When I do bench press I have never been sore the next day in my chest but when I do dumbbell bench I actually get sore there. I know soreness isn't necessary for progression but at least it tells me that I'm working the muscle. So I'm wondering if it's alright if I change my routine from benching with barbells and dumbbells each once a week, to dumbbells twice a week instead. I'm mostly looking for more muscle mass, not necessarily strength increases in my training.
Also if I do a 5x5 for barbell bench press and move over to DB press and wanted to do more reps per set, would a 4x6-8 suffice?
Then: 134 lbs November 12, 2008
Now: 195 lbs
In general for mass and strength building the 4-8 rep range seems to be ideal for most individuals. For volume it really depends on your goals, conditioning, and strength levels. Anywhere from 2-6 sets on compound movements is fairly standard.
With regard to the strength imbalance, how long have you been training for? Also, have you had any injuries in the past which may be impacting the weaker/smaller side of your body (broken bone, torn ligament/muscle, etc.). Another potential factor is playing certain sports; I had some substantial imbalances from skateboarding for a few years when I was younger.
Regarding your supplements; HMB as a stand-alone may not be the best choice unless you already have a complete supplement stack. I would recommend the following:
- Protein (Recovery)
- Creatine (Strength)
- Fish Oil (General Health, Joints)
- Caffeine / Etc. (Pre-Workout Energy Support)
Thank you. When you say overhead do you mean standing overhead press, push press, or log/axle press?
I do have specific templates that may be helpful in bringing up your press, but which program will be most effective would depend on if you are doing a push press or a 'strict' press.
Please let me know and we can put something together from there.
Sadly, this competition falls too soon. HOPEFULLY, there will be another one later this year that I can compete in. On the bright side, it gives me more time to train events before jumping into a contest.
The objective of the 5/3/1 is to be challenging but manageable.
If the 5x10 set is conservative then I think that it would be fine, I was not sure what your protocol was for that initially.
Based on your strength levels I would say that your 3x3 should look something like 195, 215, 240 lbs and then the 5x10 can be with 155-160 lbs.
I've been training for a year or two, i've managed to get my arms in some sort of balance, not the same yet, but better than it used to be..the strange thing is, the right side of my chest only started to get bigger after i started with either dips or cable cross-overs; since i added both to my routine recently at the same time i don't really know which one is causing it. I have the feeling tho' that one of my ribs on the right side is "thicker" than on the left, it's never bothered me, doctor never said anything about it, but maybe that's what causing it? i don't know.
HMB is not my only supplement. I only mentioned that one, because i thought that was what you ment
I have proteîn shakes and i have a cup or two of coffee before i hit the gym. Those 3 in combination have given me a some nice gaines; but this weekend i'm probably switching to Nitric Fuel which is more of a pump suplement, which also enhances strenght and muscle volume.
Just a tiny question; since english is not my 1st language i was wondering what is the difference between muscle mass and muscle volume?
Thanks alot for your advice though, i appreciate the time you put into it. And it really helps me out.
Last edited by Shemz; 01-22-2010 at 09:29 AM.
AJ - Sorry for not getting back to you right away, my responses are posted below in red.
With regard to the running, that is not an area that I am well versed in but my understanding is that most runners train with varying levels of volume and intensity. Since you are going to be doing a good amount of weight training I would recommend limiting your running to about three sessions per week. Make sure to wear a good pair of shoes for running.
Usually someone with his current stature will have a relatively fast metabolism and so I would recommend that he eats as much as possible; but would moderate the list to certain foods.
Recently I put together a program for another athlete who is looking to gain weight for sports, but it is on my home computer. I will post it in this thread later today for your friend.
I am glad that the program seems to be working well so far, now it sounds like we just need to get a better handle on your goal setting and objectives. My responses are below in red.
Please let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.
Let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.
Decline bench press will activate the most involvement from your pectorals. Like you stated I do feel that I get a better workout with the dumbells; although any time that you switch to a new exercise you are likely to have additional soreness so I would not use that as your only gauge.
I usually do not recommend barbell bench press for anyone unless they are just getting started or training for powerlifting. Incline BB, Decline BB, and DB pressing are better alternatives in my opinion. Bench press is risky and for those with advanced strength levels shoulder and pec injuries are quite common.
I just wanted to say Holy Crap! You put a lot of time and effort into these posts and are giving away info that I'm sure most of us would pay for.
"Its not the will to win that matters, everyone has that. Its the will to prepare to win that matters." Bear Bryant
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Tom. You helped me gain 20lbs in 3 months a while back. Its amazing what a little insight can do. I'm at a sticking point now... My workout is very basic.. its not a strength program.. more of a fitness program i'd say but basically it goes like this
BB bench 3x8
DB Incline 3x10-12
Cable crossovers 3x10-12
Butterfly machine 3 x 8-10
Dips 3x10-12 (weighted)
EZ bar lying extensions 3x10-12
Cable pulldowns 3x10-12
Plated Rows 3x8-10
Butterfly machine for back
Preacher Curls 3x8
Seated DB Press 3 x 8-10
Lateral raises 3 x 10-12
Open Ups 3 x 10
Cross Cable Pulls 3 x 10 (each shoulder)
Shrugs 3 x 8-10
assortment of crunches and planks
Leg press 3x8
Leg extensions 3x10-12
Leg Curls 3x10-12
Calf Raises 3x10-12
Lunges 3 x 10-12
I was reading about complexes on the home page and am thinking about adding them in for a morning workout. DB and no weights just to keep any fat off. Thanks for the help and critique.
