I am coming towards the end of my cut and I am starting to think about my bulking strategy for this winter. I have bulked up twice already in the past and both times I stopped bulking between 220-230lb. During both of those bulking sessions my intentions were to bulk up more but I ended them early because I stopped seeing strength increases. Up until 220ish I see good progress on my lifts as my bodyweight increased. However beyond 220 my bodyweight was going up but my lifts were not improving.
I am training naturally so the thought came that maybe my body just doesnt have the hormone levels to support more lean mass. Could this be the case or was my training strategy simply not working anymore? I was training a fairly standard 5 day split focusing on the big compounds and simply adding weight progressively.
Last edited by KristianT; 03-20-2013 at 12:37 AM.
I don't know if you're at your genetic limit, but try getting shredded (6-7%) this time around and note your body weight. Then compare that to the top natural bodybuilders out there and see how far off you are.
Post pics! How long have you been doing your current training cycle? How often do you change exercises and the order of them? Why are you so concerned with strength if you keep adding size? Is the size your adding lean mass?
How did you try to break those plateaus when you reached them?my intentions were to bulk up more but I ended them early because I stopped seeing strength increases.
6'2 - 105kg (231lb)
Matt I do plan on posting before-after pics at the end of my cutting phase. I am currently at 184lb at 9% as recorded through a DXA scan last week. My guess is that I would have been anywhere between 18-20%bf at the end of my last bulk at 220lb. I have been dieting slowly and my strength has been holding very well. In my current condition when I train on refeed/carb-up days I can hit very similar lifts as when I was 220. I wont lie, on the days with lower carbs my lifts do loose some intensity.
To answer your questions, I changed my exercises maybe every 4 weeks but the changes were not total revamps of my program, they were simple changes such as switching from barbells to dumbell, replacing one isolation movement with another etc. But my focus was always on the same major compound lifts. I have been lifting on and off for about 5 years now. The avatar is very old btw.
The reason why I was concerned about the strength gains dissapearing is because I was using strength as an indicator that I was adding lean mass. When I saw the scales going up but no strength increases I was concerned that the majority of that weight may have been fat.
Sorry, but strength is not a gauge of you adding lean mass. I would say my lifts have decreased or remain the same but I'm 20 some lbs heavier than last year. If you sculpting you physique, what weights you lift should not be your concern.
Matt, what would be thd best gauge if strength is not ideal? I guess I used to term strength incorrectly. By strength I was not referring to 1RM numbers but my ability to increase my performance compared to my previous workout, be it through extra weight, extra reps, more time under tension or anything like that. That is, even though my bodyweight was going up I could not better myself from the previous week. Are you saying that new lean mass could be growing even if you are not making any sort of performance progress?
I would say measurements of muscles, consistently measuring bf percentages, and weight.
You are very likely nearing your natural limit. That does not mean you might not be able to coax a bit more lean muscle mass out of your body, but what you are describing sounds like you are correct in your guess.
How do you currently train? Exactly.
By the way, if one trains properly for bodybuilding they can come very close to their natural limit for lean mass within 1-2 years. The idea it takes many years is b.s. Strength is something else. You can continue to improve strength for longer than you can add lean mass in most cases.
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"Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
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Alex I am finding it hard to wrap my head around this concept. In order for your body to change there needs to be some sort of stimulus to drive that change. If the stimulus for change is a weight lifting session, surely the new gains should somehow assist this activity and I should be able to measure the progress quantitatively through some sort of performance metric.
Your metric for increased lean mass would be muscle size combined with body fat tests. If your arms grow in size and your body fat remains relatively constant then you have added lean mass and so on.
Last edited by Alinshop; 04-03-2013 at 06:15 PM.
I think people would be surprised with how light I go. I think its hilarious to see people doing laterals with 50s or 60s and doing triceps/biceps with the entire stack.
Reading the replies here got me thinking and I switched over to using lighter weights (60-70% 1RM), focusing on full ROM and getting quality reps. I could get in more volume/sets because of the lighter weight. I do feel like I am getting a much better pump than when I lifted in the lower rep ranges.
Last edited by KristianT; 04-04-2013 at 05:53 PM.
It's nice to switch it up isn't it? I like training this way and normally try to rest very little in between set's ...keep's the heart rate up as well
Interestingly though, i have always been extremely gifted at building lean mass. I could gain LBM by walking past a gym or looking at food. I wish actual strength/power gains came as naturally. I have always lifted as heavy as possible with the hypertrophy stuff, and by that i mean all-out-war medieval savagery on even the silly stuff like kickbacks and pressdowns. I admit that going in to do just a pure hypertrophy session, with all the cool bodybuilding tricks, i can leave with a much bigger pump, and probably see quicker overall mass gains... but i just feel so silly working with lighter weights. I have no doubt it would build say, bigger arms quicker... as half the time doing the assistance stuff i feel like i'm just building my tendons and ligaments... which obviously i am.