Struggling to put on mass

Ask or answer questions, discuss and express your views

Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, parth, stuward

Key
n00b
n00b
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:43 am
Location: manchester, England

Struggling to put on mass

Post by Key » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:24 am

I'm 35 and I've been training for approx 8 / 9 months, I've always been relatively active but never trained as much as i am now. I've reduced my body fat considerably and have cut down to 150lbs. I've taken several fitness tests and come out excellent every time; so fitness and body fat are not a problem, and understand the need to reduce fat before you can get definition.

I'm concentrating on trying to build muscle mass and definition, but I keep receiving contradicting advice and don't know whether I'm coming or going.

My routine consists of Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri - 3 x 8-12, and my weight reflect my strength which usually means I will fail the last rep.

My programme consists of:

Monday (repeated Thursday)
Incline Bench
Wide / overhand grip pull ups
Incline dumbbell fly's
Straight back seated row
Flat bench press
Seated high row
Standing cable fly's
Barbell Shrugs

Tuesday (repeated Friday)
Shoulder press - barbells
Dumbbell raises
Seated rear delt raises
Tricep extensions - dumbbell
Cable pushdown
Hammer curls
Close grip pull ups - underhand grip
45 degress incline curls - dumbbells
Vertical leg hip raises
Dumbbell side raises

I change my work out every 6 weeks, and this is another piece of contradicting advice; I'm being told by some people to change every exercise, but hit the same muscles - and others are saying just change some exercises.

I've recently changed to alternating between heavy low reps and lighter high reps (ie Mon and Fri Heavy 4-6 reps- Tues and Thurs Light 8 -12 reps)

I have good definition in my arms and my shoulders and abs are getting there, however my back and chest are falling behind, particlur upper middle chest.

I'm pretty strict with my diet and a typical day is:

8am
Porridge, fresh orange, protein shake, vitamin C supplement and multi-vitamin supplement
10:30
2 x low fat fruit yoghurts
13:00
4 eggs, scrambled with wholemeal toast or jacket potato with beans
16:00
fruit (apple, banana etc), protein shake
19:00
Piece of chicken, 3 or 4 veg and potatoes

I'll also drink between 3 and 4 litres of water through the day.

I don't want to become huge, I don't think i could anyway. I just want to put on some muscle mass and get definition. I have also been told to try creatine which i have recently bought.


User avatar
jtw
Apprentice
Apprentice
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:54 pm
Location: farmington, mi, usa

Post by jtw » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:30 am

You don't have ANY leg exercises. You're burning out your upper body with too many isolation exercises.

Replace your bicep and tricep exercises with squats and deadlifts, and you'll probably want to do them on different days.

Build your thigh muscles (largest muscle groups in your body!) and your other muscle groups will grow along with them.

User avatar
Stephen Johnson
Exalted Seer
Exalted Seer
Posts: 2097
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:20 pm
Location: New York City

Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:38 am

jtw wrote:You don't have ANY leg exercises. You're burning out your upper body with too many isolation exercises.

Replace your bicep and tricep exercises with squats and deadlifts, and you'll probably want to do them on different days.

Build your thigh muscles (largest muscle groups in your body!) and your other muscle groups will grow along with them.
Well put - there is nothing for me to add.

For some reason. newbies avoid leg work like the plague. Then they wonder why they aren't growing.

pdellorto
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 5252
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 8:43 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Post by pdellorto » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:48 am

Hi, welcome aboard.

I blogged about this a while back, since this question comes up so often I just like having a link to post.

http://strength-basics.blogspot.com/200 ... for-x.html


Basically, while do have a routine, it's lacking leg exercises (critical to gaining mass and strength), uses a lot of isolation exercises (useful in some circumstances, but not as you're using them), and it's not a very cohesive whole. It's just an upper body workout, really.

But don't worry, this is all fixable!

I'd suggest swapping the whole program out for one of the ones from the Basic Routines sticky (see the stickies on top of this forum), or any of the ones in that blog post I just linked you. If you want to get bigger, you're really going to need to lift heavy weights and eat well enough to support your lifting. Your age isn't going to help, but it shouldn't stop you. I've put on something close to 12#, largely muscle, in the past 8 months and I'm two years older than you.

You just have to do three things:

Lift heavy weights, especially for your legs.
Eat good food, and lots of it.
Get rest when you're not lifting.

Hope that helps,

Peter

Key
n00b
n00b
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:43 am
Location: manchester, England

Post by Key » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:14 am

Thanks for the replies.

I've not been avoiding my legs, just didn't realise the importance. I've always had good legs and thought in my naivity that these didn't need any extra work.

I can't afford to go to personnal trainers and the like, so rely on advice as I'm new to this kind of training. I'll put in the squats and deadlifts and I'll check out the link you posted Peter.

Thanks for your help and advice


nygmen
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1802
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:51 pm
Location: Mass, USA

Post by nygmen » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:43 pm

Key wrote: I can't afford to go to personnal trainers
That's great news.

