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  1. #1
    Registered User sarathi1's Avatar
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    Haven't Gained Muscle in 3 Years

    I am trying really hard to bulk but have had no luck. All I have managed to do it put on a lot of fat and no muscle.

    First a bit background, I have been lifting on an off(because I lost motivation after putting in a lot of hard work) for about 3 years. However, this last year has been consistent. I have lifted every week.

    In the beginning I used to lift on a 3-day split, while eating very healthy, but I consistently overdid cardio, up to 16 hours a week(intense cardio). I realized this could be an issue and cut it out completely. I was eating healthy and lifting but I was not gaining. So then I tried 5X5, it was completely taxing, but I did not gain anything.

    I decided to then try do one muscle group with its associated smaller muscle group, Monday(Chest Triceps), Wed(Back, Biceps, Traps), Fri(Legs, Abs, Shoulders). However I have been on this for 8-9 weeks and basically no results.

    I decided that maybe I was not eating enough and decided to eat a lot of healthy food for a few weeks, I also tried eating fast foods for a weeks, I gained weight, but I believe its mostly fat. While on this program, I was sleeping 8 hours a day.

    So is the workout the issue? To be fair, I have spent three years trying and failing, as you can see I have tried different workouts, different rep ranges, different caloric intakes, cardio intensity and sleep patterns. I believe I have not gained muscle on this specific program because even after several weeks, I am lifting near the same weight on all my sets for a muscle, except for a set or two on one exercise.
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  2. #2
    Registered User jvallstar36's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sarathi1 View Post
    I am trying really hard to bulk but have had no luck. All I have managed to do it put on a lot of fat and no muscle.

    First a bit background, I have been lifting on an off(because I lost motivation after putting in a lot of hard work) for about 3 years. However, this last year has been consistent. I have lifted every week.

    In the beginning I used to lift on a 3-day split, while eating very healthy, but I consistently overdid cardio, up to 16 hours a week(intense cardio). I realized this could be an issue and cut it out completely. I was eating healthy and lifting but I was not gaining. So then I tried 5X5, it was completely taxing, but I did not gain anything.

    I decided to then try do one muscle group with its associated smaller muscle group, Monday(Chest Triceps), Wed(Back, Biceps, Traps), Fri(Legs, Abs, Shoulders). However I have been on this for 8-9 weeks and basically no results.

    I decided that maybe I was not eating enough and decided to eat a lot of healthy food for a few weeks, I also tried eating fast foods for a weeks, I gained weight, but I believe its mostly fat. While on this program, I was sleeping 8 hours a day.

    So is the workout the issue? To be fair, I have spent three years trying and failing, as you can see I have tried different workouts, different rep ranges, different caloric intakes, cardio intensity and sleep patterns. I believe I have not gained muscle on this specific program because even after several weeks, I am lifting near the same weight on all my sets for a muscle, except for a set or two on one exercise.
    Alright your problem is a simple one to fix.
    Do something high intensity like p90x to lose weight. Drop your BF% down to single digits. When you get there, hit up the workout that is linked on my page and you will get good results.Your ideal weight for your heigth could be as low as 135 so your fine to lose weight. Yes, you said you wan't to gain weight but i'll explain.

    I was 21% BF and 190. Did p90x lost 30 lb's and 11% BF. I was small at 160. Did that workout and put on 16 lb's in 4 months. The weight comes on fast because your not doing the high-intensity workout but it will be muscle. I look skinnier around the waste, but I look bigger on my entire upper body, just without the fat.
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  3. #3
    Registered User MitsuEvo1's Avatar
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    To the OP, there is a lot of information in regards to what your asking.

    If I were you, I would NOT do P90 since that is more of a endurance/athletic type train.

    In bulking, being consistent is key. It takes time to build hard muscle.

    Find your daily macros, lift heavy/check workout routines & take your shakes!
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  4. #4
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    After you do chest, do you feel like the muscles have been torn?

