Fitness |OT9|...You looked better before




Welcome to the thread!
You might wonder what exactly this thread is about considering it's relatively vague thread title, and you shall have your answer:

Getting fit by lifting weights in order for your muscles to grow.
The big follow-up question to that is a simple why?

Well, I have the answer.

First of all, lets face it: Putting everything else aside, life is EASIER when you’re strong. Carrying groceries? One trip. Children to carry? No problem. Car stuck in the snow? Push it out with ease.

Plus, whether you’re 100 lbs overweight or just need to lose the last 15, strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.

Lifting has been shown to halt and even reverse sarcopenia – the reduction of skeletal muscle that occurs as we get older - which helps us stay independent (and out of a nursing home) and live longer. But the health benefits of lifting are much more immediate than that. Just purely physically, weight lifting will build you a stronger heart, reduce your resting blood pressure, improve blood flow, halt muscle loss, help control blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels, and improve your balance and coordination.
There's also a whole slew of cognitive benefits, such as a good session in the gym reducing your stress levels and just overall improve your mood.

Finally, and this is probably a major reason for many folks, it makes you look good ;)
So let's kick things off by taking a look at a couple of common misconceptions and questions that have arisen due to various weight lifting myths:

Q: I just want to get healthy, not turn into a big-muscled dude.
As I've stated in the previous paragraph, lifting weights will make you healthier, and you really don't have to worry about your muscles getting magically huge overnight.
You have to work out for months to years at a time to reach just the muscle mass required for what most individuals consider a "big-muscled dude"

Q: If I do enough crunches, will I get a six-pack?

You cannot tone muscles by training, e.g. making abs magically appear by "spot" targeting with abdominal crunches. Toning is done in the kitchen, controlling your diet so that your body will have less bodyfat - which will make your muscles more defined.

See Post 2 for diet&nutritional information.

Q: I don't want to go to the gym, it's full of meatheads who'll laugh at me
Contrary to popular belief, most gym are not populated by Biff from Back to the Future. Hordes of meatheads will not try to descend on you and try to bully you. In fact, many gyms have a supportive and positive atmosphere. One of the biggest issues that too many people will try to give you advice in the gym.

However, if someone does get in your face, please bear in mind that you are a paying member of this gym and should able to take full advantage of all the equipment on site.

Q: Can't I just do [Insert routine&advice from Men's Health or a buddy]?
A few things to go over here and the first that there is no perfect routine. It doesn't exist. Everyone has different goals, different bodies, and thus different needs. What works for your buddy might work for him, and what's prescribed in Men's Health might work for some people, but the routines and programs we've gathered in this thread has the best chance of working for most people starting out - so if you really want to progress, you really should stick to them.

  • Water bottle-This is mandatory, don't even question it. You need to stay hydrated at the gym, and if you show up without one you better go buy an overpriced one at the gym.
  • Chalk-Chalk is going to be your second best friend in the gym. I consider it to be an equalizer--it returns your hands to a dry, fresh state. Crucial for ANY heavy or grip intensive lifts--even the bench press and squat, at heavy weights. You don't need much, and it only belongs on your hands and the bar. A requirement for heavy deadlifts and pulls. If your gym doesn't allow for regular chalk because of the mess, liquid chalk is an alternative and it is easy to make by yourself.
  • Gloves-Unnecessary. Gloves are only an aesthetic choice for those who don't want calluses. Can "improve" your grip but you won't be helping your grip; in addition, it adds another layer between your grip and the bar. Callus development can be minimized by properly gripping the equipment or barbell and moisturizing your hand outside of the gym.
  • Belt-Belts are meant to increase the support of your core through increasing your intra-abdominal pressure. This is why the belts that taper in the front are quite perplexing--you WANT the pressure on your abdominal wall. Get a belt that is the same width all the way around. I only recommend using a belt on your heaviest sets, and only if you need to--they can impair your ability to increase your core strength if you become reliant on them. Feel free to read Greg Nuckols' article about the use of belts to develop your own opinion.
  • Shoes-Weightlifting shoes are very important. You should not lift in running or crosstraining shoes, as the compressable heels/soles are terrible for weight lifting and do not allow consistent force production. Get something with a solid, flat sole (Chuck Taylors are great), or a dedicated weightlifting shoe (Adidas Adipower, Nike Romaleo, Anta, and Wei Rui Warrior are a few recommendations).
  • Straps-Straps can be incredibly useful in assistance exercises and when your grip is already fatigued. Do NOT become reliant on them. I used them for heavy power shrugs, which is more than my max deadlift. Very useful in ballistic movements, as well.
  • Foam roller/Tennis balls/Lacrosse balls - Use the tennis balls and/or foam roll to roll out any kinks in your muscles. Simply lay on the tennis ball/foam roller, and move it back and up. A lacrosse ball is a good replacement for the tennis ball when the tennis ball doesn't do much for you anymore.
  • Resistance Bands- Resistance bands are useful for helping you warm-up and allowing you to do mobility exercises. They can also be used for additional resistance in barbell lifts.
What program to pick (Beginner's programs)

If you are reading this for the first time, you are a beginner. And if you're a beginner, you should get started with a program which will ensure maximum gains and excellent form.
Stick with the program, it's tried and true, don't switch out things without asking more experienced Gaffers if it might work (in the event you got a particular injury you're aware of, for an example).

