Powerlifting

Zagor

Woodpecker
You will get good traps from compund lifts. As a novice you don't need much assistance work. If you can deadlift 495 you'll have good traps.

That said, direct upper back work is good for keeping focus on tightness in the bench, and I find lots of reverse flys/face pulls/shrugs/upright rows keep my shoulders healthy and do add for hypertrophy.
Reverse flys and face pulls are a staple in my training, as you say they are crucial for shoulder health and good posture. Sometimes I rotate uprigtht rows in my program also. I just don't do shrugs. Maybe I'll change my opinion of them also in the future as a did with a lot of different thing as I got more experienced during my lifting career. So far i'm doing fine without them, traps are looking fine and they can hold a 500 pound deadlift.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
3 different 1RM calculators are telling me that, in theory, I can bench 225. I think I'll have to give it a shot this week.
Hitting 2 plates for the first time is a milestone.

Good luck, that's somewhere around 1.5x body weight right? There impressive in comparison to most out there.

If you usually fail at a certain point let me know and I can recommend some exercises to strengthen your mini-max (the point in the lift where you reach failure)

For instance if you fail at lock out I would recommend Tate Presses and JM presses vs if you fail at your chest (in which case I would recommend 6x6 periods with a wide grip to build the pecs.

Bench pressing done correctly is mostly a Triceps movement, though most people use it for Pec growth, the stronger your Triceps get, the better your bench.

 
Thus far my PR is lifting 205 for 5 reps by accident, putting the 10lb plates on instead of the 5s that I'd intended to. That's what the calculators are basing the 1RM off of. Sadly my triceps are the calves of my arms, they don't appear to be grow - at all - regardless of my improvement with the weights. Thus far I haven't even attempted a 1RM on bench so I'm not sure exactly where the sticking point will be, if any.
 

bucky

Ostrich
Thus far my PR is lifting 205 for 5 reps by accident, putting the 10lb plates on instead of the 5s that I'd intended to. That's what the calculators are basing the 1RM off of. Sadly my triceps are the calves of my arms, they don't appear to be grow - at all - regardless of my improvement with the weights. Thus far I haven't even attempted a 1RM on bench so I'm not sure exactly where the sticking point will be, if any.
It sounds like we're at a similar level, although I've given up on trying to figure out my max on exercises like bench press because as a natty ectomorph I'm vastly more likely to hurt myself than impress anyone with my numbers.

You're probably near your genetic limits with your triceps and would need gear to develop them much more. I spent years trying to get bigger arms before accepting that I'm not really made that way and being grateful that I at least have good pects to compensate for the arms. You might like nattyornot.com, a great blog that gets into what a sham the fitness industry is and how there's no magic set of reps, angles, and calories and macros that will ever get you past your natural limits.

A couple of good posts:

 
That guy’s got some good points but he also sounds like kind of a whiner. I lift because I love lifting, not because I’m trying to win a contest. I know I’m never going to be huge, but I like the way I look (except for my calves and triceps).
 

bucky

Ostrich
That guy’s got some good points but he also sounds like kind of a whiner. I lift because I love lifting, not because I’m trying to win a contest. I know I’m never going to be huge, but I like the way I look (except for my calves and triceps).
I think he's funny, but his outlook and cynical attitude are similar to mine. When I first discovered him, he did demotivate me for a while and I found myself not working as hard in the gym as I used to, but now I've gotten over it, just changed my expectations.

Yeah, calves are a toughy. Mine are pretty skinny too. I find I can make them look slightly better with like ten minutes of focused calves work a couple times a week, but it's not always easy to find the motivation, and even then they aren't going to get exactly thick. Calves work is something I might be more likely to do if I were single.
 

bucky

Ostrich
I’ve improved my calf raises from 50lbs to over 200 and...they’re the exact same size.
That's the kind of thing "Truth Seeker" at nattyornot.com gets into. It's your genetics. On a fitness forum years ago before I realized that big guys with less than 10% body fat are all on steroids, I had one of them advise me that you have to hit delts and calves with very high volume to make them grow. That is, lots of reps and tons of burn, little or no rest between sets (I usually opt for no rest to up the burn). I find this works better than anything else although again, you're not going to look like Arnold in his prime if you're natural and the big guy who told me to train delts and calves like this was definitely on gear.
 
Jeremy Ethier is the guy whose program I used to go from a fat 187 to a fairly ripped 157, and he’s as ecto as they come. He’s also pretty small, but the lean / low BF look is certainly possible for skinny-built guys. His musculature has gone down significantly since the gyms got closed, but the way he looked a year ago is pretty achievable.
 

bucky

Ostrich
Jeremy Ethier is the guy whose program I used to go from a fat 187 to a fairly ripped 157, and he’s as ecto as they come. He’s also pretty small, but the lean / low BF look is certainly possible for skinny-built guys. His musculature has gone down significantly since the gyms got closed, but the way he looked a year ago is pretty achievable.
Exactly. I think low body fat is the most important thing, far more important that muscle size, which isn't going to increase much without gear anyway. As far as aesthetics I go for a more Bruce Lee/Brad Pitt in Fight Club look, which is realistic for my body type, and I can get close if I eat well and do intermittent fasting. You can actually trick the eye into thinking you're bigger and more muscular than you really are if you're fit with low body fat. For example, Chris Evans (Captain America) really isn't that big but you perceive him that way because of his low level of body fat and high level of fitness.
 

get2choppaaa

Pelican
It sounds like we're at a similar level, although I've given up on trying to figure out my max on exercises like bench press because as a natty ectomorph I'm vastly more likely to hurt myself than impress anyone with my numbers.

