From strength training to bodybuilding.

recodeexistance
recodeexistance Posts: 51 Member
Some history -
I'm 150lbs, have moved up to that from 139lbs since starting training several months ago.
(Yes, i know this goes against the per year possible gains, but i'm what you could call long term undernourished ectomorph. I ate, but didn't eat often, for a long time. ((see - ate when i was hungry - - that was rarely)).

Now, I'm what you could now call 'skinny fat'. I've been following SL 5x5, which HAS been doing me well. I've saw weight gains and **fairly decent** muscle gains.

But, after some research, i'm learning this may not be what i'm looking for. I'm mainly weightlifting because i'm fed up of being the 'small guy' in the room. A lot of this has to do with confidence. I have a lot of anxiety based on violence, if that makes sense? (small guy = weak = unable to defend himself = don't look too long at that person passing!)

So, while i want to be strong, and 5x5 has helped me with that, i'm learning i should maybe look more at hypertrophy based bodybuilding for my current goals? Not only do i want to look strong , denser muscle, i want to mainly look bigger than i am.

Start weight - 139LBS,
Current weight 150ishLBS,
Goal - mainly aesthetics, but strengh would be good too.
Current diet - whole foods, around 50 to 250 calories above TDEE per day (not 100% clean, i have nothing against the occasional soda, choc, or alcoholic night.). protein powders used, creatine mono used, daily vitamin, and considering adding BCAA after i do more research.

TL;DR
Can anyone recommend a good programme for beginning bodybuilding (not overly complex, preferably 3 day split, i work monday to friday.) that would fit my above profile and goals? Willing to consider more days if explained how to fit in with my goals / available days.

Thanks all!

--edit-- Before people jump on and say my current weight gain is too fast, i've been thinking that too. BUT, i'm still basically skinny, my stomach has increased a little in fat, but overall my muscle development alongside this has been middlingly good.
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Replies

  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,201 Member
    edited October 2018
    Some history -
    I'm 150lbs, have moved up to that from 139lbs since starting training several months ago.
    (Yes, i know this goes against the per year possible gains, but i'm what you could call long term undernourished ectomorph. I ate, but didn't eat often, for a long time. ((see - ate when i was hungry - - that was rarely)).

    Now, I'm what you could now call 'skinny fat'. I've been following SL 5x5, which HAS been doing me well. I've saw weight gains and **fairly decent** muscle gains.

    But, after some research, i'm learning this may not be what i'm looking for. I'm mainly weightlifting because i'm fed up of being the 'small guy' in the room. A lot of this has to do with confidence. I have a lot of anxiety based on violence, if that makes sense? (small guy = weak = unable to defend himself = don't look too long at that person passing!)

    So, while i want to be strong, and 5x5 has helped me with that, i'm learning i should maybe look more at hypertrophy based bodybuilding for my current goals? Not only do i want to look strong , denser muscle, i want to mainly look bigger than i am.

    Start weight - 139LBS,
    Current weight 150ishLBS,
    Goal - mainly aesthetics, but strengh would be good too.
    Current diet - whole foods, around 50 to 250 calories above TDEE per day (not 100% clean, i have nothing against the occasional soda, choc, or alcoholic night.). protein powders used, creatine mono used, daily vitamin, and considering adding BCAA after i do more research.

    TL;DR
    Can anyone recommend a good programme for beginning bodybuilding (not overly complex, preferably 3 day split, i work monday to friday.) that would fit my above profile and goals? Willing to consider more days if explained how to fit in with my goals / available days.

    Thanks all!

    --edit-- Before people jump on and say my current weight gain is too fast, i've been thinking that too. BUT, i'm still basically skinny, my stomach has increased a little in fat, but overall my muscle development alongside this has been middlingly good.

    Hey, no worries. There is sometimes (usually) an initial jump in weight when a new person starts training with weights. Some of it is a boost in glycogen storage and water retention from that and the muscle repair process. You say "several months" and an 11 pounds gain. Maybe it's too fast, maybe not. You could probably expect about 2 pounds a month your first year if everything clicks properly - anything more than that would most likely be excess fat. This is assuming a good program, adherence and proper nutrition. Less if things aren't perfect.

    Anyhow, there is a sticky around here with a list of some pretty good routines... https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    You could also check out reddit and a sub forum called "gainit". They have a similar list with many of the same routines. You will notice that Strong Lifts and Starting Strength are missing from them on those other sites. They were removed because aesthetics and hypertrophy are the primary focus of the members over there and the mods decided that both beginner strength programs did little to help people with those goals. I don't know if they are right or not, I never did either, but it was quite a debate.

