I am 27 and 6'4" 170 lbs. Last year I was 6'4" 160, but I ate like a horse and worked out 3x/week and managed to put on 20 lbs. However, I was just on a month long vacation overseas, and did not get a chance to eat or work out properly, so I dropped 10 lbs...this has made me anxious to start a new training program.
Even when I was 180 lbs, my arms and legs were still disgustingly thin. I even had this girl tell me this, it absolutely crushed me. But I turned that pain into sheer will. My max squat went from 135 to 275.
I am going to start the wannabebig routine described on the site (copied below).
Here are my questions,
1) Should I do 1-2 warmup sets for each muscle in addition to the workout sets listed?
2) Do I need to squeeze out reps with a spotter? Or should I just put on a "safe" amount of weight (e.g. for the bench presses and squats). I don't have a lifting partner.
Day 1 : Chest and Back
Flat Barbell Bench Press : 2 x 6-8 reps
Low Incline Dumbbell Press : 2 x 6-8 reps
Dips : 2 x 6-8 reps
Chin ups : 2 x 6-8 reps
Deadlifts : 2 x 6-8 reps
Barbell Rows : 2 x 6-8 reps
Shrugs : 1 x 10 reps
Day 2 : OFF
Day 3 : Legs
Squats : 2 x 6-8 reps
Hack Squats : 2 x 6-8 reps
Leg Curls : 2 x 6-8 reps
Straight Legged Deadlifts : 2 x 6-8 reps
Standing Calve Raises : 4 x 10 reps
Day 4 : OFF
Day 5 : Shoulders, Triceps and Biceps
Military Press in Rack : 2 x 6-8 reps
Seated Dumbbell Press : 2 x 6-8 reps
Standing Lateral Raises : 2 x 10 reps
Narrow Grip bench Press : 2 x 6-8 reps
French Press : 2 x 6-8 reps
Barbell Curls : 2 x 6-8 reps
Hammer Curls : 1 x 6-8 reps
Day 6 : OFF
Day 7 : OFF
That's some good progress you've made! Being a hardgainer is a bitch.
This is tough. You shouldn't be going to failure, but you should be busting your ass in the gym. If you don't have a spot, don't be dumb and try your 1RM. You should be able to just squeak in the 6-8 reps. If you get more, go heavier. If you get less, leave it for take some weight off. Personally, I find I can lift more with a spotter. If you work out a public gym, there's no reason you can't just ask someone.2) Do I need to squeeze out reps with a spotter? Or should I just put on a "safe" amount of weight (e.g. for the bench presses and squats). I don't have a lifting partner.
If I were you, I would use a very basic full body 3 x a week routine, or an upper lower split 3 or 4 days a week.
Squats work better than supplements.
"You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
"You're wrong, and I have a completely irrelevant pubmed abstract that may or may not say so." - Belial
I has a blog.
I has a facebook.
I know it's common for people to recommend WBB 1 on this site, but I just don't think most people will see the best results from a body part split. Body part splits just over-complicate things, and don't allow for enough frequency. A full body workout with all of the basic compounds split into three different days will help you grow all over. They're simple, and very effective. In your place, I would do something like:
Day 2: off
Standing OH Press
Day 4: off
Day 6: off
Day 7: off
It may not look like much but try it out, and it'll definitely kick your ass. It's simple and you'll be hitting everything with frequency. At your size there's no need to worry about isolation work. In fact, I think very few people will ever get big enough to need isolation work. That's just my opinion, of course.
But yeah, don't worry man. I've been called scrawny by girls too. I used to be 6'5" and 170 lbs. I've been up as high as 232 lbs since. I'm currently at 217, shooting for 250. You'll get there eventually.
Hmm, can you explain why one would work better than the other? My goal is PRIMARILY to look better. So anything that builds up my arms, shoulders, and calves would be key, even if the other parts of my body don't improve as fast as they would otherwise. What do you guys recommend.
top once more
How do you expect to "look better" as you put it, without more muscle on your frame?
How do you expect to put more muscle on your frame if you don't follow an effective routine?
The fullbody routine Tofer posted above will make you larger, hence, may make you look better. Also, do a search for Bill Starr or Mark Rippetoe.
As far as why fullbody versus some sort of "shoulders and chest mainly" split, well my first reaction is , but I'll try to answer in terms you might appreciate.
Others out there will, I hope forgive my vastly oversimplifying the biology involved.
So, here goes.
Muscle is built by protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is triggered by testosterone. Testosterone is released into the bloodstream by training the muscles. Up to a point, the more muscles worked, the more testosterone released. Squats and Deadlifts work more muscles more thoroughly than any other lifts, ergo causing more testosterone to be released into the blodstream than any other lifts. Testosterone does not sit in one spot in the body, but flows around and gets used where it is needed. It follows then, that if your workout consists of both squats AND bench press [i.e. fullbody routine] you will have more testosterone in the mix to help your body grow larger than had you worked your shoulder and chest only.
Okay that makes sense. So in the 2nd routine up there, the one that's supposedly better, how many sets and reps? 4x8?
Oh, and don't give in to the temptation to add lots of extraneous and generally unnecessary isolation stuff into this routine for at least the first six weeks. It's very easy to overtrain that way and then you get burned out, don't grow, get discouraged, and quit.
Just do the basic fullbody routine faithfully and without chaning anything for 6 weeks til you're completely comfortable with it. At that point, if you feel you absolutely must add a set of this or a set of that, go for it. And keep at it until you stop making progress.
If you really want to make this an easy to guage no-brainer, check out the Bill Starr 5x5 link in Tofer's signature block above. There is a downloadable spreadsheet to help you get started. It's very helpful.
Bill Starr is the king of the fullbody routine, and has forgotten more about getting big and strong than most of us will ever know.