A few questions

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by Dawei, May 25, 2013.

  1. Dawei

    Dawei New Member

    Hi all,

    I am a complete beginner as I have virtually never lifted a weight in my entire life. I am a tango dancer (semi-professional level), and would like to increase my body weight, in particular the upper part of my body, for aesthetic purposes. Professional tango dancers tend to be shorter and proportionally larger (bulkier) than me. I am rather ectomorph --a bit too tall and thin, I weight 70 Kg for 183 cm high-- so I am considering body-building to look better as I would like to maybe start performing in the next few months.
    HST seems to be a good option for me as I am more interested in volume than strength.

    I have a few questions. If answers exist in older threads of FAQ, you can simply point them out to me. Many thanks in advance for your comments/answers.

    - Some people argue that HST is not good for total beginners, and that a standard linear method is preferable, while others argue the opposite. What do you think, and why? How would you suggest I start if not with HST?

    - I am not sure I understand how to measure/calculate my maximum weight for each rep and exercise. Could someone explain to me how to do that, knowing that as I have never touched weights in my life, my max will probably increase every time I touch a machine...

    - Concerning the exercises, which ones would you advise? I am interested in gaining volume mainly in the upper part of the body, but I guess it wouldn't do any harm to increase muscle volume on my legs too...

    - A question that might seem laughable: is it possible to increase mass by having a vegetarian diet?

    - If I train and eat properly, what kind of weight increase can I expect in 6 months, one year and two years? (again, knowing that I am a total beginner).

    - Once I reach a mass I am happy about and would like to stay there, what to do? Stopping the training will make me loose muscle, right? Should I keep constant weights and reps?

    Many thanks!
  2. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    I personally don't recommend HST progression for beginners. As you pointed out, your strength will increase almost every workout for the first few months,so a linear progression strength program is preferred. Starting Strength is a good program for beginners.

    For example, if you want mainly upper body mass, you could do the following very basic program:

    Bench press
    Overhead press
    Arms (optional)

    Do 2 sets of 10, 3x/week. If you easily get all 10 reps, then next workout you can increase the weight. Your weights will keep increasing every week. Track calories that you eat, and track body weight. Make sure your body weight is increasing steadily each week.

    Once your strength increases stall out, you could start doing 2-3 sets of 5 reps for each. Once you stall out again, take a 9 day SD period and start a regular HST routine.

    As to the rest of your question, use the "search" function on this forum. ;)
  3. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    You need to learn the lifts before you get into a HST cycle where you will be lifting heavier loads. I would take at least a month or so to work with someone who can train you on how to properly squat, deadlift, bench, row, etc before you start an HST cycle.
  4. Dawei

    Dawei New Member


    Many thanks for your answers. I will do as you suggest: get a coach for a few weeks to check that I'm doing the exercises properly, and use a linear progression strength programme in the beginning.
  5. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Once you have some experience with the main lifts then I would definitely switch to an HST cycle. I started out with HST and made great gains. You don't need to be pushing the strength barriers that hard as a beginner since your muscles are not conditioned to any loads, so the lighter loads of an early HST cycle will induce growth just fine. Yes, you will gain a lot of strength between cycles and that's fine. But there is no need to be training specifically for strength as a beginner. If anything, the importance of load becomes greater as you become more advanced, so I would argue that HST is better suited for beginners than a traditional linear strength program. It will give you more time with submaximal loads so that you can develop the technique for each lift, the required discipline for lifting in general and more without making you feel as worn down as you might if you were pushing for new PRs regularly.
  6. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    I agree with Tot, in the sense that the first few months of lifting is all about learning the lifts and training your body to use good form. It really doesn't matter all that much what program you use, as long as you are training frequently. 3x/week whole body training, focusing on basic compound lifts.

    I don't think it matters much to use specific HST loading, since you won't really be able to find maxes at first. Just lift.
  7. Dawei

    Dawei New Member

    Hi Totentanz and Sci,

    Your arguments make sense indeed. Developing a proper technique using weights difficult to lift may not be the best, and I'll be more likely to hurt myself... Many thanks for your replies, I'll definitely take your input into account.
  8. manimal

    manimal New Member

    There are a lot of other weight training programs that might be more of what you're looking for.

    If you don't know the basics of how to lift properly, due to the increase in weight and volume you could sustain injuries. You're joints are probably not ready for this type of routine.

    This comes with time, knowledge and trial by error. Generally you'd need a spotter to crank out your max reps per exercise.

    Bodybuilding is not about lifting weight, it's about building the body. If you only gain what people refer to as a "jail build" you'll look silly. You need a certain proportions to make you body look proper.

    Of course you can, as long as you get the needed amount of protein, fat and carbs in your diet along with proper training anyone can increase mass.

    This is difficult and a lot of factors come into play. Age and genetics are big ones, training frequency, calorie intake, sleep etc. If you're expecting to get jacked up in a year, don't waste your time. Being as you're a beginner, there's going to be a lot of trail and error with your training at least for the first 6 to 8 months. You'll need to learn how to read and listen to your body. Which exercises work best for you, which exercises work best per body group etc.

    There is a big myth of once people stop training they're going to lose muscle. Once you gain muscle, you'll never lose it. What happens is that muscles shrink due to no training, but if you pick up the weight 10 years later, you'll be able to get those muscles looking close to what you left them at 10 years prior. It's called muscle memory. Though once you get to the size and strength you want, you can simply just maintain your body with maintenance work.

    Many thanks!

    Agreed. If you've never lifted a weight in your life, you might be prone to injury due to poor lifting techniques. Learning the basics and working on core muscles would be ideal. You have to slowly build up your joints, ligaments, lung and heart before you start "pumping iron"

Share This Page