    I'm a huge fan of PHUL, which is a 4 day split that uses both power and hypertrophy days. It's pretty simple and you can easily add accessories if needed once you get the basics down. If you have just 3 days you could try a full body based on intensity and rep schemes that are more hypertrophy based or even a PPL. Although a PPL on a 3 day a week rotation isn't optimal in it's frequency I do know a lot of guys who do get good results from it. YMMV.
  • recodeexistance
    recodeexistance Posts: 51 Member
    Hey jseams, thanks for taking the time for an indepth answer.

    I've had a look at the PHUL method you've been following, and it seems like it may be something that appeals to me. A combination of power/strength alongside actual hypertrophy training could be what i'm looking for (heck, is it just me or searching "beginner hypertrophy/bodybuilding", tends to result in lots of strength training programmes lol).

    While i'm on the SL5X5 program atm, i'm basically up to squatting my bodyweight, DL'ing more than my bodyweight (10kg more IIRC)), would it be worth me continuing it for a few months more, with the strength gains switching well into another program later?

    Hopefully that made sense. I know roughly what i'm looking for atm, just not quite how to *word* it lol!.

    Once again, thanks man!
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,201 Member
    Hey jseams, thanks for taking the time for an indepth answer.

    I've had a look at the PHUL method you've been following, and it seems like it may be something that appeals to me. A combination of power/strength alongside actual hypertrophy training could be what i'm looking for (heck, is it just me or searching "beginner hypertrophy/bodybuilding", tends to result in lots of strength training programmes lol).

    While i'm on the SL5X5 program atm, i'm basically up to squatting my bodyweight, DL'ing more than my bodyweight (10kg more IIRC)), would it be worth me continuing it for a few months more, with the strength gains switching well into another program later?

    Hopefully that made sense. I know roughly what i'm looking for atm, just not quite how to *word* it lol!.

    Once again, thanks man!

    The general advice I've heard most about SS and SL is that once your lifts start to stall and you need to start continuous deloading to continue progress it's a good time to switch to an intermediate program or a program more specific to your goals. I think both SS and SL are great for teaching the basics about very important core lifts. I do think they are crap for hypertrophy and aesthetics. Just take a look Mehdi. He's undoubtedly stronger than he looks but he's completely DYEL.
  • recodeexistance
    recodeexistance Posts: 51 Member
    About Medhi being DYEL, definitely.
    And don't get me wrong, his programme has been a great re-introduction to iron. (I'm an ex soldier who spent a lot of time in the gym not really knowing what i was doing and taking the gains i could get from that.)

    But, the small guy isn't interested in "i bet you're really stronger than you look" xD . We want to *LOOK* strong as well as actually being so.

    I do think it's maybe a caveat he should include on his website, as to a beginner it's touted as the be-all-end-all miracle tonic.

    So yeah, i'll definitely be looking at the PHUL method (possibly Greyskull LP before that though).
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,946 Member
    jseams1234 wrote: »
    Some history -
    I'm 150lbs, have moved up to that from 139lbs since starting training several months ago.
    (Yes, i know this goes against the per year possible gains, but i'm what you could call long term undernourished ectomorph. I ate, but didn't eat often, for a long time. ((see - ate when i was hungry - - that was rarely)).

    Now, I'm what you could now call 'skinny fat'. I've been following SL 5x5, which HAS been doing me well. I've saw weight gains and **fairly decent** muscle gains.

    But, after some research, i'm learning this may not be what i'm looking for. I'm mainly weightlifting because i'm fed up of being the 'small guy' in the room. A lot of this has to do with confidence. I have a lot of anxiety based on violence, if that makes sense? (small guy = weak = unable to defend himself = don't look too long at that person passing!)

    So, while i want to be strong, and 5x5 has helped me with that, i'm learning i should maybe look more at hypertrophy based bodybuilding for my current goals? Not only do i want to look strong , denser muscle, i want to mainly look bigger than i am.

    Start weight - 139LBS,
    Current weight 150ishLBS,
    Goal - mainly aesthetics, but strengh would be good too.
    Current diet - whole foods, around 50 to 250 calories above TDEE per day (not 100% clean, i have nothing against the occasional soda, choc, or alcoholic night.). protein powders used, creatine mono used, daily vitamin, and considering adding BCAA after i do more research.

