I'm interested in developing "hypertrophy nonsense," as Mehdi from StrongLifts calls it. (Apparently I hold it in higher regard than he does.)
I've been lifting weights for 18 years, mostly with no results. The exceptions where I actually showed improvement are (1) when I first started at age 19, (2) when I took creatine a couple years later, (3) when I started eating like a horse a couple years after that, and (4) when I started StrongLifts earlier this year.
There was something magical about StrongLifts, but I don't know what. Maybe it was the particular combination of exercises, maybe it was the whole body routine rather than a split, maybe it was the training frequency, maybe it was the rep count...I don't know. I guess it's even possible that it was all a consequence of primal eating, and the training had nothing to do with it.
But something worked. After years of little to no results, I tried StrongLifts and made significant gains in strength and hypertrophy nonsense. Squats up 100 pounds in three months, deadlifts up 85. Arms, shoulders, back, and legs bigger, even though I lost weight.
Around the 3 month point, I did my second deload on every exercise and switched from 5x5 to 3x5. And after that, the gains stopped. I haven't added any weight to the big lifts in the last 4 months. Actually, I lost strength when I lost some fat (a fair tradeoff to me).
I wasn't expecting to hit the wall this soon. I thought I'd keep progressing (just more slowly) on 3x5, then 1x5, then Madcow. But now I'm revisiting my goals.
Here's the thing: I don't really care about gaining strength without muscle. I know, that's blasphemous to say around here. But take a look at the testimonials in the StrongLifts ebook. These people have gotten very strong but still don't look good. In one case, I thought the before and after pics might have been switched. That's a major fail in my book.
No, I don't want to look like a competitive bodybuilder, but I think I have to train as if I did, to get a fraction of the results (not having the right genes or drugs).
Many people say that strength gains directly lead to muscle gains (false), or strength is all that matters (also false), but for me, it's all about the hypertrophy nonsense. I'm not anti-strength, but it's just not a priority, and if there's a different routine I can follow to improve my physique faster, that's what I want.
So, how do you effectively pursue the hypertrophy nonsense, while steering clear of conventional wisdom?
You need to take a strong look at your diet. 3 months is very little time to say "it's not working."
basically, you need to eat like crazy...which is hard to do with a primal diet. eat big to get big. then, once you've put on some size, if you want to look all muscly, cut the body fat to show off the muscle.
you may want to consider a different program than stronglifts though. a heavy, progressive lifting program like that is going to make muscles stronger and leaner, not bigger. whatever it is, be sure to find something that at least recognizes all around fitness rather than just size.
[url=http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_boring_but_big_3month_challenge]T NATION | The Boring But Big 3-Month Challenge[/url]
[QUOTE=Wanderlust;993730]You need to take a strong look at your diet. 3 months is very little time to say "it's not working."[/QUOTE]
It worked very well for the first 3 months (the 5x5 program), but hasn't worked for the last 4 months (on 3x5). I realized that progress would be slower after the newbie stage, but I thought I'd still be adding weight to the bar on at least a monthly basis.
[QUOTE=primalrob;993741]basically, you need to eat like crazy...which is hard to do with a primal diet. eat big to get big. then, once you've put on some size, if you want to look all muscly, cut the body fat to show off the muscle. [/QUOTE]
I ate like crazy when I was crazy skinny. It worked - I put on size...and then got fat. Maybe it would be different with primal food. At this point though, I think I need to do some more leaning out before I try eating like crazy again. I do eat like crazy right after working out.
[QUOTE=wolfman;993755][url=http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_boring_but_big_3month_challenge]T NATION | The Boring But Big 3-Month Challenge[/url][/QUOTE]
Thanks, I'll check it out!
if you are interested in hypertrophy more than strength, then you need to a) eat in a caloric surplus (particularly protein and carbs) and b) focus your lifts in more of an 8-12 rep range. i know it sounds cliche, but look at the way bodybuilders typically lift. and i say "typically" because look at how most of them go about growing muscles. you don't see a whole lot of 5x5 stuff going on. its 10 sets of 10, drop sets, pyramids, reverse pyramids, 21s, etc. it may sound like conventional wisdom, but its what works
I ate like crazy when I was crazy skinny. It worked - I put on size...and then got fat. Maybe it would be different with primal food. At this point though, I think I need to do some more leaning out before I try eating like crazy again. I do eat like crazy right after working out.[/QUOTE]
you might have better luck gaining the weight first, then leaning out once you've put on size. i know that's how body builders work. you're going to gain some fat, but it's probably easier to lose that than it is to gain muscle size while staying lean. martin over at leangains might disagree, but for the sake of time gaining first will be better
eat before and after your workouts, focusing on carbs PostWO to refill those glycogen stores.