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Weightlifting for size and strength: The Basics (1 Viewer)

quik.

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For all those new to weightlifting, this should give you a BASIC understanding of the major factors involved and a general idea of how you need to manipulate them. It should by no means be considered the be all and all. You should be doing your own reading into the topics of training and nutrition. Everybody is different and some things work better for others, the only way to figure this out is trial and error, coupled with listening to your body.

I have even been so kind as to bold the pretty important bits.

If you cannot be bothered reading this, and it may be slightly lengthy, please do not waste other peoples time asking questions that you could have looked into yourself in a couple of minutes. Go grab your pink dumbbells and rock out to Enrique in the corner.

There are three basic components to increasing your size and strength: training, nutrition and rest.

Training
General training advice for beginners
Keep it SIMPLE. Focus on compound movements. Be consistent, don't skip workouts cos you can't be bothered, make it routine. Learn the technique behind them first, then gradually increase the weight as you are able. Aim to beat some point of reference from your last training session, this could be weight used, reps achieved or amount of babes who look at you while getting huge. I don't give a shit. But you need to make some sort of progress. This is not simply for progress' sake, however. If you have to cheat a little to get that rep/weight? Stick with it a little bit longer, till you get it right. You have done GREAT by exerting yourself that little bit more to get it done, but don't move ahead of yourself and get injured. Make sure you have eaten before you head to the gym. Make sure you get some form of protein/calories in your system within a reasonable period of time after you have finished.

Compound Vs Isolation movements
You should be focusing on COMPOUND movements. These are movements that involve more than one joint. Examples are the squat and deadlift. Compound movements involve a significantly greater amount of musculature and stimulate a much greater hormonal and whole body response. Compound movements should make up the majority of your training.

Isolation exercises are movements that involve a single joint and tend to focus on one specific group of muscles. An example of this is the bicep curl. Isolation movements are good for, you guessed it, isolating a muscle. They are good for 'finishing off' muscles at the end of a workout or giving a little bit of extra attention to areas that need it.

You should always do compound exercises before isolation exercises. This is because they require more effort and if you tire your muscles out beforehand, you will be spinning your wheels and not get the progress you are after.

"Staple" compound exercises: Deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press, chin/pullup, rows, cleans, dips, lunges.

Set and Rep Schemes
If you've ever read a training journal or program outline you will have seen these before. Generally expressed as sets x reps. Common schemes are 5x5 4x8 and 3x10-12. These refer to ONE exercise. For example 5 sets of 5 reps of barbell bench press. You would then move on and do 5 sets of 5 reps of another exercise, and so on and so forth.

For muscle hypertrophy (bigger muscles) studies have shown that rep ranges of 9-12 induce the greatest amount of growth. Generally it is accepted that lower rep ranges (for example 5x5 and under) are used to increase strength levels, and the higher end (9-12) are used for growth. If you are doing more than 12 reps for a given exercise without an in depth understanding of both physiology and training, you are WASTING YOUR TIME. Put more weight on the bar, you big sissy.

As an absolute beginner, use lighter weight and learn the proper technique and form for a given exercise before attempting heavier loads and lower reps.

Fullbody Vs Split Routines
Fullbody routines are those that work out most if not all of your body in a given session. This means you will do chest, back, and legs in the same training session. These are a good choice for those who have a limited number of days that they can train (due to hectic schedules/commitments), as well as those who are lifting not to become some super saiyan demigod, but rather for general fitness and maintenance of muscle mass and bone density. There are proponents of full body training for strength and size, however they are not the norm. If you would like to read up on this training method, a well known coach is Chad Waterbury.

Split routines are those that split your muscle groups or lifts into seperate days. Chest on Monday, legs on Tuesday, back on Wednesday etc. This allows you to better micromanage the recovery of muscles, to hit lifts harder (as you won't have done a brutal set of squats before you bench, for example), and allows you to keep your sessions as long or short as you like. These are the norm for bodybuilders and strength athletes. Bodybuilders tend to split days by muscle group, powerlifters by push/pull or the lift itself.

