Today marks 3 months of doing the Shortcut to Size program, so I thought I'd post a little review.
Back in march of this year, roughly 5 months ago I was a a sickly skeleton of a 44 year old man. I was malnourished and had all the sign of severely low testosterone. I finally decided to see a doctor about my issues, and after hearing me rattle off all my symptoms he suggest I quit eating wheat for a test run of 30 days. About 3 days later my health started improving and my T levels shot back up. I was pissed at the disease that was robbing me of my manliness and decide I was going to be alpha again no matter what. I was 148 pounds of pissed off manlet at this point. I started doing pushups, pullups and crunches like a madman and gained about 10 lbs in 2 months. On May 7th I joined my little small town gym and did my first workout with equipment, ever. I did about 20 reps on every machine in the gym, then came home and googled weight lifting.
After googling weightlifting I quickly found the BB.com site and was drawn right into the wealth of information. I started by clicking the "find a plan" button in the upper left and decided that of the 4 plans shown I liked the Shortcut to Size plan the best. My goal was simply to be big and strong.
As a complete noob I was fascinated by all of the science involved in adding mass and read all of the guidelines and watched all of the video's. I decided I would follow the work outs to the letter, but do food and supplements on my own following the general gist of S2S program. I stopped in to a little shop in Denver called Supplement Giant and was offered some great advice and left with some supplements that were gluten free. I ended up with some Allmax isoflex for protein, MCT oil from NOW foods, Carbo-gain from NOW foods, and Androrush Bullnox from Betancourt nutrition.
Jim's supplement advice included a few other supplements, but I thought I'd run with just the basics. As Jim suggested, I started off every morning with a protein shake, and had another after every workout. I always added a bunch of fruit to mine, as well as some MCT oil and a scoop of carbs.
S2S also gave some nutrition guidelines, but I substituted my own gluten free food in large quantities. I also made sure to take a multi, fish oil, and a probiotic every day. My typical calorie intake was around 3800, with 325 grams of carbs, 200 grams protein and 150 grams of fat. At about 30 days in I added creatine to my supplement list, doing about 5 grams a day.
S2S is a 4 day split, what many people around here like to call a Bro-Split.
Mondays are chest/ triceps/ calves, and always included Bench press, flys, and cable cross overs as well as some tricep isolation exercises. Jim switches up the isolation exercises every once in a while, and works calves seated, standing, and on the leg press.
Tuesday is Back, Biceps and Abs and includes assorted rows, curls, pulldowns, and cable curls plus some different ab workouts like crunches, cable crunches, hip thrusts, hanging leg raises, etc.
Wednesday is an active rest day, chill but don't be a sloth.
Thursdays are shoulders/ traps/ and calves and always include dumbell shoulder press, upright rows, and some sort of shrug. He also throws in some rear lateral raises. Calves are worked for the second time, according to Jim they respond well to more frequent workouts.
Friday we wrap up the split with legs, plus another ab session. Leg day always includes squats and dead lifts, plus an assortment of leg extensions, curls, and presses.
Jim uses what he calls micro-cycles dividing each month into 4 descending rep ranges. I start the month doing reps in the 12-15 range and by the last week I'm doing 3 to 5 reps. Every day of the work out has a page I can print out and take to the gym, and if I'm confused about how to do any exercise I am able to click on it and see a full description as well as a video of how to do it. In the first few weeks this was extremely helpful. I had no personal trainer, or even a gym buddy to show me how to do these lifts. I relied completely on the BB.com description and videos. I had no trouble figuring out how to do the exercises, and quickly got accustomed to doing drop sets and rest pause sets for the last set of each exercise. As a complete novice I was not at all overwhelmed by the variety, and found that it helped keep thing interesting.
It's been 3 months since I started this program and I am completely satisfied with my results. I have added muscle mass and increased my strength substantially. My body weight has gone from 157 pounds to my current weight of 174. That's 17 pounds total gained, not sure about how much body fat and water, but I am stoked with the 17 pounds no matter what its made of.
My lifts have all seen some nice gains too. I went from doing a bench of 95 lbs on the smith machine for 12 reps to my current bench of 150lbs for 6 reps (on the real bench too). My squat went from 105x10 to 155x6, and my dead lift has gone from 125x12 to 225x8
I've added about an inch and a half to my biceps and calves, as well as my waist.
