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Old 11-22-2010, 06:57 AM   #1
gwb
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Default Questions on routine and diet

Hi all,

I am fairly new at training, and I have some questions, concerning my routine, and diet.


So first, some background informations about me so you know the context of my questions. I'm 22, I weight 163.9 lbs (74.5 kg), for 5'11" (1m80). Bench: 126lbs, Squat: 126lbs (yeah, I'm reaally a beginner)

Short History
4-5 months ago, I was 147 lbs, and decided to stop being skinny, and put on some muscle. I started doing silly useless curls and machine exercises during 3 months with little results before starting to read articles here and there and starting a better routine.
So far, I'm pretty glad with the results: I put on 15 lbs in a bit more than 6 weeks, and I definitely gained much muscle. But now I think it may be time to change a little bit my routine, as I am kind stagnating on the press.

Routine
My routine is made of 3 major exercises: Squat, Bench, Row, (5*5 for each major exercise) along with some abs and pull-ups. I train 3 times a week.

Goal
I've been said it was important to have an objective. Well I don't have a defined objective concerning the weights I want to lift, but I'd say the most important for me is strength. Volume is also nice but secondary (that's why I'm on 5*5?)

Ok, now here are my questions:

1) Concerning the reps and sets. I am currently doing all my sets with the same weight, that is about 85 % off my 5 RM, as suggested in the stronglift program (stronglift.com). Now I have seen that many programs (in particular Bill Starr's and Rippetoe's) suggest ramping to your max. I would like to know in which case ramping is better than keeping the same weight, and if I why should I (or not) switch.

2) So far, I have added much variation to my routine. In particular, I have never substituted Bench with Incline Bench. Should do some incline bench (like once a week)? I mean, given my current level, is it useful to do some incline press, or should I just work my ass on the basics before thinking of it?

3) I just ended a bulking phase. It was my first one, so I did not put as much weight as I could have (I was a bit afraid of putting to much fat). The thing is that I read one should not bulk for more than 6 weeks in row, and no more than twice a year. Is it accurate or B.S from your experience? The thing is, I am currently ripping off the fat I got from bulking, but I wouldn't mind starting bulking again in a couple month (I really want to add at least another 5 kilos of lean strong muscle). Does it sound reasonable?

4) About cutting. Given that I'm not very heavy (163lbs), is it really useful to create a caloric deficit, or can I just eat for maintenance with more cardio to lose some of the fat I have (I'm probably around 20% bf now)


That's it for the moment, thanks for taking the time to answer
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:54 PM   #2
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Ok here goes my 2 cents ...

1) I wouldn't say that ramping is better than straight sets or vice versa. I would say that using the same weight is much easier to track progress from week to week. For this reason I would suggest the constant weight method to you. I would also suggest using small increments (5lb ... 2.5lb if you can find 1.25lb plates). This may seem small but it will catch up with you over time ... trust me. The longer you can sustain the "build up" the better your results will be in most cases.

2) Nail down the basics first... which also leads me to a question. Why not deadlifts?! They are a very important lift for all around body strengthening/thickening.

3) I say keep bulking as long you are gaining muscle and keeping your fat within reasonable levels. If you can do this continuously ... then great. I don't think there is a time limit. Just don't let your fat levels get out of hand because it becomes harder and harder to take it all off and you'll gain a bunch of stretch marks ... etc

4) If you are 20% bf then you should consider dropping some fat. Have you measured this or are you estimating?

As for the question ... A defecit is a deficit wether it is created by cardio or by diet. I would say going into a deficit via cardio addition is a wise idea. It's never a bad idea to keep your cardiovascular health up. Overdoing it on cardio will have negative affects on weight lifting however.

I hope this helps. Anyone else can also feel free to counter my opinions.

IW
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for your answer!

1) So you think that ramping would do me no good given my actual level? If the problem is just that it will make it more difficult to track my progress, it is not really a problem. The thing is I don't know what difference does it make?

2) Ah deadlifts . Well, it is a bit complicated. Short story, I am currently abroad (been here 4 months, and still have 2 months), and I am kinda stuck in a horrible gym where the "coach" refuses to let beginners do anything else than curls and machine B.S. I had to struggle to get to the squat. But I'm dying to start the deadlift. I'll try to insist. But I really don't want to cause any trouble, since I don't even speak the local language.

3) Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. The thing is I'm worried with my metabolism getting used to my bulking, and putting less and less muscle (thus putting more and more fat..) And do you know if it there is anything wrong with bulking more than twice a year?

4) Well I said 20%, it is an estimation (don't have a calipher here..). I have love handles, but I can still see my abs (nicely). So I don't know exactly what it corresponds to..

Anyway, thanks for your helpful replies!
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:38 PM   #4
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1) Like I said ... I wouldn't say ramping up is better or worse than straight weight but you have to have a way to compare your results week to week and month to month. If you think you can do it then pick either one.

2) Find a way. Do deadlifts.

3) I think gaining less and less muscle would have more to do with your training than your body "getting used to bulking. I don't think there is anything wrong with bulking more than 2x a year. Seems like a random BS number pulled out of a hat to me.

4) If you can see your abs I would bet quite a bit of money that you are much less than 20%. Well defined 6 pack abs is usually in the <10% range.

Good luck.

IW
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