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Thread: LBM gains dropping off dramatically after 2+ years?

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    LBM gains dropping off dramatically after 2+ years?

    This is a question for anyone on this board who has been following a dedicated training routine + diet for at least 2 years. You n00bs don't count because you're still in the "n00b gains" phase and won't be able to relate to what I'm saying

    Anyway, have you noticed that your LBM gains tend to drop off dramatically after the first 2 years or so? I'm not talking about strength - I've had no issues making reasonably steady gains in strength since then. I am only referring to gaining LBM. Note - just because the scale weight is going up does not mean you are gaining LBM I think people on here, myself included, tend to vastly underestimate their own bf%.

    Let's just say that my last 2 bulks, the second of which I am in the middle of, have not yielded much in the way of LBM. My strength went up a fair bit, and my weight certainly went up, but my measurements didn't reflect any significant increase in LBM, at least not nearly as significant as what I was experiencing during the first 2 years. My waist measurement went up, so I know some of the weight gained was definitely fat.

    Anyone who has followed my journal on here knows that I eat enough of the right foods, my routine is solid, and there's nothing that immediately jumps out saying "this is your problem". During the above mentioned first bulk, I went overboard and put on way too much fat, so I certainly know how to eat enough. I've tracked my cals on fitday long enough to know how much to eat. My routine is admittedly a bit stale and could use an overhaul, but I doubt that's going to lead to some kind of new mass explosion.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Am I up the genetic **** creek here? Is there not much left for the genetically-average individual to hope for in terms of LBM after the first couple years of dedicated training?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK View Post
    This is a question for anyone on this board who has been following a dedicated training routine + diet for at least 2 years. You n00bs don't count because you're still in the "n00b gains" phase and won't be able to relate to what I'm saying

    Anyway, have you noticed that your LBM gains tend to drop off dramatically after the first 2 years or so? I'm not talking about strength - I've had no issues making reasonably steady gains in strength since then. I am only referring to gaining LBM. Note - just because the scale weight is going up does not mean you are gaining LBM I think people on here, myself included, tend to vastly underestimate their own bf%.

    Let's just say that my last 2 bulks, the second of which I am in the middle of, have not yielded much in the way of LBM. My strength went up a fair bit, and my weight certainly went up, but my measurements didn't reflect any significant increase in LBM, at least not nearly as significant as what I was experiencing during the first 2 years. My waist measurement went up, so I know some of the weight gained was definitely fat.

    Anyone who has followed my journal on here knows that I eat enough of the right foods, my routine is solid, and there's nothing that immediately jumps out saying "this is your problem". During the above mentioned first bulk, I went overboard and put on way too much fat, so I certainly know how to eat enough. I've tracked my cals on fitday long enough to know how much to eat. My routine is admittedly a bit stale and could use an overhaul, but I doubt that's going to lead to some kind of new mass explosion.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Am I up the genetic **** creek here? Is there not much left for the genetically-average individual to hope for in terms of LBM after the first couple years of dedicated training?

    A couple of years really isn't that long. Your gains will be slower but they should still come as long as your routine, diet and rest are in check. I've been lifting since '89 and still am able to notice progression. Very few people if any ever reach their genetic potential, so that's a decent goal to continue striving for.

    Don't look for "mass explosion". Slow but steady progress after the "newbie" gains is more realistic.

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    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that gains are not linear, either. I've gone for months with seemingly no progress gaining muscle, then in a month gained 10 pounds.
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    I am not so concerned with gaining lbm or weight. Gaining strength is key right now. I would love to stay at my current weight and deadlift 500lbs. That would look more impressive than if I was like 220lbs and deadlifting 500lbs. It creates the illusion that I might be superman hehe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    A couple of years really isn't that long. Your gains will be slower but they should still come as long as your routine, diet and rest are in check. I've been lifting since '89 and still am able to notice progression. Very few people if any ever reach their genetic potential, so that's a decent goal to continue striving for.

    Don't look for "mass explosion". Slow but steady progress after the "newbie" gains is more realistic.
    When you say you still notice progress, can you quantify that? How many lbs of LBM/month? How do you know for sure? Are your measurements definitely going up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK View Post
    When you say you still notice progress, can you quantify that? How many lbs of LBM/month? How do you know for sure? Are your measurements definitely going up?


    I'm going for strength right now (particularly in the deadlift). The weight I can lift keeps increasing which is the best indicator of progression. Mind you it's not huge gains and every now and then I hit a temporary plateau. I simply adjust things around until I start progressing again. Keeping a journal is very important in this regard, so you can look at what you did last month or the month before that and see what is happening. A journal provides valuable feedback. If you keep a detailed one you can also see what works and what didn't. So that's how I can quantify that.

