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I am really sick of trying to gain muscle and not succeeding


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Try rack pulls instead of deadlifts. This will also put most of the focus on the back which (to me) is awesome! This allows me to really keep up the intensity on both legs and back. I still dead from the floor sometimes but in a romanian style so as to keep the hams out of the equation. Regardless Arnold was 6'2" and squatted like a mofo You do what you feel can be done. Don't listen to someone saying you can't unless you have actually tried. If you truly feel that squatting is doing nothing but hurting you then don't bother. There are some bodybuilders who literally never squat. They utilize the Hack squat and leg press. Is this great for strength? probably not but it WILL build muscle. There's nothing you can't work around bro. If there are guys in wheel chairs showing off amazing muscular physiques then I'll be damned if you or I can't.

 

Great point brother. I always hear you must squat and dead to even build upper body mass due to the changes those exercises have on the entire body, plus the boost in testosterone.

 

Leg press can be scary because I find it can be hell on the low back. Lots of people don't realize the dangers of the leg press and that if done correctly, I find the squat safer. Maybe I am trying to hard to up the weight! I find I have difficulty going to parallel unless I use light weights. As soon as I get to 225 or higher.....I have limited range of motion. I thikn I need to take the Stuart McRobert approach and go slow, adding weight slowly...when ready and let it happen slowly. Having never been a squatter...I am pushing this to fast. That might be my issue. A few of you mentioned that! Lighter weights...I can have great form and feel solid.

Having never been a squatter, I am confused on the going to parallel thing. Should I go to parallel or should I stay above?

 

For deadlifting, I prefer trap bar deads but I use a wide stance with squats and deads and that is tough with a trap bar so maybe I need to work on bringing my stance in.

 

Not being able to eat a lot is killing me right now and the issues I have with my left arm kills me. Pissed me off.

 

This is intense.

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HAHA! that's the scene that was in my head when I wrote my response earlier about Arnold and squatting! The thing with leg press is feet placement, especially you being taller. Place your feet high on the board and wide. Also point your toes outward just like you would on a squat. This will take some strain off and it also allows the hamstrings to assist more. I'm only 5'10" but this helped me a lot with the leg press becoming more user friendly with the heavier weight and I also feel it makes it more of a complete leg exercise instead of just being quad dominant.

 

If you feel great on the squat going a bit lighter than by all means stick with that. I have a few people that I help train use lighter weight, but I make them go past parallel honestly. I use a wider stance and point my toes out. If you make sure to track your knees over the toes this way then you can be sure that it will feel "normal". This also allows me to go down until my calves touch my thighs without any discomfort and going past parallel is where you really get the hamstrings to kick in

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I wonder if I need to invest in new shoes as well that will work well for squatting. I know you don't want abnormally high heels in sneakers or too soft a shoe or foot bed. I have very wide feet and are difficult to buy for. Only thing I could find in my size (12 - 6E) are the Drew Thunder so that is my main sneaker for everything from lifting to tennis.

http://www.drewshoe.com/storeproduct118.aspx

http://www.drewshoe.com/storeproduct222.aspx

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Well in all reality leg workouts are honestly best done in your socks A lot of pro body builders either wear very flat shoes or just a pair of socks. But now the new craze is Vibram's. A ton of people are switching over to these and having less joint issues and pain. It's definitely becoming more popular and I will be getting a set shortly!

 

 

http://media.rei.com/media/nn/00e06400-093b-41d6-a0c6-e8687d554b85.jpg

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I wonder if I need to invest in new shoes as well that will work well for squatting. I know you don't want abnormally high heels in sneakers or too soft a shoe or foot bed. I have very wide feet and are difficult to buy for. Only thing I could find in my size (12 - 6E) are the Drew Thunder so that is my main sneaker for everything from lifting to tennis.

http://www.drewshoe.com/storeproduct118.aspx

http://www.drewshoe.com/storeproduct222.aspx

 

Typically, there are two types of shoes you may want for squatting -

 

1. If you squat high-bar, close-stance like Olympic lifters do, then an Olympic lifting type shoe with a solid heel (or, boot that's similar) will usually be best.

 

2. If you have a wider stance, then flat shoes like Converse All Stars or something similar is ideal.

 

You don't "need" a heel on a shoe even with close stance, but so many people swear by them, it is hard to deny the fact that they really help a lot of people with their squats. Me, I've been prone to flat shoes since I use a medium to wide stance, which gives optimal support for how I squat. Of course, you can always do the "stick a 5 lb. plate under your heels" trick if you only have flat shoes, but I myself have never found that to be all that comfortable.

