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Hard gainer looking for my next routine


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Hi all

 

I'm still having a terrible time putting on weight in my arms. my chest and legs are doing ok, I don't want to change much with that.

 

Here's what i've tried:

 

aug 09 thru now:

Wednesday:

Biceps, 1x per week, 1 minute rest in between sets:

10 reps lightest weight, 8 reps medium, 6 reps heaviest.

3 sets 21s 15,20 lbs

3 sets straight bar standing curls 50,60,70lbs

3 sets hammer dumbell curls on the steep side of a standing preacher, 15,20,25

3 sets reverse ez-curl bar standing curls 40,50,60

abs class

 

saturday:

Triceps, 1x per week, 1 minute rest between sets

3 sets weighted dips at 30,40,50

3 sets skull crushers at 40,50,60

3 sets rope overhead tricep at 45,50,60

3 sets tricep extension (switching between palm up and down) 20,25,30

 

I'll also do a plyometrics class on friday, as well as the abs class.

 

I switch up the order each day to make sure each exercise gets a chance at being first and last.

 

I do some leg presses on other days and a ton of stairmaster work each day. Mostly ignoring chest work for right now, though i'll occasionally bench or do butterflies or cable cross.

 

during and shortly after I've done one of these sessions, i'll be fairly pumped (maybe 20% larger arm circumference). about an hour later, I'll be back to normal. 6 months of *this* routine have gotten me nearly nowhere as far as increased resting arm size. For a bit in the beginning i was increasing rep weight regularly, but I'm barely able to complete these exercises at these weights, so increasing isn't going to happen without lowering reps or having poor form. I definitely feel that i exercised the next day, so it isn't like i'm completely under-doing it.

 

I make sure to have absolutely perfect form. No rocking or leaning or swinging weights. Slow and controlled movements through everything. I'll occasionally not be able to finish a set because of this.

 

Before this routine, i had been "overtraining". I'd gotten there over the course of 2 years by starting off with a normal routine and just adding and adding to it. I would do every bicep exercise i could think of twice a week and triceps once a week. I'd work on biceps for over an hour starting by bicep curls stripping down 5lbs per set from 80 to 35. I'd wait a bit to recover and do it again. I'd do weighted chinups, hammer db curls, you name it. That got me nowhere too, but took a serious chunk of my time.

 

My diet is extremely low in fat, specifically, I won't eat anything with any measurable amount of saturated fat. I've been eating 5 full meals per day, mostly proteins (a block of tofu per day is typical), complex carbs and a ton of fiber. Then there's the snacking. lots of that.

I was taking plain creatine mono, but I just couldn't stomach it and switched to plain creatine ester (is anyone else amazed at how bad that tastes? I made the mistake of opening the pills once and mixing into a drink...oops!) I'm not taking the bottle's recommended dose, but i also weigh half of what most people taking that stuff weigh, and since I first started using creatine 10 years ago, I've watched the recommended dose go up 10x. I just don't believe you need 2000mg per day, even if you're not eating animals.

 

Right now, my fancy scale weighs me in at 120lbs (i got as low as 106 once, and can't break 122 no matter what i do), at about 45% muscle and 10% fat (when I'm looking for abs, i can get the fat %age down to about 6 fairly easily, but i'm trying to gain right now). I'm 28 and have been veg since 18. I worked out before i was veg, and didn't have any success back then that would suggest that eating animals would help me gain weight (not that i'm considering it an option, but non veg people are always quick to point out that might be my problem)

 

I've been contemplating a few changes to my routine, tell me what you think, or provide an entirely different suggestion:

1) eliminate the 1 minute rest between sets. This would necessitate lower weight but could use muscle more. Perhaps as small a rest as 10 seconds.

2)Ditch the weights entirely and try only body resistance exercises like weighted chinups, etc. I've also been thinking of joining a gymnastics club because rings look like a lot of fun, but i haven't had a decent time finding one for adults (not that i've been looking all that intently..)

3) try working with awful form. I've got to say, i'm a bit jealous of the people at the gym with giant arms and silly form. Is it all just 'roids, or are they just lucky, or both? I tried doing bicep curls poorly (swinging weight, not straightening arms on the way down, bringing my chest to the weight, etc) and i was able to do way more reps at way higher weight (duh). I felt really stupid though.

 

What do you think? Thanks for reading all the way down here!