Like with starting any fitness routine, you are responsible for your own health and advised to seek out a physician before you start for a health check-up.

Full Body
I recommend this one to all beginners, but furthermore, I recommend purchasing Starting Strength. A good guide on that program can be found here. It is one of the single greatest training resources out today. It combines science AND practice, and uses concepts that have been put into work with athletes since the 70's to help novices gained muscular bodyweight and increase strength.

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Bench Press - 3 sets of 5
Deadlifts - 1 set of 5
Pull-Ups - 3 sets of 8-15

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Overhead Press - 3 sets of 5
Power Cleans - 5 sets of 3
Abdominal work (Crunches on decline bench, Side bends with heavy weight, Hanging Leg Raises, Ab roll wheel are a few suggestions)

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Bench Press - 3 sets of 5
Deadlift - 1 set of 5
Bent Over Rows - 3 set of 5
Arm work, if desired (Barbell or Dumbbell Curls, Lying Tricep Extension, Dips, Cable Pulldown are a few suggestions)

This routine will get you great gains, provided you are eating well. Your diet will dictate your gains, unless you just gain mass easily (fuck you). The only change that I can recommend is reducing the deadlift to a once-a-week lift once it plateaus or affects your recovery.

Alternate Full Body
Adapted from the book Practical Programming.

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Bench Press/Press - 3 sets of 5
Chin-ups - 3 sets to failure

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Bench Press/Press - 3 sets of 5
Deadlift - 1 set of 5

Squat - 3 sets of 5
Bench Press/Press - 3 sets of 5
Pull-ups - 3 sets to failure

The bench press and the press are alternated every workout. Pull-ups are done with hands facing away from you, chin-ups with hands facing towards you.

For both programs once all sets are completed with no failed reps, add weight for the following workout (5lbs for press movements, 10lbs for lower body movements). When you start missing reps 2-3 workouts in a row, reset the weight about 10% on that movement only and continue to add weight as before. If smaller weight jumps are desired or required, do so with 2.5lbs and 5lbs jumps for upper and lower body movements, respectively. When linear progress in weight from workout to workout is exhausted (3 full resets for each movement) consider an upper/lower split or an intermediate program.

Upper/Lower Split
Really, the only type of split I endorse is CanditoTrainingHQ's Candito Linear Program.

Other Beginner Workouts
Warming up and stretching prior and post your various lifts is essential to maintain mobility and avoid getting injured. With the main compound lifts, simply perform the lift with just the barbell, one whole set if you so have to, until your joints & muscles have warmed up and are ready for the actual lifts.
Afterwards, do make use of foam rollers/tennis balls to give your muscles a deep tissue massage, and perform stretching.

For all the stretch-agnostics out there, here's a link of all the major stretching movements out there that you should make use of in combination of foam roller/tennis ball/resistance band usage: Stretch Compendium

Stretches and core work for back problems from FitGAF member, SeanR1221.
My personal general mobility and stretches YouTube video compilation list for this community (scroll down to the bottom in the Evernote link).
Joe DeFranco's "Limber 11" to improve flexibility and decrease lower back pain.

Requesting GAF's Help
If you are going to request a routine or advice on a routine, please READ THE ENTIRE OP and then use this template if you don't know which beginner's program to pick, or got any other questions:

  • Age:
  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Goal:
  • Current Training Schedule:
  • Current Training Equipment Available:
  • Comments:
Wait, there's more!
If you've come this far, you might as well continue onto Post 2 (Nutrition) and Post 3 (Exercise instructions, In-depth information, Extra mobility information) to ensure you get the most out of your new routine.


People need calories to stay alive, even the laziest couch potato does. The barest minimum of calories that you need to stay alive—without any exertion whatsoever—is called your BMR.

Now, if you exercise, you need to take in more calories than your BMR, of course. How much more? That depends upon the amount of calories burned, e. g. your activity levels. Add together that amount, with the BMR, and a couple of other things that burn your calories, and you get the so-called TDEE - which is your total daily energy expenditure.

How do I calculate all then?
There are numerous complicated calculations out there, but really no one needs to manually calculate anything when there are sites that calculates everything for you:

Input height, weight, age, gender, and (optional, but helpful) bodyfat percentage (BF%) and/or waist. The calculator will give you both the BMR, TDEE, as well as an estimation of your muscle/fat mass.

