4 Big Reasons Why You're Still Small And Weak

Want to know why your results still suck? Start gaining muscle mass and strength as quickly as possible with these four workout training tips from Steve Shaw.

So let me guess. You're at the gym each day trying to get bigger and stronger. In fact, almost every free moment of your life is spent obsessing about adding muscle and strength.

You read all the magazines, buy all the best supplements and construct workout plans so complicated they make Jay Cutler and Derek Poundstone look like they have no clue what they are doing.

But your results suck!

No matter how hard you try, no matter what you eat, nothing changes. You feel like a hardgainer with the worst genetics in the history of poor genetics. The only thing you have in common with Derek Poundstone and Jay Cutler is that each of you sweat while pumping iron.

So what's wrong?

I am going to tell you exactly what's wrong. I am going to give you 4 tips that will turn things around.

If you listen to my advice you WILL get big and strong. If you ignore my advice you will remain small and weak. It's your choice.

The following tips work. I know because I have used them myself to make rapid progress.

Reason #1 - You Obsess About Your Abs

If you want to get big and strong as quickly as possible you need to eat, and eat big. Trying to maintain shredded abs while gaining 30 pounds of muscle is a complete waste of time, unless you are genetically gifted. Undereating is a huge mistake; one that nearly every gym rat makes. Nothing will slow your progress faster than trying to eat like a 7 year old school girl.

Trust me, you won't turn into a sumo wrestler overnight. But you will gain some bodyfat. The best bodybuilders in the world, natural and otherwise, add at least 20 to 30 pounds of weight during their off-season. They realize that to look good you must have periods of time where you put on your sweat clothes, hide your abs, and eat as big as you train.

Are you willing to gain 10 to (gasp!) 20 pounds of fat over the next several years while getting big and strong? If not, you'll likely see very little in the way of gains.

Reason #2 - You Do Not Squat Or Deadlift

If you want to remain small and weak, ignore squats and deadlifts. Don't believe me? Think I am some ignorant meathead filled with bravado? Fine. Don't take my word for it. Check out the natural bodybuilder profiles on Muscle & Strength. Most of the biggest (natural) bodies in the world list squats and deadlift in their top 3 exercises.

There are no two better lifts for building muscle and strength, period.

Continue to focus on Smith machine squats, leg extensions or light weight leg presses and I guarantee your legs with remain puny and frail. Add squats to the mix and it's like hitting your body with gamma radiation. Your legs, and for that matter the rest of your body, is forced to respond and grow.

The same goes for deadlifts. The deadlift is a raw, primal, mass and strength exercise that will turn you into a freak. Stop using the lat pull down as your main "back building lift" and start ripping heavy barbells off the ground.

Layne Norton

Reason #3 - You Train Like You Are On Steroids

In case you haven't figured it out yet, there is a reason bodybuilders and powerlifters take steroids. Steroids not only allow lifters to get unnaturally big and strong, but they also allow you to recover much more quickly. In addition, athletes who take steroids gain a greater benefit from performing additional volume. A battery of frequent and intense contractions help the steroid-user to stimulate receptors and ignite new gains.

You, on the other hand, do not take steroids. You are not training with superhuman recovery abilities, nor will you benefit from a 5-6 day split with a crazy volume of sets. You are not trying to re-ignite desensitized receptors because...wait for it...your receptors are normal because you don't take steroids.

Most prominent coaches and authors from John Christy to Mark Rippetoe to Jim Wendler to Stuart McRobert to Casey Butt to Louie Simmons to Dante Trudell (Doggcrapp training) have you lifting no more than 3-4 times per week. Want to ignore them and play a big game of pretend? Go right ahead, but you will be wasting your time and sweat.

If you can't blast your body into oblivion with only 3-4 hours of heavy training a week, you have no business training more frequently with a greater amount of volume.

Reason #4 - You Don't Obsess About Progression

Want to know a magic secret? Progression, or the adding of weight over time, is the fuel that drives muscle and strength building. You could use pretty much any workout system in the world - no matter how poorly structured or devised - and if you're adding weight to the bar, you will get bigger and stronger.