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If you are making good gains with chest and legs your diet is not the problem however low fat + high fiber = low testosterone.

To me your routine looks really awful to be honest and I would suggest you simplify simplify simplify. If you are a so called "hard gainer" you really don't have a good reason to be having a bicep session and a tricep session or even a arm-only session. I don't know how the rest of your routine looks like (back and chest excersises are pretty crucial for arm development) but I'm getting the impression that they too are out of bounds.

Try a more basic approach like a upper/lower body-split, starting strenght, full body workouts or something like that. Whatever you choose focus on compounds and maybe do a few sets of isolation for your arms. Me personally and a lot of my friends have had a lot of success with a simple 3-split that looks like this:

1. Press. Pick a horizontal press excersise (bench press, flat dumbbell press, incline press) do 5-6 sets 4-8 reps

Pick a vertical press excersise (military press, seated dumbbell press) do 5-6 sets 4-8 reps

If you feel like it choose a isolation excersise for either shoulders or triceps (pushdowns, lateral side raises) and do 3 sets, I don't give a fuck how many reps.

 

2. Legs. Do squats or leg presses for 5-6 sets 4-8 reps.

Do deadlift, straight deadlifts or (if you're a sissy) lunges for 5-6 sets 4-8 reps

Choose an additional excersise (calf presses might actually benefit you for real but otherwise leg curls, leg kicks etc) do 3 sets and whatever number of reps you want to.

Do some ab excersises.

 

3. Pull. Choose a vertical pulling excersise (lat pulldowns, pull-ups) for 5-6 sets 4-8 reps.

Choose a horisontal pulling excersise (bent-over barbell row, dumbbell row) for 5-6 sets 4-8 reps.

Choose an additional excersise (teh almighty curl perhaps) and do 3 sets of whatever rep range you desire.

 

Make sure you warm up properly of course.

 

The point of that program is that it's simple and contains basically everything essential and it limits non-essential stuff. Make sure you increase the weights on a regular basis because otherwise you won't grow.

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Last i checked, i was well over 3000 calories per day.

 

What should the rest time be between sets and between different exercises?

 

Take the time you feel you need to so that you can give 100% the next set. It's different from person to person and excersise to excersise. For instance I probably rest 3-4 minutes between squat sets but only 2 minutes between the back excersise sets. Do what you feel like.

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There are some positive aspects of high intensity workouts if they are planned very well and certain athletes and bodybuilders might benefit from that type of workouts but you do not have to worry about petite details like that. Worrying too much about being optimal in every aspect with both diet and work outs (opti-paranoia) causes stress and stress is catabolic. Focus on what's important, lifting heavy ass weights.

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I'm not looking for a 100% perfect workout here, I'm looking to lower my level of frustration with my workout routine. Day after day of what i consider very hard work and any significant or noticeable results averaged to zero by just as frequent days with negative results.

 

What would you suggest for a warm up?

 

Also, for 5-8 sets, at 4-8 reps per, should i be increasing weight, decreasing weight, or aiming to have a constant weight throughout?

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Never heard of it. I'll harness the power of the internet and see.

 

I do not appear to be suffering from a lack of testosterone. I do have decent muscle mass -- I'd just like a bit more.

 

edit: quick internet research suggests lactic acid training is firstly for fat loss, something i'm not currently concerned with --at all--... Any specific reason you picked that?

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edit: quick internet research suggests lactic acid training is firstly for fat loss, something i'm not currently concerned with --at all--... Any specific reason you picked that?

Yep, people use it for fat loss, but its also used to stimulate testosterone production. You say you have enough testosterone and I dont doubt it, I'm not suggesting that you are lacking in testosterone. What I'm saying is that EXTRA testosterone will help you put on a hell of a lot of muscle quickly..like using a mild steroid The way that you train and the exercises that you choose will greatly effect the levels of testosterone produced by your body. For example, using compound movements has been shown to produce more testosterone than isolation exercises.. supersetting is also good for stimulating testosterone production...but lactic acid training could also be a very valuable tool. I read quite a few things about this technique recently, but I can't remember where as I read SO much stuff. If you really cant find anything which explains how it works on the net, I'll try to dig out the article I origionally read.

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I'm not looking for a 100% perfect workout here, I'm looking to lower my level of frustration with my workout routine. Day after day of what i consider very hard work and any significant or noticeable results averaged to zero by just as frequent days with negative results.