Progression
Progression is the fundamental principle behind increased strength, size and performance. If you are progressing in each workout, you are doing a fantastic job.

Weight and or a given number of reps are the most common forms of progression.

Last week you benched 80kg for 5 reps, this week you did 5 reps of 82.5kg. BAM you have made progress, you big hunk you.

Last week you benched 80kg for 5x5, this week you did 80kg for 5x6. BAM the ladies all want you.

Progression is your measure of success. If you are not progressing, you can assume that you are not achieving the results you want. Something needs to change. You may have reached a plateau, you may not be eating enough, you may be a giant pussy who is giving up to easy. But SOMETHING is holding you and your progress back.

Nutrition
General nutrition advice
Your diet is AT LEAST if not MORE than 50% of the battle when trying to get bigger.

To grow you must consume more energy than you expend.
Read that again, then a few more times. That is the basic principle behind growth. Now, if you combine increased energy intake with a competent resistance training plan, you will get bigger.

The vast majority of people overstate their energy consumption. All those skinny guys who claim to eat a lot? They eat like skinny guys. If you want to be a 240 pound beast, you have to eat like a 240 pound beast. Don't go overboard and become a 240 pound hambeast. Be sensible. Try and get the majority of your calories from healthy foods.

This doesn't mean only healthy foods. If you feel like having 3 double quarters pounders with a couple of mcflurries (good times), go for it. Realise however that you just ate one or two days worth of a regular amount of calories and so you are going to have to BUST YOUR ASS in the gym.

Try to eat every 3 hours. If you feel hungry, you've gone too long without eating. Try and get a decent amount of protein in with every meal. 185g cans of tuna are 89c at aldi, and have 27g of protein each. I'm poor as hell and I can afford it, so can you. As a (very) general rule, try to get 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight each day. Do NOT go psychotic and take in hundreds upon hundreds of grams of protein a day, you will a) piss out the excess and b) probably damage your kidneys. Your body keeps a VERY TIGHT chain on the amount of protein available, you CANNOT STORE EXCESS PROTEIN. Throwing money down the drain, man!

Pre, during and Post training nutrition
To maximise your training, you need to have the energy to keep your intensity up throughout the whole session. Try to eat 1 to 2 hours before heading to the gym. If you eat too close to your session, you may feel queasy or, if it is a particularly intense workout, throw up.

During your training session you may want to use something like gatorade or a fairly light protein shake to keep you going or to keep your body in some ultimate state of protein building nirvana. Personally I've had success with plain old water, with the occasional powerade for those really hot days where I lose a lot of fluid due to sweat.

Once you are done training, try to take in a fairly high carbohydrate + protein meal or shake within an hour or two. You don't have to rush and start sculling that shit as soon as the weight hits the floor, take it easy have a shower to loosen yourself up and then start sipping away at a shake over a half hour or so.

Rest
You need adequate time to recover. You grow outside of the gym. That is an important sentence, make sure you understand it. Your time at the gym is spent beating your muscles into oblivion, when you walk out you are in a worse state than when you walked in.

You need adequate amounts of sleep in order to get the most out of your training and nutrition. Your muscles need time to recover and rebuild themselves stronger than they were previously. Do not train the same muscle groups without giving them sufficient time to recover. Generally 2-3 days is the minimum amount of time given before you hit those muscles again. If they do not feel fully recovered, you can take longer.

Initially, you will have significant DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This is not a reason to skip the gym. Train through it. You will feel MUCH better afterwards. After a while of going to the gym, DOMS will either be non existent or minimal.

The amount of sleep you need is sort of an individual thing, some can function on 6 hours others 8 and then there are those who like to hibernate. Try to get a good amount of sleep, it is when you grow the most.

This post is getting a bit lengthy so I am going to leave it here for now. If you have suggestions regarding something I have missed or would like included, please speak up. This was meant to cover enough of the basics for people to have a base amount of knowledge from which they can further their own research into areas of interest, so if you have an idea of how to improve it, speak up!
 
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Agreed with the above.