You're probably near your genetic limits with your triceps and would need gear to develop them much more. I spent years trying to get bigger arms before accepting that I'm not really made that way and being grateful that I at least have good pects to compensate for the arms. You might like nattyornot.com, a great blog that gets into what a sham the fitness industry is and how there's no magic set of reps, angles, and calories and macros that will ever get you past your natural limits.

A couple of good posts:


Not to be a douche... But the natty or not guy is a pussy.

If you want to get stronger, gain weight.

The starting strength model works for natties all the time.

Testosterone or gear does not make you strong. It allows you to recover.

Take all the gear you want, but with out food, you're not going to go far.

You can't talk shit about genetic potential at a given weight if you're not willing to gain weight to lift more weight.

So again, not to be a jerk, but this isn't the mentality of someone focused on powerlifting and the big 3 exercises, more oriented for an asthetics mindset.

Look at the tested leagues and the world records. Steroids aren't a panacea for work and diet. I know that's not what you're saying, but I highly doubt you or michael have any idea what your genetic potential are in a given lift/body weight unless you've been doing it for 5+ years after spending 10 years lifting and are stuck at the same weight with out body weight fluctuations.
 

bucky

Ostrich
Not to be a douche... But the natty or not guy is a pussy.

If you want to get stronger, gain weight.

The starting strength model works for natties all the time.

Testosterone or gear does not make you strong. It allows you to recover.

Take all the gear you want, but with out food, you're not going to go far.

You can't talk shit about genetic potential at a given weight if you're not willing to gain weight to lift more weight.

So again, not to be a jerk, but this isn't the mentality of someone focused on powerlifting and the big 3 exercises, more oriented for an asthetics mindset.

Look at the tested leagues and the world records. Steroids aren't a panacea for work and diet. I know that's not what you're saying, but I highly doubt you or michael have any idea what your genetic potential are in a given lift/body weight unless you've been doing it for 5+ years after spending 10 years lifting and are stuck at the same weight with out body weight fluctuations.
Try more like 20 years. It's the eternal debate, one we're unlikely to resolve here. I can say that although my numbers will never impress anyone and I'll never be on the cover of a fitness magazine, I'm a pretty fit guy now that I'm middle aged and I wish I'd gone more the nattyornot route when I was younger. I'd have saved myself a lot of frustration and injuries. If you think that successful powerlifters, bodybuilders, and pro athletes aren't on gear, I don't know what to tell you. If you believe that you can put on insane amounts of muscle or get impressive powerlifting numbers naturally, then go for it. See how it works out. There will always be guys there to tell you you're "a pussy" and don't work hard enough because you can't bench 2x your bodyweight or deadlift 3x, and if you're a true believer like I was, you'll probably get fat and put yourself in the ER trying. You'll probably also spend a lot of time following programs designed by guys on gear for guys on gear, yet marketed to gullible nattys.

"Why do you want to be a human forklift?" was one of Truth Seeker's questions that really got me thinking. When will you need to lift an object that weighs more than 200 pounds on your own. Did men back in the cavemen days ever do that? No. At the most, they may have had to sling a wounded comrade over their shoulders to carry him, but they didn't squat him for multiple reps. If lifting unnaturally heavy things is your thing go for it, of course, but it's useful to ask yourself why. I did, and I'm better off for it now.

Edit: I really should probably stay out of this debate, but I feel bad for guys like Michael who obviously work hard and wonder why their arms and calves never get big like the guys in the magazines, like I did. Consider this my voice in the wilderness saying "it's the drugs, man" and do as you wish.
 
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Zagor

Woodpecker
For instance if you fail at lock out I would recommend Tate Presses and JM presses vs if you fail at your chest (in which case I would recommend 6x6 periods with a wide grip to build the pecs.

Bench pressing done correctly is mostly a Triceps movement, though most people use it for Pec growth, the stronger your Triceps get, the better your bench.

I haven't heard of a JM press but by the looks of it I actually do that exercise, I just though of it as a variation of a skullchrusher, difference being that you lower the bar to your face/chin instead of behind your head (which always gives me elbow inflammation, a shame because it hits the tri's really well)
 

Zagor

Woodpecker
Edit: I really should probably stay out of this debate, but I feel bad for guys like Michael who obviously work hard and wonder why their arms and calves never get big like the guys in the magazines, like I did. Consider this my voice in the wilderness saying "it's the drugs, man" and do as you wish.

Well not neccessarily. A lot of it is genetics too. It's like a 5'5 guy looking at a 6'8 guy and saying man it must be drugs. No, that guy is just genetically predisposed to be taller and there's nothing you can do about it. In the same vein if someone has a better predisposition for packing muscles on his arms, you can train twice as hard and never have the same biceps. For example I never did a calf raise in my life and my calves are huge and have always been huge.
I'm not saying that anything can be achieved naturally, but just as with heigth, there is a wide range in human population. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle, but there will be outliers on both end. You have to put in the hard, smart and consistent work for 5-10 years to find out where you fall.
 

bucky

Ostrich
Well not neccessarily. A lot of it is genetics too. It's like a 5'5 guy looking at a 6'8 guy and saying man it must be drugs. No, that guy is just genetically predisposed to be taller and there's nothing you can do about it. In the same vein if someone has a better predisposition for packing muscles on his arms, you can train twice as hard and never have the same biceps. For example I never did a calf raise in my life and my calves are huge and have always been huge.
I'm not saying that anything can be achieved naturally, but just as with heigth, there is a wide range in human population. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle, but there will be outliers on both end. You have to put in the hard, smart and consistent work for 5-10 years to find out where you fall.
Totally agree. Genetics are huge. I'm just speaking up for the guys who kill themselves in the gym for years with increasingly diminishing returns and buy that the problem is that they lack discipline and don't work hard, often after overtraining and severely injuring themselves. Genetic limits are real, and the only way past them is gear.
 
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