 

What would you suggest for a warm up?

 

Also, for 5-8 sets, at 4-8 reps per, should i be increasing weight, decreasing weight, or aiming to have a constant weight throughout?

 

A good warm up for me is just starting really light with the first excersise and gradually moving up the weights. Some do both that and spend some time on a cross trainer before, do what you feel like.

5-6 sets, not 5-8. You can approach it differently but you should always try to be within the 4-8 rep range. If you do 9 reps, increase the weight and if you do 3 you lower the weight. Depending on how fast you get tired etc you might have to lower the weight during your work out. It might look something like this:

1: 50 kg x 6 reps

2: 50 x 5

3: 50 x 5

4: 50 x 4

5: 50 x 3 When this happens you lower the weight till the next set

6: 45 x 7

etc etc You get the picture.

If you manage to do 4 or more sets within the rep range 4-8 you should probably increase the weight next session, however that depends on how you feel the next session etc, use your head and think it through but it is very important to increase weights, I highly encourage you to write down what weights you are lifting, you can use an online journal or just some good ole paper but make sure weights are increasing!

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I'll second the sentiment of simplifying for better results.

 

When I trained arms furiously, they never grew. When I barely trained them, they grew much more.

 

Removing rest times down to a bare minimum won't necessarily help things - it's like equating that curling a can of soup for ten hours could be better than doing effective sets with a challenging weight - it's not the non-stop quantity that makes progress, it's quality training effectively for your body type that will help break through a plateau.

 

I'd suggest simply doing something like 3x5-8 reps for DB hammer curls, done to where the last rep as an absolute struggle to complete, and just go with that for a month or two for bicep training. Maybe one higer-rep set afterward if you feel that you "need" to feel extremely sore to progress, but when I grew the most, I was the least sore after training, so don't take "feeling the burn/pump" as a necessity for making gains. And as for rest times, some of my best gains were made with rest times of 3-5 minutes between sets (usually for compound stuff, not so much for arm work which I usually kept at about 2 to 2.5 minutes between sets) - while that may not be optimal for everyone, it allowed me proper recovery to give 100% each set, because with only one minute or so, I'd have had less than optimal strength on each subsequent set. No matter what the science may say about rest periods, everyone's different, and some of us can do just fine with longer rest between sets if our bodies feel we need it.

 

Also, perfect form does not mean optimal gains in all cases. Using a bit of cheat from time to time on a last few reps isn't going to kill you, and if it makes the difference between finishing your set of arm work or not, it's better to do what it takes to get it done. I'm not condoning cheating EVERY rep, but if you were aiming for 10 and found that strict form was impossible after the 8th, use some body english to get those last 2 if that's what it takes. Some things like squats and deadlifts aren't meant to be done with sub-standard form (unless you want to risk injury), but many arm and back movements can be extremely effective with a bit of momentum involved, and you don't have to be genetically gifted or on steroids to make progress training in that manner.

 

If you're doing chest and overhead pressing work, your triceps are getting used there to some extent, so it's like having a minor triceps workout every time you do those other movements. Same for biceps with upper and lower back work - you may not THINK you're working them, but inevitably, they do get worked even when using the best form to NOT incorporate them into other lifts. I think that too many people forget this, and they end up being continually overtrained just enough to affect their progress. Just something to keep in mind, as if you happen to be doing something like upper back and chest work a day before your arm work, something on arm day is going to suffer because you may well still be needing more recovery from the previous lifting that did incorporate arms to a lesser degree.

 

Lots of factors to consider, but I do think that simplifying is the way to go for you. Even your routine below is far too extensive for anyone other than perhaps a competitive bodybuilder. Many people will find that 3-6 sets for arms done once weekly (or even less) can still yield great results, even if the muscle mags say that everyone uses a routine consisting of 20 sets for biceps

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So, how much training of a given muscle group per week (taking into account your excellent point that, for example, chest exercises are really also arm exercises) is enough? How much is too much? If I'm still sore after, say, two days, should I wait another day or two before training those muscles? If I'm not sore after a workout, does that mean I didn't train hard enough?

 

I'll second the sentiment of simplifying for better results.

 

When I trained arms furiously, they never grew. When I barely trained them, they grew much more.