My problem seems to be in the chest area. My upper pecs (were pec runs to the clavicle) is develped quite nicely. Its the center/lower pec that i'm having problems getting to feel remotely used even. I'm not sure if this is a techinque issue or if its exersize dependant. Basically the part of my chest closests to my sternum feels like its never used in any exersize. Thanks for all the help
P.S. I'm at 182 after a slight cut to eliminate some of the fat (lost about 7 lbs) but its gradually starting to go back up after cleaning up my bulk diet. Thanks again.
Last edited by usudno; 01-22-2010 at 11:14 AM.
Thank you Tom.
I am quite baffled with my chest's strength fluctuations. Last year at this time my 1RM max on the BB Bench was 185lbs for 2-3 reps, by the end of January it was 200lbs, by the beginning of March my 5RM was 200lbs(after 3-4 sets(135,155,175) of 5 reps), my 1RM was 235lbs. This was during a period where I can the Madcow 5x5 program if you are familiar with it.
I started a high volume program following it where I would do 5x8 flat and inclined, pyramiding the weight up to where my heaviest lift was the last two sets. I found myself a lot weaker than I thought I was on the bench and somewhat overestimated myself based on my strength gains in the Madcow program.
That summer after starting a clean bulk and dieting properly I started to go from 4x8 Flat(170lbs) to 4x8 Inclined(135lbs), to 4x8 Flat(185lbs), to 4x8 Inclined(145lbs). My weight was hanging around 188lbs at this point, soon I started using dumbbells to which I started with 75lbs as my heaviest 8-10rep set, 60lbs for inclined, to where I could max at 90lbs for 8 reps, 75lbs on inclined. Unfortunately, TWICE on the same exercise(flat db bench), I injured my shoulder first with 75lbs, second with 85lbs. Never got any real details about the injury besides the fact that it didn't limit my ROM so the doctor ruled out anything serious like a tendon-snap. I continued to try out different routines with lower weight. I think the week after the week following the injury I went back to flat bb bench one time and did 100lbsx15, 135lbsx15, 205lbx5, 205lbsx5.
My chest seems to be bouncing around in strength, it shouldn't be hard to do 90lbs for 2-3 clean reps as I had done 90lbs for 8 reps before. But now I may not be able to do that much.
My arms seem to be making very good strides just in the two weeks of lifting thus far, especially in comparison to their starting place of when I joined this gym a month ago.
Last week, my arms routine went like this:
3x10 - Parallel Dips(2x45lbs, 1xBodyweight)
3x10 - 12 - BB Curl(70lbs)
2x10 DB Extension(55lbs, I didn't like the feeling because of my shoulder so I did a set of 70lb skullcrushers afterwards)
2x10 Hammer Curls(30lbs, 35lbs)
2x10 Pushdowns(10, 12)
2x10 Conc. Curls(30lbs, 35lbs)
5x10 Cluster Drop Sets(8,6,6,6,5)
This week went a bit like this:
3x10 Parallel Dip(45lbs all sets)
3x10 BB Curl(90lbs) - Last set was 8 reps
- Really clean curls, no swaying.
1x10 DB Extensions(65lbs)
- I don't really care for the exercise because my shoulder and doesn't really produce that good of a pump in my triceps, so I did the following afterwards.
2x10 One Arm DB Extensions(30lbs, 35lbs)
- These gave me a really good pump in my triceps.
- 12 was too easy so I did 14 on the last set, nearly maxing out the cable machine; Forgot to do hammer curls first.
2x10 Hammer Curls(35lbs, 40lbs)
2x10 Conc. Curls(35lbs, 40lbs)
- Did the second set with 40lbs, for a few reps until I couldn't do anymore and then went to 35lbs in the middle of the set to finish it off.
-5x10 Cluster Drop Set Rope Extensions(10,8,6,6,6)
Though my triceps and biceps were absolutely pumped, I decided to throw in one last set of slow rope extensions with 10 on the machine for about six reps.
Only issues I find is during dips, when I dismount I sometimes experience an intense stretch and pain in my inner chest. I know that dips, if you lean a good bit forward can target your chest more-so than your triceps and for that reason I try to keep my body fairly straight with my arms behind me.
When I started at the gym, I was bb curling with about 60lbs on the bar, db and hammer curling with 25lbs, bodyweight dips, rope extensions on 4-6, pushdowns on 8.
Last edited by Trepkos01; 01-22-2010 at 04:10 PM.
