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  1. #1
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Best bulk/hypertrophy program for a woman?

    Posted this in the womens' forum, but figured I'd get the guys' opinions on this as well.

    My current thinking is to take advantage of all this holiday food that will be coming up (hehe) and work on a clean bulk to add some muscle mass over the winter, of course trying to keep fat gain to a minimum.

    I usually use my own program consisting of mainly compound lifts but I'm thinking of maybe going with a program. I took a month off from training in Oct due to illness/etc. So I figure I have from now until about April/May to pack on as much muscle as possible before I need to start cutting for summer.

    I have the book New Rules Of Lifting For Women. I also ordered Starting Strength today. Should I do NROLFW, SS, or both this winter? Or does anyone have any alternative suggestions for packing on a good pound of muscle a month or so? I know since I'm female I won't gain as fast as males, so I'm figuring a pound a month is reasonable (although I'd love more).

    Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Registered User SwiftyX's Avatar
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    My GF did NROL4W. Got great results.
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  3. #3
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SwiftyX View Post
    My GF did NROL4W. Got great results.
    Yeah, I'm just wondering because I'm not really a "beginner" per say, and I have what I'd say would be an "above average" amount of muscle for a woman of my size already. I read through NROLFW and it seemed that there was some stuff in there that wouldn't be challenging enough, but of course I'm always willing to try it. Anyone else have any suggestions, be it NR, SS, or otherwise?
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  4. #4
    Registered User grumble1's Avatar
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    Unless you've hit your linear progression limits, then you might want to consider SS. Its heavy use of compound lifts tends to pack on muscle and strength really quickly, and sets you up for a solid hypertrophy program using much heavier weights if you choose to deviate from strength training.

    Women tend to have to use smaller increments for the progression, but achieve dramatic results. Check it out.
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  5. #5
    under construction glwanabe's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gordonrumble View Post
    Unless you've hit your linear progression limits, then you might want to consider SS. Its heavy use of compound lifts tends to pack on muscle and strength really quickly, and sets you up for a solid hypertrophy program using much heavier weights if you choose to deviate from strength training.

    Women tend to have to use smaller increments for the progression, but achieve dramatic results. Check it out.
    Agree with this post.

    As far as I'm concerned, there are not two seperate rules for Men, and Women. Squat. bench and row, works for both.
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  6. #6
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
    Agree with this post.

    As far as I'm concerned, there are not two seperate rules for Men, and Women. Squat. bench and row, works for both.
    Yes, that's what I've been doing for awhile, mostly all compound exercises. More just wondering if there is a particular breakout, sequence, or anything like that that may work better/faster than the program I cobbled together myself. Such as, will a 3 day full body work better than a 2 day 4x/week split, whether I should be doing an A and B workout, etc.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Joelift's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by allieninja View Post
    Yes, that's what I've been doing for awhile, mostly all compound exercises. More just wondering if there is a particular breakout, sequence, or anything like that that may work better/faster than the program I cobbled together myself. Such as, will a 3 day full body work better than a 2 day 4x/week split, whether I should be doing an A and B workout, etc.
    I've gained mass using SS, but I'd say it's largely oriented toward strength gains, not hypertrophy. In that sense, if you're looking for a hypertrophy you should be looking for a program that works in a higher rep range.

    My personal standards that a program has to meet are that it has to -

    1. Be challenging and fun
    2. Work each muscle group as frequently as possible without over training
    3. Fit into my schedule
    4. Have a planned weight or set/rep progression

    So, there are a lot of variables there but really only you can fill in the blanks. If your lifts are relatively low and you have a lot of room to grow, then you may find that you can handle more frequency - such as a 3x a week full body split. If it's the opposite, then you may need longer to recover.

    Without knowing what you're doing now and have done in the past I can't really give you any solid advice, but hope what I said helps.
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  8. #8
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Joelift View Post
    I've gained mass using SS, but I'd say it's largely oriented toward strength gains, not hypertrophy. In that sense, if you're looking for a hypertrophy you should be looking for a program that works in a higher rep range.

    My personal standards that a program has to meet are that it has to -

    1. Be challenging and fun
    2. Work each muscle group as frequently as possible without over training
    3. Fit into my schedule
    4. Have a planned weight or set/rep progression

    So, there are a lot of variables there but really only you can fill in the blanks. If your lifts are relatively low and you have a lot of room to grow, then you may find that you can handle more frequency - such as a 3x a week full body split. If it's the opposite, then you may need longer to recover.

    Without knowing what you're doing now and have done in the past I can't really give you any solid advice, but hope what I said helps.
    In that case, would SS work for hypertrophy with using lower weight but higher reps? I ordered the book from Amazon and won't get it til tomorrow so I'm not sure the reps it says to do.
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  9. #9
    Registered User grumble1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by allieninja View Post
    In that case, would SS work for hypertrophy with using lower weight but higher reps? I ordered the book from Amazon and won't get it til tomorrow so I'm not sure the reps it says to do.
    SS uses compound lifts in the five rep range. You can find it on google, search 'starting strength wiki'. There a thread on this site that outlined the program as well. I wouldn't change it.

    I do think that this program is excellent for people who haven't yet hit their linear progression limits (ie novices), because it establishes a lot of strength if you want to switch over to high rep ranges. Those work better at heavier weights than lighter ones.
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  10. #10
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gordonrumble View Post
    SS uses compound lifts in the five rep range. You can find it on google, search 'starting strength wiki'. There a thread on this site that outlined the program as well. I wouldn't change it.