I did not take a pic on day one, but did snap this off at the end of my first week.
By day 17 I was starting to be really impressed with my progress. I thought it would take way longer to see much muscle growth.
Todays Pic, 3 months since lifting my first weight.
I give this program a 10/10. It was completely nooby friendly, well explained, easy to find, and gives great results.
Results 1 to 30 of 58
08-07-2012, 04:06 PM #1
Jim Stoppani's Shortcut to Size, a Review.
Last edited by CBRob; 08-07-2012 at 04:18 PM.
08-11-2012, 10:12 AM #2
Good job Rob! Very inspiring story and nice to see you have gained such results. After next week I will also start this program. I hope it will be as effective for me as it was for you.
08-11-2012, 01:38 PM #3
Great job! Very inspiring, I plan to start this program in the next few weeks. Hope to see similar results.
08-11-2012, 06:25 PM #4
results look good...im doing my own split right now but im either going to give this, DTP, or PHAT a try
08-11-2012, 10:41 PM #5
i don't think beginners would benefit from the program really
i don't know who would benefit from it either
its too much volume, too low frequency and too low intensity
decent gains but you would've had similar results doing fullbody 3x a week and only 1 set per muscle group
all the programs posted there and the ones called "shortcut" tend to be bull****
08-11-2012, 11:51 PM #6
Awesome results and thanks for the great review. Keep it up.
08-12-2012, 08:11 AM #7
08-12-2012, 08:45 AM #8
08-12-2012, 08:52 AM #9
I think periodization over the period of weeks is kind of idiotic as well. It just doesn't make sense... it's not going to take a week to recover from doing 12-15 reps
I guess it might have worked but it might have been newb gains as well, we'll never know.
08-12-2012, 09:05 AM #10
Anything half decent will work for the first twelve weeks of a lifting career provided adequate food etc. Half the weight gain was probably water and nutrient storage. That aside good job being disciplined and getting some results. At this point you might try looking at the link in my sig and starting something that will provide results over the long haul.The floundering has ended.
08-12-2012, 09:34 AM #11
- Join Date: Mar 2012
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08-12-2012, 09:45 AM #12
just like the ronnie coleman get huge routine
none of them really work
it's a poorly periodized routine... shortcut, lol
jim stoppani is an idiot for promising shortcuts
08-12-2012, 10:12 AM #13
Believe it or not, there are other respected names in the world of bodybuilding that advocate split routines besides just Jim. Please show me some pics of all the gains I missed out on by not doing a full body cause I don't feel like I missed out on diddly squat.
08-12-2012, 10:29 AM #14
As I said, you can get results in the first twelve weeks of a lifting career picking up sh!t on a stick.The floundering has ended.
08-12-2012, 10:41 AM #15
like I said you would have had identical gains on any other routine that is not called shortcut.
anyone who calls their routine shortcut is an ******* and should not be writing routines, it will take years to get size and not some poorly designed 3 month routine
08-12-2012, 11:05 AM #16
08-12-2012, 11:52 AM #17
Before it gets too heated in here ... OP, don't feel that folks are dissing your progress. You did a good job -- and that's more a reflection on you rather than the quality of the program. So enjoy a pat on the back, you earned it. It should be pointed out:
• What some of the more experienced lifters are saying is that the program lacks optimal frequency-per-part. There are actually two versions of Stopp's "S-2-S" ... one published this past April, and another some months before that. Not sure which one you did. One of them (the later one?) set trainees up on an appropriate 3x/week FB schedule -- but only for a couple weeks. I suppose this may have been a response to criticism that the other lacked even this component. It would be interesting to take the one w/ the add'l frequency component, and just keep re-running that phase for several months before advancing (in the routine, Jim moves into successive 2-3-4-5 day splits within weeks of each other).
• Splits for newbs? Sure, it works -- and as DetNoob pointed out, in going from an untrained state to working nearly any training program, progress will be seen. That equation is pretty simple: (x>0) > 0 (anything greater than zero is .... greater than zero). Here's a good link to explore more on that: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=137364463
• Potential missed gains? Possible -- it's water under the bridge, of course -- though within 3 months, your SQ/BP/DL numbers could have increased more. But there's something positive to take away here: you could try a higher per-part-frequency program now (you're still well into "newb gains" territory) -- and compare the two. Say, running Starting Strength for 3 months. It's kind of a win-win experiment: you'll increase strength/weight progress, you'll gain add'l experience having run a couple different kinds of programs -- experience of your own benefit. Certainly won't lose anything.
