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Beg w/ Simple Routine, proposed chngs after 6 mos., help pls

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:39 am
by markd4863
I'm a beginner, and have asked questions previously about varying my rep scheme, or changing volume, and received replies of mostly, keep it simple. I'm 5'11, 183 lbs, lean, and mainly looking to increase strength, and mass. In other words, I'm happy w/ my current physique, but want to become a larger version of my current self.

I've refined the question to include several ideas for varying my current routine, instead of, "should I employ some type of advanced periodization technique?".

I've been training for six months, 4 of 6 mos. w/ the set-up described below. I've put on a couple pounds per month for the last three, but am not making the incremental improvements in strength like I once did.

Current Routine
DB Bench
DB Press (aka overhead / military)
DB Bent Over Row
Upright Row
Leg Curl
Extra Aux stuff (Biceps, Triceps, Back extensions, core work, etc)

Proposed Changes
A. Keeping the same routine, but using Barbells instead of DB's (the most simple of the possible changes)
B. Keeping the same routine, but lowering the volume or rep scheme (3-5 reps), to focus on more of a strength cycle for awhile
C. A more advanced periodization scheme similar to HST type training w/ low, medium, and high volume days
D. A new program altogether, like Ripptoes Starting Strength, or Intermediate training like the Texas Method

Finally, how often should someone just take a week off from lifting altogether? Every six months or so?


Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:50 am
by stuward
You do need to periodize but it doesn't need to be complicated or "advanced". You are not an advanced trainee so an advanced program would just slow down your progress.

If you haven't done a Ripptoe-like program, you should do that first, then you should probably be doing some sort of linear progression on a weekly cycle. Something like wsfsb, madcow 5x5 or the Texas method. You'll find these in the stickies. Switching to barbells from dbs would be a good move. You may want to keep the dbs for part of your routine.
Eventually, you will stop seeing progress on a linear system and will want to go to an undulating program where you adjust volume, intensity and load over a longer cycle.

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:17 am
by Halfbreed
You might start by looking elsewhere from the weights. That is, start looking at your diet. I can imagine your physique at 5'11 183, and one of the first things you should do is simply eat more, more often. I know you want to stay lean, but here is a simple idea. Bodyweight equates to strength. So eat more, eat every two hours, and lift heavy and hard with lots and lots of large muscle compound exercises. Incorporate some good ol' fashioned heavy deadlifts into your routine before you hit the standing rows, I would definately switch to barbells, as they generally tend to help pack on mass, and do your bench. The isolated muscles like your bi's and your tri's will get worked out in the process of working out your back and chest, so don't worry too much about hitting those isolation type exercises, but on off days, if you're like me and can't stand to take a day off, hit them on those days but make sure you are doing it on a day that won't be working out the same type muscle....for instance, don't do tri's the day after your bench, and don't do bi's the day after doing pulling exercises.

Arnold suggests in his encyclopedia doing something like this to gain lean weight for beginners.


3 Eggs, 8oz beef or chicken, two slices of whole wheat toast, unbuttered, and 8 oz. of milk.

Protein shake 2hrs after


3 eggs, 12 oz beef or poultry, vegetables, 8 oz. milk.

2 hrs. after, protein shake.

Dinner.....similar to lunch,

protein shake....

the point is though, lots of protein of various kinds and eat often. What I personally do is have 4 egg whites and one egg scrabled up with beef sirloin steak in the morning, with 8 Grain bread, then two hours later I'll have a protein shake with milk and coffee, coffee flavored Optimum Whey....Two hours later either a proto whey protein bar or a Clif Builder's Bar.....two hours later four poached eggs with cheese, tapatio, and jalepenos, and two chicken breasts or some ground beef with salsa. Two hours later protein, two hours after that a protein bar....lift, creatine, protein, beef with eggs for dinner, a protein bar after that and a protein shake before bed.

I lift heavy and hard, and I switch up my rountine from super heavy to moderate, but generally always compound exercises with isos mixed in on off days as I see fit. I've gained roughly thirty lbs. of lean weight since doing this.

I tried nitrotech, and now I'm on optimum. I like the Optimum better, as the nitrotech was bloating me so I couldn't eat anything.

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:19 am
by Halfbreed
I forgot to mention...Although I gained thirty lbs, my waist size actually dropped. I weight right around 260 right now with a 34" waist.

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:22 am
by TimD
In direct response to your multiple choice, add E. All the above. Kidding aside, from the training aspect, this was discussed in other threads. Ironman summed it up perfectly, and while I don't believe you have to follow the exact programs suggested, the overall idea of what he suggests mixing up is right on the mark.

Quote Ironman
I think higher frequency is better. It can be divided certain ways. Like do it by movement rather than body parts. Or you can do full body where you hit 1 angle at a time. Like one day it is flat bench, rows and squats and another it is inclines, chins and deadlifts.

The main thing you want to change up is volume and intensity. One of my favorites is to do a MAX-OT type thing, then go to German Volume Training or similar volume program, and then on to a high frequency, moderate volume with low reps and heavy weights like a Chad Waterbury type program.

If I was to start at the beginning or train someone else from the beginning. I would start them on a basic full body for a couple months, then do Starting Strength, then a couple times through a MAX-OT-like program, Then a volume program, probably a modified GVT, Then on to Waterbury inspired program. Then repeat the last 3. Then do an advanced 5x5 and back through the main 3 again. This would have recovery weeks inserted between programs of course. This would probably take 3 years or more. With proper diet and workable genetics the trainer would be quite large, possibly huge.
End Quote

As to the question of taking a break, yes, go for it as needed. Some trainers recommend as high a frequency as a break or at least a back off week every 3-4 weeks.

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:22 pm
by markd4863
food for thought, thanks people...

maybe I should consider eating more as half-breed suggested, even though i'm already eating (excerpt from another post of mine below)

Total kcals/day - 3500
1136 calories, or 284g per day (32% of overall intake)

783 calories per day (22% of overall intake)

1580 calories per day (45% of overall intake)

Maybe I'll up it by 500 calories, and see what happens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:54 pm
by markd4863
Thanks for the input peoples - although, I think my head may explode...







How is someone w/ no practical experience in weight-training suppose to evaluate all of these programs and there efficacy? I'd rather not subscribe to some weight-training dogma, only to realize 6 months later that blindly following some program didnt do jack for me.

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:15 pm
by TimD
OK, let's simplify it. You've been training for 6 mo's or so (according to your original post. You want gains/ OK. You've already gone through a preperatory phase. So try a basic strength program, similar to Rippetoes or 5X5, which is work on your overall strength in the 4-6 rep range for multiple sets of push, pull and squat. Our sticky has all this linked for help in how to set this up. Do this for a while, maybe 4-5weeks, then do something more hypertrophy based, i.e. fewer sets, higher reps, more exercises done at a quicker pace, for a few weeks, then take another week off, and go back to a heavier program. That's all that Ironman was reffering to in my quote of him. This is simply a form of periodization. Heavy, lower reps, longer rest periods for both strength and mass, short break, then a more hyperophy/fitness routine of higher reps )8-12), with shorter breaks for anotther 4-5 weeks The references Ironman used are a good guideline to follow, but not necessarily written in stone

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:31 pm
by markd4863
thanks. my head stopped spinning - the big picture outlook is helpful

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:01 am
by Jungledoc
Not to complicate things further for you, but the book The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove is about periodization, but makes it simple by spelling out 10 different routines, and suggesting that you cycle through them every 4 weeks or so. This will do be a bit like what Tim suggests, but the routines have been worked out for you.