    I do think that this program is excellent for people who haven't yet hit their linear progression limits (ie novices), because it establishes a lot of strength if you want to switch over to high rep ranges. Those work better at heavier weights than lighter ones.
    I would say that I could be considered a "novice", so that makes sense. I've lifted for a long time and either didn't follow a nutrition plan, or not doing compound lifts, or whathaveyou, along the way.

    What is a linear progression limit, and how do I know when I hit it?
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  11. #11
    Registered User grumble1's Avatar
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    Linear progression is the ability to add more weight on a given exercise every session instead of having to resort to more complex programming like weekly (intermediate) or quarterly/yearly (advanced/elite).

    Linear progression in this context means that you should be able to increase the weight you are benching, squatting, pressing, deadlifting, etc (big compound exercises) at 3x5 every time you do them.

    With adequate rest and nutrition, periodic deloads and decreasing weight increases, you can keep this up for a long time. Once you have stalled on your exercises and a deload isn't working, you have no issues with nutrition or rest and you're just stuck, then you've reached the linear progression limit on that exercise.

    This is the fastest way of getting stronger there is, and especially initially will pack on a lot of muscle as well. It starts out easy, and ends up very tough. Again, it's useful to be strong, have good form and have good neural patterns if you decide to screw strength as a primary focus and go for maximizing muscle mass so it's universally recommended for beginners.
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  12. #12
    Loves Feeding Trolls Ironwake's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gordonrumble View Post
    Linear progression is the ability to add more weight on a given exercise every session instead of having to resort to more complex programming like weekly (intermediate) or quarterly/yearly (advanced/elite).

    Linear progression in this context means that you should be able to increase the weight you are benching, squatting, pressing, deadlifting, etc (big compound exercises) at 3x5 every time you do them.

    With adequate rest and nutrition, periodic deloads and decreasing weight increases, you can keep this up for a long time. Once you have stalled on your exercises and a deload isn't working, you have no issues with nutrition or rest and you're just stuck, then you've reached the linear progression limit on that exercise.

    This is the fastest way of getting stronger there is, and especially initially will pack on a lot of muscle as well. It starts out easy, and ends up very tough. Again, it's useful to be strong, have good form and have good neural patterns if you decide to screw strength as a primary focus and go for maximizing muscle mass so it's universally recommended for beginners.
    This ^

    You're probably going to need to increase less than 5lbs per workout on your presses and cleans, if you don't have access to 1.25lb weights look into this link

    http://www.wackyhq.com/madcow5x5/geo...croloading.htm

    There some pics of the final product in my profile. I made em mainly for my girlfriend to use while on starting strength

    Any program can put muscle on you ( although I highly recommend Starting Strength ), you just have to eat towards your goals!
    Last edited by Ironwake; 11-04-2009 at 06:41 PM.
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  13. #13
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironwake View Post
    This ^

    You're probably going to need to increase less than 5lbs per workout on your presses and cleans, if you don't have access to 1.25lb weights look into this link

    http://www.wackyhq.com/madcow5x5/geo...croloading.htm

    There some pics of the final product in my profile. I made em mainly for my girlfriend to use while on starting strength

    Any program can put muscle on you ( although I highly recommend Starting Strength ), you just have to eat towards your goals!
    Interesting. Do you think I would need these immediately or as I get further into the program? I've been reading on the forums that you make a lot of strength gains in the beginning, and then it wanes. I'm wondering if I can get away with the 2.5's they have at the gym for now. Obviously only I will be able to know my own limits when I try but anyone have any experience with this?
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  14. #14
    Registered User grumble1's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience personally with women using the program, but apparently it's common after a couple weeks for women to have to drop down to 2.5 lb jumps or even less as the program continues. There's no question you'll have to get a fractional plate solution at some point in the next few weeks.

    If you want to buy some, then check out Platemate.
    Last edited by gordonrumble; 11-04-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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  15. #15
    Loves Feeding Trolls Ironwake's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gordonrumble View Post
    I don't have any experience personally with women using the program, but apparently it's common after a couple weeks for women to have to drop down to 2.5 lb jumps or even less as the program continues. There's no question you'll have to get a fractional plate solution at some point in the next few weeks.

    If you want to buy some, then check out Platemate.
    Yeah, my girlfriend was only able to make 5lb jumps on bench for about a week or two. This may be different for you, as she was relatively weak, just the bar was higher than the program recommended starting for her. Right now my girlfriend is overhead pressing only the bar ( started with the pre weighted barbells ), if she were to increase 5lbs, that would be over a 10% increase... way too much.

    The good thing about chains I linked you to is that they work increments of 1.25, 2.5, and 3.75 lbs ( each chain weighs .612lbs, I made 6 ). And they are cheap, only cost 18 dollars for the set, no sure how expensive the commercial brands maybe.
    Last edited by Ironwake; 11-05-2009 at 06:49 AM.
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  16. #16
    serf bort allieninja's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironwake View Post
    Yeah, my girlfriend was only able to make 5lb jumps on bench for about a week or two. This may be different for you, as she was relatively weak, just the bar was higher than the program recommended starting for her.
    I can't remember what my last max was, as I can't even do a "true" max because I don't have a spot, but I think I managed to put up 100lbs on the bench 2 or 3 times. So hopefully I can get away with the 2.5s for awhile before I have to make a trip to home depot, haha. Like I said I haven't trained in a month or 6 weeks so I'm probably going to start a little lower than what I was doing, but I'll probably want to start keeping track better as to better measure my progress.

    I think my book will be here today or tomorrow, I'm excited for the weekend reading so I can start Monday! Next week is going to be painful, haha.
    Last edited by allieninja; 11-05-2009 at 09:13 AM. Reason: wanted to add more
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