How do you progress? Simple. Push yourself during every workout for more reps, and add weight when you hit your upper rep limit for that set. If you are performing bench presses with 200 pounds and a set calls for 5 to 10 reps, add weight when you can perform 10 reps.

Remember that pesky list of trainers and authors I mentioned in the previous section? Yes, you do. They all preach progression of weight. Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 training system has a structured system of progression that helps you rapidly build strength. Doggcrapp training (DC training), a bodybuilding workout system, requires you to push yourself on every set for more reps.

The best way to stall and limit your strength and muscle gains is by using the same weight week in and week out.

But wait, I know what you're going to say. Somewhere along the line you've heard the following from a big, beefy bodybuilder: "I don't train heavy." Guess what...heavy is a relative term. When a mass monster states they aren't lifting "heavy", it means that instead of squatting 450 for 5 reps, they are squatting 375 for 12 reps.

No matter how you slice and dice it, you must get stronger to get bigger.

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75 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 01/08/2015 - 09:23
Meh

Building muscles has become a social disease. Maybe its not a load of meat that matter maybe its your personality think about it.

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Posted Thu, 11/27/2014 - 23:11
put3

Nice read steve! Interesting on the Overtraining...

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Posted Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:52
Gary

This correct. I have been xc bicycle racing for 18 years. Over the past couple of years I started karate too. I also started starving myself to look good at the river and be lean so I could climb better on my bicycle. WRONG. I was getting slower and slower on my bike, my karate instructor thought I was getting worse at fighting after starting out as someone to be taken seriously even as a beginner. I couldn't even complete a 3 hour ride which is like a walk in the park to me over the past 15 years. I went back to eating like horse, riding 4 plus hours and not caring if I had ripped abs. I am back to my race horse self on my bike, I feel like a gorilla in karate and I am sure I could stop a train with my fist. I am 10 lbs heavier and sometimes have some flab around my belly but I am stronger everywhere......including in bed.

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Posted Mon, 08/11/2014 - 09:44
Alejandro A. Aguilar

Steve, thanks for another great article. I started working out 11 months ago and have cut about 9% body fat while gaining about 10-12 pounds. I'm 6'4" and currently weigh 268 lbs. I have been working hard at points 2, 3 and 4. But I am still cautious about point 1. The majority of my body fat still resides between the armpit and the waist. I am the endomorph body type and feel that it has helped me grow faster. I still want to see more gains but can't seem to push myself to want the extra body fat. At 35 years old I have no desire to compete in anything but want to get healthy and bigger/stronger.

My body is definitely bigger and friends/wife and I see the difference. I'm working on restructuring my meals and coming up with a great plan to help me continue to get to my goals. However, as I'm still a beginner I still find a hesitation just as you say to get a bit "fatter" in order to get "bigger". Any more advice on this would be great!

Thanks again for not just his article but the site as a whole.

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Posted Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:06
Will

Steve,

I have a back problem that prevents me from doing squats and dead lifts, are there any alternatives that you could inform me about? It's really stressful when I want a leg day, but cannot do the main muscle building workouts. Thanks

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Posted Thu, 02/20/2014 - 00:41
Colin Vettori

Don't put a picture of Layne of you're article directly above a point about frequency and volume that he would completely disagree with.

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Posted Sun, 11/24/2013 - 19:17
Callum Woods

Hi Steve,

I have been lifting for about 3/4 years, I am 19 weigh around 200lbs and am 5'11 I have about 14% body fat, people say how good I look and how much muscle I have, but whenever I look in the mirror I feel depressed and feel like I look so bad. How do I get my confidence up and make myself feel better about myself and keep motivated for the gym, and for the stats I just mentioned do you think they are good for my age?

