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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:02 pm 
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hi, my name is nick, and im 26 years old, 6'1", 180lbs. I'm thin, and have no trouble gaining strength, endurance and tone, but actually putting on muscle mass is a chore, and i have to fight for every ounce. I've been an avid gym goer for 2+ years. I am just now coming off of a 3 month layoff, though, and have been going back for 2 weeks now, getting back in the swing of things. ive been a dedicated fan of exrx.net for a long time, but never knew there were forums, and just signed up...

im thinking, since im coming back, about changing my routine. my old one was a 4 day split based on body part. im considering going to a push pull routine... any ideas or criticisms or anything, would be greatly appreciated:

Old routine (everything is pretty much in the order i did it):

Mon - Chest / Bicep :

BB Bench Press 5x1-12
BB Incline Press 3x1-10
BB Decline Press 3x1-8
DB Pullovers 3x8 (every other week)
Cable Incline Flies 3x8 (every other week)

DB Standing Curls 3x10
BB Preacher Curls 3x8
BB Reverse Preacher Curls 3x8 (every other week)


Tue - Hamstring / Shoulder:

BB Straight Leg Deadlift 3x8
DB Lunges 3x12
Cable Leg Curl 3x8

BB Military Press 3x8-12
BB Behind Head Press 3x8-12
BB Upright Row 3x8
DB Lateral Raise 3x8 (every other week)
DB Front Raise ex8 (every other week)


Thu - Back / Tricep :

Close Grip Chinup 3x8
Pullup 3x8 (every other week)
Lever Seated Row 3x8
Cable Straight Arm Pulldown 3x8
Level Incline Row 3x8 (every other week)

Dips 3x8
BB SkullCrushers 3x8
DB Behind Head Tricep Extension 3x8
DB Close Grip Press 3x8 (every other week)


Fri - Leg / Traps :

BB Squat 4x8-12
Cable Standing Calf Raise 3x10
Sled 45degree Leg Press 2x10 on both legs, then 2x10 on each leg, isolated
Cable Seated Calf Raise 3x8
Lever Leg Extension 3x8 (every other week)
BB Split Squat 3x8 (every other week)

DB Shrug 3x8







Core/Ab workout (got it from Edgerrin James (star NFL halfback), who does it 5 days a week, off season, and regular season). The goal is to complete the entire workout (250 reps) in under 7 minutes, which is a seriously painful proposition, that ends up in me vomitting a fair amount of the time, until ive been doing it, regularly, for several weeks:


1. Lateral Sit-ups (20 reps):
2. Hyperextensions (10 reps):
3. Leg Hugs (10 reps):
4. Russian Twist (20 reps):
5. Hip Curls (14 reps):
6. Jack Knifes (10 reps):
7. Reverse trunk twists (20 reps):
8. Abdominal Crunches (20 reps):
9. Jack Knifes (10 reps):
10. Sit-ups with weight on chest (16 reps):
11. Abdominal Crunches (15 reps):
12. Jack Knifes (15 reps):
13. Twisted sit-ups (16 reps):
14. Abdominal Crunches (12 reps):
15. Fixed Feet, Twisted Sit-ups (20 reps):
16. Abdominal Crunches (10 reps): Follow previous instructions.
17. Jack Knifes (12 reps): Follow previous instructions.







Routine was as follows:

1) 5 minutes in sauna, lightly stretching legs
2) 10 minutes on resistance bike
3) 10 minute heavy stretching routine
4) appropriate days weight training (usually 45-75 minutes)
5) 7 minute core/Ab routine
6) 5 minute light stretch
7) 15-20 minutes of cardio (swimming, eliptical, resistance bike, or running)
8) 15 minutes in sauna

also, i came in on a lot of my off days, just to do sauna, stretching, and the core routine, with an occasional extra cardio routine...










soooo.... any input would be awesome. i think the one i was doing had a little too much volume in it. not sure. push/pull better idea? how should i group everything, and how should i swap between push pull? too much core? is there such a thing? not enough cardio? too much?



thanks in advance,
nick


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:10 pm 
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Nick:

If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then I agree that your routine is too frequent and too high volume.

1 - Rather than a split routine, do full body. Emphasize compound freeweight exercises, like squats, deadlifts, presses and rows. Avoid doing two or three different exercises per bodypart, or more than 5 sets per exercise. Keep your workouts under an hour.

2 - Work out three times a week using a heavy/light/medium weight scheme. Lift heavy on Day 1, light on Day 2 and medium on Day three. Take a day off after Day 1 and 2, and two days off after day 3.