• Programs in the "commercial" section of bb.com (vs. the forum stickies) are designed primarily to sell supplements. Which is fine -- it's a business, gotta keep the lights turned on. Just be aware that those supps you bought were only a very tiny bit of your success. The protein, fish oil and multi-vit are all good. Rest of it is questionable, many others are just plain junk. Trying running a program with as little as possible in supps aside from the three mentioned above, and you'll probably have just as good of a success. The "routines" on bb.com's commercial side are generally like the toys in a box of Cracker Jacks. The real business is to sell the overpriced caramel-coated supp-popcorn -- the toy is the "reward" and it's usually a crappy toy, but people dig it, nonetheless.
Good luck with whatever program you choose now that this one is over. You seem to have the "stick-to-it-ness" that would make anything work. Hopefully, you'll take forward some good knowledge and climb even higher.
Last edited by mrmrbill; 08-12-2012 at 12:01 PM.
08-12-2012, 12:07 PM #18
- Join Date: May 2009
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It's pretty obvious that most members don't have any tact and are woefully lacking in their abilities to provide constructive criticism. Your results are commendable and I genuinely enjoyed reading about them.
Please do keep pushing yourself but try to keep an open mind about advice received regardless of how poorly it's delivered.
08-12-2012, 12:11 PM #19
- Join Date: Mar 2012
- Location: Lebanon, Pennsylvania, United States
- Age: 47
- Posts: 1,750
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Mrmrbill - great voice of reason. People weren't questioning the determination or progress, just giving all the credit to the StS program.
And actually, OP, Determinednoob's ultimate collection is an invaluable collection of links you might want to look into for further progress.
08-12-2012, 12:43 PM #20
Mr Bill, thanks for posting. It seems like it's mostly noobys who have read too much forum talk that love to jump all over any split and insist that that a full body routine is the only good way to go.
Vox even starts his comparison of full body vs. splits by stating that in his opinion FB is better for beginners, but does not declare that all splits suck. Vox also mentions some of the benifits that splits have for older guys, allowing more recovery time.
Skip La Cour is a proponent of the 4 day split, and believes that the Max-Ot program is the fastest way to gain muscle mass whether your a beginner or an experienced bodybuilder. When questioned about the lack of frequency with the 4 day split he responded by stating that it forces you to really work a muscle group with max intensity and then allows for a full recovery before hitting it again.
I just find it annoying when people are so quick to say a program will not give results when it clearly will. I'm still a newb, and trying to learn more about weight lifting every day. This sport/ lifestyle has more conflicting information than any other I've pursued. It can be difficult weeding out all the bullsh*t. I would like my results from this routine to serve as evidence that a split can give very nice results to a noob. To those guys that just want to trash talk the split, please post a link to your 3 month progress on a full body routine and lets see if there is some big difference there.
08-12-2012, 12:55 PM #21
It's not about three month progress. It's about progress that us sustainable over many years. You can find a huge amount of examples of three months of progress in the workout logs subforum here.The floundering has ended.
08-12-2012, 01:17 PM #22
BTW, I'm not butthurt over the discussion in this thread.... I'm enjoying it. I just feel obligated to defend the split that gave me 3 months of good service.
08-12-2012, 01:26 PM #23
Full Body Routines vs. Splits
The question often arises, especially from beginners, about what type of routine to use. Your buddy told you to use a full body routine, but the muscle mags suggest a 5-day "bodybuilder" split. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot, but there is so much information out there that sorting through what to do can be difficult.
This is some of my opinion on the subject, and maybe it'll help a few people out.
Full Body Routines:
In my opinion, this is the place for a beginner to start. I have many years of lifting experience, and have pretty much always used some form of bodybuilding split routine. However, if I had it to do over again, I would have begun with a good full-body routine, built around the compound lifts, done 3 times per week. When you are a beginner you don't generally have the muscular strength to work intensely enough, or with enough volume, to require as much recovery time as someone who is stronger or more experienced. If you are a young beginner, on top of that, you have very good recovery abilities due to high hormone levels. So, because you are recovered relatively quickly after each workout, you want to stimulate each muscle group more often to induce strength and growth.
