Backstory of the Bet: Hey guys, I'm in a bet with three other guys from work over who--over a two month period--will see more results in squat, bench, and military press. The bet started as an argument because a guy twice my weight in muscle said the best way for me to get built is to do isolation exercises 3x10's. I told him I've researched weight lifting and muscle response for a while now and gave him the Stronglifts 5x5 program, telling him squats, food, and compound exercises with low reps and heavy weights is the best way to go. He said it wasn't enough, so we made a bet and two other guys want in.
My question to you guys is this: what's the fastest way for me to see gains in squat, bench, and press? I've done SS for a while so while I imagine I may see some gains I want to go the route of StrongLifts or the Texas method. I'm eating like crazy, I just need to proper routine.
Thanks in advance for your tips!
Last edited by Baloo72; 05-04-2010 at 02:28 PM.
This is simple. If your goal is specifically strength gain, a 5x5 routine will be key. If you guys will be measuring bicep circumference at the end of the bet, 3x10 is optimal. This guy may seem to be twice your weight in muscle but body builders and not power lifters tend to have less muscle density. I have witnessed this first hand at the gym. My buddy jay looks 3x my weight in muscle and only benches 35lbs more than me, squats a little more than 50lbs and cant touch my hang cleans or dead lifts. He also cant run near the distance because of the extra weight he is carrying while Im sprinting with close to 200lbs on me. Depends on your goals, 3x10 is mostly recommended for aesthetic purposes but you still will gain strength, just not as much IMO.
what are your stats/lifts and have you plateaued on 3x5 yet? Also, make sure you're eating properly because that will be the key to this for you.
Any routine that utilizes periodization and progression properly will elicit a significant growth response. I would bet, however, that it depends on a persons genetics. Some people can do isolation all day, but it might not do **** for them (referring to myself). Those people would be better off doing a 5x5 strength routine to build strength (muscle density like Schieler referred to) and also tendon strength. Powerlifting also causes the body to release more testosterone and growth hormone (which might be the key to it's success in getting skinny people to grow). Bodybuilders who are obsessed with isolation, more often than not, just have good genes IMO. I know natural bodybuilders who get the best results out of alternating strength and hypertrophy routines and believe that its the best way to put on lbs. My conclusion; it's all genetics, it's all about what works for you.
Edit: I would suggest Starting Strength, combine with 5x5. It's a good way to keep your numbers organized and track progression, and make sure your going up in increments on your lifts each week. What those increments are will be determined by the rate of progress your genetics will allow. BTW, are you a hardgainer or what? Are you doing anything besides lifting (cardio)?
Last edited by MadChef; 05-05-2010 at 09:38 AM.
Fastest way to lift more would be to gain weight and progress linearly each training session until that is no longer possible...then move to a weekly progressive program such as the well-known "Madcow 5x5", or the Texas Method.
After gains stall on the weekly progressive program, more advanced programming would be needed to be done, but once you're at that point, and the PR's aren't as frequent, this bet you have with your friends will be a thing of the past.
So for now, stick with gaining weight and progressing as fast as possible while still maintaining good form.
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Add a belt, knee sleeves/wraps, and elbow sleeves/wraps. That'll give you some pounds quick. Or if you want to go all the way: briefs, squat suit, deadlift suit, and bench shirt.
Seriously, gain as much weight as possible while using some sort of linear progression on the lifts that you're testing. May need to add some sort of periodization at some point.
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Gaining weight will help you to lift more, so I would focus on eating a surplus of calores as well as a sufficient amount of protein.
Something like this would be good for 'peaking':
Week 1 - Volume (Something like 5-8 sets of 7-10 on your core movements)
Week 2 - Power (Work up to a heavy double on each core movement)
Week 3 - Rest (Active recovery, light training, stretching)
Week 4 - Test (Test your lifts, hit PR's)
The Max Day:
I wrote an article on effective warm-ups and peaking for a max-effort.
- Creatine will help you to lift more. If you wanted to take it to the next level you could use something like Results which is Creatine/Beta-Alanine/HMB (all 'natural').
- Caffeine or other stimulants should be saved for your 'max effort' days, discontinue them for now and save them for the test day.
- If you have trouble getting restful sleep then you can add some ZMA.
Make sure to get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol/drugs, and try to moderate stress levels as much as possible.