Why does everyone here recommend strength based programs?

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  • BusyRaeNOTBusty
    BusyRaeNOTBusty Posts: 7,166 Member
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    Most people here are eating at deficits, so their goal with strength training is to preserve muscle, not build it. According to Lyle McDonald strength based programs are best for that.

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/training/weight-training-for-fat-loss-part-1.html

    Plus, like mentioned it's good to start with the basics. And both Starting Strength and Strong Lifts are relatively quick. I don't have time to do a "million different isolation moves".
  • phatguerilla
    phatguerilla Posts: 188 Member
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    Agree with the op beginner strength programs are fine for what they are but many people here take them as the be all and end all. The solution to every training programme is do your compounds. However it is equally likely that if you're not seeing the results you want from compounds you need to change your programme and add some smart isolation. From my own experience I went from being unable to do any chin ups and failing to improve this through negatives, to being able to do multiple sets of 2-3 by concentrating on facepulls, db rows and curls for a couple months and zero lat pulldowns or negatives in the meantime.
  • tedrickp
    tedrickp Posts: 1,229 Member
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    Yeah I think Starting Strength is the easiest to start with because of simplicity and due to how well the book breaks down some important lifts.

    Also this is primarily a weight loss site (and I know that isn't true for everyone here, i.e. the OP is in amazing shape - congrats!) but I don't know how effective/necessary hypertrophy training is for overweight individuals. Before anyone jumps down my throat - I KNOW a progressive weight lifting routine is important - just don't feel like hypertrophy training is.

    This slightly touches on that:
    http://impruvism.com/strength-training-fat-loss-podcast/

    I am not 100% confident I am right on this - but if I am in a large caloric deficit (I am) I dunno if focusing on a routine that is designed to build muscle mass is smartest idea. (that said I follow All Pros Beginner routine - so maybe I am a hypocrite).

    I assume the OP is in a surplus and building muscle, and also clearly not a beginner - so for her a bodybuilding split makes sense.

    SS/SL, while they CAN be a hypertrophy routine if you are eating in an excess, will also help prevent the loss of lean body mass while eating at a deficit. That's why any form of weight training is important while losing weight, to preserve as much muscle/LBM as you can. You can't save it all but you can save a heck of a lot more if you are lifting while you are losing weight.

    Yep, I know. I even mentioned the importance of progressive weight training in my post. My response was my answer to the OP wondering why SS is recommended more often than a bodybuilding split.
  • BarackMeLikeAHurricane
    BarackMeLikeAHurricane Posts: 3,400 Member
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    Even 4chan has moved away from telling everyone to do SS and call it a day. Most people here want aesthetics more than strength. I've seen much better results on a "bro split" than I ever did on a strength based program. I don't lift heavy. The heaviest I ever go is lmao2plate!!!1! and half the time I don't go heavier than 185 on any lift. I do my compounds and then a million different isolation exercises. Training for strength is great... if your goal is strength. I've been training my little brother the way I train (he's a 16 year old boy) and he's been packing on mass very quickly. I just feel like a lot of people are getting trolled out of decent gains by being told to do strength based programs.
    /rant

    What kind of program has you lifting 185lbs? That's a good amount of weight. That sounds like a strength program to me. What is the alternative if you are lifting weights? A no strength but gain size program?

    I haven't added any considerable strength for a long time. I was still able to squat 185 atg for reps when I busted my ankle so relative to my strength it's not that heavy. I mainly do higher rep (like 8-15) on most lifts. I do a lot of supersets like BB rows + curls, shrugs + front raise, etc. and I've seen great mass results. At first my goal was strength but then I realized I'm not gonna make it. I have terrible proportions for lifting (arms and legs too long, too much ROM). However, I have high trap insertions, wide lat insertions, and other features desirable for aesthetics.