3 - Add calories, but avoid eating more than 500 calories over your daily needs for any length of time. Pay close attention to your abs/definition when you're bulking up. If the definition starts to blur, you're gaining more fat than muscle. Eat as clean (lean meats, poultry, fish, veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes/nuts) as you can tolerate while keeping your sanity.

4 - Keep other activities to a healthful minimum. Do cardio, but avoid doing more than an hour a week. Also, high intensity interval training is preferable to long slow distance training.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:30 pm 
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Stephen Johnson wrote:
Nick:

If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then I agree that your routine is too frequent and too high volume.


well. main goals are: strength, endurance, health, and muscle mass. ive been pretty satisfied with where i was before. wouldnt mind more mass, but its not priority numero uno or anything...

Quote:
1 - Rather than a split routine, do full body. Emphasize compound freeweight exercises, like squats, deadlifts, presses and rows. Avoid doing two or three different exercises per bodypart, or more than 5 sets per exercise. Keep your workouts under an hour.

2 - Work out three times a week using a heavy/light/medium weight scheme. Lift heavy on Day 1, light on Day 2 and medium on Day three. Take a day off after Day 1 and 2, and two days off after day 3.

3 - Add calories, but avoid eating more than 500 calories over your daily needs for any length of time. Pay close attention to your abs/definition when you're bulking up. If the definition starts to blur, you're gaining more fat than muscle. Eat as clean (lean meats, poultry, fish, veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes/nuts) as you can tolerate while keeping your sanity.

4 - Keep other activities to a healthful minimum. Do cardio, but avoid doing more than an hour a week. Also, high intensity interval training is preferable to long slow distance training.


really? full body??? i would go insane doing so few different exercises... after a few weeks id get incredibly sick of it... im sure i could do it, but... why full body and not push/pull or body part split? i dont mind dropping to 3 days, actually, im so busy now that it makes a ton of sense. i like the heavy/light/medium setup, though. ive never gone anything short of heavy...

anyone else? agree? add on? disagree?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:59 pm 
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In your case, I definately agree with Stephen, full body, and it certainly doesn't have to be the same routine everytime out. Or at least an upper lower split. Cut way back on the volume, your burning way too many calories to put on serious mass. Work out intensly, rest, eat a lot, sleep, rest some more, repeat sequence. One of the better routines I've seen was very simple,
Day 1 Mon
Squat 4-5 x 6-8 (take 2-3 lighter warm ups and hit about 2 hard (top weight) work sets
BP same
Bent row same
Semi stiff leg Dls or good mornings 2-3 x 10-12
Abs

Day 2 Wed
Alternate sets on 1. Overhead press (prefereable to take the bar from the floor and power clean it, but if taken off the rack, it's ok too).2. Barbell Curls same sets reps scheme
Alternate Close grip benches with DB hammer curls 2X6-8 (no warm ups needed

Day 3 Friday
Deadlift (regular) 4-5X5)same progression
Inclie Bp or P bar dip,weightedsame thing 4-5X6-8
Pullups weighted same
Split squat or lunge 2-3 X 10-12 each leg
Abs

This is called getting bigger and stronger, not necessarily bodybuilding, but this is very similar to how the old timers did it When I was in college in the 60's, coach had us doing this or variations similar to et bigger and stronger over the summer. Just giving an idea of how to do full body, 3X week, without a lot of redundancy. Your imagination is the only limitation.
Tim


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:39 pm 
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Well lets start with diet. To gain mass increase calories by 500. Take whey protein before and after workout. Since you are skinny, the after workout whey should be with a carb/dextrose/gainer type thing, or just mix it with a big glass of chocolate milk. A big breakfast with complex carbs and protein, like oatmeal and eggs. Protein at every meal. Lots of eating pretty much.

The routine

Sauna: You do this because you like it right? That's all you get from it.
cardio: NO cardio when you lift, you need to take in calories not burn extra. In particular none before.
stretching: Not before the workout, this reduces strength
weight training: including warm up sets, keep it under an hour.
abs: this is part of weight training NOT something separate. Train abs just like anything else, it is made of muscle tissue not some space aged polymer. squat and deadlift variations provide most of the stimulation. Then for isolation a set of weighted situps/curlups on a decline does the trick.
Stretching after is good light is fine. Only do heavy if you need it for something else.
Sauna: Well, as long as you find it relaxing....

1 20 minute session of light cardio per week is plenty.