    TL;DR
    Can anyone recommend a good programme for beginning bodybuilding (not overly complex, preferably 3 day split, i work monday to friday.) that would fit my above profile and goals? Willing to consider more days if explained how to fit in with my goals / available days.

    Thanks all!

    --edit-- Before people jump on and say my current weight gain is too fast, i've been thinking that too. BUT, i'm still basically skinny, my stomach has increased a little in fat, but overall my muscle development alongside this has been middlingly good.

    Hey, no worries. There is sometimes (usually) an initial jump in weight when a new person starts training with weights. Some of it is a boost in glycogen storage and water retention from that and the muscle repair process. You say "several months" and an 11 pounds gain. Maybe it's too fast, maybe not. You could probably expect about 2 pounds a month your first year if everything clicks properly - anything more than that would most likely be excess fat. This is assuming a good program, adherence and proper nutrition. Less if things aren't perfect.

    Anyhow, there is a sticky around here with a list of some pretty good routines... https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    You could also check out reddit and a sub forum called "gainit". They have a similar list with many of the same routines. You will notice that Strong Lifts and Starting Strength are missing from them on those other sites. They were removed because aesthetics and hypertrophy are the primary focus of the members over there and the mods decided that both beginner strength programs did little to help people with those goals. I don't know if they are right or not, I never did either, but it was quite a debate.

    I'm a huge fan of PHUL, which is a 4 day split that uses both power and hypertrophy days. It's pretty simple and you can easily add accessories if needed once you get the basics down. If you have just 3 days you could try a full body based on intensity and rep schemes that are more hypertrophy based or even a PPL. Although a PPL on a 3 day a week rotation isn't optimal in it's frequency I do know a lot of guys who do get good results from it. YMMV.

    Totally 2nd the recommendation for PHUL. One of the best all around programs for both strength and hypertrophy. Could be perfect for you.
  • recodeexistance
    recodeexistance Posts: 51 Member
    I have two further related questions guys :)

    1) Newbie gains. It's safe to say i'm still in that phase, and i've found it described as being newbie gains 'until you're no longer making linear progress from workout to workout'.
    Does this mean that I'm better 'spending' these newbie gains (couldn't think of a better way to word that), on a better fitting programme?

    2) The switch; Would it be a better idea for me to phase over , i.e. switch from stronglifts to greyskull lp for a few cycles, then eventually onto PHUL. Or would it be better to switch to PHUL directly on my next workout (and after research on how each workout should go for that lol), and 'spend' those newbie gains there?

    I hope that made sense. As always, thanks for the time.
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,201 Member
    I have two further related questions guys :)

    1) Newbie gains. It's safe to say i'm still in that phase, and i've found it described as being newbie gains 'until you're no longer making linear progress from workout to workout'.
    Does this mean that I'm better 'spending' these newbie gains (couldn't think of a better way to word that), on a better fitting programme?

    2) The switch; Would it be a better idea for me to phase over , i.e. switch from stronglifts to greyskull lp for a few cycles, then eventually onto PHUL. Or would it be better to switch to PHUL directly on my next workout (and after research on how each workout should go for that lol), and 'spend' those newbie gains there?

    I hope that made sense. As always, thanks for the time.

    I'm not sure. I've always had a belief, based on some old gym "broscience" and backed up a little by modern gurus that true growth starts happening when you hit your first real plateau. Up till that point it's mostly CNS gains and adaptation. However, I think that idea is overly simplistic - as "newbie gains" also include actual muscle growth and not just those CNS adaptations. The farther you are from your genetic maximum the more dramatic your initial gains and growth will be - the closer you are the slower things get.

    If you feel like you have the basics down and enough strength/conditioning to handle an intermediate program then why not go for it? I don't know why you would spend more time and effort on a sub-optimal program that is counter to your goals. The thing with Greyskull is that the basic outline of the program is VERY simplistic and reminds me of most beginner strength based routines. I think the rep/set scheme is designed primarily strength/power in mind. You have to add in accessories to the base program for any hypertrophy - and I find this problematic as the main lifts use AMRAP (not a fan) and high intensity low rep schemes. It's been a while since I studied that program so maybe I'm off base.
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,946 Member
    I have two further related questions guys :)

    1) Newbie gains. It's safe to say i'm still in that phase, and i've found it described as being newbie gains 'until you're no longer making linear progress from workout to workout'.
    Does this mean that I'm better 'spending' these newbie gains (couldn't think of a better way to word that), on a better fitting programme?

