits are better too beans. Anyhow, i think you'd be suprised then at how un-athletic the avergae person is, so why not start off by piling it all in 1 workout and making quicker gains before splitting it up?

I agree that the powerclean can be a little difficult to master, but squats and deads aren't, especially considering most people find these programs on the internet, and hence have access to sites like this, youtube etc, and likely have a camara to tape themselves. Should you leave out curls if you want big arms? No, of course not, and ripptoe actually takes this into account and does mention when he thinks you should do them/ rep ranges and shit.

End of the day though rip doesn't claim that SS is a good bodybuilding program, it's not aimed at bodybuilders.