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  1. #1
    Registered User bmelec's Avatar
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    What to do after starting strength. seeking guidance

    Looking for some guidance on the next step. I am 25 years old, 170ish lbs and I am 5’10. Been lifting since I was 18 and have made some decent progress but nowhere where I want to be. In the past year, I took lifting more seriously and got on Rippetoe's Starting strength program. I went from 155lbs to the current weight I mentioned above. As far as my lifts go, I have gotten my bench to 205 for 5, my squat to 265 for 5, deadlift got up to 270lb for 5, rows 195, press to 120 for 3. I seem to have hit a wall at this point. I have reset these lifts multiple times and always seem to get stuck at these numbers. Although I have made some strength gains, in terms of muscle, I feel like it hasn't translated as well as my strength. I gained a lot of fat and not happy with how my body is as of now. I want to shift into a more hypertrophy based program and looking for suggestions. I seem to do better with lower rep schemes which are why I enjoyed SS because of the 3x5 setup but, from reading articles it seems that hypertrophy training is more in the 6-8 rep range so I want to shift to that. I also need something that is a 3-day split. I work full-time at a hospital, I am a part-time teacher and I am going to school as well. A 3 day split is a must, if it is not viable I can attempt a 4 day split but as last resort. I have created something myself and want to see some opinions if I should follow this or go a different route.

    Day 1:
    Bench press 3x6-8
    weighted dips 3x8-12
    tricep pushdowns 2x8-12
    skull crushers 2x8-12
    lateral raises 2x8-12

    Day 2:
    deadlift 1x5
    lat pulldown 3x6-8
    cable row 3x6-8
    db curls 2x8-12
    hammer curls 2x8-12
    rear delt flys 2x8-12

    Day 3
    Squat 3x5
    leg extensions 3x6-8
    leg curls?
    Calf raises 2x8-12

    I mentioned I am going for more of a 6-8 rep scheme for hypertrophy. I kept the 5 reps in squat only because I feel the most comfortable in that range. I break form less when I keep it heavy with low reps versus lighter with higher reps. plus I am more likely to stick with squats if I set it up that way (mental is important). What are your thoughts? Should I swap some exercises and/or add more reps/sets to some?

    Diet: 2300 calories a day.
    160-170g of protein a day
    65g of fat
    the rest is carbs and that fluctuates.
    Because I have been bulking I also occasionally add snacks that put me over 2300. I don't normally count them but they aren't more than 300-350 calories extra.
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    Registered User NomadNA's Avatar
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    I mean its all preference man.

    Your glutes, upper traps, hamstring and core are lacking volume.

    For programs, you might consider ICF 5X5 which I think has a better full coverage than SS or yours.

    For a better hypertrophy, I've bene curious what Jeff Nippards hypertrophy specific plan looks like.
    Last edited by NomadNA; 11-19-2020 at 11:47 PM.
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    Registered User Filmbuff81's Avatar
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    If you’re adamant on 3 days, you should design your split to hit everything each workout to increase the volume.

    Each day can still have a priority muscle group, but you should add in other work.

    So I’d suggest full body but with emphasis days almost a Push/legs/pull hybrid


    Day 1 - Chest/Push emphasis full body

    Then add in some Pulldowns, rows, leg press, leg curls, shoulder/Arm work

    Day 2

    Leg/quad focused

    Add in a hip hinge like RDL, some hip thrust, or GHR , rows and Pulldowns, some incline pressing or overhead work, arm work


    Day 3 - Back/Pull emphasis

    You could consider this day a weak point day and focus on muscles you consider lagging after your main pulling work.

    Some dumbbell pressing, arm/shoulder work, leg extensions, traps, abs, calves etc.


    I’d point out that the additional work for the non-emphasis muscles shouldn’t kill you.

    It’s simply to ensure you’re hitting adequate weekly volumes for all muscle groups.
    Last edited by Filmbuff81; 11-19-2020 at 11:53 PM.
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    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=179294181

    We just had a discussion similar to this, for your reference OP

    WolfRose7 basically nails it.

    Upper push (flat, incline, decline)
    Upper pull (rows, chin ups, pulldowns)
    Lower body (squat, deadlift, leg press)
    (* these are examples)

    Then 3-4 isolations
    I prefer 2 upper and 2 lower isolations
    Last edited by BeginnerGainz; 11-20-2020 at 06:31 AM.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    At the least, consider adding a couple of compounds to each day for other muscle groups so you get higher frequency along with a little more volume for the week.

