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  1. #1
    Registered User boxler's Avatar
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    Why am I making more gains in some exercises compared to others?

    Last summer I did this workout and gained about 10 lbs of muscle in a 3 month time period. I really haven't lifted much in the past 9 months or so, but I'm looking to get back into it. Based on the gains that I got before, I am tempted to go back to this workout that I made and used before. I have done it a few times in the past few weeks and see much more progress in some exercises than others. Is this because it is focusing on some muscle groups more than others? I'll show you which exercises I am improving on more than others below.

    The workout is really simple. It is an upper body/lower body split. When I did it last summer, I ended up spending 2-3, maybe 4 hours in the gym on Upper body day and 1-2 hours on leg day. This was mainly just because I would take waaaaaay too long between sets. Now, I don't have enough time to do that, so I try to finish the workout in 1-2 hours (usually aiming for 1.5 hours including the warmup/stretch). My legs grew a lot more from this workout than my Upper body did.

    Each exercise consists of 3 sets and the last set I go to failure, having a lifting partner help me with the last 1-3 reps.

    Upper Body Day:
    Warm Up (1/2 mile on treadmill @ 10mph)
    Stretch
    Pullups
    Bench Press
    Cable Row
    Dips
    High Pulls (Vertical barbell row)
    Overhead Press
    Bicep Curls
    Dumbbell Incline Bench
    Crunches
    Side Crunches

    Leg Day:
    Warm Up (1/2 mile on treadmill @ 10mph)
    Squat
    Deadlift
    Powercleans
    Leg Press
    Leg Extension
    Hamstring Curls
    Standing Calf Raises
    Sitting Calf Raises

    Rest Day

    Repeat

    __________________________________________________ _____________


    Basically, what I have noticed from starting this workout up again is that for some of the exercises I am making very little to no gains, some I am making decent gains, and some I am making extraordinary gains. I make sure my form is still really good, so I don't think that is the reason why.

    Going through them:
    Pullups - decent improvements
    Bench press - almost no improvements at all
    Cable row - good improvements
    dips - amazing improvements
    High Pulls (Vertical bb row) - AMAZING IMPROVEMENTS.
    Overhead Press - Amazing improvements, but not as good as high pulls
    Bicep Curls - hardly any improvements
    Incline db bench press - just recently added this workout. I figured it would be good since my flat bench isn't improving much.
    Forearm curls - hardly any improvements
    Abs - great improvements

    Squat - AMAZING IMPROVEMENTS. Definitely better improvements on this exercise than anything else.
    deadlift - alright improvements
    powercleans - hardly any improvements
    leg press - amazing improvements
    leg extension, hamstring curls and calf raises - haven't done them enough to know.

    _______________________________________________
    The idea behind this workout was to get in shape. It was to help me get in shape for wrestling season. In the process though, it helped me put on a ton of muscle. Now, I am not doing wrestling anymore, so I would still like to get in shape, but would probably rather focus more on the building muscle part.

    Any suggestions???
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  2. #2
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    1) Each exercise uses your skeletal leverages in different ways. Some are more efficient than others, making the lift generically stronger than other exercises and making progression easier.
    2) Each exercise uses different muscles in different ways. Refer to above for the implications of this.
    3) The amount of muscle mass used in a lift matters. Deadlifts use more than half the muscle mass of your body. Wrist curls do not. Adding 20kg to your deadlift as a novice is no big deal. Adding 20kg to your wrist curl is.
    4) The range of motion used in a lift matters. That's why it's normally easier to add weight to quarter squats than to ATG squats.
    5) Your technique matters. If you do cheat curls (which is normally considered bad technique, although there are exceptions to this rule), it'll be a lot easier to add weight to the bar than if you do strict curls. Meanwhile, on exercises like the clean, I don't think you really can cheat to get more weight up, so bad technique will hold back performance.
    6) The amount of technical skill required to perform the lift matters. Squats require a relatively low amount of skill, when compared to the snatch. Both work a lot of the same musculature, but the snatch requires for more precision to enable progression.
    SQ 2x150kg BP 95kg DL 190kg OHP 60kg @ 70kg

    You can work out without training, but you can't train without working out.