    If you don't, then you need to focus on your form. For example, if your doing chest, let the bar touch your chest, then all the way back up but don't lock your arms. Repeat 8-10 times. Choose a weight that is heavy but you can rep it 6 times easily. Rep 7,8,9,10 should be the killers, this is what builds muscle. Give your body a reason to grow, tear up those muscle fibers.

    1. Stay hydrated.
    2. Eat - Make sure your getting quality food with protein into your mouth every 3 hours. Also eat the right foods that are going to repair your system.
    3. Sleep Well - You've already got this covered.
    4. Consistency - Don't slack off, keep yourself motivated, no matter what it takes.
    5. Get a blood test just for the sake of it.

    If you don't get that sore chest feeling for 2-3 days after doing chest then your doing something wrong.

    The soreness feeling is your muscle fibers being torn.

    Please advise your age, height, & weight.

    Personally, I think you need to go back to basics.
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  5. #5
    That's a thing? Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sarathi1 View Post
    I consistently overdid cardio, up to 16 hours a week(intense cardio).
    How does one do 16 hours of intense cardio per week??


    The same as almost every single other person who asks questions on here: Pick a novice routine and follow it, eat to gain weight, consume 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight per day, and sleep plenty.
    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

    Rightful Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

    MFC
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  6. #6
    Potato potato potato TheGilmore's Avatar
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    What exactly is a typical day of eating for you bud?
    “For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”—1 Nephi 20:10
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  7. #7
    Registered User angelkisssed's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sarathi1 View Post
    I am trying really hard to bulk but have had no luck. All I have managed to do it put on a lot of fat and no muscle.

    First a bit background, I have been lifting on an off(because I lost motivation after putting in a lot of hard work) for about 3 years. However, this last year has been consistent. I have lifted every week.

    In the beginning I used to lift on a 3-day split, while eating very healthy, but I consistently overdid cardio, up to 16 hours a week(intense cardio). I realized this could be an issue and cut it out completely. I was eating healthy and lifting but I was not gaining. So then I tried 5X5, it was completely taxing, but I did not gain anything.

    I decided to then try do one muscle group with its associated smaller muscle group, Monday(Chest Triceps), Wed(Back, Biceps, Traps), Fri(Legs, Abs, Shoulders). However I have been on this for 8-9 weeks and basically no results.

    I decided that maybe I was not eating enough and decided to eat a lot of healthy food for a few weeks, I also tried eating fast foods for a weeks, I gained weight, but I believe its mostly fat. While on this program, I was sleeping 8 hours a day.

    So is the workout the issue? To be fair, I have spent three years trying and failing, as you can see I have tried different workouts, different rep ranges, different caloric intakes, cardio intensity and sleep patterns. I believe I have not gained muscle on this specific program because even after several weeks, I am lifting near the same weight on all my sets for a muscle, except for a set or two on one exercise.
    Hm. I'll be the first to say it: no expert here by any means, but a few things stick out to me, keeping in mind that I don't know you, your training lifestyle, and I only have the small bit of info you gave:

    If you're REALLY lifting and eating consistently and NOT gaining any muscle something's up (obviously not something new to you or you wouldn't be posting). Either you're not hitting the weights as hard as you can, or your nutrition intake isn't up to par, i.e., you're not taking in enough cals. Results take time. It's my understanding that if you're looking to gain mass you really need to eat above maintenance cals for a substantial amount of time (consistently) to see any real muscle gains. And yes you might gain fat too (all part and parcel of the entire process) but I think that after a year or so of doing this consistently you might have a better chance of seeing results. And again, I have a lot to learn but hoooolay....16 hrs/week of hard cardio? What's that mean anyways...like HIIT or steady state, or...? That's a sh*t ton of cardio/week!! I'm a hard egg to crack when it comes to dropping my conditioning on non-lifting days but I don't even do that much lmao! Something to consider: you might be spinning your wheels here? Just a thought...