    My goals have also changed. At one time I wanted to be big, then have good endurance, then look good....Now I'm all about staying healthy and getting as strong as possible, so that when the eventual slide comes, I'll start from a higher point and take longer to get feeble and frail when I am old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    I'm going for strength right now (particularly in the deadlift). The weight I can lift keeps increasing which is the best indicator of progression. Mind you it's not huge gains and every now and then I hit a temporary plateau. I simply adjust things around until I start progressing again. Keeping a journal is very important in this regard, so you can look at what you did last month or the month before that and see what is happening. A journal provides valuable feedback. If you keep a detailed one you can also see what works and what didn't. So that's how I can quantify that.

    My goals have also changed. At one time I wanted to be big, then have good endurance, then look good....Now I'm all about staying healthy and getting as strong as possible, so that when the eventual slide comes, I'll start from a higher point and take longer to get feeble and frail when I am old.
    That's good, and yes I have been keeping a detailed journal. As I said in my first post, I have always been making reasonably steady gains in strength.

    I am speaking strictly of gaining LBM. If your goal has been strength, then that's good, but I'm looking for people's experiences with gaining LBM after they've already been training and eating hard for 2+ years, regardless of what strength gains they may or may not have achieved.
    Last edited by SpecialK; 08-06-2007 at 09:50 PM.

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    bump - no one who has been training 2+ years has anything to add?

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    Senior Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    You say your routine is a bit stale... I'm no expert, but I heard you can break through these plateaus with VARIETY... add all kinds of variance,... rep ranges, compound lifts, change the sequence, do pyramids, pre-exhaustion.. try everything!

    Or maybe you're already doing these things, I dunno...

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    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cartman View Post
    You say your routine is a bit stale... I'm no expert, but I heard you can break through these plateaus with VARIETY... add all kinds of variance,... rep ranges, compound lifts, change the sequence, do pyramids, pre-exhaustion.. try everything!

    Or maybe you're already doing these things, I dunno...
    He's not having issues with strength plateaus, but with LBM.

    Sorry, Special K I personally can't really relate. The problem with me has always been losing the fat on my body, not gaining LBM. Best of luck figuring it out.
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    I Decide My Limitations Leeman's Avatar
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    Your newbie gains are over and your finding out how good your diet and training realy is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeman View Post
    Your newbie gains are over and your finding out how good your diet and training realy is.
    Well since you advocate eating McD's on a bulk, I can assure you my diet is much better than that.

    As for the training, tell me - what is the one perfect routine? The one routine that if I followed it, we could rule it out as the cause for why my LBM gains (but not strength) have slowed down so much, relative to my first 2 years.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZich View Post
    He's not having issues with strength plateaus, but with LBM.

    Sorry, Special K I personally can't really relate. The problem with me has always been losing the fat on my body, not gaining LBM. Best of luck figuring it out.
    Japanese research indicates that compound lifts and supersets can stimulate muscle growth more then regular lifting... plateau breaking strategies are not just used for strength gains...


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    I Decide My Limitations Leeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK View Post
    Well since you advocate eating McD's on a bulk, I can assure you my diet is much better than that.

    As for the training, tell me - what is the one perfect routine? The one routine that if I followed it, we could rule it out as the cause for why my LBM gains (but not strength) have slowed down so much, relative to my first 2 years.
    I advocate makeing progress, if Im putting on more muscle my diet is better for putting on muscle.

    The perfect routine is a routine that always changes to give you the best gains posible, I like the conjugated method that westside uses. Wich can be tweaked to suit bodybuilding better while still makeing great strength gains.

    If you are gaining fat that means your body is in a great condition to put on muscle, the only difference between now and when you first started is that now your body is used to your way of training and it has no reason to change.

    Everytime you pick a new excercise you get a brief period of newbie gains on it, because its new. Just like a new lifter makes fast progress, its because every style of training is new to him.

    People wonder why they arent makeing gains anymore on thier 3x10 program the reason is thier body is used to those reps, that intensity, that excercise, it has adapted to do that excercise so it can causeing the least dammage to its self so you have a better chance of survival why would it change if there is no auditional demand on it.

    The secret is finding the most effective way to create auditional demand.
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    Senior Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    That was exactly my point! A LBM plateau has to be treated the exact same way as a strength plateau... you have to find a new way to stress the muscles,.. the original poster described his routine as "stale".. that has to be a red flag that something needs to change... I'm a bit pissed at the poster who just dismissed this advice, I think it is the best thing anyone could have said.

    Good post Leeman!