 

I did my best squatting in Montrail hiking shoes, but I don't recommend it unless you REALLY have your form down well. It gave me a marginal heel, but you could really see the EVA midsoles squishing out once I'd get 500 lbs. on my back, which meant they weren't all that stable. Some people can get away with it, but again, I don't recommend anything like that until you've been squatting for a few years with regularity and can mess around with unstable footwear (it was comfortable, if nothing else!)

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Typically, there are two types of shoes you may want for squatting -

 

1. If you squat high-bar, close-stance like Olympic lifters do, then an Olympic lifting type shoe with a solid heel (or, boot that's similar) will usually be best.

 

2. If you have a wider stance, then flat shoes like Converse All Stars or something similar is ideal.

 

You don't "need" a heel on a shoe even with close stance, but so many people swear by them, it is hard to deny the fact that they really help a lot of people with their squats. Me, I've been prone to flat shoes since I use a medium to wide stance, which gives optimal support for how I squat. Of course, you can always do the "stick a 5 lb. plate under your heels" trick if you only have flat shoes, but I myself have never found that to be all that comfortable.

I use a 1/2 inch thick piece of board. Edited by Slim
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Any board under your heels will destroy your knees over time. Every single well written book I have read on power lifting or strength training has strongly advised to not use anything under your heels for risk of serious kneed injury. Problem is...many guys do not experience the symptoms till later in life or when it is too late. I remember reading McRobert's book and how he said using a board for squating destroted his knees over time.

 

I talked to the strength trainer for Villanova's football team and he said he does not allow any of his players to use a board for this reason. He has a PHD in Exercise Physiology.

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boardn10, I have to use a board because the floor of my entire 1st floor apartment tilts slightly downwards towards the street. It is not noticable to the naked eye. I discovered this the first time I squatted on it because I felt "off" and my knees hurt. The board corrected the floor imbalance problem.

 

I do not do powerlifting squats. I only do full squats.

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boardn10, I have to use a board because the floor of my entire 1st floor apartment tilts slightly downwards towards the street. It is not noticable to the naked eye. I discovered this the first time I squatted on it because I felt "off" and my knees hurt. The board corrected the floor imbalance problem.

 

I do not do powerlifting squats. I only do full squats.

 

Understood.

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Any board under your heels will destroy your knees over time. Every single well written book I have read on power lifting or strength training has strongly advised to not use anything under your heels for risk of serious kneed injury. Problem is...many guys do not experience the symptoms till later in life or when it is too late. I remember reading McRobert's book and how he said using a board for squating destroted his knees over time.

Did any of those sources state why having a board under your heels puts different stress on the knees compare to shoes with heels of corresponding height? From what I've read, the main argument against putting a board or something else under your heels is that it makes your position less stable and it does not support the whole foot like a weightlifting shoe does.

 

boardn10, I have to use a board because the floor of my entire 1st floor apartment tilts slightly downwards towards the street. It is not noticable to the naked eye. I discovered this the first time I squatted on it because I felt "off" and my knees hurt. The board corrected the floor imbalance problem.

Have you tried squatting facing the other direction, so that the slope of the floor puts your heels higher instead of lower? That could maybe eliminate the need for the board.

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If I can't find proper shoes for squatting and dead lifting, I might have to skip the squat/dead program for now. I have Etnies skate shoes that have a hard sole, much more so than my sneakers and hardly any heel. However, they are 12W and that is still narrow for my feet so my feet are busting out the sides.

 

My sneaks are too squishy under my feet. Finding shoes in 6E is hard enough, I usually have to take what I can get. Sucks!

 

Then to make things worse, my doctor tells me I will end up with back problems and most likely other issues involving the CNS and peripheral nerves if I squat with heavy weight on my back compressing my spine. Not that I agree but ofcourse it is in the back of my head.

 

Then I still have the fear of overlapping muscle groups. Deads and squats the same day is a problem for me because my back is still sore from back day by the time I hit deads.

I want to do the most effective exercises for quads which I believe are squats and the most effective for hams which I believe are stiff legged deads.

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If I can't find proper shoes for squatting and dead lifting, I might have to skip the squat/dead program for now.

 

There is one more option - http://www.veganwares.com, they might be able to make you a shoe that's suitable for lifting, and they can make ANY size/width shoe you could ever need. Might want to check with them on that!