Cheers
Callum

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Posted Tue, 10/01/2013 - 22:59
Evan

2 questions, first, im working on a split that is based on ten days rather than a week. I'm using this workout as a template, ( https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines/intermediate-muscle-b... ) but modifying a few exercise here and there. but im throwing in one additonal leg day, and an extra rest period. So i go, Chest/tri, back/biceps, legs, 2 days rest, and then repeat the same order for body parts, but with some different excercies. Do you think this is an ample amount of rest for a beginner? Or do you have any suggestions on how I should modify it? I want to make sure I train legs equally with upper body.

Secondly, how many calories would you recommend I eat to maintain this kind of training program? Currently im shooting for 2800-3000 per day. Should i eat less on my rest days, or keep the amounts consistent?

I guess one last question is, do you think i'm on the right track? I don't really fall into the category of somoene whose lacking results as i'm fairly new to training in general, but hopefully putting the knowledge i've learned in these articles to good use will prevent me from ever becoming 'that guy'

Thanks for all the great information on this site =)

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Posted Thu, 09/05/2013 - 23:30
Rhyno

Ok, SteveO....I have a question...I am 44, 6'3" and hover around 280lbs....i have a 500lb bench, which was the result of having to master the 400's first and took over a year, and i take in around 3000 cals/200-250 gms of protein a day...and totally agree with your system...my question is this...how at this point can i get the last bit of fat off belly...fine in clothes, but not in the mirror...cant burn that last lower belly fat...and i cant lower calories to do it, cause then I hurt my strength...how do i have my cake and eat it too?? I want the strength and the abs.....Thoughts??

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Posted Thu, 09/05/2013 - 12:27
raj

Hey Steve allways love ur tips .....i have 1 question i start working out june 1st 13 weeks only but i have good progress i gained 11 lbs muscle weight but i have low progress in biceps ... triceps are fine but biceps are very week ... any suggetions are welcome thanks...

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 21:17
weohnsn

I have Spinal Arthritis....are you telling me that i shouldnt use a smith for squats even though i train alone?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 19:58
JesseGreathouse

What if you have a PPL split that you only work out the same movements twice per week but you workout 6 times per week. Is this still too much to expect growth?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 19:06
Mike

I find it difficult to do squats & deadlifts because I have Degenerative spondylolisthesis which is about the same as a slipped disc or herniated disc that causes sciatic nerve pain extending to my left heel. Any suggestions. I lift - arms, back, chest and some legs.

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 18:55
Michael

Steve,

You perfectly described me in one of your comments, 5'10" 150-155lbs. I loved the article and have started a 5x5 routine that I really enjoy and have already begun getting stronger with. My question to you is, how the heck do I hit close to 3000 cals a day!? I feel like I eat a ton and only get ~2000 in! Any tips on what to eat!? 20lbs of fat seems like it would take a miracle for me, oh and I'm 26 if that makes a difference, thanks man!