    I do a 4 day split on an ABCDABC, DABCDAB, etc. schedule.
    A = chest/tri + extra delt assistace
    B = back/bi (includes dead lift)
    C = shoulders
    D = legs + extra back/bi assistance
    I end up doing around 50 sets total so it's pretty high volume. I normally don't lift much heavier than 70% 1RM but usually less. Other than one of the trainers at my gym that's on gear (and she's bigger than the vast majority of men there) I'm the biggest woman at my gym, even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    The point is that training for strength and size are two different things. Sure, there's some carry over. No one is going to become the hulk squatting one plate but it's still two different training styles. Training for strength when your goal is size is not optimal.
  • danimalkeys
    danimalkeys Posts: 982 Member
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    True, there are differences in training for strength or size, but for beginners to intermediate lifters, building a base with compound lifts and practicing form and technique are the same regardless of your goals. That is where programs like SS and SL are good. Personally I wouldn't consider either of them strength programs compared to advanced powerlifting programs, nor would I consider it a hypertrophy program suited for bodybuilding. It's somewhere in the middle, where a beginner/intermediate will see both size and strength gains. Later on down the line if being a bodybuilder or strength athlete tickles your funny bone, then you can move into programs designed for those ventures. If your goal is just to be fit, then they are good, easy to use programs that give you goals and let you measure your progress without reams of lifting logs or complicated spreadsheets.

    I got out of powerlifting about 5-6 years ago. I trained very little after that, and for 3 years or so, didn't pick up a weight at all. When I returned to lifting, I did 5x5 for a couple months to get my technique down and get used to moving weight, and then went into my current program that is more strength based. I have no desire to lift competitively again, and there is no doubt that I will never put up the weights I have in the past, but I still want to be strong and fit.
  • scottb81
    scottb81 Posts: 2,538 Member
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    The point is that training for strength and size are two different things. Sure, there's some carry over. No one is going to become the hulk squatting one plate but it's still two different training styles. Training for strength when your goal is size is not optimal.
    It probably would be easier to get really big if you get really strong first. Like the really big guys in the pre-steroid days did.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,789 Member
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    Bump.

    Never heard of SS. I'll be looking that up later. I'm looking for something to help me gain strength, tone and keep the weight down. I love to lift and I lift heavy (heavy to me) 3-4 times a week but I also run and do combat, zumba, turbo kick, play sports and swim.. i don't want big muscles, I really want the athletic build and cut tummy. And I'd love to skip out on turbo kick more often. but I always feel like i'm losing what I did.

    Will SS help that?

    If your diet's in check. There are no magic bullets

    ^^^This, and you're not going to get big muscles. As a female it is really hard for you to pack on muscle mass. That usually consist of the right diet of taking in a caloric surplus, spending hours in the gym, and usually taking something not sold to the public in stores.
  • MisterDerpington
    MisterDerpington Posts: 604 Member
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    Even 4chan has moved away from telling everyone to do SS and call it a day. Most people here want aesthetics more than strength. I've seen much better results on a "bro split" than I ever did on a strength based program. I don't lift heavy. The heaviest I ever go is lmao2plate!!!1! and half the time I don't go heavier than 185 on any lift. I do my compounds and then a million different isolation exercises. Training for strength is great... if your goal is strength. I've been training my little brother the way I train (he's a 16 year old boy) and he's been packing on mass very quickly. I just feel like a lot of people are getting trolled out of decent gains by being told to do strength based programs.
    /rant

    If you use /fit/ as a resource for information you're going to have a bad time.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
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    I think some of us are not trying to bulk for health reasons as well. My first 25 years in the gym, I was walking around at 6'3" @ 235-245lbs.

    Health issues have dictated I can no longer be big and muscular, but have to be lean & more cut. So now I have to focus on strength/endurance for my job as well as home.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
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    IMHO, for beginners, building a base of functional strength is optimal...then you can do your bro-split hypertrophy program down the road a bit. Programs like SS and SL are awesome for this and awesome programs for any beginner lifter.