    Anyways, I don't think it's the program(s) per se, but what you're doing whilst you do them. You can peeyouessesswhy your way through the most bada** of programs and see absolutely NO results. It's not the program. It's you. Do some research (I'm a fan), tighten up your macro's. KNOW what you need to consume to cut, maintain and build mass and then go from there. As far as what program you choose (whether it be p90, 5X5, SS, 5-3-1...whatever) make sure you're doing YOUR part, ya know? My two cents for what they're worth...

    ~J
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  8. #8
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    You only gave your bulks a 3 week trial before giving up? An optimal bulk, you only gain 1lb a week. 3lbs of weight isn't noticiable since the margin of error when you weigh yourself is > 3lbs (water weight fluctuates). And the rest of the 3 years you've been hoping around on routines because that might be the problem? Brutal.
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    Post your daily diet to the best of your ability...
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  10. #10
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    First off,ask yourself these questions,OP. I'm not trying to be a smartass; I'm simply asking.

    1. Whenever you consistently did a routine, did you try and increase the weights whenever possible?

    2. Did you eat and sleep consistently?

    3. How many exercises and sets per bodypart did you do on the volume programme splits?

    If your answers to #1 and #2 are "No" then it's no wonder you didn't gain. The biggest thing is to be consistent with EVERYTHING and by your own admission, you weren't. As for #3, if you were doing more than ten total sets for the larger bodyparts and more than six for the smaller ones, then you were doing too much for your body to recover from.

    FWIW, get on a good beginner's programme where you do ONE exercise per bodypart to get your strength up first. Prorgress in poundage whenever you can and eat well with no junk. Once you can handle heavier weights i.e. 225-plus on the bench for at least five good reps, 300-plus on squats, deadlifts, and proportionately heavy poundages on rows and chins and presses and for at least five reps on your heaviest sets, then you can think about splitting things up but not, IMHO, before.
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  11. #11
    Registered User angelkisssed's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GuyJin View Post

    FWIW, get on a good beginner's programme where you do ONE exercise per bodypart to get your strength up first. Prorgress in poundage whenever you can and eat well with no junk. Once you can handle heavier weights i.e. 225-plus on the bench for at least five good reps, 300-plus on squats, deadlifts, and proportionately heavy poundages on rows and chins and presses and for at least five reps on your heaviest sets, then you can think about splitting things up but not, IMHO, before.
    ^^ At first I thought you were suggesting what I'm about to say but after reading a few times I think I'm not sure! I'm a huge fan of beginners not getting too fancy. Focus on core, basic lifts i.e, squat/bench/DL, etc., instead of isolation exercises. IMHO those are for fine tuning. The basics hit everything and help you to build a good base. Then once you become more advanced in the lifting department you can do isolation work. Thoughts??
    "There's no special secret to losing fat under a caloric deficit. What someone should do is write a book called the Dip**** Diet. You take a ****, and dip it in peanutbutter, beat on your chest like Tarzan, chant "I AM SOMEBODY" seven times, then proceed to eat the dipped ****." - AA

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  12. #12
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    doing one muscle type, for example tri's and back once a week isnt enough. it will take years and years if you want to see results doing it that way.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by angelkisssed View Post
    ^^ At first I thought you were suggesting what I'm about to say but after reading a few times I think I'm not sure! I'm a huge fan of beginners not getting too fancy. Focus on core, basic lifts i.e, squat/bench/DL, etc., instead of isolation exercises. IMHO those are for fine tuning. The basics hit everything and help you to build a good base. Then once you become more advanced in the lifting department you can do isolation work. Thoughts??
    --------------------

    Hey, Akissed, what I wrote is what I meant; hope there was no misundertanding. Focus on the basics and don't get too fancy. Get big(ger) and strong(er) on the basics and when you're ready, you can try splitting things up. Most beginners try doing too much and burn out; that's why beginner's programmes usually have only one exercise per bodypart or two at the most. If you stick to the squats and deads and benches and presses and rows, you'll get bigger all over only if you eat well and train progressively. That's what I was trying to convey with my previous post.
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  14. #14
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    I feel like your nutrition is off.

