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New to Strength training/muscle gain - please assess my routine!

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  • New to Strength training/muscle gain - please assess my routine!

    I've always been a skinny guy, and at 32 years old, have decided to try to gain some muscle and strength, in line with Mark's advice on doing it Primally, with a few tweaks. I'm 6 weeks in, and would appreciate some experienced advice on my routine, diet, and progress so far.


    My routine (started the first 2 weeks on very low weights to get used to the form, adding around 5lb to the bar each week)

    Squats (now 60lb - full and deep!) 3x8
    Shoulder Press (on Pilates trainer, highest level +5lb) 3x8
    Chin up (on Pilates trainer, highest level +40lb) 3x8

    Deadlifts (85lb) 3x8
    Pull ups (on Pilates trainer, highest level +10lb) 3x8
    Bench Press (80lb) 3x8

    Same routine as Monday

    I alternate routines each week, so I'll be doing the Monday routine on Monday and Friday, then on wednesday the following week, and the wednesday routine on monday and friday the following week, so each routine is done equal frequency.

    Rest times are 3mins between sets, 5mins between each different movement.
    Once I can do 3 sets of 8 reps on any exercise, I add 5lb to the bar.

    As for diet, I'm consuming around 2500-3000 calories per day with a 130g protein, 120g fat, 100g carb average. Mostly meat and veg, with protein shakes, fruit and the odd nut butter.

    I'm 5'9", and weigh 149lbs. My main goal is muscle gain and bulking up, although increased strength is important too. I consider myself a hardgainer, as I've always been active and eaten plenty, but don't have much muscle to show for it.

    I have been going 6 weeks and gained around 2kg, and put on 1cm on most of my key measurements (chest, biceps,triceps, thighs).

    My main questions are:
    Is this a solid routine for my goals?
    Are there any tweaks to my routine that would see bigger gains?
    Is my progress so far good, bad, or average?
    Is my nutrition along the right lines?

    Any other advice gratefully received!

    My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way

  • #2
    On the subject of getting strong vs. bulking up these are exclusive. There are programs to bulk up but you can get very strong without "bulking up". I am not an expert but I have gotten my squat to 300lb and no one would say I have bulked up. First be honest with what you are trying to accomplish and pick a program for that. I highly recommend a book called FIT gets into the how's and why's of programming to develop strength vs. bulk vs. endurance.


    • #3
      No need to re-invent the wheel- just do Starting Strength(a similar but much better version of what you are doing) and eat lots of primal food.
      Lifting Journal


      • #4
        To get big you gotta eat big!
        You have put together a reasonable routine but I would consider taking a look at Rip Toe's Starting Strength or Strong Lifts. Both are beginner routines and both have their supporters and detractors.
        Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
        Don't forget to play!


        • #5
          I also recommend stronglifts. If you've done a lot of strength training in the past and you have good form, it's okay to skip the Starting Strength. I used to be a cardio/sprint-only junkie, and did Stronglifts for a little over a month. My deadlifts went from 135lbs to 225lbs, squats from 115lbs to 175lbs, and bench from 75lbs to 115lbs. And I'm a girl. So if you want to increase strength fast, the program is for you!

          Also muscle definition comes with increased strength. Don't worry about size; it will come with your gains in lifting.
          My chocolatey Primal journey

          Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog


          • #6
            You need to eat more. As long as your not adding a lot of fat you'll be fine. Start with Starting Strength or Strong Lifts and once you get good at those you could probably move onto Jim Wendler's 5/3/1


            • #7
              Thanks for the advice. Will dig out a copy of Starting Strength and Strong Lifts from the library tomorrow. And up the food intake too.
              My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way


              • #8
                For serious muscle gain... Google "Max OT"


                • #9
                  Starting strength, not strong lifts. Stronglifts is a spammy website ripoff of starting strength, which is a fantastic book written by one of the world's best strength coaches.

                  Eating: your weight gain so far is a good pace, a little under a pound a week. If you add a lot more food now it'll end up as fat since you are not lifting all that much yet. But you will soon. I'd wait until the lifts stop increasing before adding more food.
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):