    I personally go back and forth between strength programs and hypertrophy. I personally want to be as strong as I look and look as strong as I am. Some of the bros in my gym are hilarious because they can curl like a boss but they squat like an 80 year old woman and have little to no core strength...forget dead-lifts.
  • BarackMeLikeAHurricane
    BarackMeLikeAHurricane Posts: 3,400 Member
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    Bump.

    Never heard of SS. I'll be looking that up later. I'm looking for something to help me gain strength, tone and keep the weight down. I love to lift and I lift heavy (heavy to me) 3-4 times a week but I also run and do combat, zumba, turbo kick, play sports and swim.. i don't want big muscles, I really want the athletic build and cut tummy. And I'd love to skip out on turbo kick more often. but I always feel like i'm losing what I did.

    Will SS help that?

    If your diet's in check. There are no magic bullets

    ^^^This, and you're not going to get big muscles. As a female it is really hard for you to pack on muscle mass. That usually consist of the right diet of taking in a caloric surplus, spending hours in the gym, and usually taking something not sold to the public in stores.
    I escaped Auschwitz in a matter of months on a split while natty. Earlier this year I was almost hospitalized for an "eating disorder" and now people tell me I'm "gross" and "manly."

    My main problem with SS is that it doesn't have nearly enough upper body work. I know I'm still in curl bro mode but I'd take it any day over t rex mode. Upper body should be trained like twice as much as legs. I still do my squats, dead lifts, and various leg isolation but upper body needs more work. Especially for women, since they tend to lack upper body strength AND size.

    Starting strength is meant for high school boys that want to get strong to play football. For them SS + GOMAD is fine, but SS isn't really meant to be done on a deficit. SS + extra accessory work + deficit is fine, but people should make the most of their newbie gains.
  • danimalkeys
    danimalkeys Posts: 982 Member
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    " even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    I wanted to revisit this- if you've only been lifting a year, you are still making newbie gains. You could do pretty much ANY program and make gains in both size and strength. SS/SL would have worked just as good, if not better, than a BB type split. At some point your gains in both strength and size will slow dramatically. I remember spending a year trying to put 5-10lbs on a lift, busting butt in the gym, eating right, all that. At a point you reach your natural limit. It might take a year, it might take 5, but after you see your gains slow, then you need to evaluate your program and diet and adapt to continue to make gains, whether its strength or size.

    I also think that SS/SL is not just a program for HS football players, that's discounting it's merits by a good margin. It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training.
  • Chevy_Quest
    Chevy_Quest Posts: 2,012 Member
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    @danimalkeys - Well said and very balanced!
    It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training
  • BarackMeLikeAHurricane
    BarackMeLikeAHurricane Posts: 3,400 Member
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    " even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    I wanted to revisit this- if you've only been lifting a year, you are still making newbie gains. You could do pretty much ANY program and make gains in both size and strength. SS/SL would have worked just as good, if not better, than a BB type split. At some point your gains in both strength and size will slow dramatically. I remember spending a year trying to put 5-10lbs on a lift, busting butt in the gym, eating right, all that. At a point you reach your natural limit. It might take a year, it might take 5, but after you see your gains slow, then you need to evaluate your program and diet and adapt to continue to make gains, whether its strength or size.

    I also think that SS/SL is not just a program for HS football players, that's discounting it's merits by a good margin. It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training.
    I started with strength based and saw a large improvement in my strength but very little size gains. After a month on a split I didn't even look like the same person. I saw much faster gains.
  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
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    " even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    I wanted to revisit this- if you've only been lifting a year, you are still making newbie gains. You could do pretty much ANY program and make gains in both size and strength. SS/SL would have worked just as good, if not better, than a BB type split. At some point your gains in both strength and size will slow dramatically. I remember spending a year trying to put 5-10lbs on a lift, busting butt in the gym, eating right, all that. At a point you reach your natural limit. It might take a year, it might take 5, but after you see your gains slow, then you need to evaluate your program and diet and adapt to continue to make gains, whether its strength or size.