    And I don't think your fat gain will change much between SS and a "hypertrophy based program" until you get your diet/nutrition tracked better.
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    Registered User bmelec's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Filmbuff81 View Post
    If you’re adamant on 3 days, you should design your split to hit everything each workout to increase the volume.

    Each day can still have a priority muscle group, but you should add in other work.

    So I’d suggest full body but with emphasis days almost a Push/legs/pull hybrid


    Day 1 - Chest/Push emphasis full body

    Then add in some Pulldowns, rows, leg press, leg curls, shoulder/Arm work

    Day 2

    Leg/quad focused

    Add in a hip hinge like RDL, some hip thrust, or GHR , rows and Pulldowns, some incline pressing or overhead work, arm work


    Day 3 - Back/Pull emphasis

    You could consider this day a weak point day and focus on muscles you consider lagging after your main pulling work.

    Some dumbbell pressing, arm/shoulder work, leg extensions, traps, abs, calves etc.


    I’d point out that the additional work for the non-emphasis muscles shouldn’t kill you.

    It’s simply to ensure you’re hitting adequate weekly volumes for all muscle groups.
    Seems that the general consensus is if I am sticking with a 3-day split, then it should be a full-body each time. How would reps and sets look like on that? Also, how would recovery look, say I hit chest on Monday with the heavy bench press, will it be okay to hit another chest exercise on Wednesday? I know you said to obviously emphasize another major body part, but is that enough time to give my body time to recover? I felt that in SS the reason I was not going up in weight was due to the lack of recovery time, I could be wrong.
    On another note, Let's say I went with a push, pull, legs split. Then I would have to be in the gym, M,T, Wed, Rest, Friday, Sat, Sun? In order to hit each part twice a week and get enough volume, correct?
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    Registered User bmelec's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NomadNA View Post
    I mean its all preference man.

    Your glutes, upper traps, hamstring and core are lacking volume.

    For programs, you might consider ICF 5X5 which I think has a better full coverage than SS or yours.

    For a better hypertrophy, I've bene curious what Jeff Nippards hypertrophy specific plan looks like.
    Just looked over ICF 5X5. Looks appealing and definitely seems like it has more volume than SS. Might end up giving that a go and see how it goes. I really want to start building some muscle and looking better. As I said, I gained some strength, but it did not translate well as far as the way I look.
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    Registered User bmelec's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    At the least, consider adding a couple of compounds to each day for other muscle groups so you get higher frequency along with a little more volume for the week.

    And I don't think your fat gain will change much between SS and a "hypertrophy based program" until you get your diet/nutrition tracked better.
    The only reason I say that I might gain more benefit from a hypertrophy based program is just from some of the research I've done about how muscles can react better with higher rep schemes. Low rep range = strength, higher rep range= muscle growth because more time under tensions, etc.
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    Originally Posted by bmelec View Post
    The only reason I say that I might gain more benefit from a hypertrophy based program is just from some of the research I've done about how muscles can react better with higher rep schemes. Low rep range = strength, higher rep range= muscle growth because more time under tensions, etc.
    If you equate the volume between low and high reps the same muscle is gained.

    However people tend to report less fatigue, joint pain, general soreness, etc. On a higher rep program.

    You just need to ensure you work close enough to failure
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    Registered User bmelec's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Filmbuff81 View Post
    If you equate the volume between low and high reps the same muscle is gained.

    However people tend to report less fatigue, joint pain, general soreness, etc. On a higher rep program.

    You just need to ensure you work close enough to failure
    Got it. I mean I understand the whole concept of progressive overload. You know you are at the right weight when it becomes difficult to finish the last couple of reps. The goal is always to do more (weight/reps) the following week while eating correctly to help with that. My question has always been, well what is enough. Like how do I know if I am training my muscles enough? I know it is hard to overtrain and we often never reach that point, but they're also comes to a point where adding too many exercises is just not effective and wasting time. For example, doing BB bench, bb incline, bb decline, and then dumbell flys might be too much chest work and unnecessary. Those were just questions running through my mind when I decided to give creating my own program a try. I know adding more volume equates to more muscle development, which is why I wanted to switch over from SS as I feel it does not provide enough volume. I want to stick with the 3-day split, but seems that the general consensus is to do full body on all three days, but at that point I am basically going to be doing all compounds again. Using the chest example, is hitting bench press 3x a week a good enough exercise to develop a good chest versus other splits that include other chest movements such as incline, flys, etc.?
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    Registered User RapidFail's Avatar
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    Is it just me, or would Fierce 5 Novice be a good stepping stone after Starting Strength?

