Serious Weight Lifters Only - Need Your Advice

  • Charlie, Jessica, thanks you both are really a big help.  My wt. is currently 161, and since I'm just under 6 ft. tall, I'm pretty lean.  For the most part I'm satisfied with that, but another 10 lbs. of lean muscle mass would definitely be a plus in terms of strength.  You've helped me realize I've probably been both undereating and overtraining!


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Hi Jacium,

    I thought I would chime in as I had to rehab my shoulder before I did my challenge.  I could barely lift my right arm above shoulder height.  I had to to a bunch of exercises to strengthen the small muscles that keep the shoulder joint in place.  My physiotherapist told me that these muscles don't get worked with regular shoulder training.  It included arm lifts with no weight, certain exercises with that rubber tubing and others with 2 - 5 pound weights.  I did these every other day for a while and my shoulder improved a ton.  I'm not saying this is your issue and don't know your background but maybe taking a couple weeks and working these muscles might help.  I still do these off and on to keep these muscles working.

    Good luck and hope the joints get better.

    Train to grow, not for show!

  • Jacium- I think we all agree that bfl is an excellent program and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Bill Phillips and EAS. I found that after a couple of challenges I was in need of a change and new experience. I have recently been experimenting with a new routine that incorporates 3 different styles. Y3T training by Neil Hill, FST-7 by Hany Rambod, and DTP by Kris Gethin.  I have seen major changes in my lifts and build. It is a split routine as Orrin suggests, but seems to be working well for me. I agree with the others on the nutrition. I am around 3500 calories a day and have seen no negative effects. Regarding your shoulder, be very careful with it. I had a labral tear a few years back and opted against surgery because it was so small. I had trouble for years and lost alot of my range of motion due to avoiding certain exercises due to the pain. Only recently have I been able to fully use it. Good luck with your journey. You have been a pillar of the bfl community and a driving force for me over the last year.

  • Check out and get the starting strength book by Mark Rippetoe.  He is a strength training coach that works with athletes looking to add strength and size.  

    Unfortunately, building strength and losing weight are conflicting goals (blasphomy I know).  Using the starting strength program you need to eat (+ 3,000 calories), gain weight, and follow a linear progression of weights in each session, focusing on squats, bench press, overhead press, and dead lifts (the big compound moves).

    The book also has a great amout of detail on how to correctly perform each exercise, which is critical to avoid injury and get the most out of the workouts.

  • Starting Strength is a great strength training book written by one of the masters. At the end of April after 9 months of BFL I went looking for a new goal and started serious strength training.  I went looking for everything I could learn on getting stronger. I would definitely suggest having a read of Starting Strength and I also suggest this web site.  which is a workout routine based on the principles in Starting Strength as well as proven methods of strength trainers like Bill Starr and Glen Pendlay

    Following that program for the last 9  weeks I have taken my Squats from about 160lbs to 240lbs for 25 total reps. Dead lifts to 255lbs, Bench to 160 to give some examples. My goal is to enter a powerlifting competition around my 40th birthday next year.

    One thing to note, if you are super lean and trying to add muscle, you really do need to cut back a bit on the cardio or eat WAY WAY more. When you are lean like you are,building muscle requires being in a caloric surplus. Doing hard cardio 3x a week makes reaching that surplus that much harder. Not to mention if you are lifting heavy, you need more recovery time. I know doing heavy squats 3x a week, If I ran in between my muscles would not get the recovery time they need. I now do 20-30mins of med pace steady state cardio right after my weight training.

    I am so thankful, more than I can ever express, to BFL and the community here and still follow the nutrition principles. While  I am eating more calories to support my training than when I has trying to shed fat, It is just more of the good food.

    Regarding your shoulder issues, I struggled with the same thing for most of last year. Look up shoulder impingement. Prevented me from being able to lift anything over my head for months as well as causing pain doing flat and incline bench or dumbbell press. Oddly enough, the fix was to lift things over my head. By starting with very light weights and sticking with it the problem has gone away to where I am doing 100lb over head presses now with no pain.

  • I checked back on this post today, and just want to thank you three for some really good advice, Cuervo, Kahoona, and BCBill.  You've all been knowledgeable contributors to this site.  I am also at a slightly later stage of life where, frankly, losing the excess fat and beer belly is  the overriding benefit from a health standpoint.  I know I'll have to eat more and gain some mass to increase the strength, and I'll check into the Starting Strength approach.  I currently lift weights 3X a week, but do cardio at least 4 if not 5 times a week. I probably won't change that, as it works as a terriffic way to relax and relieve stress.  I've heard of shoulder impingement, and also about hyperextensions (elbows, etc.) as injuries that are typical in weight lifters over the long haul.   I can see where executing the motion in lifts at reduced weight would eventually help, as the muscle can adapt without excessive stress.  I'm not too concerned about gaining a little weight at this point, as my body fat % is already really low, and I'll eat quality foods, not junk, to do it....

    Hey, have a great 4th of July weekend.  I'm going to run my smoker this holiday to make 4 racks of baby back ribs, southern style, plus I'm putting on about 15 lbs of pork butt to make pulled pork sandwiches....we have to live it up every once in a while! (We'll freeze the majority of the food for later).


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.