 

Then to make things worse, my doctor tells me I will end up with back problems and most likely other issues involving the CNS and peripheral nerves if I squat with heavy weight on my back compressing my spine. Not that I agree but ofcourse it is in the back of my head.

 

Is there a pre-existing condition that your doctor is stating this for, or is it simply the standard "physician's ignorance of exercise" that is the culprit? If you don't have a pre-existing condition, then their opinion is completely invalid. Then again, physicians are typically the first people to say to stop exercising completely when you get hurt, perpetuating the cycle of being physically weakened with little to no chance of strengthening the injured areas again, making one worse off over time. Sad, but that's how too many physicians think is the best approach, simply because they have a lack of training in anything related to exercise science and rehabilitation. If you have questions beyond your doctor, seek out a qualified physical therapist who deals in sports medicine - I'm sure you'll get a very, very different opinion from someone who has studied exercise and rehabilitation in-depth vs. a general practitioner who spends more time looking at blood pressure readings and prescribing Lipitor than they do furthering their knowledge on fixing real physical problems via strength training.

 

Then I still have the fear of overlapping muscle groups. Deads and squats the same day is a problem for me because my back is still sore from back day by the time I hit deads.

 

Then, it is easy - put a few days between your squats and deadlifts! I never do them with less than 2 days between to allow for proper lower back recovery, so it's not just you, there are more of us who don't feel that both lifts are best to be done on the same day. It may mean that some training programs need modification or just won't work out right doing it this way, but you have to do what's best for YOU vs. sticking to a protocol because so-and-so says to squat and DL on the same day.

 

I want to do the most effective exercises for quads which I believe are squats and the most effective for hams which I believe are stiff legged deads.

 

One thing to note, you will be using your hams to some degree on squats, depending on your stance and technique it could be a little or a lot. The more you push through your heels, the more recruitment you're going to feel vs. the not-so-great off-the-toes style that many people fall into. When I squat, I feel about 75% quads and the rest in the rear, but that of course varies from person to person. Stiff legged deads are great, but also consider Romanian deadlifts, as well as single-legged SLDLs and RDLs which to me REALLY hammer the hips, glutes and hams more than barbell style does whenever I try them. If you have access to a glute/ham machine, that's another option as well. And, of course, if you're lucky enough to have access to a reverse hyper machine, you'll have everything you need for a strong lower body right there.

 

Hope that things go well, don't give up hope on those squats and deadlifts just yet!

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Any board under your heels will destroy your knees over time. Every single well written book I have read on power lifting or strength training has strongly advised to not use anything under your heels for risk of serious kneed injury. Problem is...many guys do not experience the symptoms till later in life or when it is too late. I remember reading McRobert's book and how he said using a board for squating destroted his knees over time.
Did any of those sources state why having a board under your heels puts different stress on the knees compare to shoes with heels of corresponding height? From what I've read, the main argument against putting a board or something else under your heels is that it makes your position less stable and it does not support the whole foot like a weightlifting shoe does.
In my experience using a 1/2 inch board, my position feels very stable. I feel good drive coming up threw my heels. I never feel like I am leaning forward on the balls of my feet.

 

boardn10, I have to use a board because the floor of my entire 1st floor apartment tilts slightly downwards towards the street. It is not noticable to the naked eye. I discovered this the first time I squatted on it because I felt "off" and my knees hurt. The board corrected the floor imbalance problem.

Have you tried squatting facing the other direction, so that the slope of the floor puts your heels higher instead of lower? That could maybe eliminate the need for the board.

Bronco, yes I have tried squatting in both directions and either direction I face squatting with my heels on the floor without the board feels unbalanced.
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Hi VeganEssentials.

 

I have no pre-existing condition. I have peripheral nerve pain and muscle pain from Bartonella and MGUS, but nothing from an injury. This doctor felt I would make things worse by doing heavy squats and causing new problems and immunity issues. Like I said, I disagree and know better. I NEVER take nutriton or excersise advice from a PCP. I have seen plenty of PTs and Ortho's in my time and when i was a trainer in the early 90s, I used to help rehabilitate people with back issues. Quite a few made improvements with squats and this was while working with a PT.

The whole thought on spine compression and damaged nerves gets old. I have been told to stay below 1.5 times bodyweight in the aquat. That is rather unrealistic.