General note - Be wary of what you read in weightlifting. The 60s-70s in bodybuilding saw an influx of garbage:

On one hand the introduction of 'Weider Principles' which saw the introduction of isolation exercises and supersets which overtrained all except the roided up pros Weider sponsored to do his program in the first place (if anyone's interested, Weider's company underwent about a half dozen lawsuits for ficticious product claims).

On the other it saw the beginnings of a 'get fit America' campaign in which weightlifting for the general public was dumbed down, with less emphasis on technical but effective exercises such as the squat and a greater emphasis on simpler exercises such as dumbell curls, crunches on a swiss ball and bs machines as these could be mass produced for health clubs and be taught by staff with minimal training.

All this shit still gets thrown around in gyms and amongst the general public, and through chinese whispers has become nonsensical voodoo.

That said, there has been a revival in proper strength training methods:

Mark Rippetoe
Certified in the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Mark is a USA Weightlifting Senior Coach and owner of the Wichita Falls Gym, with has produced 17 olympic lifters over the years. He has a reputation for taking high school/college kids at putting 15-20kg on them in a matter of months.

Works:
- Starting Strength (2nd Edition) (sets out greatly detailed exercise technique and basic programming/dieting for a beginner)
- Practical Programming for Strength Training (sets out long term workout programming for the beginner, intermediate and advanced lifter - this allows you to tailor successful long term programs)

Bill Starr
An olympic weightlifting champion, Starr became one of the first professional strength coaches in the US when he trained the Baltimore Colts the year they won the Super Bowl V.

Works:
The Strongest Shall Survive (a manual for the intermediate/advanced program the foundation of modern strength coaching still used in professional football today).

Stuart McRobert
Publisher of Hardgainer Magazine, McRobert was one of the first modern lifters to see through the bs of x6 a week am/pm splits. His abbreviated training method, drawing on pre-steroid bodybuilding routines, will put more muscle on the average lifter than anything in the bodybuilding world.

Works:
Beyond Brawn (sets out the reality of modern bodybuilding and explains how to train FOR YOURSELF)

Other good sources:
Iron Addict's Forums: Based on the training methods of McRobert, Iron Addict is one of the most successful personal trainers in the business.

Starting Strength Wikia: A bastardised but solid free website which provides a summary of the Rippetoe workout and its exercises.

Madcow's 5x5: A version of Starr's program aimed at the self taught bodybuilder. FOR INTERMEDIATE LIFTERS.

Good articles:
- Why arn't You Growing? By Iron Addict. The keys to progression explained concisely - good point of reference for those who stall/can't gain weight.

- Diet and Caloric Excess: Nutrition explained in a nutshell.

- My Top 10 Lifting Routines: Examples of the personal programs Iron Addict uses. I STRONGLY SUGGEST THE 2-DAY SPLIT

- Why Haven’t Most BBers Heard of This Type of Training if It’s so Commonly Used Around the World for Athletics, Powerlifting, and Olympic Lifting? explanation of x2-3 a week training and why its superior to a bodybuilding split.

Over the next few days I'll do a write up of exercise choice and technique, and how tos on building a home gym, eat for bodybuilding cheap and contructing a volume routine.
 
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is that 2g of protein per bodyweight per day?
2g/kg of bodyweight, or roughly the 1g/lb of bodyweight standard.

Move away from the X grams of protein thing, what matters is you're eating enough protein and calories in order for you to achieve excess and grow. You can be eating Zen's Ultra Squeaky Clean all day day long, but if you're at maintenance or in deficit, it's for shit.
 

A High Way Man

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I went to a bodybuilding nutritionist. She said my bodyfat was a bit high and told me to bail on my mass gainer, so I bought whey protein.

I've actually stayed away from reading anything or BB.com (except to find routines off the net) since I started two months ago. I figure it's just going to confuse me more. Lift weights, and protein right?
 

quik.

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If anyone is wondering what kind of food levels you might be looking at, at 97kg this was a pretty standard day for me.

Cannibal horse is right in that you shouldn't focus on calorie counting, just make sure to include protein throughout the day. I would recommend glancing at labels every now and then because if something is worthless you really shouldn't be eating it tbh.