Remember that all of this is blanket estimation of exacting processes going on in your body - incorrect estimations can be corrected, but the important thing is that you are consistent in your measurement and approach so you are always moving towards your goals.

Before we move on to the next step in the calculator supplied above, let's take a lot at the all-important "macros".

Protein, Carbs, Fat
Proteins are essential in the anabolic (muscle-building) processes in the body. The opposite of anabolic is catabolic (muscle-burning). If you’re interested in gaining muscle, you should make sure your protein intake is sufficient. In general it is recommended to eat around 0.6 to 1.0 grams of protein per lbs of bodyweight daily.

Hormones play an important role speeding up and slowing down anabolic and catabolic processes. Insulin is one of the hormones that tells the body to store stuff—both in the form of muscle and in the form of fat. This insulin spike is why there is near-unaminous support for consuming carbs after training! Cortisol is one of the hormones that tells the body to use its storage—again, both muscle and fat.

Go back to the calculator now, and you'll see on the right-hand side of the screen a big pie chart of the carb-fat-protein ratio that you can alter through a set of slides. Some people swear by a 40-30-30 diet. This means that 40% of your daily calorie intake comes from protein, 30% from carbs, and 30% from fat (this was popularized under the name ‘The Zone Diet’), and for a beginner this is a great start unless you're interested in a more specialized diet for various reasons.

Do remember to ensure that you have at least 0.6-1.0g of protein per pound of bodyweight, even if this means you get more than 40% of your daily calorie intake from your protein.

Example: We have a 160 lb individual who would like to be 180 lbs. Ignoring everything but protein, we can safely conclude he should eat between 96g (0.6x) to 160g (1.0x) of protein a day.

How to hit your calorie and macro guideline

You might have noticed that you can select your activity level under the calculator, so let me explain to you what that's all about.
Normally, you'd essentially guess what your activity levels are (as they're quite vague and really not that reflective of the exercises most people do), but we're going to do something altogether different that will give you a much more accurate calorie guideline to hit each day you're working out or resting.

First of all, you'll need to use the following food diary site (or any other food diary site, so long as it allows for input of exercise), in which you can input what you're eating to see how many calories/carbs/fats/protein it contains - so you know whether or not you're hitting those calories and macros: with the net carb script (computer only).

Next I want you to select "Sedentary" under activity levels in the first calculator. Then, as you do actually go to the gym or go for a jog, you input that activity into Myfitnesspal (Tab: Exercise, click on Add Exercise under the Cardiovascular section, and search for "Strength training",) and it'll automatically give you extra calories you can consume on those days you're actually working out.

Just remember not to trick either yourself or the calculator - if you're consuming a snicker bar, then it will go into your food diary. If you're cooking a lot at home, you'll get a lot more accurate calorie/macro estimates of what you eat by using a food scale to weigh everything that goes into your belly.

"Bulking", or gaining weight

Essentially, to gain weight you need to intake more calories than you are expending. That is the gist of it, but it is not always that easy, as the calculated BMR number is only ever an estimate. People with varying metabolism will have actual BMR that are higher or lower than those we can glance from the calculator above, but you need not worry about that. Start off by adding a 20% increase of your daily calorific intake in the calculator, and track your progress on a weekly basis. You will have some fluctuation so do not fear if you're up or down 1-2lbs or BF% a particular week, as this is dependent on your stomach content and water weight levels. A more reliable measurement might be to simply use a tape measurement on your biceps/chest/thighs/hips. Simply continue taking consistent measurements, and re-evaluate your calorific surplus and/or macro ratios after 4 weeks.

Have you gained muscle mass (increase in desirable tape measurement, decrease in BF% along with an increase in weight)?
Then stick with your diet, you are eating enough calories and of the right macros to fuel your bulk

If it's not working, then simply go back to the calculator and increase your calorific surplus as well as your protein ratio.
Below are couple of diet tips for people who have a hard time getting that calorific surplus.


GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day)

NOTE: Leaving this here for history's sake, but it is highly recommended to not do this due to there being other ways to gain weight, mainly eating whole foods and having a proper with a caloric surplus.

For the individual who has a tough time gaining weight, be it lack of appetite or too impoverished to pay for steak dinner every day, it is suggested that drinking a gallon of milk a day is a good option. It’s assumed you’re already eating 2,000 – 3,000 calories a day, and since liquid calories are easier to consume and milk is relatively cheap in most countries, it's a great way to add more calories to your diet:

  • A gallon of whole milk contains: 2400 calories, 130g fat, 180g carbohydrates, 130g protein.
  • A gallon of 2% milk contains: 1939 calories, 75g fat, 187g carbohydrates, 130g protein.
  • A gallon of skim milk contains: 1367 calories, 7g fat, 190g carbohydrates, 135g protein.
There’s a point of diminishing returns, and you may decide to have more or less milk (I’d rather have a half-gallon of whole milk a day than a whole gallon of skim), but if you are a low-bodyfat underweight male or consider yourself a “hardgainer” you have options. Build up to a whole gallon a day over the course of a week. Run this diet alongside a program of linear progression as outlined in the training OP, and no longer. This is a lot of extra calories, and as you stall you will see diminishing returns. You will gain fat, but if you are adding weight to your squat every training session that is an acceptable fact that can be mitigated with a fat loss diet after gains are exhausted. Most people running GOMAD usually do so for up to 1-4 months at a time.

