Do you guys/gals have a long term plan?
This is advice that was given to me, I find it invaluable, and I want to pass it along for those that want to listen...
I've laid out a path for myself to get to my goals, which is to be strong and well-built. I've been working on it for 10 years, but it hasn't been 10 solid years. Life gets in the way sometimes and I've had to take some long breaks in-between. Then I have to re-start things all over again. Thankfully, every time I re-start, the base comes back pretty quickly.
My plan is to build a solid foundation of strength. To me, this means to reach the goals of 300 (bench), 400 (squat), and 500 (deadlift). This should all be done without the aid of steroids or gear (not making a judgement). These numbers are a respectable goal for anybody and obtainable by most. But, they may take years to accomplish.
I have a foundation routineThat I started with, and I return to it frequently. This should be a good all-around strength building routine. Mine is based on Peary Raders squat routine, but you could use Riptoes, Hardgainer, or whatever, as long as it is a time-proven strength-based routine.
When I stall out on that routine, I try to do a specialization routine. Specialization routines focus on a lagging lift (not bodypart), or maybe focus on high/low reps, or switch to different/simmilar lift (like dips instead of bench). These specialization routines are usually more abreviated, so it's important to revisit my foundation routine to broaden the base even further.
At some point I'll reach the 300/400/500 level, and have a solid strength base and have built good size. I'm really, really close, I just need to get my deadlifts up there. Then, from the advice I'd been given by my gurus, I can start working with bodybuilding routines. I can incorperate split training, higher reps, more isolation, more sets, y'know...pumping routines. The basis for this as I understand it, is that you will now have the strength base to fully utilize this type of training. I guess it takes a strong chest to reap the most benefit out of flyes, a strong bicep to to benefit from concentration curls, and so forth...
You've seen this happen with a bunch of the power lifters. They are big, strong, and fat. At some point they diet down and increase their volume, and what do you see? A big, strong, ripped son-of-a-gun that would be right at home on a bodybuilding stage. You can also see this with some of the successful natural bodybuilders. They have their foundation built in strength first. You may see them in the gym, pumping out endless sets of leg extensions and bicep work, but I'll bet you they started in the squat rack