 

Removing rest times down to a bare minimum won't necessarily help things - it's like equating that curling a can of soup for ten hours could be better than doing effective sets with a challenging weight - it's not the non-stop quantity that makes progress, it's quality training effectively for your body type that will help break through a plateau.

 

I'd suggest simply doing something like 3x5-8 reps for DB hammer curls, done to where the last rep as an absolute struggle to complete, and just go with that for a month or two for bicep training. Maybe one higer-rep set afterward if you feel that you "need" to feel extremely sore to progress, but when I grew the most, I was the least sore after training, so don't take "feeling the burn/pump" as a necessity for making gains. And as for rest times, some of my best gains were made with rest times of 3-5 minutes between sets (usually for compound stuff, not so much for arm work which I usually kept at about 2 to 2.5 minutes between sets) - while that may not be optimal for everyone, it allowed me proper recovery to give 100% each set, because with only one minute or so, I'd have had less than optimal strength on each subsequent set. No matter what the science may say about rest periods, everyone's different, and some of us can do just fine with longer rest between sets if our bodies feel we need it.

 

Also, perfect form does not mean optimal gains in all cases. Using a bit of cheat from time to time on a last few reps isn't going to kill you, and if it makes the difference between finishing your set of arm work or not, it's better to do what it takes to get it done. I'm not condoning cheating EVERY rep, but if you were aiming for 10 and found that strict form was impossible after the 8th, use some body english to get those last 2 if that's what it takes. Some things like squats and deadlifts aren't meant to be done with sub-standard form (unless you want to risk injury), but many arm and back movements can be extremely effective with a bit of momentum involved, and you don't have to be genetically gifted or on steroids to make progress training in that manner.

 

If you're doing chest and overhead pressing work, your triceps are getting used there to some extent, so it's like having a minor triceps workout every time you do those other movements. Same for biceps with upper and lower back work - you may not THINK you're working them, but inevitably, they do get worked even when using the best form to NOT incorporate them into other lifts. I think that too many people forget this, and they end up being continually overtrained just enough to affect their progress. Just something to keep in mind, as if you happen to be doing something like upper back and chest work a day before your arm work, something on arm day is going to suffer because you may well still be needing more recovery from the previous lifting that did incorporate arms to a lesser degree.

 

Lots of factors to consider, but I do think that simplifying is the way to go for you. Even your routine below is far too extensive for anyone other than perhaps a competitive bodybuilder. Many people will find that 3-6 sets for arms done once weekly (or even less) can still yield great results, even if the muscle mags say that everyone uses a routine consisting of 20 sets for biceps

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Hey, Veginator!

 

I've always done it so that, if anything is still store, I don't train it until it's feeling normal and fully recovered again. Of course, recovery time is going to vary from person to person, but I've always found that my legs take about 5-6 days to recover fully, lower back about 4-5 days, upper back, chest and shoulders about 3-4 days, and arms 2-3 days. This isn't to say I train all those parts at the first moment they feel "normal", but if you're no longer feeling residual soreness, then you're probably fairly safe to train then sooner than later without worrying about overtraining. There's always tons of debate about "should I train a body part as soon as it feels recovered, or, stick to a set number of days between", which I can't really answer since some people swear that both ways work best, so it's just trial-and-error to find what works best for you.

 

Soreness, though, won't always be a fantastic indicator of how long you need to recover. My most brutal workouts sometimes only left me sore for a short time, even though they were grueling and effective and I made my best gains with them. For me, high-rep stuff leaves me MUCH more sore than all-out low rep work, even if I'm actually working harder on the heavy low-rep training - that's just how my body is. It's tricky, because I'd often FEEL like I could train a body part more often, but if I increased the frequency of training parts due to lack of soreness, I didn't get any extra benefit and I eventually felt run down. If you KNOW you trained hard and just aren't feeling as sore as usual, don't let it fool you too much to think that your workout was less than effective, because that's not always the case!

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I know that pull-ups, rowing, etc, all use biceps, and i actually used to incorporate them into my bicep routine -- back when i was spending over an hour per session 2x per week on biceps.

 

What really really aggravates me is that i'll have a fantastic pump just after my workout -- something i'd be incredibly happy with, but it is gone within an hour or two.

 

I always make sure to be completely recovered before working the same group again, which is why i'll sometimes get one session in per week, sometimes two.