If you are already carrying a decent layer of fat or aren’t willing to add weight to the bar every training session, GOMAD probably isn’t for you. It is bar none the most aggressive bulking diet short of the see-food ‘diet’ so if your goals are less ambitious drink your milk accordingly. Ultimately this is still a diet for a novice who wants to squat 315lbs in a few short months, not for someone who wants to add a few pounds of muscle while staying lean.

2DEAD (Two dozen eggs)

If you are unhappy with the idea of drinking all that sugar and/or are lactose intolerant, you might want to bulk with two dozen eggs a day (2DEAD). The macronutrient profile is very low-carb friendly. Plus, the acronym 2DEAD just sounds badass. If you are having trouble eating that many cooked eggs and aren’t concerned about salmonella, you can release your inner Rocky and drink them raw. The cholesterol in eggs probably won't be a problem for you either.
  • Two dozen eggs are roughly 1,848 calories, 126g fat, 12g carbohydrates and 150g protein.
  • A dozen eggs are about 924 calories, 63g fat, 6g carbohydrates and 75g protein.
Still, exercise good judgment with whatever bulking diet you choose. Failing that, ask for advice in this thread. With either GOMAD or 2DEAD, start slow and pace your intake throughout the day. If neither option is appealing remember that many people can add muscle by eating 300 – 1,000 calories worth of the good food they already eat. A little measured increase can go a long way.

Cutting, or losing weight in the form of fat, can be simple yet difficult, and something you might want to do after 6-12 months of a bulk. Go back to the calculator:

Input your data just like before, but now you're going to change the TDEE% so that you're consuming at a deficit of -10% to -20%.
Adjust the deficit into your cut to ensure that you're losing weight at a healthy rate of 0.25-1.5lbs a week.

Remember that as you shed fat you will naturally need less calories to maintain your new, lower weight; this is important to remember if you have a lot to lose and start plateauing. The above calculator can be set to recalculate your new maintenance level every five or ten pounds, or whatever you feel is appropriate. Keep in mind that fat loss is rarely linear and you will likely experience stalls and sudden drops even if you're doing everything right. Weigh yourself regularly and look for the general trend; fluctuations over a few days are natural and more likely the result of water retention than anything else, but if you go two or three weeks without any progress you probably need to clamp down.

There are so many different supplements out there on the market that it’s hard to tell which ones work and which ones are bunkum. Generally, the stuff that promises steroid-like results without being steroids is a rip-off.

Protein powder: Protein powder is not a steroid, nor does it cause you to “bulk up.” It’s basically liquid food, and a good tool for those have a hard time hitting their protein quota. All powders are equal, so pick the one that offends your palette the least.

Creatine: Like protein powder, creatine has a lot of misinformation surrounding it. All types of creatine work, so don’t worry if you got mono creatine instead of micronized. It’s been shown to positively effect performance in the weight room, with the side effect of 2-4 lbs of water weight.

Fish Oil: Fish oil is a key supplement for all hard training athletes, renowned for their essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's have been shown to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, inhibit fat storage and prevent heart attacks (by stopping clotting). And odds are you aren't getting enough of them in your diet.

Vitamins: A hard training athlete will need more vitamins and minerals than the average person. Pharmacies and supermarkets often have these items on sale, so vitamin/mineral supplementation can be simple and inexpensive. Lyle McDonald explains the key vitamins/minerals and how they work in this article.

Weight gainers: Overpriced protein powder with starch and creatine to make you think that you’re getting those fast gains. Go with milk instead.

Pre-workout stims: Stuff like Jack3d and Dark Rage fall into this category. It’s nothing special but a lot of caffeine and other stims. Don’t go crazy and think that since 1 serving was good, 8 servings must be god-like.

I've kept the explanations of these supplements brief as to not overwhelm newer posters. However, those who want to know more about these supplements would do well to read this and this. For more information on nutrition and supplements please visit
For more information about nutrition, visit our Nutrition Official Thread.