 

On the overlapping muscle groups. Keep in mind I have never done a steady squat or dead program in all my lifting years so adding these in is tricky without overtraining. It seems the best result may be to combine them on the same day. With stiff legged deads and squats I don't see the overlap in the legs. I see the overlap in the back. Deads hit the back pretty hard so doing a back workout 2-3 days prior or later can be an issue. I prefer to workout about 3 days per week but I guess I could split it up where I do deads on back day and squats on chest day. I find it tough to include a back day and a separate deadlift day in the same week on a 3 day split.

 

With squats, yes...I concentrate on pushing through my heels. Stuart McRobert has a great lengthy section of his book describing squat technique. However, I rarely have sore hams. Outside of that, I have been doing trap bar deads, but will be switching up to stiff deads again.

We don't have a dedicated glute/ham machine. We have a lower back extension unit which is similar but I don't find as good. We do have a nice leg curl machine.

On the board thing, all I can say is I know countless trainers, power lifters who all wish they had avoided using a board under their heels when they were younger doing squats. I have also had countless exercise physiologists state this who work with local sports teams. Just about every book I have on bodybuilding/power lifting says the same thing, no board. LOL. You might like it now, but will regret it later.

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In my experience using a 1/2 inch board, my position feels very stable. I feel good drive coming up threw my heels. I never feel like I am leaning forward on the balls of my feet.
Bronco, yes I have tried squatting in both directions and either direction I face squatting with my heels on the floor without the board feels unbalanced.

Could it be that the unbalance comes from ankle inflexibility rather than the floor? It sounds weird that the floor would be the cause if it is the same facing both directions, and unsufficient flexibility in the ankles can force you to put to much weight on the balls of the feet causing bad balance.

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Could it be that the unbalance comes from ankle inflexibility rather than the floor? It sounds weird that the floor would be the cause if it is the same facing both directions, and unsufficient flexibility in the ankles can force you to put to much weight on the balls of the feet causing bad balance.
I do not think I articulated the problem well. I do not recall weight shifting to the balls of my feet. Squatting was hurting my back. It just felt awkward. It does sound weird because initially I thought I could fix the problem by squatting in the other direction. I have to stand on a board when I deadlift too because it hurts my back deadlifting with my feet on the floor. I put my entire feet from toes to heels on a board when I deadlift.

 

I never had this problem before in my old apartment.

 

I have no idea whether or not my ankles are inflexible. I never thought about that before. The rest of my body, in particular my lowerbody, is more naturally flexible than the average person who does not have any flexibility training. I recognized this from yoga and martial arts training and my instructors pointed this out to me as well.

 

How would a person determine if they have ankle inflexibility? See a podiatrist?

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Well, I finally inched up a bit. I have trouble doing flat bench bench press so I use dumbells. I got up 6 reps with 90lb dumbells today in the chest press and my goal is 100lb bells for 6 reps. My bodyweight has also gone up a notch or two. I have been 203lbs the last week or so. I'd like to be over 205 by year end.

 

I need to figure out what I need to do to have the ability to enter a bodybuilding competition.

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  • 2 weeks later...
It is very frustrating to say the least. Been at this game for 23 years and never satisfied. Most people would never ever know I bodybuild, although you can tell with my shirt off......but I am still too thin for what I want. It causes me a lot of depression.

 

-Rich

 

Be proud of your accomplishment. If you can tell that you bodybuild with your shirt off that's a great thing! Also, if you've been doing it for 23 yrs. that means you're 30+ years old? Assuming you started in your teens. How many people can take their shirts off and look like they bodybuild beyond their 20's? Or even in their 20's these days? Keep up the good work!

 

Kick Ass & Conquer!

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If you can't digest Gluten. Try "Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination". New technology. I did it last year and now I'm able to digest pasta(gluten). No more allergy reactions.

 

It can be done with many foods but I wouldn't get dairy done or anything you know your not going to eat.

 

Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination. Can't find that anywhere!.

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  • 4 months later...

Hey all...

 

I know I was stopping lifting due to back issues and muscle pain due to Babesiosis and a Bartonella infection...but I just couldn;t stay out of the gym. This thing is not going to beat me.

 

My doctor is worried if I train hard, building muscle...I will weaken my immune system due to the extra stress placed on the body. Not sure how accurate that is, especially since I have immune issues but so far I am back in the gym and making progress.

 

I still have limitations due to shoulder and back issues. No squats or overhead pressing.

 

My weight is up over 210 at 6'2 1/2"

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