I had some questions about the training program I am currently on. To give you some background I am 33 years old and have trained in the martial arts in the past. My bodystyle used to be ectomorphic, I could never gain any weight when I was younger no matter how much I ate. Now that I am in my 30s I am noticing that I am able to gain weight a lot easier than I used to. When I was younger I maintained at about 145 and now I maintain at about 185. I started my workout program light because I cannot afford to get hurt in the gym and lose time from work, have a family to feed. Plus I haven't worked out for years so I figured I should take it easy at first.
I have been working out for a little over a month now. My goal is to hit 200-205 lbs. My training centers around a 3 day a week program M-W-F.
On Mondays I do my squat routine 4-5 sets at 5 to 6 reps. When I started squatting a month ago I could only d0 90 lbs for the above sets and reps (yea weak I know, but never squatted in my life before). I am currently squatting 175 for the above sets and reps. I always start with lighter weights for warmup and then work up to my max for the day.
I also do supporting excercises for squats to include leg extensions and back excercises and rows.
On Wednesdays I work my chest on the bench. I started at 100 lbs for 5 sets 5-8 reps. Currently I am pushing 140lbs for the same reps and sets. I do the supporting excercises for my bench on that day as well such as chest flys, tris, pullovers, hammer curls, and concentration curls, I also work my traps, and forearms on that day.
On Fridays I do deadlifts. My deads started at about 100 lbs for 5 sets of 5-8 reps and I am currently deadlifting 160 lbs for the same reps and sets. I do my supporting excercises on that day as well.
I always do my compound excercises before I do any isolation excercises. My cardio is kept to minimum just to warm my muscles up before I hit the weights. I always stretch before I work out.
Post workout I supplement with creatine and protein. My diet is high in protein and I balance it off with carbs. I drink huge amounts of water on a daily basis.
I feel pretty good after a month and I apparently have gotten a lot stronger (I never thought I could ever dead 160 lbs, surprised myself. I have been religious about going to the gym and I keep my training sessions to about 1 hour. I get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and I believe my current program gives my muscles adequate time to rest before I hit the gym again. I do not have a training partner so this is all self motivation.
Now for my question, I understand that I may not be giving you my entire workout program, but my workouts are centered around my compound lifts so I can build some mass and strenght before attempting to really isolate and tone. Can anyone recommend any improvements or suggest something else that I could be doing or that I should not be doing? I am pretty new to this as I have never weightlifted before. Any suggestions would be appreciated. My bodystyle used to be ectomorphic, but I think I am ecto-meso now due to my ability to gain weight easier than I used to.
Over all it looks like a good plan. Run it for several more months, continue to get stronger, and see how it works for you in the long run.
One suggestion I'd make is to move your trap work to your deadlift day since it will already be working your traps.
I think most people here would advise that you avoid leg extensions as well. They can do more harm than good, and have little bearing on practical strength.
I see a bunch of exercises that can be skipped because they won't do a lot beyond what the big compound movements will already do. But as I get older and more tolerant, I've come to realize that people have to enjoy what they do. If it's not excessive, then why not?
Now if you come back in a few months and tell us that you aren't progressing, those little isolation exercises are the first thing I'd tell you to get rid of
Congratulations on the great progress you have made so far. You have been consistent and made it a part of your routine, which is a place where a lot of people falter. I echo the idea of ditching the isolation movements, with possible exceptions being a couple sets of curls, triceps extensions or calf raises. I think most people (especially starting out) would be well served to go to the gym with three to five exercises to do. Less is more, especially where focus and strength progression is concerned. Good luck and keep at it.
Don't get me wrong, the guys that know me understand that I am very anti-isolation. If guys come on here asking why they can't gain or what is the best way to gain, then I'm the first to tell them to stick to the basics. I'm just saying there are times that you let a few isolation exercises slide because people like to think they are doing it like the pros. A few sets of shrugs, leg extensions, and bicep curls isn't going to throw them into over training and if it keeps them excited about training...
Thanks again for the helpful replies. Just wanted to give you guys a little update and brag a little hah.
Today was my deadlift day, I increased my lift from 165x4x5 reps to 175 x4x5 reps.
I felt really good afters my DLs so I decided to hit the squats after just to see what I could do. Well I surprised myself I put up 195 for three sets of 5. 20 lbs improvement from last week.
My goal is to get all my lifts up to at least my bodyweight which is188ish. I am assuming this is a good goal?
After that I plan to get my lifts up to 1.25x my bodyweight which is 235. I then plan to switch to the same amount of sets but go to 8-10 reps to build a little more mass. Are these goals acceptable and attainable?
I am very happy with my strength gains, but I am a little disapointed that I have not seen any gains in mass that I can tell? I plan to keep working at it but is there something I am missing or do I just need to give it time.
Here is a general breakdown, give or take 1-2 reps.
- Strength / 1-6 Reps
- Hypertrophy (Muscle Buiding) / 6-12 Reps
- Endurance / 12+ Reps
There are a few reasons why you may not be gaining muscle, but a lot of it probably links back to your diet. The volume of your training is also a factor, if you are performing squats and deadlifts on leg day then it would be very difficult todo more than a few sets - this is where isolation or 'accessory' movements come in.
Getting big and strong at the same time is a very challenging task. I would focus on one or the other so that you can make consistent gains and then you can always re-evaluate if you decide that you would like to focus more on one or the other.
You may also want to look at a 'hybrid' programs (something like HCT-12) which provide a balance of heavy lifting, volume, and conditioning.
I realize I should not have squatted and deadlifted the same day and I dont as a rule, but I was having a great day at the gym and was curious, one lift turned into three sets. I could have done more but decided not too. Thanks for the input by your sig I can see your well qualified to give advice and I appreciate it. I been working out consistently for 5 weeks now, perhaps that is why I havent seen any mass gains since I am expecting too much too soon?
Last edited by ernie8306; 06-04-2010 at 12:13 PM.
I would not expect to see drastic changes in your first couple of weeks, although most beginners do make significant progress when they first start training.
Perhaps one of the reasons why you are not making progress right now is that you are training too heavy. You can still build quite a bit of strength in the 5-10 rep range but at the same time would increase hypertrophy and overall mass. I do not recommend that most beginners go below five repetitions unless you already have a strong athletic background and good initial strength levels.
I started with relatively light weight (started squatting 90lbs, I am now squatting 220 lbs)
(started benching 110ish, I am now benching 150ish) (started deadlifting 100 I am now deadlifting 175).
As you can see I started with lighter weights and slowly worked my way up to heavier weights. I am 5'11 188 lbs. I have gotten a lot stronger and I notice it in everyday life. I have noticed better muscle tone overall. Like I said I guess I was expecting too much too soon. My weight has not changed much it has fluctuated from 185 to 189 over the past month and I seem to maintain at about 188.
I plan to stick with this program for a few more weeks and then modify it. When I first started this program the DOMS was horrible, now it is not bad at all. Initially when I started squatting it took me a full four days to recover from the session and now I am down to a day to a day and a half recovery.
Do you believe given the strentgh gains I have made and the recovery period becoming small that I am doing the correct thing and I just need to be consistent about it to seen more results in the mass area?
While you have made good progress, you still have a long way to go (not mean). For example (from Stuart McRoberts), a typical weight trainer's goals should be to bench 300 lbs, squat 400 lbs, and deadlift 500 lbs. This average 5'10" lifter should be able to reach a weight of around 200 lbs at 10% body fat with those lifts. While that might not seem as BIG as you may want, that is what is typical for a person with average genetics. As you can see, you have a long road ahead of you and this takes years of dedicated consistency.