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 18:10
Velislav Stoyanov

Great article, congrats.
I just have a few questions to the author. What if i don't want to get bigger? What if i don't want to bulk up? What if i don't feel comfortable with my legs been big. What if i gain more fat then muscle the last 6 years and every time i do squats i can't fit in my jeans a few days later. I am 185 tall and weight 98kg.
Got about 20-22% body fat and every time i go heavy i can't fit in my cloths... But.. i know my muscles stay small under the 0.5- 1cm body fat layer. But every time i go heavy the fat stays or gets more and more, my muscles grow, no doubt about that, but i make the impression that i am fat. I do run a lot... i do squat once a month.. or twice... i do dead-lifts with 50kg. My final question is:
- is this article about people like me, with not that brilliant genetics, people having trouble get any success... i have seen many many guys coming to the gym over the past 6 years...working out.. starting from ...( 10point system) not 0 but 2-3... getting up to 7 for several months, working out less than i do, spending less time in the gym, not using anything..at least this is what they say. And me.. always stay the same or even worse, doing those crazy work out every once in a while. I really almost do not have any muscle definition whatsoever ( i know this is not because of the 20% fat ). I have even tried taking steroids 4 times... Stanazolol-HCL .. different labels.. I have drank over 20-30kgs Whey protein over the past 6 years... so many amino boxes i can't remember.. I have taken BCAA, L-carnitine with litters.doing cardio 16-`17kms... sometimes over 20kms... i have taken Clenbuterol.... all other types of thermogenic fat burners.. liek hydroxycut/methoxy burn... i have taken lipotrops... even i have taken ephedrine ... injected right into the belly fat/Coffeine and aspirine in the combo with it... i just finish using NaNO vapor..take a dosage of 1MR sometimes before work out... Im not saying i don't stay okay in the mirror... it's just me being big..fatty all year round.. every time i clean up a little my meals... i pull down a few pounds.. the first couple of beers and a pizza slice... and i get the y0-y0...Don't know what to do, don't know how to continue... i only know that if i move on a close to perfect diet for the next several months i would probably not gain 15-20kgs during the winter.. as usual ... yes this is my thing... i get 15-20kgs on me every winter... forgot to say that... i have experienced being 117kg... than i stared and i down to 79.. STILL will with the body fat on me... don't know what's wrong :D Please help !! Shut i focus all my mental and physical strength going all crazy about the reps, the time between them, the clock meals etc... I am sick of being ashamed of taking my shirt of when a girl wants to get with me. I have spent years 5-6 times a week working out... pushing the limits... i was doing 2 work outs a day this summer ( because i was unemployed ). I've spent thousands of dollars on supplements... i cried sometimes outside of the F*king gym when a guy 5 years younger than me shows a body better looking then mine with almost no afford given. I just did not move a single step the past 2-3 years... even when i took the Winstroll this spring... i just had more power and recovered faster... and still... nothing.
Yes i drink beer, and alcohol and i eat late night...
Yes i eat fatty food etc...
But if i stop eating normally...clean it up for few weeks... i show some a little bit improve, and get the y0-y0 right after... i just gain fat for a day....
Dunno what to do...
Don't want to cry anymore... Don't want to suffer anymore.
Please, guys give me some advice.
Thank you much.

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 18:03
duncan

Can you help me with a question please. as an example for bench press , say I start with 120 pounds with a rep range of 8-10. set 1 I get 10 reps , set 2 I get 8 reps and set 3 I get 6 reps. the next time I do bench do I stay at 120 pounds until I get all 3 sets with 10 reps THEN add more weight? Is that the best way to go?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 17:34
ashley

Great read, good knowledge great help thanks alot :)

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 17:11
Jimmy P

I have poor knees and a poor lower back (both injured, some surgeries). Deadlifts and squats arent exactly god choices for me. Any other recommendations?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 21:29
weohnsn

super set leg press with lying leg curls, then walking lunges. do smith machine squats last with your feet forward and good form and proper breathing. when you get to the squats you will have to use lower weight that you may be used to because your muscles are already fatigued....this will prevent you from using too much weight and stressing your injured areas.

then take a shake and eat, sleep rest and wake with another shake

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Posted Wed, 08/21/2013 - 20:15
Johnny Webb

Hello Steve, just like to say awesome article. Anyways, I have a huge problem... I just turned 30, and still look exactly the same way I did when I was 17. Same height= 5'8" , same weight= 143lbs.
I've been training in Martial Arts for 22 years now, and all I have is a skinny-ass body, with great flexibility. But, when I try to workout, do heavy lifting, eating a lot of protein, ect. all I get is sore the next 3 days and no results...
Sorry for the long story, but I have no clue to what to do. I don't want to get huge, just a physique Similar to Spider-Man for an example. Skinny but ripped. I hate being a skinny karate dude!!!

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2013 - 21:19
weohnsn

eat more. you should be sore for 3 days.wake with a shake. eat more quality food and cottage cheese before bed

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Posted Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:46
Patrick Dean

10-20 pounds of fat gain? are you kidding me? then when you cut that weight youre gonna lose about a pound of muscle per 2-3 pounds of fat you lose, Renegade Diet, Jason Ferrugia, try it...