Exercise descriptions

Required watching:
The below link is for YouTube videos for lifts not listed below and for the finer details and troubleshooting of the lifts:

These are the staple lifts you'll find in many programs, so do watch the following 10-30 minute in-depth exercise descriptions before you get started:

Conventional Deadlift
Bench Press
Front Squat

Power Clean
Rack Pull
Leg Press
Lying Tricep Extension
Barbell Shrug

Furthermore, it is encouraged to film yourself doing the above (and others) movements, and post it in this thread so that other gaffers can tell you what you're doing right/wrong.


The Squat has been in contention with the deadlift as the "king of exercises" and for good reason. It is an amazing exercise and literally works everything from the bar down. Squats strengthen your abs, back, traps, quads, hams, and glutes, not to mention ALL of the supportive muscles. No other exercise releases as much growth hormone as a good set of hard, heavy squats--and that's why they are supremely important. Whether your goal is to lose or gain weight, squats represent a movement that cannot be reproduced or replaced by ANY other exercise--period. Unless you have a condition where you are physically unable to perform squats, they SHOULD be in your routine.

The Deadlift is perhaps the most "functional" exercise, or at least it appears to be. Simply put, you are lifting a weight from the ground, up. Involving a massive amount of musculature in the movement, the deadlift is pivotal in growth and strength, and in general health. It used to be named the "health lift", but I guess someone decided that didn't inspire ball-shaking fear, so it was renamed the "deadlift". And that's what it is: the weight begins dead on the ground, and is reset to "dead" at the bottom--no bouncing. A unique feature of the deadlift is that it does not have an eccentric movement to begin it, thus further making it difficult as you are not able to rely on the muscle's stretch reflex to aid in the concentric movement.

Bench Press
The Bench Press is one of the best builders of maximal upper body strength. While it does not correlate to any real world movement and has less athletic applications than the standing press, the fact that the bench press allows you to use more weight than the press, incline bench, or decline bench means that it is the best way to overload your pressing muscles (triceps and deltoids/pecs). It should not be glorified: you may have seen guys at the gym with huge chests and small back, guys whose shoulders are caved inward, etc. Don't become this.

The standing press is a more "complete" movement than the bench press. It involves more muscle groups and follows the kinetic chain from the feet to the weight, similar to a deadlift or squat. However, the mechanics of the movement do not allow nearly as much weight to be used as the bench press, so it is usually overlooked. This is terrible--presses should be a regular part of everyone's routine. Properly done, they will help with shoulder imbalances, rotator cuff strength, and shoulder flexibility.

Bent Over Row
The Bent Over Row is a great exercise to complement the bench press and add pulling strength and size to your back. A powerful back seems to be a rarity these days--too much emphasis on lat pull downs and other exercises that don't allow enough of an overload. The bent over row not only strengthens your trapezius, your rhomboids, your biceps, and your deltoids, but also your lower back and spinal erectors due to the near parallel to the ground position your upper body is in.

Power Clean
The Power Clean is one of the best exercises one can do for developing explosive power. It is sort of a go-between exercise between standard lifting and Olympic weightlifting. Involving all the major pulling muscle groups (hamstrings, lower back, spinal erectors, trapezius, rhomboids, and to a lesser extent, biceps), it is a very quick movement that is fairly easy to learn, compared to the full Olympic counterpart.

One of the best upper back, lat and bicep exercises you can do. Perform them hands facing towards you (chins) or away (pull-ups). Using a neutral grip or gymnastic rings is easier on the joints (more important if you're old or do hundreds a week). They're great for grinding to failure or doing small sets throughout the day or between pushing exercises. Add weight with a dip belt or dumbbell between the legs for added resistance.

You can start out by reading death to cardio. With that knowledge replace cardio with skill training. Don't run 5k every day to lose weight. Run 5k to get better at running 5k. If you want to improve your conditioning and be in better shape I've yet to find an article better than Jim Wendler's Conditioning 101. If you are sedentary or focused on Starting Strength don't jump into high-intensity conditioning right away. With beginner's strength programs the only conditioning I would suggest is walking a few miles 5x/week. Work up to it if you don't walk as it is. It's not glamorous, but for 3-6 months you're going to be kicking ass in the weight room. It will start out easy but if you're doing too much you'll crash hard. Introduce conditioning incrementally after you're done with the beginner's program (knowing that it will affect recovery). Failing that, do as little as necessary for your sport. You can't go all out in the weight room and the track and expect everything to progress (especially on a diet).

You should be able to run some sort of conditioning program alongside whatever training you have, the key is choose something you actually want to do and program effectively to your work capacity and recovery. High intensity interval training (sprinting off/on for ten minutes) is more efficient than slow, steady cardio (jogging for an hour), hence the Conditioning 101 suggestions. But again, don't do this for fat loss, just look at the metabolic conditioning as a bonus and remember the more intense the conditioning the more draining on your central nervous system it is. For fat loss, strength or muscle hypertrophy cardio isn't necessary. There's better things to martyr yourself over. However if you have a fitness goal that happens to include conditioning, want to run a marathon or improve your heart rate, find something you like to do and have at it.