    Slightly slower progression (which you could slow further by using the progression from the UL), same frequency but greater variety and more volume.
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    Is it just me, or would Fierce 5 Novice be a good stepping stone after Starting Strength?

    Slightly slower progression (which you could slow further by using the progression from the UL), same frequency but greater variety and more volume.
    Fierce 5 is too similar to starting strength. As in, they are both beginner LP programs but one has a better balance of exercises and light but useful accessory work.

    Training full body into the intermediate and advanced stage is a little more nuanced than linear progression.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Fierce 5 is too similar to starting strength. As in, they are both beginner LP programs but one has a better balance of exercises and light but useful accessory work.

    Training full body into the intermediate and advanced stage is a little more nuanced than linear progression.
    Makes sense, which is why I suggested using the slower progression of the UL program (add a rep one week and weight the next). You could also just go straight to Fierce 5 Upper Lower, but OP said he prefers 3 days. Also the volume increase from SS to F5 UL would be huge.
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    Makes sense, which is why I suggested using the slower progression of the UL program (add a rep one week and weight the next). You could also just go straight to Fierce 5 Upper Lower, but OP said he prefers 3 days. Also the volume increase from SS to F5 UL would be huge.
    In order to advance, at some point OP is gonna have to leave his comfort zone. So either more volume, or more days training.

    I do like the idea of add a rep then add weight though.
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    Originally Posted by bmelec View Post
    Got it. I mean I understand the whole concept of progressive overload. You know you are at the right weight when it becomes difficult to finish the last couple of reps. The goal is always to do more (weight/reps) the following week while eating correctly to help with that. My question has always been, well what is enough. Like how do I know if I am training my muscles enough? I know it is hard to overtrain and we often never reach that point, but they're also comes to a point where adding too many exercises is just not effective and wasting time. For example, doing BB bench, bb incline, bb decline, and then dumbell flys might be too much chest work and unnecessary. Those were just questions running through my mind when I decided to give creating my own program a try. I know adding more volume equates to more muscle development, which is why I wanted to switch over from SS as I feel it does not provide enough volume. I want to stick with the 3-day split, but seems that the general consensus is to do full body on all three days, but at that point I am basically going to be doing all compounds again. Using the chest example, is hitting bench press 3x a week a good enough exercise to develop a good chest versus other splits that include other chest movements such as incline, flys, etc.?
    Watch Eric helms muscle and strength pyramid videos and grab his book.

    Educate yourself on programming and then life becomes easier.

    Eventually you can’t add weight every week.

    Sometimes you might add a few reps to an exercise or 5 lbs for the whole month.

    If you’re lifts are stalling for a few weeks, you either need to deload or add more volume which may mean 1-2 sets for the exercises that are stalling.

    And you need to do trial and error to find the sweet spot for yourself.

    Some people can progress on 5-10 sets per muscle group per week, the average tends to be 10-20 depending on your level of advancement.

    Let’s use your chest day for an example.

    I’ll be generous and count the dips towards chest.

    So that’s 6 sets of chest for the week.

    Will you progress in this? As a rank beginner sure. But I know I’d stall out in like 2 weeks.

    So you can simply try this.

    Use double progression on all your lifts, try to hit the top end of the rep range before adding weight.

    Do this until you stall on weights progression.

    This might be 1/2/3 cycles.

    Deload 10% then start over. If you stall again or it feels a grind to progress, it may be fine for more volume.

    You now have 2 options.

    Add 1-2 sets to your chest day.

    Go to an upper lower split.

    Add 2-3 sets of dumbbell pressing to another day and 2-3 sets of flies to another day.

    Chest day becomes your “strength day”

    Other chest work becomes “hypertrophy/volume” day and have rep ranges of 12-15, 15-20.

    Theoretically this should impose enough stimulus to start progression and hypertrophy for a long while.

    Rinse and repeat for any other lifts.

    Another option is wave loading linear periodization.

    Each week load goes up and reps come down.

    Week 1 - 12 reps
    Week 2 - 10 reps
    Week 3 - 8 reps
    Week 4 - deload
    Week 5 - 12 reps 5-10lbs more weight
    Week 6 - 10 reps
    Week 7 - 8 reps
    Week 8 - deload

    Still use double progression on isolation lifts.

    This is all quick and dirty to give you basic ideas.

    Edit:

    This is also why I suggested if you’re stuck to 3 days make it a full body/push pull hybrid.

    Each day is full body but you use emphasis on each day.

    So day 1 chest/push emphasis.

    Add in some leg curls and extensions and some light Pulldowns and rows and curls.