    2) The switch; Would it be a better idea for me to phase over , i.e. switch from stronglifts to greyskull lp for a few cycles, then eventually onto PHUL. Or would it be better to switch to PHUL directly on my next workout (and after research on how each workout should go for that lol), and 'spend' those newbie gains there?

    I hope that made sense. As always, thanks for the time.

    1) Newbie gains happen with stimulus. I think you can overthink these things while getting very little return. From how you've described it, you have made good progress and it's probably time to move to a more complete and well rounded program.

    2) I don't think there is any reason to make any "transitory" phase. If PHUL is the program you want to do, and there is much to recommend it, just make the change. Do it a little gradually though. When you change up, you are providing different stimulus and that can result in some DOMS at first. Easy in with the amount of weight and the number of sets for a week or two. Kind a transition deload phase.

    The thing I like about PHUL, and why I think you will benefit from it, is that it works both the strength and the hypertrophy sides of the equation in an integrated way to that you see nice progress with both. I think its a "no lose" situation for you.
  • recodeexistance
    recodeexistance Posts: 51 Member
    edited October 2018
    Thanks Jseams and MmaPags, i think you've both convinced me.

    I do think I'd still class myself as novice/beginner in my weights compared to my own bodyweight, but I'm going to make the switch to PHUL, but lower the weights a little (like that transition deload you mentioned, Pags). I have no shame with starting light and working up. By the time i'm up to sizeable weights on the PHUL programs lifts i haven't done, I should have the form on those movements down!

    I appreciate you both taking the time to help me out. While i've enjoyed stronglifts, after some research I realised I would be spinning my wheels trying to make the gains I want in the wrong programme for it.

    -edit-
    As an addition, would this be a good looking programme to start with?
    https://cdn.muscleandstrength.com/sites/default/files/workouts/powerhypertrophy_0.pdf
  • CowboySar
    CowboySar Posts: 405 Member
    Another one to look at that is very similar to PHUL is Layne Nortons PHAT program. I just finished 20 weeks on it and did quite well.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,380 Member
    Also, if you do still consider yourself a beginner, look at AllPro, it is 3 day. (In the list posted above)

    Cheers, h.
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,946 Member
    Thanks Jseams and MmaPags, i think you've both convinced me.

    I do think I'd still class myself as novice/beginner in my weights compared to my own bodyweight, but I'm going to make the switch to PHUL, but lower the weights a little (like that transition deload you mentioned, Pags). I have no shame with starting light and working up. By the time i'm up to sizeable weights on the PHUL programs lifts i haven't done, I should have the form on those movements down!

    I appreciate you both taking the time to help me out. While i've enjoyed stronglifts, after some research I realised I would be spinning my wheels trying to make the gains I want in the wrong programme for it.

    -edit-
    As an addition, would this be a good looking programme to start with?
    https://cdn.muscleandstrength.com/sites/default/files/workouts/powerhypertrophy_0.pdf

    That link is the PHUL program laid out day by day. It's the same program. It is identified at the top as P.H.U.L.
  • latestarter75
    latestarter75 Posts: 50 Member
    If your looking at a 3 day split I would look at PPL style split my own preferred training splits are DC training in the off season and Dr Scot Stevenson’s fortitude training in a prep phase but neither are suitable for beginners,if you’ve built a strength base using 5x5 then PPL would be a good choice and the switch in rep range alone would be new stimulus and therefore spark some new growth
  • billkansas
    billkansas Posts: 267 Member
    edited October 2018
    My experience with bodybuilding programs over the past twenty years is that I pretty much failed all I tried. I finally figured out: I hate bodybuilding.

    However, I love strength training. It's simple, takes minimal time, and frankly a big thrill to attempt a heavy squat, deadlift, bench press, or overhead press. I see all these bodybuilder guys at my gym: there every day, using lots of dumbbells, cables, crazy new exercises, etc... and think to myself: "going to squat or deadlift with me today.... No? I didn't think so".
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    edited October 2018
    billkansas wrote: »
    My experience with bodybuilding programs over the past twenty years is that I pretty much failed all I tried. I finally figured out: I hate bodybuilding.

    However, I love strength training. It's simple, takes minimal time, and frankly a big thrill to attempt a heavy squat, deadlift, bench press, or overhead press. I see all these bodybuilder guys at my gym: there every day, using lots of dumbbells, cables, crazy new exercises, etc... and think to myself: "going to squat or deadlift with me today.... No? I didn't think so".

    Many of the champion bodybuilders were solid powerlifters before bodybuilding. Think Arnold, Franco Columbo, Ronnie Coleman, etc.