Intermediate programs
Once you have gained that initial bulk of beginner's muscles (again, nothing you need to worry about if this is the first time), it might be time to start looking into an intermediate program to ensure maximal muscle growth:

Compound vs. Isolation exercises
While each have their strong points, compound exercises are more useful than isolation exercises. Keep in mind that your goals will dictate importance...but compound exercises work more than one muscle group at a time, and:
  • Teach the body to move/function as one unit
  • Strengthen connective tissue
  • Produce greater anabolic effect
  • Work more muscle groups with the same amount of effort (or less)
Compound exercises should make up the bulk of your workout. Isolation exercises have their place, but should NOT take second place to compound exercises--they should always supplement. Perhaps if you are a high level bodybuilder or working on a trouble spot, but I firmly believe that a routine based on isolation is vastly inferior to a routine based on compounds. As I said, they have their place:
  • Great for bodybuilding applications
  • Work on a lagging muscle group
  • Sometimes isolation is just necessary to focus on a muscle to make it grow--my arms don't really grow unless I do specific exercises for them, for instance
Some examples of compound exercises:
  • Squats-Works (in order of direct stimulation) quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, lower back, spinal erectors, abdominals
  • Deadlift-Works (in order of direct stimulation) trapezius, rhomboids, lower back, lats, spinal erectors, abdominals, gluteus, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, grip
  • Press-Works (in order of direct stimulation) triceps, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, abdominals, lower back
  • Power Clean-Works (in order of direct stimulation) trapezius, rhomboids, lower back, spinal erectors, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, deltoids
Some examples of isolation exercises:
  • Preacher Curls-Works (in order of direct stimulation) biceps, forearms
  • Triceps Kickbacks-Works (in order of direct stimulation) triceps, deltoids (I'm being generous here)
  • Leg Curls-Works (in order of direct stimulation) hamstrings
  • Leg Extensions-Works (in order of direct stimulation) quadriceps
Sets & Reps-An Explanation in Regards to Goals
Here is a great chart taken from the Starting Strength wiki, which is meant to be a companion to Starting Strength:

This is the best explanation of repetitions and their effects. For information directly related to this, read the next section on "Muscular Hypertrophy".

Muscular Hypertrophy
Not all hypertrophy is created equal, and no, I'm not talking about building "lean" muscle and building "bulky" muscle. A more apt (but still terribly simplified) comparison is "functional/dense" vs. "superficial/bloated".

  • Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy-This is an increase in the sarcoplasm in the muscle. Sarcoplasm is NON-CONTRACTILE TISSUE, but accounts for roughly 30% of the size of the muscle. In increasing sarcoplasm, you are actually DECREASING the muscle's contractile fiber density, resulting in less power/strength output across the muscle area. As you can see from the chart, from 10-12 reps and up is when sarcoplasmic hypertrophy comes into play. This is probably the type of "muscle-building" that bodybuilders get a rep for "all show and no go". However, it is not completely useless--simply being bigger in a chosen sport can have it's advantages and building size can help provide a better foundation for increasing your strength (the larger the cross-sectional area of a muscle, the greater it's potential for strength)
  • Myofibrillar Hypertrophy-This is an increase in the size of the actually muscle fibers, but NOT an increase in the amount of muscle fibers. The "density" of the muscle will actually increase. This sort of training is more "functional" and more important for athletes, as low reps build explosive power as well. Increases in size may not come as quickly as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, but you still WILL get bigger if you train this way and eat properly. Low reps (1-5) are best for this.


Reputable Sources and Thanks

Reputable sources
One of the flaws of the internet era is that there is simply too much information out there. What's true? What's bogus? Who can you trust? New posters most likely have heard a great deal of things from a great deal of sites, many of them contradicting one another. I've assembled a list of reputable figures in the exercise and nutrition fields whose works have benefited myself and many other long time posters in this thread.

Mark Rippetoe: Strength coach, retired Texas powerlifter, author of Starting Strength and owner of Rippetoe specializes in training novice lifters with his model of linear progression, i.e, adding a little more weight to the bar each time. He likes to prescribe aggressive weight gain for underweight trainees with the tried and true Gallon of Milk a Day (GOMAD).

Jim Wendler: Powerlifter, writer at Elitefts, and author of the famous 5/3/1 program. While Rippetoe has more of a scientific background in his work, Wendler has more of a "Just do some fucking work" type mentality. That's not to say he's ignorant. The man believes in lifting heavy and hard, not eating like shit, and doing lots of hill sprints

Justin Lascek: Owner of Lascek's view have evolved over time into a model that emphasis strength, mobility, and smart conditioning. He has a philosophy that your program should fit your training goals, instead of the other way around. He has coached many successful strength athletes, like his friend, Chris Riley, who recently deadlifted 700 lbs. Also, creator of the CFWF program, a popular strength and conditioning program in the Crossfit community.

