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Hard gainer looking for my next routine


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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.

 

I'm not intentionally being resistant to advice, I'm just making an attempt to reconcile the 20 totally different things I've been told over the years. There are plenty of people providing totally conflicting advice just as loud as everyone else.

 

And i'm 5'4", so while 123 isn't heavy, i'm not frail either.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, so here's what I've started:

(all 5-6 sets 4-8 reps unless specified)

 

day 1:

Bench press

Press (this type: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbswrStK8cs )

weighted dips (3 sets 4-8 reps)

 

day 2:

Squat (got me a squat sponge, they aren't so bad...)

Deadlift ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4FwBkuK6o )

leg curls (both extension and curl, 3x of each, 4-8 reps)

 

day 3:

Pull ups

bent-over-barbell row (supine, from

)

bicep curl 3x sets 4-8 reps (ez curl bar)

21s 2 sets

 

I do an abs class on wed and friday, and a plyometrics class on friday.

Stairmaster every day for 20 mins on short days and 50 on long days (pretty much 50/50)

 

On the pull ups -- it was advised that i do 5-6 sets at 4-8 reps. How do i control how many pull ups i can do? I have been using a dipping belt to increase my weight. A bit awkward when you're short...

 

What do you think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

This looks so much better than what you originally posted!

 

And yes, adding weight with a dipping belt is the best way to increase volume and intensity while keeping the reps relatively low. There are different ways of "doing up" a dipping belt that will keep the weight from hanging too low (I'm 5'6 myself, so I hear ya). The rule is that there are no rules. Loop the chain through the belt before attaching the weight, tie the chain around the weight several times, do anything you can picture to make the combination of that belt + that weight + that length of chain comfortable for you to use.

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You people who think squatting is fun are nuts!

 

Unless, of course, you truly enjoy pain and suffering

 

I love the pain. It's one of the few times where I do anything macho, haha. I love that, in order to git 'er done, I have to push myself way beyond the comfort zone. I also love that I'm now out-squatting/deadlifting guys who are much bigger than me, due to the fact that most guys at my gym are concerned with the whole "beach body" thing, so their leg strength is easily 1/3 of what it could be.

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I'm not having any trouble with the dipping belt, the only issue is that when i'm doing pullups with the belt, i have to climb up something or get something to stand on to reach the bars, as it is somewhat difficult to jump with 45lbs chained near my junk.

 

I'm finding that with my squats, my lower back gets tired way before my legs do. I could do way more weight/reps before my legs gave out. I've watched a bunch of rippetoe videos on youtube on squat form and I'm pretty sure I'm doing them right -- is it just a matter of building up my lower back before I'm able to strain my legs?

At the moment, I'm squatting about 130% of my weight. I'm still a bit nervous about it so i'm going easy.

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I'm not having any trouble with the dipping belt, the only issue is that when i'm doing pullups with the belt, i have to climb up something or get something to stand on to reach the bars, as it is somewhat difficult to jump with 45lbs chained near my junk.

 

I'm finding that with my squats, my lower back gets tired way before my legs do. I could do way more weight/reps before my legs gave out. I've watched a bunch of rippetoe videos on youtube on squat form and I'm pretty sure I'm doing them right -- is it just a matter of building up my lower back before I'm able to strain my legs?

At the moment, I'm squatting about 130% of my weight. I'm still a bit nervous about it so i'm going easy.

 

Ah, I know what you mean. My gym has stackable plastic aerobics platform thingies right next to the pullup bars, so I just grab a couple of those and I'm good to go. Maybe yours has something similar? I agree, jumping with a plate chained to you = asking for an injury!

 

What you're describing is perfectly normal on squats done with proper form in a beginner. I have had a similar experience. Right now, in terms of tiredness afterward, I find it's about 50% hips/35% core muscles/15% legs. One thing I would just want to rule out as a cause of lower back tiredness is that some people end up leaning too far forward when getting to the bottom of their squat (when you're near/at/below parallel), because it takes a lot of hip flexibility to get that low while keeping the torso fairly upright. If you're leaning too far forward (I was for a week or two when the weights started getting heavy), you end up doing a partial Good Morning with each rep, which brutalizes the lower back. A certain amount of forward lean is necessary, and this also depends on your bar position, but my limited hip flexibility was causing me to do this at first, and I really felt it.

 

Now, I'm much better at maintaining a rigid torso, and getting low with proper positioning, and I feel the work in my entire core instead of just my low back. The powerlifting guru who corrected my form said both of these things (leaning forward at first, and a tired core when doing it right) are extremely common in beginners and aren't of much concern if you're aware of your form and aren't making any foot/knee/depth errors.

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Watching the videos on youtube, it looked like the lifters backs were a bit more vertical than 45 degrees. I've been paying most of my attention to keeping my knees back, I'll see what my back is doing next time. It is definitely possible that i'm bent over a lot.

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