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    Is cutting down to 9% Jordanbcool's Avatar
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    Again to reiterate what Paul said.

    I've also gone for months seemingly with little muscle gain only to gain a significant amount in 1-2 months. Not really sure why the body lags like that just that it does.

    I also think you should change your routine ASAP. You got everything else in check. Why not give it a try and see if it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeman View Post
    I advocate makeing progress, if Im putting on more muscle my diet is better for putting on muscle.

    The perfect routine is a routine that always changes to give you the best gains posible, I like the conjugated method that westside uses. Wich can be tweaked to suit bodybuilding better while still makeing great strength gains.

    If you are gaining fat that means your body is in a great condition to put on muscle, the only difference between now and when you first started is that now your body is used to your way of training and it has no reason to change.

    Every time you pick a new excercise you get a brief period of newbie gains on it, because its new. Just like a new lifter makes fast progress, its because every style of training is new to him.

    People wonder why they arent makeing gains anymore on thier 3x10 program the reason is thier body is used to those reps, that intensity, that excercise, it has adapted to do that excercise so it can causeing the least dammage to its self so you have a better chance of survival why would it change if there is no auditional demand on it.

    The secret is finding the most effective way to create auditional demand.

    A couple comments:

    1. Please explain to me how my body could have "adapted" to my routines in regards to LBM, but not strength. Remember, I have been making steady progress in strength ever since I have started. It's only the LBM I have an issue with.

    2. So tell me, how much muscle I am supposed to be putting on each year after the first 2?

    3. Just because you are gaining fat doesn't mean all of it *could* be muscle. Excess calories always lead to fat gain, but there is a limit to how much muscle you can put on. I'm not saying I've necessarily reached that limit, but you can't keep adding more forever.

    FYI, I plan to keep clean bulking through the winter. I will change my routine soon and see how it goes. I figure I have nothing to lose at this point. I'm thinking I'll go with some type of periodization routine, although I'll have to do some more research to see exactly which one. I just want to wait a bit and hopefully my wrist will finish healing, as right now I am unable to do any tricep work because of wrist pain.
    Last edited by SpecialK; 08-10-2007 at 07:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cartman View Post
    Japanese research indicates that compound lifts and supersets can stimulate muscle growth more then regular lifting... plateau breaking strategies are not just used for strength gains...

    Point taken, although it seems like most of the advanced members on here aren't big fans of supersets, pre-exhaustion, and other stuff like that. Most of them just say to stick to the basics.
    Last edited by SpecialK; 08-10-2007 at 07:03 PM.

  19. #19
    I Decide My Limitations Leeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialK View Post
    A couple comments:

    1. Please explain to me how my body could have "adapted" to my routines in regards to LBM, but not strength. Remember, I have been making steady progress in strength ever since I have started. It's only the LBM I have an issue with.
    Like someone stated before strength and muscle gains arent always even you can go months without both and then sudenly hit the jack pot and put 20lbs on your lifts etc. Your program mite be working but Im sure if you have been doing the same programfor a while there is something else you could change that would be more effective for strength I just cant personaly tell you it because Im not you.

    There is a slight difference between strength gains and muscle mass gains because there are prety small people who can lift alot and huge people who lift alot but not enough to jusity thier size. You can make steady strength gains without muscle mass by changeing your form, useing lower reps to get used to a higher % of your max getting, faster bar speed and even just practicing the lift more often like the sheiko programs.

    2. So tell me, how much muscle I am supposed to be putting on each year after the first 2?
    As much as you can, I had been lifting for 2 years about 3 months ago since then I have went from 247-261 and lost half a inch off mywaist and put 65lbs on my bench.

    3. Just because you are gaining fat doesn't mean all of it *could* be muscle. Excess calories always lead to fat gain, but there is a limit to how much muscle you can put on. I'm not saying I've necessarily reached that limit, but you can't keep adding more forever.
    What I was saying is your eating enough calories to put on the muscle your just not stimulateing the muscle well enough for it to want to make more.


    FYI, I plan to keep clean bulking through the winter. I will change my routine soon and see how it goes. I figure I have nothing to lose at this point. I'm thinking I'll go with some type of periodization routine, although I'll have to do some more research to see exactly which one. I just want to wait a bit and hopefully my wrist will finish healing, as right now I am unable to do any tricep work because of wrist pain.
    Wrist wraps help alot as far as wrist pain goes, I personaly dont like periodization much but it works for alot of people so its worth a try I guess.

    If you are just trying to put on muscle I dont think its posible to go wrong with 20 rep squats...
    Last edited by Leeman; 08-10-2007 at 09:32 PM.
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