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  3. #3
    Registered User boxler's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    1) Each exercise uses your skeletal leverages in different ways. Some are more efficient than others, making the lift generically stronger than other exercises and making progression easier.
    2) Each exercise uses different muscles in different ways. Refer to above for the implications of this.
    3) The amount of muscle mass used in a lift matters. Deadlifts use more than half the muscle mass of your body. Wrist curls do not. Adding 20kg to your deadlift as a novice is no big deal. Adding 20kg to your wrist curl is.
    4) The range of motion used in a lift matters. That's why it's normally easier to add weight to quarter squats than to ATG squats.
    5) Your technique matters. If you do cheat curls (which is normally considered bad technique, although there are exceptions to this rule), it'll be a lot easier to add weight to the bar than if you do strict curls. Meanwhile, on exercises like the clean, I don't think you really can cheat to get more weight up, so bad technique will hold back performance.
    6) The amount of technical skill required to perform the lift matters. Squats require a relatively low amount of skill, when compared to the snatch. Both work a lot of the same musculature, but the snatch requires for more precision to enable progression.
    wow thanks. but I was thinking that for my workout it is more shoulder focused than anything and that is why my shoulder lifts are going up faster than any of the other lifts. Do you think my workout focuses too much on the shoulders?
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  4. #4
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    At this point of you're training you have a good indication of how your body is responding to weight training. Work harder on your lagging parts and prioritize them in your training and just maintain on the strong parts.Most people do it the other way around so the strong areas get better and the weak areas get weaker
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  5. #5
    Registered User stealthmedia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    1) Each exercise uses your skeletal leverages in different ways. Some are more efficient than others, making the lift generically stronger than other exercises and making progression easier.
    2) Each exercise uses different muscles in different ways. Refer to above for the implications of this.
    3) The amount of muscle mass used in a lift matters. Deadlifts use more than half the muscle mass of your body. Wrist curls do not. Adding 20kg to your deadlift as a novice is no big deal. Adding 20kg to your wrist curl is.
    4) The range of motion used in a lift matters. That's why it's normally easier to add weight to quarter squats than to ATG squats.
    5) Your technique matters. If you do cheat curls (which is normally considered bad technique, although there are exceptions to this rule), it'll be a lot easier to add weight to the bar than if you do strict curls. Meanwhile, on exercises like the clean, I don't think you really can cheat to get more weight up, so bad technique will hold back performance.
    6) The amount of technical skill required to perform the lift matters. Squats require a relatively low amount of skill, when compared to the snatch. Both work a lot of the same musculature, but the snatch requires for more precision to enable progression.
    He's also doing power cleans after squats and deadlifts which both require alot of energy. I can see why it would be difficult to improve on the lift.
    SQ: 225x5 (High-bar ATG)
    DL: 295x5/315x1

    "Many basic or compound exercises (e.g. squat, bench press, etc.) have a bell shaped resistance curves or shift the resistance through multiple muscle groups throughout the exercise's range of motion allowing the muscles to momentarily relax between repetitions. This period of momentary relaxation between repetitions allows greater opportunity for momentary blood flow permitting the clearing of acid accumulation."
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  6. #6
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by boxler View Post
    wow thanks. but I was thinking that for my workout it is more shoulder focused than anything and that is why my shoulder lifts are going up faster than any of the other lifts. Do you think my workout focuses too much on the shoulders?
    Compared to everything else, I don't think there's too much of an emphasis for shoulders here, although I've been too lazy to tally up the ratio of pushing vs pulling, which is relevant for shoulder health. Then again, all you've given is a list of exercises. If you're pushing hard on your shoulder exercises and half-assing your squats, for example, then that's something that needs fixing.
    SQ 2x150kg BP 95kg DL 190kg OHP 60kg @ 70kg

    You can work out without training, but you can't train without working out.

    The noob effect, as explained by Greg Everett: "You take someone who's totally sedentary and you can get 'em stronger by making them pick their nose vigorously for an hour a day."

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  7. #7
    Registered User boxler's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Compared to everything else, I don't think there's too much of an emphasis for shoulders here, although I've been too lazy to tally up the ratio of pushing vs pulling, which is relevant for shoulder health. Then again, all you've given is a list of exercises. If you're pushing hard on your shoulder exercises and half-assing your squats, for example, then that's something that needs fixing.
    I make sure to push myself hard on all types of exercises, but some seem to stay at a standstill. For example, even though I haven't lifted in a while, my bench press still seems to be at a standstill.
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  8. #8
    Registered User boxler's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Compared to everything else, I don't think there's too much of an emphasis for shoulders here, although I've been too lazy to tally up the ratio of pushing vs pulling, which is relevant for shoulder health. Then again, all you've given is a list of exercises. If you're pushing hard on your shoulder exercises and half-assing your squats, for example, then that's something that needs fixing.
    and I try to keep as close to a 1:1 ratio on pushing vs pulling movements to create a good balance
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  9. #9
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    Evaluate your technique on lifts you aren't progressing on...especially things like bench press. Clearly the order of your workout is effecting things too. For example you do Squats -> Deads -> power cleans. Does it really surprise you that you're not progressing on the cleans?
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  10. #10
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    I personally would never go on an Upper/Lower Split for the simple reason that I find it tough to club Bench with OHP, Tricep, arm and shoulder work. My triceps get hammered from heavy benching and there's no way I can efficiently do any overhead pressing after that.

    On the other hand I've never had an issue deadlifting and squatting heavy and going for PR's in the same workout.

    I am in no way qualified to comment on whether the Upper/Lower split is a good way of training but I know for sure that it isn't the stuff for me. Do evaluate whether you are like me and prefer to spread your heavy compound lifts over workouts than club them in the same workout. That might help you go past current PR's on some of the heavier lifts

    You are likely spending 1.5+ hrs in the gym for the simple reason that the pressing on Upper day might be too much for you as an individual to take. Shortening time between sets will only reduce your performance but will not address the basic issue

    If I were you I'd look at a routine that suits my individual profile like say something that hits every muscle group 2X a week while working out for 4 days a week. That way you can spread out Squats, Bench, OHP, Deadlifts, Cleans & Rows over sessions to ensure you can hit these heavy compounds first up every workout day while not compromising on frequency or poundage
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