Kelly Starrett: Creator of Mobility Wod and flexibility fiend. His site has hundreds of videos to fix common mobility issues in novice and advanced athletes alike.

Lyle McDonald: Owner of and author of such dieting books as the Ultimate Diet 2.0, The Ketogenic Diet, and The Rapid Fat Loss Diet. McDonald bases all his dietary work in hard science, obsessively searching out every last detail on how nutrition affects the body. His site has a ton of free articles that go as deep or as shallow as you want them to. You really can't go wrong with his advice.

Alan Aragon: Author of Girth Control and owner of Much like Lyle, he bases all his findings in hard science. He moderates on sometimes and enjoys making fun of broscience.

Martin Berkham: Creator of the legendary Lean Gains program, an intermittent fasting diet which has the diet fast for 16 hours and then proceed to have a 8 hour feeding window. His advice has made quite a few jacked guy and gals into super-jacked guy and gals. He occasionally updates his site, and while talks of a book are going around, nothing has come from it yet. Like Aragon and McDonald, he makes heavy of scientific date to explain why it's okay to fast for short amounts of time and eat carbs past 5 p.m. without becoming obese overnight. The only problem is that the specifics of his program have never really been explained by Berkham, however information gathered from numerous interviews and articles have allowed people to piece together the program with successful results.

Non-reputable sources The site is a mixed bag. A lot of the articles are broscience, and many of the forum posters are whiny teens in search of the mystical Six-Pack. Not a bad place to buy supplements though.

Scooby: A jacked guy on YouTube who gives out advice in his videos. He's pretty nice guy from what I've seen, but some of his advice is questionable. A good rule of thumb is not to look up to lean, well muscled men as fitness gurus. Many of them only know to coach and train themselves and only have anecdotal evidence why their stuffs works.

The Hodge Twins: The same as Scooby, two yammering heads in front of a camera on YouTube. Look for people with actual coaching experience.

4chan /fit: Not even once.

Guys at the gym: The guy with the 225 bench max after 4 years of training is not the best source of training information in the world. Neither is the guy who quarter squats 405. These people, for the most part, are not familiar with your training or your goals and give irrelevant or wrong advice.

Resources (websites, books, etc.)
YouTube Channels

OT8 Wall of Shame aka stop posting and start lifting

This OT is an updated version of OT5-8, of which credit goes to MjFrancis, lil smoke, perryfarrell, Mr. City, and Anton Sugar. Many thanks also goes out to the men and women visiting this thread, posting advice, giving feedback, and just generally being a helpful bunch.

Without you, there would be no Fitness-GAF.

The old threads have been archived here:

OT1: Official Fitness Thread of Whipping Your Butt into Shape
OT2: Official Fitness Thread of Triceps Kickbacks, Swiss Ball Squats, and Testosterdrama
OT3: Fitness |OT3| BroScience, Protein Dysentery, XXL Calf Implants, and Squat Rack Hogs
OT4: Fitness |OT4| Squat Booty, Summer Cuts, and Super Swoletrophy
OT5: Fitness |OT5| Intermittent Farting, Wrist Curls and Hammer Strength Machine Spotters
OT6: Fitness |OT6| Defying gravity, Quest madness, and Muscle Shaming
OT7: Fitness |OT7| #Swelfies, Trap Lords, and Quadzilla
OT8: Fitness |OT8| Dad Bods, Bulge Swelfies, and Wait...Do you even lift bro?

NeoGAF Fitocracy Group


Thank you chocobro! You're the man! Here we go again!

Edit: ah crap, #3 for post count? Yeeesh

OT9/2016 Goals: Run more races, run faster, build lower body.

Current size: 5'9" 158lbs

Bench - 245
Squat - 290
Press - 175
Deadlift - 360

Race schedule so far:
4/3: 8K (Finished 7:28 pace)
4/24: 10K
5/28: 10mi
9/18: Half Marathon
10/23: Half Marathon


Wooooooooooh! New thread!

Starting lifts:
Bench: 155 lbs
Back Squat: 235 lbs
Dead lift: 300 lbs

Stuff added later:
Front Squat: 130 lbs (for 3)
OHP: 105 lbs
Sup sup.

So I'm doing deadlift and. I'm.doing it like the video brolic posted in the other thread. I get into position and stsrt with light Weight to see where the bar goes up and when it goes up my hips are highh. I guess its because I have long legs it looks weird so I keep thinking it's wrong

Deleted member 17706

Unconfirmed Member
Thanks Chocobro!

Love the new title.


Nice work, man.

So, I was nested between Jack and mkenyon.