    Day 2 leg/quad emphasis

    Add in some cable flies, arm work, some straight arm Pulldowns down or cable pullovers, traps

    Day 3 pull emphasis

    Add in incline dumbbell pressing, some lateral raises or cable upright rows, arm work, some leg presses or some single leg work.
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    At your strength level 4 day upper/lower type split would be ideal but if you can only train 3 days maybe Viking's fullbody routine is an good option. Haven't tried it, but volume wise looks solid: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...2565211&page=1
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    In order to advance, at some point OP is gonna have to leave his comfort zone. So either more volume, or more days training.

    I do like the idea of add a rep then add weight though.
    Nothing to disagree with there, but F5 Novice is a sizable volume increse over SS - 48 weekly sets vs 23-25 (although much of that extra volume is accessory work).
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    Nothing to disagree with there, but F5 Novice is a sizable volume increse over SS - 48 weekly sets vs 23-25 (although much of that extra volume is accessory work).
    At least it is well thought out accessory work and not mountains of curls, nomsayin?
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    Originally Posted by Filmbuff81 View Post
    Watch Eric helms muscle and strength pyramid videos and grab his book.

    Educate yourself on programming and then life becomes easier.

    Eventually you can’t add weight every week.

    Sometimes you might add a few reps to an exercise or 5 lbs for the whole month.

    If you’re lifts are stalling for a few weeks, you either need to deload or add more volume which may mean 1-2 sets for the exercises that are stalling.

    And you need to do trial and error to find the sweet spot for yourself.

    Some people can progress on 5-10 sets per muscle group per week, the average tends to be 10-20 depending on your level of advancement.

    Let’s use your chest day for an example.

    I’ll be generous and count the dips towards chest.

    So that’s 6 sets of chest for the week.

    Will you progress in this? As a rank beginner sure. But I know I’d stall out in like 2 weeks.

    So you can simply try this.

    Use double progression on all your lifts, try to hit the top end of the rep range before adding weight.

    Do this until you stall on weights progression.

    This might be 1/2/3 cycles.

    Deload 10% then start over. If you stall again or it feels a grind to progress, it may be fine for more volume.

    You now have 2 options.

    Add 1-2 sets to your chest day.

    Go to an upper lower split.

    Add 2-3 sets of dumbbell pressing to another day and 2-3 sets of flies to another day.

    Chest day becomes your “strength day”

    Other chest work becomes “hypertrophy/volume” day and have rep ranges of 12-15, 15-20.

    Theoretically this should impose enough stimulus to start progression and hypertrophy for a long while.

    Rinse and repeat for any other lifts.

    Another option is wave loading linear periodization.

    Each week load goes up and reps come down.

    Week 1 - 12 reps
    Week 2 - 10 reps
    Week 3 - 8 reps
    Week 4 - deload
    Week 5 - 12 reps 5-10lbs more weight
    Week 6 - 10 reps
    Week 7 - 8 reps
    Week 8 - deload

    Still use double progression on isolation lifts.

    This is all quick and dirty to give you basic ideas.

    Edit:

    This is also why I suggested if you’re stuck to 3 days make it a full body/push pull hybrid.

    Each day is full body but you use emphasis on each day.

    So day 1 chest/push emphasis.

    Add in some leg curls and extensions and some light Pulldowns and rows and curls.

    Day 2 leg/quad emphasis

    Add in some cable flies, arm work, some straight arm Pulldowns down or cable pullovers, traps

    Day 3 pull emphasis

    Add in incline dumbbell pressing, some lateral raises or cable upright rows, arm work, some leg presses or some single leg work.
    Thanks for taking the time to write all of this up. Much appreciated.
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  20. #20
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=179294181

    We just had a discussion similar to this, for your reference OP

    WolfRose7 basically nails it.

    Upper push (flat, incline, decline)
    Upper pull (rows, chin ups, pulldowns)
    Lower body (squat, deadlift, leg press)
    (* these are examples)

    Then 3-4 isolations
    I prefer 2 upper and 2 lower isolations
    Quoting for emphasis..
    And a none exhaustive lists of lifts!

    And to add... Don't forget that modifying a grip or stance width, tempo, pauses, rom and resistance curve (adding bands ect) can give a lot of variety but still keep a good amount of specificity to rotate through either in the week or block that will reduce overuse issues and vary the stimulus to keep cultivating adaptation and gains.

    I could make over dozen close variations of just flat bench with a regular bar for example..which as example, I'm currently using 4 variations each week.
    330 tempo pause bench
    Tng bench vs band
    Paused Cg larsen press
    Paused mg low incline
    FMH crew T-Rex.
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