Another reason to start with a full body program is that this gives you the opportunity to learn and practice the basic lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows, etc. Whether your goal is bodybuilding, strength athlete, sports, or just remaining fit, these really ought to form the basis of any routine. No matter what path you choose to "branch out" on later, these core lifts will serve you well.
2-Day Split Routines:
So the next question becomes: when should I think about split routines? In very simple terms, the answer is: when full body routines become too much. Usually, as you get stronger, it becomes very difficult to maintain enough energy to do squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. all on the same day. You may also find that you want to add in a few isolation exercises to bring up your weak areas, or you may want to begin focusing more on each core lift. Another issue is recovery; as you get stronger, you are able to work out more intensely, and that means longer recovery times. So at that point, it makes sense to "split" things up by only doing a part of your previous full routine on any given day.
A logical place to make your first split is into an Upper / Lower type routine. This will have you doing your upper body work like bench press, rows, overhead pressing on 1 day, and your lower body work like squats on another day. Another way to go would be a "push/pull" type split where you do all your pulling exercises (rows, deads) on one day and your pushing exercises (squats, overhead press, bench) on another day. Exactly how you do it is up to you, but the point is to divide the workload per session. This will give you more time (and volume) per body part, and also give you a bit more recovery before you work that muscle again. Most people will typically cycle through a 2-day split like these twice per week. So instead of every muscle being stimulated 3 times per week with the full body, now it's twice per week with the 2-day split.
3+ Day Splits:
3, 4, 5 (or more!) day splits come in when you again feel the need to divide your workload to match your recovery abilities, or increase the amount of work you want to do on specific muscles or lifts. Generally, these type of splits are mostly bodybuilding related, but even strength athletes may chose to split so they can work on speed lifts one day, strength work another, etc.
At this point (speaking to bodybuilding) many lifters will only hit each muscle group once per week. This has the advantage of letting you really hammer a muscle group with a lot of weight and volume, and then give it plenty of time to recover while you're bringing the pain to the next group. Your full body effort is broken down into segments that are manageable from a workload, energy, and recovery standpoint.
If you are an "experienced" (older) lifter with decreased recovery abilities (we all ain't as young as we used to be), this type of split often is useful for staying healthy due to the increased recovery time per body part. The kids might not think it's important, but your tendons might.
There are so many variations of splits that I won't even attempt to detail all the possibilities. If you follow the advice in this post, by the time you need a multiple day split, you'll know your body, your goals, and have a pretty good idea of what you want to do.
I believe it's a logical notion to start with a full body routine, and begin splitting only when you feel the need to increase your recovery or increase your volume. If you stick with the concept that you're trying to hit a muscle as often as you are able while still recovering adequately, and let that be your guide, you'll do okay.
Hopefully, this gives some food for thought to help you decide what type of routine you should use. Ultimately, however, it's worth saying that you can do fine with any well-designed program even if you begin with a split routine right from the beginning.The floundering has ended.
08-12-2012, 01:39 PM #24
there is a huge difference between Max-OT and shortcut to size. The key one being that Max-OT doesn't have multiple weeks in a row where you are lifting with light weights and not getting any strength gains.
no one ITT said it wont give results, they just said you would've gotten them on almost any routine.
I never said splits suck, they have their uses,but I think the frequency of a FB program gives you better gains initially because most of the initial gains are neural, and neural gains are stimulated by lifting frequently. You actually gain very little muscle mass, even as a beginner. Once those neural gains are over it will be like you hit a wall, and only then you will realize whether your routine is good or not.
08-12-2012, 01:52 PM #25
08-12-2012, 01:56 PM #26
Giraffe, you've got no avi and 14 posts, of course I'm going to assume you are some noob.
The 12-15 rep range is accepted by some experts to be an ideal range for hypertrophy, hasn't it???
So you agree that a FB tend to be better for building strength and will build less mass than a high rep split?
08-12-2012, 02:17 PM #27
08-12-2012, 03:27 PM #28
Vex-- Ultimately, however, it's worth saying that you can do fine with any well-designed program even if you begin with a split routine right from the beginning.
08-14-2012, 12:34 AM #29****all pro beginner routine crew****
****fade haircut crew****
i rape back
08-14-2012, 12:55 AM #30
Thanks for the kind words King. No TRT going on here, just your standard supps and lots of good food. Once I quit eating wheat it felt like I was on the cell tech, all sorts of energy and drive.
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