As it stands I can quickly add up a rough total protein intake (to know if I need more before bed) just by recalling what I've eaten, labels can be your friend.

Breakfast: 6-8 eggs (usually scrambled) + bowl of porridge + an apple or whatever and some water

Breakfast 2: Peanut butter n banana sandwich, almonds + water

Snack: Fruit salad + can of tuna + water

Post workout shake: This would generally be a litre of of milk + protein powder + nesquik or whatever I threw in. This much milk doesn't agree with a lot of people, you can use water + milk whatever works for you I just love the stuff.

Lunch: Chicken salad + water

Snack: Almonds + can of tuna + fruit + water

Dinner: Meat and veg, whatever mum cooked

Before bed: Protein shake #2. This was usually protein powder + banana + peanut butter + milk

I have NO IDEA how many calories this is. As long as you are eating enough, you will grow. You will know if you are consuming too many calories because you will turn into a fat bastard. If that turns out to be the case, don't go batshit and start a diet + heaps of cardio, simply scale back what you eat an appropriate amount and start busting it up in the gym.

You will more than likely put on fat a long with the muscle. Maybe not initially but to gain any significant size, you will come to this point eventually. This is NORMAL. My general rule is as long as my pecs stick out further than my belly I'm happy.

Remember that it is easier to lose fat than gain muscle.

I went to a bodybuilding nutritionist. She said my bodyfat was a bit high and told me to bail on my mass gainer, so I bought whey protein.

I've actually stayed away from reading anything or BB.com (except to find routines off the net) since I started two months ago. I figure it's just going to confuse me more. Lift weights, and protein right?
Reading and research is great, you just have to seperate the good from the bad. As a beginner it is generally better to get a well known program (the above mentioned starting strength is great), put your head down and bust your ass in the gym. In 3 or so months, after you have learnt a little about your body and the gym, come back and read up a bit more. The amount of information available can be overwhelming and you will get bogged down in the details if you are not careful.
 
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For the sake of things I'll add in my diet @ 90kg:

Breakfast: Heaped scoop of protein powder, 2 glasses of milk, 4 weetbix

Lunch: 300g chicken breast fried in oliver oil, a wholewheat bun, 2 pieces of fruit

Post workout: Heaped scoop of protein powder, 2 glasses of milk, 2 pieces of fruit

Dinner: 500g of red meat fried in olive oil, some kind of complex carb serving

Before bed: Heaped scoop of protein, glass of milk.

Other things to note:
- Snacks - usually fruit or almonds.
- I also got to mcdonalds x3 a week and eat a whole pizza on a tuesday.

If diet is hard, try to add 'staples' to your normal diet. Make it a goal to eat per day:
- 2-3 protein shakes
- 1/2kg of meat
- 2L of milk.
 

A High Way Man

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That's pretty crazy

this is what i had

-------------------
4 Weet-bix

post workout mass gainer shake.

this http://www.rasamalaysia.com/uploaded_images/roti_jala/rotijalalacypancakes4.jpg

almonds

tuna + tub of yoghurt

same as above except with rice instead of that bread thing w/ lentils

egg roti

pretty lazy today, i eat more during work. but with smaller servings.
Make sure the portions are large, also lose the massgainer, its basically whey protein and oatmeal marketed at double the price. Look on ebay for bags of flavourless whey protein concentrate - you can pick up 20kg for $300, or 5kg for $100 including postage.
 

rowdyroddy

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is a shaved roast beef sandwich with grated cheese and lettuce in brown bread good source for protein?

also what are some other things to take to school for a nutritious diet, (instead of packets of chips n shit)
 

Omie Jay

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im also wondering what kind of food i should be eating.

need advice, ppl.

im 63kg, 167cm, dont have protein powder at home and dont plan on buying it, so what kind of stuff should i be eating?
make me a rough diet/list of meals for a day so i can think about how i should be eating :)
 

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Canned tuna is probably the cheapest non powder form of protein.