Not bad, that's an improvement from the last OT. I felt dirty at that one.
Couple of new PRs this week:

Tried 315 on bench. Got it for 2 easily. Probably would have done 4 reps but I was nervous having no spotter and never having lifted that weight.

Finally pulled 495 on deadlift yesterday, too. 2 weeks ago I only did 455 for one. Then last week somehow I did 455 for 5. So this week I knew I was ready to do 5 plates.

6'0 200 lbs.
Awesome thread.

Here's my details:

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205


Bench: 295
Squat: 335
Deadlift: 425
Overhead press: 155 x3. Never tried 1 rep.
Barbell Row: 235
I don't usually post in any fitness forums as I usually just keep to myself. But I definitely look forward to participating a bit more in this thread.

I'm thinking of modifying my routine within the next few weeks. My friends like to body build and put on mass. Mass to me is secondary and I would rather focus on strength. I have some ideas what to do but I'm not entirely sure what to do.

Perhaps going back to push pull routines.


Lacks the power of instantaneous movement
I don't usually post in any fitness forums as I usually just keep to myself. But I definitely look forward to participating a bit more in this thread.

I'm thinking of modifying my routine within the next few weeks. My friends like to body build and put on mass. Mass to me is secondary and I would rather focus on strength. I have some ideas what to do but I'm not entirely sure what to do.

Perhaps going back to push pull routines.
You'll fit in here well with those numbers. We like to lift heavy things and put them down.
I don't usually post in any fitness forums as I usually just keep to myself. But I definitely look forward to participating a bit more in this thread.

I'm thinking of modifying my routine within the next few weeks. My friends like to body build and put on mass. Mass to me is secondary and I would rather focus on strength. I have some ideas what to do but I'm not entirely sure what to do.

Perhaps going back to push pull routines.

I hear you. I haven't posted much but I am going to try to because everyone here is actually nice and cool. You post a thread, as Sean has seen, on regular OT and GAF kills you.

Joey Fox

Self-Actualized Member
OT9/2016 Goals: Get down to 10-12% body fat, 1.25x BW Power Clean 1xBW Press, 2xBW Deadlift.

Current size: 5'9" 182lbs

Bench - 215
Squat - 285
Press - 135
Deadlift - 315
Power Clean - 170

I also plan to learn the Olympic Lifts and set goals for those. Did my first crossfit session and learned the back arch on my squat gets bad towards the hole. Lots to learn and improve on the next 9 months.
Sup sup.

So I'm doing deadlift and. I'm.doing it like the video brolic posted in the other thread. I get into position and stsrt with light Weight to see where the bar goes up and when it goes up my hips are highh. I guess its because I have long legs it looks weird so I keep thinking it's wrong

Okay here's the video

The hip height is the same when I got into start position when I was doing 135#. But when I watch it's too high? Morningafter I should record at a different angle. Front camera also makes video look weird and it was pointed up.


That new thread smell

Threw this together if we're doing a progress pic section

Beautiful day so I'm heading outside to do my first farmer walks of 2016


Bum's progress over the last few years:

Edit: goal for this year. Stay healthy and (relatively) stress free. Add a little size.


Checking in, best thread title.

Goals for last OT: just get back into the groove and then lose some weight (done, and down almost 30 lbs).

Goals for this OT: slow bulk beginning Aug 6.


I hear you. I haven't posted much but I am going to try to because everyone here is actually nice and cool. You post a thread, as Sean has seen, on regular OT and GAF kills you.

Yeah, the worst that we do here is encourage you to push yourself to the point where you feel like dying.

Then, rest and do it all over again.


Lacks the power of instantaneous movement
Damm Bum. You might be the 90s Chicago Bulls of the annual sweet 16 tourney.


Damm Bum. You might be the 90s Chicago Bulls of the annual sweet 16 tourney.

That's the same pic from the tourney. Just posting progress for inspiration, lol.

I'm nowhere near tourney ready for '16... Yet.

Edit: also, were you going to follow that up with "and I'm the 15-16 GSW"?


Lacks the power of instantaneous movement
That's the same pic from the tourney. Just posting progress for inspiration, lol.

I'm nowhere near tourney ready for '16... Yet.

Edit: also, were you going to follow that up with "and I'm the 15-16 GSW"?
lol good one! But they've only won 1 so far. Be shocked if they don't repeat though.


Hmmm, maintaining the defecit on weekends is pretty much impossible for me. Already at 2500 and I'm just starting to grill...!!

Don't laugh Cooter

Joey Fox

Self-Actualized Member
Hmmm, maintaining the defecit on weekends is pretty much impossible for me. Already at 2500 and I'm just starting to grill...!!

Don't laugh Cooter

Somehow I had the discipline today. Craving candy and feeling down, I went to 7/11 with the intention of pigging out. I walked away with a Quest bar and some zero calorie Monsters.

Regular candy just has disgusting macros. Where is the zero calorie candy at?
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