Full body is cool, but splits are good too. If you like splits, don't do random body parts like a lot of people do. Those make no sense, and are only effective for steroid users. Say you want a 4 day split. You could do upper over 2 days, then lower over 2 days. For upper body you can either do push/pull or you can do the primary/secondary. For the first you do chest, front delt, tris. Then back, rear delts, bis, forearms. Lateral delts and upper traps can go either way. The other way you do the primary chest and back stuff the first day, Then the next day you do secondary stuff like shoulders and arms. For lower body it always seems best to do push/pull. It's best to squat first because the deadlifts will really fatigue your lower back. After the deadlifting is the best time to throw abs in. You have to hit em hard and heavy. Not a million reps of bodyweight crap.

I would lower the volume. Stick with almost all free weight. A little isolation is good, but mostly you want to do basic compound lifts. Those are the best mass builders.

Not counting warm ups, 2 or 3 sets for lower chest is plenty ( ie flat and decline), then the same amount of incline for upper chest. Do the same total sets for back, split it between rows and chins of any variation. Squats and romanian deadlift should be the main stuff for lower body. For calves, stick with standing or press because the gastrocs are what need the work. The seated works the soleus which is very small to start with, and already worked quite a bit with squats too. Don't forget about rear delts, they get hit pretty good with back, but a set of rear delt rows helps. split 4 ways you should be done in the 30 to 45 minute range.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 5:08 pm 
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It seems like you are working more than you really need to, I suggest you read this article, which is a great way to put all the important fitness aspects in perspective and still give you great performance for your time.

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/seven_keys.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:51 am 
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Nick:

I misunderstood you. When you said that you were "thin" and had trouble gaining muscle mass, I assumed that you were looking to bulk up. If bulking up is not a strong priority, your current routine is OK. Keep in mind, though, that doing more work that you have to in the gym is at best a waste of time and at worst counterproductive.

BTW, a person who is 6-1 and 180 pounds isn't skinny, at least outside of the bodybuilding world.

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:02 am 
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Normally I'm quite the Alwyn Cosgrove fan, but I disagree with that one. I've been injured once really, and it was because I did something wrong. It was pretty minor anyway. I also don't see the point of doing things that give me a result I don't care about. Weight lifting is pretty much the only interest I have that isn't totally sedentary. Maybe I can't put my feet behind my head or run a marathon, but that's ok because I have no plans to do that. Why waste time on it? I agree about the random body part splits though. Those are a waste of time.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:06 am 
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Well, the article is geared a bit more toward athletics I believe.

I think the point that athletes can get most of the weight training they need in 30 minutes is a good one, especially in season. I don't like all his stuff but I just found this one a somewhat fresh perspective.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:18 am 
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Well, I, like Stephen, read his first post and thought he was looking for more mass (the skinney reference), but in his second, well yes, the Cosgrove model applies.It really wasn't that far off the crossfit approach at all, and if you're not really interested in muscle size, but want all aspects of fitness, the Cosgrove model or crossfit are definatelythe way to go. I use a loose form of crossfit these days for those reasons. I just don't think that those bodybuilder bodypart splits are geared at all towards his goals.
Tim


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:36 am 
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I disagree with reguards to split routines. They can work very well for strength, muscle mass and general fitness. However, I would never recomend the type of split routine he's using. Instead I would recomend pairing related muscle groups. For example, a push/pull/legs split might be a good fit since he said he's busy and wouldn't mind training only 3 days a week. This would also be better for strength than his current routine.

I do agree however that he's doing too many exercises per bodypart, and a few too many isolation moves. For example there's no need to do two different overhead presses in the same workout, or to do both flat-bench and decline presses on the same day.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:35 pm 
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I have nothing against split routines - indeed, for developing overall physique symmetry, they are the way to go. But for brute force development, I think that the old timers got it right with full body, three times a week, heavy/light/medium, abbreviated routines. You can hit all the muscles three times a week, yet guard against overtraining.

The problem that I find in most of the split routines that people develop is that they tend to emphasize the glamor "beach" muscles like chest and biceps, while grunt work to the hips, thighs and back are give short shrift.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:05 am 
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I've noticed that also, but I think it has more to do with ones priorities than anything else. For example, I've seen a lot of guys who do bench presses and curls three days a week, but never squat or deadlift. I wouldn't call that a split routine.

I guess my point is there are good and bad split routines, just as there are good and bad full-body workouts. I prefer split routines because they generally allow for greater recovery time.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:21 am 
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This is an example of the split routines that I think are unbalanced:

http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8762#8762

Four days of working the upper body, but only one for the lower body. This even though the legs and hips have more than half of the body's musculature.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:22 pm 
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amen to that, see the post I just made over there. I was thinking the same thing. My version of the 5 day has 2 leg days. One is ham focused the other is quad focused. Sure 90% of the lower body can be worked in 2 exercises but 4 to 1 is quite a big ratio.


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