 

I think i'm going to try decreasing my isolation with weight techniques and increase the more natural self-resistance stuff like chinups, rowing, push-ups, etc. It'll take me a bit to come up with a schedule but i'll post it when i'm done for people to criticize.

I'm thinking, just off the top of my head:

biceps:

pullups, chinups, rowing curls

triceps:

bench press

overhead dumbell press

weighted dips (i really like dips)

 

What else to add/modify? What's the opinion on whether to always do the same order of things or to mix it up? Obviously, I'm able to put a lot more into the first technique than the last one, so i figure that by switching the order each session, I make sure that the minor differences in each exercise get to reap the benefits of max weight/energy.

 

As far as the whole squat thing: I really really hate squats. even on a machine, I hate squats. with a bar, forget it. I'm confident that my legs are doing okay thanks to the plyometrics and stairmaster, and any minor back exercise/small incidental other stuff i'd get from squats just isn't worth it for me.

 

The other question: Start high, max reps per, strip down and repeat until exhaustion, or start low, lots of reps, increase weight, less reps, increase weight, less less reps, then move on?

 

Or something completely different?

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I've already given you my main advice so I'm just going to comment a few things.

 

What really really aggravates me is that i'll have a fantastic pump just after my workout -- something i'd be incredibly happy with, but it is gone within an hour or two.

 

If the pump makes you happy I get what you are aiming for, but I hope you know it does nothing for muscle growth.

 

I always make sure to be completely recovered before working the same group again, which is why i'll sometimes get one session in per week, sometimes two.

 

This is good! It's one of the reasons I like a 3-split because if you eat bad/sleep bad and recover slowly you only have to do 3 sessions per week but if you revocer fast you can do 4-5 session in a week. As a standard I train each muscle group every fifth day.

 

I think i'm going to try decreasing my isolation with weight techniques and increase the more natural self-resistance stuff like chinups, rowing, push-ups, etc.

 

I think chinups and pull-ups are great, specially if you put weight on it but you need to focus on HEAVY lifting and push-ups won't do much for you. With rowing I hope you're talking about either barbell or dumbbell

 

I'm thinking, just off the top of my head:

biceps:

pullups, chinups, rowing curls

triceps:

bench press

overhead dumbell press

weighted dips (i really like dips)

 

What else to add/modify?

 

The problem when you're writing like this is that we have no idea how the rest of the sessions look. Back, chest, legs, shoulders or however you've split it. But as I wrote, I've already said how I think you should work out.

 

As far as the whole squat thing: I really really hate squats. even on a machine, I hate squats. with a bar, forget it. I

 

Even though it's popular to say that someone "needs" to squat to get big legs it's not true. Do leg presses instead, just make sure you increase weight as time goes, that's key to building muscle.

 

I'm confident that my legs are doing okay thanks to the plyometrics and stairmaster

 

Even though those are both good for some reasons you still need to train your legs with proper resistance training if you don't want chicken leg syndrome. I don't know much about the physiology of plyometrics but training in a stairmaster will cause gene expression that inhibits muscle growth rather than contributing to it.

 

Or something completely different?

 

Yes, do what I said.

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What really really aggravates me is that i'll have a fantastic pump just after my workout -- something i'd be incredibly happy with, but it is gone within an hour or two.

 

If the pump makes you happy I get what you are aiming for, but I hope you know it does nothing for muscle growth.

 

Exactly. A pump is good for wanting to look more impressive while it lasts, but it does not have any indication of showing how quality your training was and does not indicate growth is imminent. And as far as keeping a lasting pump, unless you want to play aroud with insulin like pro BB'ers do, you're not going to keep a pump for hours on end.

 

I think i'm going to try decreasing my isolation with weight techniques and increase the more natural self-resistance stuff like chinups, rowing, push-ups, etc.

 

I think chinups and pull-ups are great, specially if you put weight on it but you need to focus on HEAVY lifting and push-ups won't do much for you. With rowing I hope you're talking about either barbell or dumbbell

 

A second to what xjohanx said. If you're not stimulating growth properly, you're not going to get the results. Doing 1000 push-ups in a session won't do the same as doing 3x8 to failure (or near failure) for bench pressing to stimulate the growth you seem to be after. Quality, not quantity.

 

As far as the whole squat thing: I really really hate squats. even on a machine, I hate squats. with a bar, forget it. I

 

Even though it's popular to say that someone "needs" to squat to get big legs it's not true. Do leg presses instead, just make sure you increase weight as time goes, that's key to building muscle.