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Posted Thu, 07/25/2013 - 10:32
Velkan

Hello there.. Nice article.
i am not sure if there is another post with my question but im going to ask anyways
Im a guy that move to another country to work. however i came and in a year i was a little fat .
so i started to do some home exercises in order to keep active.

i didnt have time for go Gym or for find a good trainer who can tell me the information i need.so i decide to search a little and do exercises like this basically i trained like this 1 year ago.

Monday: shoulders. biceps and abbs

wednesday: chest , triceps and abbs

fridays; very little of back. legs. then abbs

after 1 year i develop well arms, shoulders. and chest mainly.

Now i wanted to get lean and "ripped" if its possible. however i started to reduce the weight of my dumbbells because it was never the intention to grow up bigger ( not taller)

so i started the same routine as before with low weight and more reps 3x30
i add 2 days 40 minutes cardio
and a diet ( 4 or 5 foods in a day)

i been keeping strictly for almost 1 month but now i found myself my chest , shoulders and abbs looks better but my arms looks thinner . and my question it is i am doing something wrong?
i used to remember when i train with low with i made so many reps that the muscle broke i think.

i want now to keep the rest parts of the body the same except the arms so i have some questions:

1) Is it possible to keep the cardio and diet and have arms a little more big?

2) should i add more weight and do less reps?

3) what kind of excercises are the best for intermediate level for biceps and triceps.

4) i dont have time for go to gym so i do exercises in home would you recommend me somes?

* My gf says im blind that my arms are already big . but for be frank i am looking an increase of 30 or 40% . . compare before the diet and cardio my arms was bigger.

i will appreciate your idea, or advice, please take 2 minutes of your time and reply me. i really dont know what to do about this.

Best Regards
Velkan

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Posted Sat, 06/01/2013 - 13:35
QAISER

i'm very weak.... and man energy is low........ so tell me how to inprove my body.....

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Posted Fri, 05/10/2013 - 21:31
Charlz T

I've followed these 4 steps before even reading this article with a slight exception to eating alot since i do not want to gain size but instead i want to be more chiseled. i do drink a mass gainer more as a meal replacement just to give my muscles more calories during my workout/recovery days.

i've gained some strength over 6 months but little to no size, and my body still looks soft. i wish i could get my hands on some gear.

my body recovers quite fast so recently i am able to train upper and lower twice a week. (i do upper/lower split)

5'7" 175lbs
deadlift - 325 x2
bench - 225 x 3
squat - 315 x 2

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2013 - 04:55
jason

same thing everytime. "do squats" "eat more" "put more weight on the bar" HOW DO YOU PUT MORE WEIGHT ON THE BAR IF YOU GO IN AND CAN'T EVEN SQUAT WHAT YOU DID LAST WORKOUT?!!! i do squats and deadlifts and i get stronger for like 2 workouts then just get weaker. then i take a few weeks off and i'm back where i started. "eat more" doesn't do anything just makes you fat and bloated!

mnsjason's picture
Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 19:36
mnsjason

Hey Jason! I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble; I know lifting can sometimes be discouraging. Based on your comment, it looks like consistency is an issue for you. By taking a few weeks off between a couple weeks of lifting, you don't stimulate growth. Squats and deadlifts are, in my personal experience, two of the best lifts out there. Also, if you're "eating more" on those three weeks of not lifting, you'll certainly put on weight, but not the good kind. You'll have bad days in the gym, but stick with it. You'll find that you have more good days than bad, and you'll see your numbers improve.

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 20:12
akshay

hi steve i likes ur article i want to ask u one que.that im so weak and i attain jim and my trainer suggest me about the suplymentry supermass hard core is that effective for my body?plz suggest me right wsy to built my body.

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 06:20
Brendan :)

Hey steve great article iam a natural bodybuilder / strength trainier for 8 years and being a ectomorph I know how hard it can to make gains. Iam currently training 3-4 days aweek 1 muscle group a week due to iam a ectomorph and thats what works for me. I have reached a platau tho i can bench 100kg at 8 reps and squat 100kg but recently my workout have been really heavy and hard training for a long period some weeks my bench goes down in strength eg this week i benched 5 reps could this be becaurse i have not changed it eg do 12 reps instead or could i be doing to much ? is it bad just to lift heavy all year round i dont want to loose my strength tho ? I got my body % mesured at tafe when i was studying cert 4 in fitness and i was 8 percent at 78 kilos should i increase my calories ? Or just change the rep range or both i enjoy being lean but want to be strong to :) any advice would be great thanks mate.

