T Nation

WS4SB or Built for Show?


I'm looking to choose a new program for when I go back to school in September, with my goal being both size and strength gains. Specifically, I would like to add 15-20 pounds of muscle mass while increasing functional strength and general conditioning (I want to actually be strong/in shape, not just look strong).

I recently read Built for Show, Huge in a Hurry and Westside for Skinny Bastards. Which program will help me the most, or is there another program I should consider?

Current Bodyweight: 178 lbs @ 8%
Goal Bodyweight: 190 lbs @ 6%

Max Bench: 220 lbs
Max Squat: 295 lbs
Max Deadlift: 295 lbs

I've been training for about two years, but only started training for hypertrophy/size a year ago (before I was sprint kayaking, most workouts were not geared towards limit strength and/or size gains).

Thanks in advance for advice you guys can offer.


Oh yea, it's not like those 2 things come together. I heard Ronnie had trouble squatting 225.


OP you need to use the search function and read around on the boards here. If you've read all of those books you should be able to figure out what program you'd like to do.

Using the phrase "increasing functional strength" isn't going to get your good responses around here. What exactly is non-functional strength?

Go read a bunch of threads about the programs you would like to try and see what people have to say. Thats the best advice I have for you


Look up 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler or Maximum Strength by Eric Cressey.


any program by Chad Waterbury, but seriously... 5/3/1


LOL, seriously....


WS4SB + 5/3/1 for ME




I haven't read Wendler's book but seen many good reviews of it. Cressey's book is excellent and a good start. 4 days a week, 4 programs for periodisation. If you're consistent and persist and do the mobility drills you will do just great.

If you're trying to gain mass, make sure you pay close attention to your diet and not eat crap to get big.


I didn't find Built for Show to be impressive. The nutrition section is good but most programs here will be better that the Built for Show program (unless you're a rank beginner with zero to little lifting experience, which I don't believe you are).


Thanks for all your input guys. I read both 5/3/1 and Maximum Strength, and am going to run through Maximum Strength when I go back to school in a couple of weeks (taking one deload week before beginning the program), and will try 5/3/1 after the 16 weeks in Maximum Strength are done.

In his book Cressey recommends two energy workouts per week; should I still do these even if I am looking to gain mass?

Also, I was planning on carb cycling using the approach outlined in Thib's carb cycling codex, now that I finally get to plan my own meals. Would it be alright to combine this approach to nutrition with either Maximum Strength or 5/3/1?


The energy workouts are HIT and Circuit Training like IIRC? The other is steady state. I dare say you won't lose muscle mass as a result, but keep up your protein, BCAA etc.