    You're not going to look like a bodybuilder IMO, unless you have a good bit of powerlifting movements in your program.
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,179 Member
    I've also been running PHUL (modified for equipment availability, prefer to go HPUL as an order but that acronym doesn't make sense) for a while and have been very happy with my choice. For you, I think it all depends where you are on your strength progression. My $0.02: Go to SymmetricStrength.com, create a profile to track your lift numbers and where you fall on their progression scale. If you're short of "intermediate" you still have some opportunity on an LP program, which would also fit with 3 days/week as you mentioned was a preference. There are some similar-yet-different programs for continuing to build up your strength base in the wiki on r/fitness (linked below) that you could try if you're wanting to go away from Stronglifts. I get where you're coming from wanting to get bigger in a hurry but you've got to trust the process don't short change yourself on the up-front strength gains; I think you'll ultimately be happier over the long run.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/wiki/recommended_routines
  • billkansas
    billkansas Posts: 267 Member
    These last two articulated my thoughts better than I did. I'd add on to say real bodybuilding is sort of like "advanced strength training with hypertrophy focus". Why bother going this route unless you've milked the beginner strength stuff for as long as you can and are actually ready for it. I mean, should a guy really be trying to put a peak on his biceps when he's only deadlifting 250 lbs? I don't think so.... I think he should be spending his time at the deadlift and squat.

    I think this is why I always lost my motivation on bodybuilding programs. I'd be a few months in my program and doing 15 sets of arms/calves/shoulders (etc.) twice per week and some kid would be blowing my mind with his 350 lb squat and I'd be like "how the heck is he doing that"?
  • jseams1234
    jseams1234 Posts: 1,201 Member
    billkansas wrote: »
    These last two articulated my thoughts better than I did. I'd add on to say real bodybuilding is sort of like "advanced strength training with hypertrophy focus". Why bother going this route unless you've milked the beginner strength stuff for as long as you can and are actually ready for it. I mean, should a guy really be trying to put a peak on his biceps when he's only deadlifting 250 lbs? I don't think so.... I think he should be spending his time at the deadlift and squat.

    I think this is why I always lost my motivation on bodybuilding programs. I'd be a few months in my program and doing 15 sets of arms/calves/shoulders (etc.) twice per week and some kid would be blowing my mind with his 350 lb squat and I'd be like "how the heck is he doing that"?

    Then there are those guys in the gym who lift half what you lift but look like Greek gods... it's a balancing act. Besides, where did you ever get the idea that a hypertrophy program requires so much accessory volume? It's mostly about rep ranges and intensity - even for the core lifts. I do all the basic lifts that are considered "power lifter" specific - I just have days were my intensity is lowered, volume is raised and reps are increased into the 8-12 range.

    Very advanced body builders who aren't really about creating more mass are the ones hitting their biceps from 10 different angles trying to specifically shape what they have.
  • 80sSynthwave
    80sSynthwave Posts: 25 Member
    Hit each body part twice a week and progressive overload. Thats all you need for at least the first couple years. No reason to get overly complex with a program designed by someone with a totally different frame and muscle build than your own. Just an opinion.
  • Cahgetsfit
    Cahgetsfit Posts: 1,913 Member
    jseams1234 wrote: »

    Then there are those guys in the gym who lift half what you lift but look like Greek gods... it's a balancing act. Besides, where did you ever get the idea that a hypertrophy program requires so much accessory volume? It's mostly about rep ranges and intensity - even for the core lifts. I do all the basic lifts that are considered "power lifter" specific - I just have days were my intensity is lowered, volume is raised and reps are increased into the 8-12 range.

    Very advanced body builders who aren't really about creating more mass are the ones hitting their biceps from 10 different angles trying to specifically shape what they have.

    This here. That's what i have been working on personally. I don't need to get bigger, I just want to sculpt particular bits of me (though getting bigger is not a bad side effect). So i'm one of those doing the "weird" exercises at the gym. I might not be lifting extremely heavy things (though I do do the basic 3 lifts also), but i'm hitting all angles of specific muscles. and I find it extremely satisfying :)

    But OP, you've had some good advice up there. I haven't done any of those programs myself as I started off with a coach and since then I will occasionally do a session with a physique athlete who shows me stuff and I now write my own programs basically. I'm going to a workshop this weekend (Muscle Mechanics - coach Eugene Teo) that i'm looking forward to as am hoping to learn a bunch of new stuff i can implement in my training.