T Nation

Which Program is Right for Me?


Ok so I am a skinny fat guy that has been training for 5 months on a 4 day body part bodybuilding split the owner of my gym gave me but as my goal is to get strong I have decided to change my program.

My diet is mostly clean and I have been gaining about a pound a week maybe a little bit less on 3500 calories a day. My lifts have improved but not as fast as I would have liked and as improving them is my goal I figured a high rep bodybuilding split wasn't the best program to be on.

I was thinking maybe starting strength? However as I've already been training for 5 months is a program like this best for me?


you have given NO stats at all. how can anyone know whats best for you? what kind of progress did you make in 5 months, what do your lifts look like, diet? anything?

go read the forums and post again with a more refined explanation of what you are looking for.


Starting Strength is good

...just one thing, Rippetoe complicates squats too much. So keep it simple, high bar and squat ATG.
like this guy:


Starting strength is an excellent program, and it worked for countless number of people. I certainly got much stronger with it.
Also, what is wrong with your current split? If it takes care of all the main muscle groups, why bother till you stall?


While that's an impressive lift I don't recommend that form for beginners. Most people just starting out will be having a hard time maintaining tightness and diving fast into the hole and bouncing won't do them any good. Exceptions to this would be Olympic lifters (like the guy in the vid) and even then they should be coached into that form so that it transfers over to their competition lifts.


I am refering to the depth and bar positioning...

...btw "the bounce" isn't a big deal, it just happens when you have been lifting for years with heavy weights. When u are a newbe it wont happen.


High bar is probably fine yes. Achieving that depth without rounding would be great for a beginner, many can't though due to mobility. Also it may not be necessary depending on goals.

I don't think bouncing a weight at any time is really acceptable, it has nothing to do with how long you've been lifting. Olympic lifters do it because that's the way they catch weights in a clean so it transfers well for them, although most don't do it to the extent shown in that video. To me it's the same as bouncing off of the chest to me, your muscles aren't doing all of the work because you're using momentum to move the weight, and it will most likely cause you to lose tightness in the lift may very well cause an injury at some point.


This is a better example of safe and effective squat form IMO


Yes it has a lot to do with how strong you are and how much weight you are squatting...

The lil' bounce in the back squat is NOT bouncing the bar off your chest when benching. At the bottom of the squat 2 things happens: (1) you explode up really fast, (2) stretch reflex of the muscles kicks in. Thus the lil' bounce occurs with experienced strong lifters. On guys like me, who have been training OlympicW for 2yrs and are not that strong, you DON't see a bounce.

The idea of squatting to parallel being safer than squatting ATG is bullshit. If a person cannot squat ATG, have them go as low as they can. If you have them front/back squatting 2-3x a week and stretching then in 3-5weeks they will have full ROM.
-Dan John has a good video on stretching...

The video you showed is a powerlifting style box/back squat. It allows you to lift more weight because it reduces the ROM considerably. It is not "safer" or "better". It is different. It is a different motion, using different muscle groups (a lot more hamstring & lower back), and requiring less flexibility. PLs do it because parallel is the farthest they have to lift in competition, although the exact point varies slightly depending on the federation. OlymicLs don't because their sport is about having the leg strength throught the total ROM to throw the weight up overhead, catch it really low, and get back up.


I never said parallel was safer, it's just that trying to achieve that right off the bat can screw beginners up IF they don't have the flexibility to so. I think we agree on this point.

What I'm referring to in the video is the level of control in the descent, the video of yourself was much better. Sorry I'm not going to buy that the stronger you get the faster you're going to drop into the hole. I'm going to estimate that the guy in the first video can probably perform a perfect 600-700lb back squat, he just wanted to see how much weight he could actually move. And yes he bounced his hams off of his calves and his belly off of his thighs just like bouncing on the bench press to achieve that, but that's what you do in olympic lifts to catch cleans so it transfers anyways.

Here's me squatting 405, this is about the fastest I think a person should descend into the hole especially on a max attempt irregardless of ROM.

Ideally it would be even more controlled than that. You can see in both of our videos there's atleast some control in the descent and there's no bouncing, and that's what beginners should be trying to do.


If you are skinny-fat I think Starting strength is a bad idea. I would definitely say a body building split is best for you because you want to pack on as much muscle as you can to your entire body.When you call yourself skinny fat I am assuming you have narrow shoulders and skinny arms so you definitely need to do a routine with lateral raises, plenty of direct arm work and a shitload of upper back and lat work.


meh... to be honest with u... i don't see Pat Mendez dropping too fast nor bouncing. Nor do I agree with the idea of a bounce makes it considerably easy to ATG squat, it just hasn't been my experience (which ain't much)...... But whatever, lets move on since we can discuss Pat Mendez squat in another thread.

I do agree that it is not a good idea to drop down too fast.

Also, if a guy is really noob I have them do the Dan John stretches in the first 15mis of the video i liked above. Plus, with a really light weight, go as low as they can in the back squat AND front squat for 8-10reps 4sets. If this noob squats at least 2x a week, and stretches, then he will be flexible enough to go ATG. Plus he will be able to do the 5X3 starting strength squat programs.

The OP is a young guy, and did not mention any knee or back problems. So it won't take him long to become flexible to squat ATG IF he cannot do it at the present time.


op: just cuz u've been lifting for 5 months doesn't mean u won't benefit from starting strength 5x5... just in general the program change will allow u to see changes in strength and size. starting strength 5x5 should yield good results. just be sure that diet is in check.


That was the worst peace of advice I have ever read. OP is still a beginner. He will benefit greatly from Starting Strength. A bodybuilding split won't produce as good results.


You must really be a Mark Rippetoe fanboy if you you say me advice is the worst advice you ever read. I Have gotten my deadlift up from 225 to 370 in a few months using a bodybuilding split ( I never used to deadlift). There is no reason why a beginner has to do a program that neglects several muscle groups.


because the OP wants to get strong quick....

...any beginner deadlifting once a week with a 5x5, 3x5, and heavy singles (made up) program will reach 315lb or more without a problem in a few months of training. That's how I did it.

Starting Strength is one of the best and simplest methods to get strong for noobs and intermediates.


Ok thanks for all your help guys. So starting strength would be the better option for me at the current time?


Yes, or a similar program like 5x5


Probably, but still some more detailed stats and goals would be helpful. If you go this route, don't add extra shit in. Follow the program as it is written and give it a chance to work. And make sure you're eating enough and working on mobility.


I am just starting out as well. Is there any direct arm work at all in starting stregth in the book. I just ordered it...

Any recemedation on a diet on this program for someone 5 foot ten and 200 pounds.

I had just lost thirty pounds using a diet called protien modified and am goin to continue for 4 more weeks (all weight lose being fat primarily).

I dont want to put back on alot of fat.