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Posted Thu, 02/14/2013 - 15:37
Bobby

I have difficulty keeping my balance when I only manage even to get half way into a squat. Are there any exercises I can do to help me with my balancing issues first?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Mon, 02/18/2013 - 18:33
mnsjason

You might want to use a lighter weight and work on form if you're having balance issues, as you really run a risk of injury. Keeping your head up is important; the moment you look down, you're very likely to lean forward. Also, concentrate on pushing the weight through your heels. Running shoes can have a lot of material under the heel, which can push you forward. Try lifting in a flat shoe to resolve the issue.

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Posted Sat, 01/19/2013 - 03:48
natalia

about the eat big part. what kind of food is good. im pretty new to the gym but im soo keen to get fit and strong. i weigh 60kgs at the moment. so any advise where i should start lol

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Posted Wed, 11/28/2012 - 20:46
Kwame

Hey Steve, I am new to the lifestyle and I could use some advice. I am 34yrs 5'8" 155 lbs (soaking wet) Very little body fat. I have a fairly athletic build but out of shape. I decided to do the beginners home circuit training. I started today and I feel great. Now,my question is this, I want to gain about 10-15 lbs of muscle. For someone like me who is slender, what is the best way to go about gaining this muscle mass and staying cut?

Joey's picture
Posted Wed, 12/05/2012 - 13:04
Joey

You'll have to eat above maintenance level. If you're worried about gaining excess fat, you can simply eat slightly above that maintenance level. Here is a helpful tool to give you an estimate as to how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

You might start by taking in 200-300 extra calories per day. Remember to increase the total calories as you gain weight. 

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Posted Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:15
Christian

Hello Steve very good article,
What can I do to get stronger, but adding not that much weight. The thing is my knees are not good at all, I knew about squats and deadlift since ever however I have had always that stop, my knees.

What will you recommend.

Thank you in advance.

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Posted Thu, 09/13/2012 - 23:14
john

Great article. Just great, honest advice. And I know I do all four of these things. It is very very difficult to get out of that frame of mind, but I have to....

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Posted Mon, 07/30/2012 - 10:02
Marcus

i love the gym, it's great going Monday until Saturday my routine is Monday: shoulders/biceps Tuesday: chest/triceps Wednesday: squats deadlifts and overall back along with intense stomach. Then it repeats for thurs, fri and sat then Sunday rest I lost 5 stone in weight in 6 months... Is this routine fine or am I going to end up like a stick eventually?.. I do see a lot of muscle growth but I'd rather know that I'm doing things the right way than the wrong way of approaching weights.. Also eating my
6 meals a day

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Posted Sat, 12/31/2011 - 14:54
paul

Hello Steve,
I am preety skinny and have a slight belly. Im working out five days a week because i have weight training second hour at my school. But i havent worked out in a long time. Is this to manys to lift when starting again to lift?

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Posted Tue, 09/20/2011 - 21:01
Drew

Steve, I just want to say that this is a great article for those interested in gaining size and strength!
I was recently forced out of the gym for almost a year due to an injury (and rehab). Now I'm finally back in the gym and currently running your modified Power Muscle Burn routine. In 6 weeks I was able to up all compound/power exercises by at least 45lbs! After reaching a plateau I read this article and realized I had dropped my caloric & protein intake significanly without noticing. After 3 weeks with next to no gains I'm now up another 10 lbs/exercise...thanks for the advice and the reminders!

As an aside, so far it's seemed to me that legs can take a significantly larger pounding than any other muscle group. I do each exercise to 1 rep below failure for all muscle groups, and have been to the point of sore/weakness doing menial tasks with most muscle groups but legs seem to stay sore and weak the longest (as a wrestler for 3 years before injury my legs are significantly proportionally stronger than most of my other muscles/groups)
Anything to that?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/30/2011 - 17:00
Steven

After 25 years me legs still stay sore the longest as well. That's fairly normal.

