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Old 07-19-2009, 12:32 AM   #1
Max Rosenthal
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Default Mass gain, SS, and "clean bulking"

Hey all,

First post, so patience is appreciated if my post covers things have been rehashed, I have done some searching before posting.

Anyway, I've been doing an SS-like program(Stronglifts 5x5) and then SS since the start of April. When I first started lifting I changed my diet to eat clean, essentially paleo with legumes and the occasional dairy, and tried to bulk that way. I added GOMAD (or as best I can; I'm deployed, and chow hall resupply occasionally leaves us without milk) when I started standard SS about seven weeks ago. Currently my lifting numbers are:

Squat - 215
Press - 125
Bench - 145
Deadlift - 255

Generally speaking, I'm fine with my progress under the bar, but have been disappointed with body composition. My weight has moved up ~20 lbs, from around 195 to just over 215, but comparing pictures from April and now, I can see or feel minimal changes only, mostly in my legs. I'm unchanged at 20-21% BF at both stages as measured by calipers. My goal with all of this was to build muscle mass from which to have a good base to lean out later, when I plan to move to Crossfitting.

Basically, my concern is that my current diet isn't doing a lot to build muscle mass, and I'm just kind of gaining a little muscle and mostly weight. Is "clean bulking" of the type I'm trying to do really even feasible? Would I be better off just eating a whole ton of food and GOMADing, or would I be gaining too much fat in that case? If anyone has comments on how I can change my diet to optimize mass gain (again, I'm aware I'll be gaining fat either way, just want to gain as little as possible), it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:47 AM   #2
Steven Low
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How much weight have you been adding to the bar each workout? I haven't looked at stronglifts program personally, but at your weight and numbers you should be on linear progression.

Should be at least 5 if not 10-15 lbs to the bar for your squats each workout. The reason I don't like 5x5 across (if that's what you're doing for squats) is because it's too much volume and doesn't allow as high a frequency like SS' 3x5 with 3x a week frequency. Similarly, 5x5 ladder isn't really enough stress at how light of weights you're moving to stimulate good adaptation. It's fine in an intermediate program like Bill Starr's 5x5, but not as effective in a novice program.

Basically, IMO go straight to SS and get your squats and DLs up past 300 lbs and bench past 200 lbs pronto.
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Last edited by Steven Low : 07-19-2009 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:11 AM   #3
Max Rosenthal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
How much weight have you been adding to the bar each workout? I haven't looked at stronglifts program personally, but at your weight and numbers you should be on linear progression.

Should be at least 5 if not 10-15 lbs to the bar for your squats each workout. The reason I don't like 5x5 across (if that's what you're doing for squats) is because it's too much volume and doesn't allow as high a frequency like SS' 3x5 with 3x a week frequency. Similarly, 5x5 ladder isn't really enough stress at how light of weights you're moving to stimulate good adaptation. It's fine in an intermediate program like Bill Starr's 5x5, but not as effective in a novice program.

Basically, IMO go straight to SS and get your squats and DLs up past 300 lbs and bench past 200 lbs pronto.

It was definitely too much volume. I am now on SS (the standard program, not Wunsler or any other variation) and have been for several weeks. I've been adding 5 lbs to the bar every workout, the reason it's taken so long to get to those numbers is that SL5x5 starts with the bar on everything but deadlift.
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Old 07-19-2009, 05:29 PM   #4
Neill Smith
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If you put on 20 pounds and body fat is unchanged at 20%, you've gained 4 pounds of fat and 16 pounds of muscle in four months. That would be fantastic progress, but it's hard to imagine that you wouldn't see it in pictures. How sure are you of the numbers?
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #5
Max Rosenthal
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Originally Posted by Neill Occhiogrosso View Post
If you put on 20 pounds and body fat is unchanged at 20%, you've gained 4 pounds of fat and 16 pounds of muscle in four months. That would be fantastic progress, but it's hard to imagine that you wouldn't see it in pictures. How sure are you of the numbers?
Weight numbers are accurate. I can't speak to how precise my fat measurements are, though, those are based solely on my inexperienced self measuring with calipers (using the above-the-hip-bone method as suggested by the packaging). I always make several sets of readings to be as sure as possible, but I suppose it's easily likely that I'm screwing up or that I my method sucks. I don't know enough on that front to tell, honestly.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:38 AM   #6
Chris H Laing
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If you have pictures, why dont you post them up and let us be the judge? Maybe you're just being to harsh on yourself.
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