Nothing can teach you like listening to your own body, and paying attention to how it responds to things.

User avatar
Jungledoc
moderator
moderator
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:37 am

It's deja vu all over again. We have this discussion 2 or 3 times a week. Why don't people read recent threads or look at the stickies?

Key
n00b
n00b
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:43 am
Location: manchester, England

Post by Key » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:19 pm

Well there's a welcome and a half :-/

As a newbie, I've tried my best to understand everything I've read on this web site. If this was simple I wouldn't have needed to come on here and ask the question.

The first reply was direct, but constructive. Thanks.
The 2nd agreed with the first
The 3rd, Peter. Thanks for your help. You gave an explanation and gave me an understanding. I read this reply and then scrapped everything I had been told by people who gave radomn advice.
The last reply might have well read 'new people don't come on this website'

I thought I'd read enough on here but obviously missed the basics! However, I got the help I was after. Thanks for the warm welcome

nygmen
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1802
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:51 pm
Location: Mass, USA

Post by nygmen » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:11 pm

Key wrote:Thanks for the warm welcome
Don't take it personal, I'm actually into new people. This place kinda dies on the weekends sometimes. And I can fully understand the information overload, sometimes, it is better to have something said directly to you than read it elsewhere.

I think the good doctor is just carb depleted... :green:

(And this place is pretty tame, and flame retardant. So it wasn't that harsh honestly.)

pdellorto
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 5252
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 8:43 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Post by pdellorto » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:02 pm

What would a forum be without a cranky old doctor? :grin:

Jungledoc is probably just overwhelmed by the sudden rush of new guys asking lots of similar questions.

I'm glad my posting helped. There is a lot on the site to swallow and digest, and for a new lifter it's overwhelming. But I'd take the time to dig through the stickies on this forum and on the diet and nutrition one, and look around in "good enough to keep." They may answer questions before you even have them!

Peter

User avatar
Jungledoc
moderator
moderator
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:17 pm

Thank you all for defending my rudeness.

Sorry, Key. We do frequently have people post long routines made up mostly of isolation exercises, and without much for the legs. Which the others had already said (whether or not in so many words), and I could have just let it go at that.

User avatar
Ironman
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3991
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:40 am

Post by Ironman » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:51 pm

Honestly though the doc is right. That's what the stickies are for. We encourage people to look at them first to get the basic idea, and then come here and ask questions about it. We do have a search feature too. We don't expect you to spend a lot of time searching, when you might need advice for your specific situation. But getting the information that is for everyone out of the stickies is something you should be doing.

Check the list of routines, and pick out one you like. Or maybe ask what we think of one vs another.

pdellorto
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Posts: 5252
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 8:43 am
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Post by pdellorto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:57 pm

I like the two new stickies a lot.

quadfrog
Apprentice
Apprentice
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:51 pm
Location: New Castle, PA

Post by quadfrog » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:32 pm

Well, here's some good ol' fashioned, common sense thinking in consideration of your quest for mass: At 150 lbs. of lean body weight, you're going to struggle to move the big weights. To gain mass, you have to keep your caloric intake up pretty high and stop worrying about fat. It's a law of physics: more mass in motion can move more mass, and you're muscles will adapt by increasing in size. It seems like everyone's obsessed with getting cut up or ripped these days. I haven't seen my abs since 1985 and I don't give a crap about it. Now, if you really want to be big AND look shredded, you're headed for a rendezvous with your local street dealer, not GNC or Bodybuilding.com. That's called chemistry in motion:)

Key
n00b
n00b
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:43 am
Location: manchester, England

Post by Key » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:38 pm

Following my mini-rant, I've spent the last couple of days reading through as much as I could and I can understand Jungledoc's answer. I'm not the first novice to come and ask the question and it's probably tiring having the same old crap thrown in the pot.

I thought I'd read enough to make an informed decision, but to say this site has a lot of information is an understatement.

Thanks for the follow ups, I've gone over as many routines as I could and have come up with the following, which is the 5x5 beginners strength programme. (This was a link from Peter)

--A--
Squats 5sets x 5reps
Bench Press 5sets x 5reps
Inverted row 3sets to fail on each
Push ups 3sets to fail on each
Reverse crunch 3sets to fail on each

--B--
Squats 5sets x 5reps
Overhead press 5sets x 5reps
Deadlift 1set x 5reps
Pull ups / chin ups (alternate each cycle) 3sets to fail on each
Prone bridges 3 x 30secs

Complete the programme Mon Tue Wed and alternate routine A and B. ABA - BAB etc.

This is a 12 week programme; and the idea is to try and complete 5set of 5 reps every time. However to ensure you are lifting heavy weights, every time you repeat a routine you increase the weight by 2.5kg.

I'm kicking off with this tomorrow so I'll post again with my improvements so you can all go 'I told you so!' :lol:


Post Reply