    You need to be increasing weight while lifting to force your muscles to grow.

    Cutting cardio out completely was a terrible idea.


    Eat. Watch your macros. Make sure you get enough protein
    Rest. You don't grow in the gym. You need proper time to recover.
    Lift heavy.
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by GuyJin View Post
    --------------------

    Hey, Akissed, what I wrote is what I meant; hope there was no misundertanding. Focus on the basics and don't get too fancy. Get big(ger) and strong(er) on the basics and when you're ready, you can try splitting things up. Most beginners try doing too much and burn out; that's why beginner's programmes usually have only one exercise per bodypart or two at the most. If you stick to the squats and deads and benches and presses and rows, you'll get bigger all over only if you eat well and train progressively. That's what I was trying to convey with my previous post.
    Awesome. Thanks for the clarification. That's what I thought you meant! We are in agreement
    "There's no special secret to losing fat under a caloric deficit. What someone should do is write a book called the Dip**** Diet. You take a ****, and dip it in peanutbutter, beat on your chest like Tarzan, chant "I AM SOMEBODY" seven times, then proceed to eat the dipped ****." - AA

    *to Peter* Hey...hey big guy. You want-you want a SODA? Hmm? Do you? Do you want a SODA?? -Stewie

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    Registered User MitsuEvo1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Packham93 View Post
    doing one muscle type, for example tri's and back once a week isnt enough. it will take years and years if you want to see results doing it that way.
    Wait.. What?? Are you serious?
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  17. #17
    Registered User jgreystoke's Avatar
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    Sixteen hours of cardio a week is a sign of OCD.

    That's ok if you want to look like a marathon champion. They have no visible muscle worth a damn.

    You can get huge and fat by overeating and not training at all.

    But to gain a lot of muscle, you have to get VASTLY STRONGER FOR REPS in big exercises, while you eat a calorie surplus to keep the strength and muscle gains coming as long as possible. See my sig.

    If you are only a buck fifty, you have obviously been undereating, and undertraining on the weights, while overtraining on the cardio.

    Ditch the cardio until you are decently big with visible muscle all over.
    Old Man Strength:

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=148519323&page=16

    Novices:

    http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/the-young-skinny-training-with-add-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-gaining-mass-and-strength/

    Beyond novice:

    Jim Wendler's 5 3 1(has bodybuilding templates)
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  18. #18
    Roman Nose dday39's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Originally Posted by Haych View Post
    If you don't get that sore chest feeling for 2-3 days after doing chest then your doing something wrong.
    The soreness feeling is your muscle fibers being torn.
    Really?

    I think the only good advice in your post was: get enough sleep and get back to basics.
    Goals:

    1.5 bw Bench
    2.0+ bw Squat
    2.5 bw Deadlift
    Gain 20 lbs
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  19. #19
    S S Advanced Novice freddie75104's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sarathi1 View Post
    I am trying really hard to bulk but have had no luck. All I have managed to do it put on a lot of fat and no muscle.

    First a bit background, I have been lifting on an off(because I lost motivation after putting in a lot of hard work) for about 3 years. However, this last year has been consistent. I have lifted every week.

    In the beginning I used to lift on a 3-day split, while eating very healthy, but I consistently overdid cardio, up to 16 hours a week(intense cardio). I realized this could be an issue and cut it out completely. I was eating healthy and lifting but I was not gaining. So then I tried 5X5, it was completely taxing, but I did not gain anything.

    I decided to then try do one muscle group with its associated smaller muscle group, Monday(Chest Triceps), Wed(Back, Biceps, Traps), Fri(Legs, Abs, Shoulders). However I have been on this for 8-9 weeks and basically no results.