89c for 27g of protein is pretty hard to beat

Eggs, you can make them like a hundred different ways, with as many different ingredients

Nuts are also pretty good but are also quite fatty

Chicken is roughly $10 p/kg, depending on how much you eat that might last you a week

Milk is $3.something for 3L ? If you aren't lactose intolerant go for it, you can blend heaps of things (smoothies are great and you can add peanut butter for extra calories etc)

Regarding the shaved beef, I've never been a fan of shaved/sliced anything, I prefer the actual meat

Remember to get lots of fresh fruit and veg as well. Try and eat as many colours as you can

A couple of things you can make are tuna/chicken salad, tuna or chicken with rice (tuna with rice is quite possibly the quickest meal ever, add chilli sauce and it's pretty yum)

A lot of (healthy) things sound boring/unappealing but, provided you use fresh ingredients and everything, are really good. This is coming from my perspective of course, and I'm a person who will pick a good burger over some fancy thing I can't even pronounce.
 
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Omie Jay

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cool.

its a shame i dont like seafood, nor eat ham (muslim).

maybe i'll check out my mums tuna sometime, she tends to make food taste good.

thanks quik
 

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Awesome posts quick & cannibal!!

Basically over the last 3 years I've always worked out a tonne in my uni breaks, but then pretty much stopped during the uni semester. I was under the impression that working out would make me too tired and my grades would suffer; but it's quite clearly the opposite, weight training is a great stress reliever and an actual energy booster.

Like many, I want to make regular strengh gains but also keep tonned and well defined. Do you think alternating between a week of 5-rep max compound lifts & a week of 10-rep max compounds + isolation lifts could work?

-my parents constantly complain that I'm eating them out of home, but i swear I don't eat half of what you've listed on a daily basis.
 

quik.

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Switching rep ranges that often will generally give you sub par results

There are coaches who advocate different rep ranges within the same week, however, they are not the norm, and the rep ranges are consistent week to week. For example Monday 5x5, Tuesday 3x10, Wednesday 10x1, repeat.

I would recommend you stick with a program for a while and get to an okay level, then you can experiment and better note the improvement or if you are going backwards
 
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-my parents constantly complain that I'm eating them out of home, but i swear I don't eat half of what you've listed on a daily basis.
My mother is the same, the trick is to eat when they're not looking.

It won't be like this forever - its probably easier for people in their mid 20s to lift because they've stopped growing, you and I are still growing vertically and horizontally :(

A few tips if you're getting food for yourself:
- Look up 'whey protein concentrate' on ebay, there are a lot of sellers selling flavourless whey cheap - $100 for 5kg, $150 for 10kg, $300 for 20kg, take your pick. 2-3 scoops will get you half way to 1g of protein a day.

- Lite milk is cheap, if you really suck at gaining weight try to drink 2L a day.

- Shop around for chicken breast and rump steak (cheapest and leanest). Often you can pick these up for $7/kg at sales, so stock up.

- Tuna/salmon is also cheap, but tastes like arse. Get a flavoured one - along with your shakes a 400g can might be all you need.

- For carbs, eat oatmeal or brown rice, try to buy these in a massive bag. I say this because these carbs are not only cheap, but require little preparation and dont go stale all the time - that way you don't have to constantly make trips down to the shops where the assistants moo at you for all the milk you've got :(

When eatting out:
- Pub food is good.
- Pizza on a tuesday = 1000-1500 calories for 5 bucks, woo!
- If on the run, go to woolies and buy a big bbq chicken. Eat half one day and the other half the other (though dont do this infront of girls, this doesnt go down well)
- If you can't carry half a chicken around with you, ask for '97% fat free supreme chicken' which is cheaper than turkey.

edit: my home gym write-up is on its way, I wanted it to be as exhaustive as possible but I might post it as is.
 

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Great posts guys,

Need some clarification on gym workout progression. Should I seriously be looking at progressive lifting in only 1 week?

For example, 17kg Bicep curl, in 2 weeks 17.5 - 18.0 kg Bicep curl? (reasonable/too little/too much???)

Ive realised that my shoulders progress the most, Ive progressed from 65-76 standing shoulder press in 2 weeks, was pretty happy.
 

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