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Posted Fri, 09/09/2011 - 13:58
MARK N.

Excellent article Steve, You stated all of my dilemmas in your opening remarks...I read it and re read it, and carry it with me to re read.
Started squats and deadlifts seriously this time. Excellent once again!

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Posted Fri, 08/05/2011 - 06:24
Faust

by squats are you talking about most squats or barbell? because i mostly do hack squats.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 08/08/2011 - 15:00
Steven

Hi Faust,

Barbell squats.

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Posted Sun, 07/31/2011 - 20:24
Tony

I took Mark Rippetoe's advice on strength training after being on and off for several yrs from the gym. It's a 6wk program where you workout m-w-f, always performing squats,deadlifts,and alternating days on bench press/shoulder press (5reps x 5sets @ 80% of 1 rep max). Well I've consistantly gained strength adding between 5-10lbs per workout on bench and 10-20lbs on squats and deadlift. Like Steve was saying keep adding weight to your reps and it will take a very long time to plateau. Great article!!!

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/02/2011 - 17:19
Steven

Thanks Tony.

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Posted Fri, 06/24/2011 - 16:25
Joel

Hey Steve,

So, in March of this year I changed my life overnight. I went on the Atkin's diet for a month, but felt it wasn't right for me. The diet itself wasn't good, but when it did for my self control really paid off. I started eating more healthy after I quit Atkins, just strictly eating health and correct portions. I then joined a gym and began swimming 5 days a week. Currently, I now lift weights 3 days and walk on the treadmill for half an hour and do about 1.5-2 miles during that time. One of my co-workers noticed I looked different and we began to talk. He's a body builder that is currently working on muscle mass. He is encouraging me to work on muscle density as he says the more I get the more I will burn. I read one of your comments and it mentioned that trying to cut weight and build muscle is nearly impossible. So, what do I do?

I did play high school football, but I was never one for the gym. The last two weeks I've noticed my muscles feel bigger and harder... and I like it (not to mention my wife). I need a good workout that will build strength and density but at a beginner's pace. I weighed 450 when I started and I'm 6'2". I currently weigh 395.

Also, you mention eating protein every few hours. What is the best method for getting this? Just baking up some boneless chicken breasts and tearing into them? I'm keeping myself between 2500 and 3500 calories a day.

Thanks for the guidance!

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 07/12/2011 - 14:51
Steven

Hi Joel,

Trying to cut weight and build muscle is extremely difficult, but you certainly can try. Most individuals don't have the necessary attention to detail to make a solid attempt at it. If you train hard and have a nailed down diet then you could possibly do both. Unfortunately many individuals have neither.

For protein, my advice is to keep things simple. 4 eggs, 4 pieces of low fat string cheese, whey protein...things like this that do not involve a lot of cooking. They are great for times when you can't cook, or don't have the energy to do so. I always keep things like this handy.

I recommend eating your 3 square meals, having the bulk of your carbs for breakfast and post-workout meal, and using snacks like the above in between meals.

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Posted Mon, 06/18/2012 - 16:46
Ben

You've been deadlifting, squatting and carrying around 450lbs - you probably have more muscle than the bodybuilder!

Good luck and never give up.

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Posted Thu, 06/16/2011 - 20:36
R

Hey Steve.

Good article here, but I'm a little confused. You say that working out more than 3-4 times per week is a waste of time if you want to get bigger and stronger yet, I have been following one your 5 day Power Muscle Burn workouts for a while and have made great gains. Are you saying that the 5 day power muscle burn workout not effective for gaining mass and strength?

Thanks.
RP

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Posted Tue, 07/12/2011 - 14:45
Steven

Hi R,

More than 3-4 times a week is a waste of time for someone who has not made any gains. They need to start simple and basic, and learn how to make gains before they waste time on a lot of volume.

The 5 day plan I wrote is for advanced lifters.