    I decided that maybe I was not eating enough and decided to eat a lot of healthy food for a few weeks, I also tried eating fast foods for a weeks, I gained weight, but I believe its mostly fat. While on this program, I was sleeping 8 hours a day.

    So is the workout the issue? To be fair, I have spent three years trying and failing, as you can see I have tried different workouts, different rep ranges, different caloric intakes, cardio intensity and sleep patterns. I believe I have not gained muscle on this specific program because even after several weeks, I am lifting near the same weight on all my sets for a muscle, except for a set or two on one exercise.
    try GST bro there are a bunch of guys like you making progress on his training program,just check out the first few pages,and if your not interested after that,well youve only wasted a few minutes of reading.Its in the stickies in the workout programs forum.You wont be disappointed.
    Live, Learn, Pass on... ( Super Dave Tate )
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  20. #20
    Registered User sarathi1's Avatar
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    I wanted to reply to each post individually, but there is a lot. Thanks for all the help guys.

    A typical day was:

    9:20-4 g of protein powder, 20 cals
    -1 Chocolate Waffle, 105 cals, 2g protein
    -1 reg waffle, 95 cals, 3g protein
    -1.75 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 280 cals, 3g protein
    -7 oz milk, 70 cals, 7g protein

    11:50-1 cup corn flakes, 110 cals, 2g protein
    -4 oz milk, 40 cals, 4g protein
    -1 chicken breast, 130 cals, 25g protein
    -1 cup pasta, 220 cals, 8g protein

    2:00-28g protein(140 cals), 55g dextrose, 205 cals post workout shake

    4:30-1 chicken breast, 130 cals, 25g protein
    -1 cup pasta, 220 cals, 8g protein
    -1 cup rice, 200 cals, 4g protein

    7:15-Huge Salad and Wrap, with Light Raspberry Vinageriette dressing and Grilled Chicken, Estimate: 565 Cals, 34g Protein
    -16oz Milk, 160 cals, 16g protein

    9:25- Don't remember, but cals were 500, 29g protein

    10:30-Don't remember but cals were 500, 3g protein

    11:35-Don't remember but cals were 300, 20g protein

    -Because I let my diet out of control and just ended up gaining fat. I am currently 160 pounds and 20%fat, point being, I don't have that much muscle mass and believe I don't need the protein some other people might.

    -This was from a while back. I know this is not the healthiest diet, but the calories add up to 4,000 and I feel as though I am eating pretty good on the protein. This should be enough considering my weight and muscle fat ratio.

    Someone had stated that I only tried bulking for 3 weeks on each program, when I say I went from one program to another on and off, I stated that because sometimes I lost hope and just stopped working out. However, when I was working out, I tried a program for at least 10 weeks, and had consistent sleep, and this type of diet, especially from last Sept to now.
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  21. #21
    Registered User sarathi1's Avatar
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    When I stated 16 hours of intense cardio I meant, HIT cardio, running a lot on the treadmill. It is possible, but wasn't the brightest idea, I did not know better than. That was a recap of my life like 2 years ago, not now. I have completely cut our cardio now, starting this January. Someone said this was a bad idea, you may be right, but I wanted to experiment and narrow down on anything that could have prevented my muscle gain.

    I really think that my workout may be the issue, because I am eating healthier than most guys I know, some of them beginners, some of them not. But they gain better than I do. I am also sleeping right. If you think my diet sucks though, feel free to critique it.

    When I say workout, I think it may be because I am overtraining my body. I didnt think it was possible, because I don't feel like I am training heavy. But my workout looks like this, look all the way down:
    I do 3 sets per exercise, I usually aim for 8,10,12 reps( with a 5 pounds weight difference between each set). My goal, was to increase each set by 5 pounds, for all sets, from week to week, whenever I can, which is what I try. But my sets have not been increasing.

    It has been eight weeks since I started working out, after 5 weeks of December break, on January 17(mon). I was sick and stopped for 2 weeks between then and now. Since I started lifting again after a few weeks, my bench started at 80 pounds for the first set, now I am at 95 for the first set. I can't even lift more than 20 pounds on either my biceps or triceps, there is obviously something wrong here.