    I also think that SS/SL is not just a program for HS football players, that's discounting it's merits by a good margin. It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training.
    I started with strength based and saw a large improvement in my strength but very little size gains. After a month on a split I didn't even look like the same person. I saw much faster gains.

    But you'd already built up a base of strength to reap the rewards of your split.

    Would your gains have been ready to take off if you hadn't been primed and ready to go from the strength training?
  • koing
    koing Posts: 179 Member
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    " even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    I wanted to revisit this- if you've only been lifting a year, you are still making newbie gains. You could do pretty much ANY program and make gains in both size and strength. SS/SL would have worked just as good, if not better, than a BB type split. At some point your gains in both strength and size will slow dramatically. I remember spending a year trying to put 5-10lbs on a lift, busting butt in the gym, eating right, all that. At a point you reach your natural limit. It might take a year, it might take 5, but after you see your gains slow, then you need to evaluate your program and diet and adapt to continue to make gains, whether its strength or size.

    I also think that SS/SL is not just a program for HS football players, that's discounting it's merits by a good margin. It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training.
    I started with strength based and saw a large improvement in my strength but very little size gains. After a month on a split I didn't even look like the same person. I saw much faster gains.

    But you'd already built up a base of strength to reap the rewards of your split.

    Would your gains have been ready to take off if you hadn't been primed and ready to go from the strength training?

    indeed.

    Size is also largely dependent on what you are eating.

    It doesn't matter how good your programme is, if you aren't eating and resting properly you won't get the results you want.

    I will admit some people do respond differently to different training programmes and you have to try both and see what works for you.

    When you were on SS did you progress your weights and how long had you done the programme for?

    Koing
  • phatguerilla
    phatguerilla Posts: 188 Member
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    " even though I've only been lifting a year and I'm definitely not the strongest. I'm sure there are even plenty of women on here that are way stronger but smaller than me.

    I wanted to revisit this- if you've only been lifting a year, you are still making newbie gains. You could do pretty much ANY program and make gains in both size and strength. SS/SL would have worked just as good, if not better, than a BB type split. At some point your gains in both strength and size will slow dramatically. I remember spending a year trying to put 5-10lbs on a lift, busting butt in the gym, eating right, all that. At a point you reach your natural limit. It might take a year, it might take 5, but after you see your gains slow, then you need to evaluate your program and diet and adapt to continue to make gains, whether its strength or size.

    I also think that SS/SL is not just a program for HS football players, that's discounting it's merits by a good margin. It is a foundation program that builds a solid base of form, technique, and strength that transfers over to many different styles of training, whether it's sports specific or asthetic/BB type training.
    I started with strength based and saw a large improvement in my strength but very little size gains. After a month on a split I didn't even look like the same person. I saw much faster gains.

    But you'd already built up a base of strength to reap the rewards of your split.

    Would your gains have been ready to take off if you hadn't been primed and ready to go from the strength training?

    This idea of doing SS or similar to 'prime' your body for size gains is just as much broscience as the bro-iest of splits. A well designed split can increase strength and size just as well as SS can, especially if well chosen isolation exercises help improve strength on compounds.
  • danimalkeys
    danimalkeys Posts: 982 Member
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    I think the main idea is that as a newbie lifter, just about any program will give you gains in both strength and size, especially if you are eating to fuel that.
  • bmqbonnie
    bmqbonnie Posts: 836 Member
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    Subbing. I've done a bit of both and am kind of at a loss as to what I should be doing, but saying that strength is better while on a deficit makes some sense. Perhaps the split is best left to maintenance.
  • mheebner
    mheebner Posts: 285 Member
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    Subbing. I've done a bit of both and am kind of at a loss as to what I should be doing, but saying that strength is better while on a deficit makes some sense. Perhaps the split is best left to maintenance.


    This is actually an EXCELLENT point. Most people get into programs while on a deficit to preserve LBM while exercising and working out. Getting into the typical isolation lifting and split routines are going to work better eating at a surplus, and maybe maintenance as well again if that's the direction you want to head in.