 

xjohanx is right again. I'm one of the heavy proponents of squats, simply because they are the king of all lifts, but they're not 100% necessary for growth (though, I challenge anyone to find a better exercise for overall growth ) If you want THE most bang for your buck for overall potential leg growth, you won't do better than squats, but you can settle for less with other exercises if you prefer.

 

I'm confident that my legs are doing okay thanks to the plyometrics and stairmaster

 

Even though those are both good for some reasons you still need to train your legs with proper resistance training if you don't want chicken leg syndrome. I don't know much about the physiology of plyometrics but training in a stairmaster will cause gene expression that inhibits muscle growth rather than contributing to it.

 

Again to side with xjohanx on this one. Distance runners may be using their legs for hours on end, but do they have large legs? Rarely ever. Cyclists tend to have good development, but do they have monster legs? No. Endurance work does NOT build much muscle, so things like the stairmaster, while they may make your legs sore, won't do much of anything to build size. One more time, think quality over quantity if you want to maximize potential for overall muscle growth and development, even if it involves getting on the....ugh...leg press machine Nobody built massive arms by curling a soup can for hours on end, so why climb stairs and think it's going to build large, powerful legs? Find something that you like that's resistance-based, hit it hard, hit it heavy, eat, rest, repeat!

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I'm perfectly happy with my legs, whether I'm doing it wrong or not, they're literally the last thing I want to build up. If you're saying that I have to work them to get any other part of my body to grow as well, that's one thing, but working my legs --for the sake of getting bigger legs-- is completely unimportant to me. Proper or not, the stairmaster, cycling, plyometrics and the little bit of leg presses i do is working just fine for me, leg-wise.

 

I was wondering, maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. What's a reasonable non-steroid average-person rate at which muscle might grow and stay? Please don't respond with "It is going to be different for everyone", as, well, *duh*.

 

What i mean is, what would you set the bar at for "if you're not growing this much, you've got to be doing everything wrong"?

For instance: "If you're concentrating on arms and your circumference isn't increasing by 10/15/20% in a year (over, say, 50-100 averaged out measurements), you're doing it wrong." What %age would you put in there for a below-average-weight person? What about a normal person? What about someone in their prime who is just getting into BB and could theoretically experience optimal growth at the beginning (just out of curiosity)

What is a reasonable growth %age range to expect? I'm just wondering if I'm not doing as badly as i think i am.

 

thanks!

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I never said i wouldn't train my legs, only that i didn't see a need for weight-training my legs for the sake of getting bigger legs.

 

If i need to do more leg presses, extensions, etc, to keep my body building muscle, then that's what i'll do. I'll even try squats again, but i really don't favor them.

 

Edit: According to that link, I'm not doing as badly as i thought, as far as weight in+time=weight out. I started this gaining phase at 118lbs in nov, and i'm at 123lbs 5 months later. I've been working out regularly (this time) for about 2.5 years.

I guess I'll know more when i see what i weigh after i start my cutting phase.

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Mark Rippetoe on squats: "There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat." Simply put, they give your body a reason to grow. You already seem pretty resistant to advice, but I dare say you you'd see a lot better results if you dropped the bodybuilding style routine and concentrated on core lifts like squats, deadlifts, overhead and bench presses. At 123 pounds I can't imagine you have a body part on you that doesn't need to grow.

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I'm not going to touch the "what can I expect in gains" because it is just too varied for people to know (though, most people I know who have been training for at least 2 years seem pretty pleased when they can add 5-8 lbs. of lean mass in a year naturally).

 

And I second what coroho said regarding the Rippetoe quote on squats. It's too often believed that they're JUST for legs, but they're not. Your traps will be worked from needing to keep the bar squeezed into place, promoting upper back growth. Your abs/core will get worked hard as you go heavy, building up a solid base. Your lower back will be taxed a bit as well from needing to keep things stable, which you won't get on any machine-based leg stuff. Not to mention, you're going to get more bang for your buck in overall leg growth and development on top of those factors. Just something to consider - again, squats aren't MANDATORY for growth, but if you REALLY want to do the most to accomplish the best gains in the shortest possible time, nothing will beat squats for pushing you there. Seriously, nothing else comes close. They're not "fun" to do once you get to doing them properly, hard and heavy, but the payoff is worth it.

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