    Monday
    1)Barbell Flat Bench Press
    Barbell Incline Bench Press
    Bench Press Machine
    Dumbbell Chest Fly

    Skull Crushers with E-Z Curls
    Sitting Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

    Wednesday
    2)Bent Over Barbell Row
    Back Lat Machine
    Back Row Machine
    Hyperextensions
    Smith Barbell Shrugs

    Barbell Bicep Curls
    Dumbbell Bicep Curls

    Friday
    3)Free Weight Leg Press Machine
    Seated Leg Extensions
    Leg Curls
    Standing Calf Raises

    Seated Military Press Machine
    Lateral Dumbbell Raises

    Decline Crunches w/Weight
    Reverse Crunches
    Abs Machine

    I came to the conclusion that I must be overtraining and I think I am going to try the GST routine or some other routine, where I only do compound exercises and just aim for poundage. But I have one last question, from the research I have done, I thought hypertrophy was optimal in the reps range 8-12, and 5-8 would be optimal for strength/hypertrophy combination, well less than that would be where pure strength/powerlifting would fall. And increased volume helps with hypertrophy, is this a false assumption, that was the reason why I did the routine I did.
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  22. #22
    Registered User jgreystoke's Avatar
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    Do a REAL PROGRAM with BUILT IN POUNDAGE PROGRESSION on the bar. See my sig.

    If you don't get much stronger in big basic exercises, your muscles will have no earthly reason to get much bigger.

    Squats and deads should be included. They affect the majority of the body's musculature, and will give you an appetite from hell.

    Anyone who is a buck fifty after three years training is not eating enough, and if they are not hell for strong and really lean, they are not training progressively on the weights.

    If you keep on doing what you have been doing, expect to be about the same in another three years.
    Old Man Strength:

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=148519323&page=16

    Novices:

    http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/the-young-skinny-training-with-add-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-gaining-mass-and-strength/

    Beyond novice:

    Jim Wendler's 5 3 1(has bodybuilding templates)
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  23. #23
    Registered User sarathi1's Avatar
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    You are absolutely right. I am sick of looking the same. I think I am going to try the Rippetoe program, the only reason I was hesitant is because when I tried squats and deadlifts before I could not get the form right. It wasn't because of the weight, I tried it with just the bar. I believe I have poor flexibility in my ankles and my hips, because I cannot go down all the way for ATG. Any tips or suggestions for this?

    I want to get my form down, before I seriously start training on this program.

    Originally Posted by jgreystoke View Post
    Do a REAL PROGRAM with BUILT IN POUNDAGE PROGRESSION on the bar. See my sig.

    If you don't get much stronger in big basic exercises, your muscles will have no earthly reason to get much bigger.

    Squats and deads should be included. They affect the majority of the body's musculature, and will give you an appetite from hell.

    Anyone who is a buck fifty after three years training is not eating enough, and if they are not hell for strong and really lean, they are not training progressively on the weights.

    If you keep on doing what you have been doing, expect to be about the same in another three years.
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  24. #24
    That's a thing? Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sarathi1 View Post
    You are absolutely right. I am sick of looking the same. I think I am going to try the Rippetoe program, the only reason I was hesitant is because when I tried squats and deadlifts before I could not get the form right. It wasn't because of the weight, I tried it with just the bar. I believe I have poor flexibility in my ankles and my hips, because I cannot go down all the way for ATG. Any tips or suggestions for this?

    I want to get my form down, before I seriously start training on this program.
    You don't need to go ATG.

    Parallel is the requirement.

    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

    Rightful Liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

    MFC
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  25. #25
    Registered User sarathi1's Avatar
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    Well to be completely honest, I can't even do parallel that well. I truly believe it's because of some flexibility issue. I have seen several videos on how to do a squat, but I have to fix the flexibility issue, before I can imitate that form.
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