I really appreciate all your help Tom. If you think that explaining that method would be easiest you can say that, if you feel a link would be easier for you personally you should do that. I will talk to my friend, i think in the end he will not be dedicated enough to follow a diet plan...i wish this wasnt true, but i find that 98% of people are to lazy to be all they can be
Tom, Im entering a strongman contest in April. Based on the fact that I am not able to do any specific event training except farmers walk with dumbells, what do you think of the way I set up this 5/3/1 routine. My overall goal is still powerlifting but I figure i should give this a shot! It looks like fun!
Military Press 5/3/1
Chins 35 reps total
DB Military 5x10 <--would barbell military be better here?
(can add something here strongman related. I was thinking farmers walk, but with deadlifts the next day i dont know how my grip would hold up)
Power Clean 5/3/1
Weighted Sit-Ups 5x10
Chins 35 reps total
Farmer's Walk (timed? distance? whats your opinion?)
Back Raises 5x10
Hanging Leg Raises 5x15
I was also thinking about putting some hill sprints or some sort of cardio on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
If it helps at all, I'm 5'10" about 215 lbs.
Those lifts are based on a calculator of this past cycle.
Thanks for the help,
Hey Tom Very informative thread thanks for all of your help/
My question is my friend is going into the marines he asked me what kind of workouts he should do for his conditioning and strength goals.
What routine do you suggest for a to be marine?
Weight: 194 (Dieting to 9-10% BF )
The only thing wrong in this world is religon.
Why doesn't God heal amputees?
Weight: 170 pounds, 3:30 p.m. on 4/13/10
Tom a couple questions ( sorry they are a little broad just looking for your opinions ).
1) What is your opinion of EDT or density training in general?
2) Do you think that it makes for a good mix of someone wanting to gain size/strength, lean out improve conditioning etc..( I guess you could say for people who have more than one goal in mind ) This of course could all be determined by load and rest periods etc..
3) Do you think that something like EDT ( or similar density training ) could be used as a finisher to after heavy lifting to improve muscle mass, conditioning etc..
Link to what EDT not sure if you have heard of it or not.
Last edited by View 1; 01-23-2010 at 05:35 PM.
Success is achieved by doing a little more than you thought you could, and a lot more than anyone else.
I am glad to hear that the other advice worked out well for you, it sounds like you have made some great progress.
There are a few things that we can tweak with your current split so that we can incorporate some cardiovascular/conditioning work and also focus more on your pectoral development.
Complexes in general can make for great cardio, but they are fairly challenging and can sometimes impact recovery as well. I like to incorporate a mix of interval training, low intensity steady state (active recovery), plyometrics, and BB/DB circuits or complexes. The timing of these workouts is quite important but I am not sure if your schedule. Are you able to train every day of the week? Also, what is the order of your workouts? I would always include your lower body training in the middle of the week along with a rest day; usually something like M/T/Th/F with a rest day on Wednesday and lower body training on Thursday works well. This way you can train pulling muscles on Monday or Tuesday, pressing muscles on the other day, and then a general upper body day (Arms/Shoulders) on Friday. It would optimize your recovery.
For complexes I never like to add in any strenuous cardio the day before my lower body training day, but I do like to add in some type of conditioning work the day after lower body training to increase recovery. Usually you want to pair your most challenging conditioning workouts with your least challenging gym workouts.
If you can provide me with a few more specifics I will write up a detailed template for you including specific time intervals, exercises, etc.
With regard to you chest training, I would change up your workout a bit:
Usudno Chest / Triceps Workout:
Decline BB Press - 3 x 8
Flat DB Press - 3 x 8-10
*Dips - 3 x 10 (weighted)
Incline BB Press - 2 x 10-12
Incline Skull Crushers / Extensions - 3 x 8-10
Pec Deck (Butterfly) - 2 x 15
Cable Pushdowns - 1 x 50-100 (light)
**Rope Cable Pushdown Superset - 1 x 8 & 8 (wide/close)
*Perform the dips on the wider part of the handles, on your final set include a drop set and go BW x max reps for the drop set.
**For this superset you will pick a weight that you can perform for 8-10 reps and then us the rope attachment while making a full extension and seperating the rope at the bottom pulling out towards your sides. Once you have fatigued you continue with the same weight but this time keep the knots/rubber attachments on the end of the rope squeezed together. This will allow you to perform an additional 5-10 repetitions.
Please let me know about your schedule and what you think of the modified Chest / Triceps training. Hope this helps!
hey tom.... in another thread you just posted in you said,
Certain types of cardiovascular training will not have a negative impact on muscle gains or recovery. There are a few options but here are the most common:
- Low Intensity Steady State Cardio / An example would be walking on a treadmill at 3 mph for 30-45 minutes.
- High Intenisy Interval Training / Alternating between periods of high intensity and low intensity, usually at one minute intervals and total sessions lasting 15-25 minutes.
- Complexes & Circuits / Kettlebell work, plyometrics, etc.
I was wondering why these types of cardio are considered better than others, and what their effect is on overall gains. I have heard that doing a program like HIIT can help as it makes you hungrier, thus allowing you to increase your caloric intake. Is this true?