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How to build strength but stay small?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by -, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Guest


    I have been working out for a 6 months or so. Im benching around 230 or so right now (I weight 180 BTW), and my goal before Christmas is to bench 300. Also, I squat around 375 and hope to get around 450 or so by Christmas.

    However, while I do want to get stronger, I want to stay smaller. I dont like the bulky look as much as I do like the slim muscular look.

    Does anyone know of a way to get smaller while still increasing my strength? Would doing high reps help out, becuase right now im doing short, heavy reps right now.

  2. Your genetics will have a lot more to do with how big and/or strong you can get than anything else.

    My brother has always been a "hard gainer." No matter what he tries he still has bird legs. He has even tried to do it chemically... He has a training diaries dating back for almost 30 years to when he was 12.

    Conversely I've always been an "easy gainer." Though we have the same parents, I've always been able to put more muscle on than him. I'm the one who gets accused of using roids and I'm 100% natural. He's always been stronger though. Big doesn't mean strong.

    Keep a training journal. Measure and weigh yourself. If you start getting bigger than you want to be, change your routine. See what works for you. Try routines that weight classed powerlifters use.

    It's easy to lose muscle, just quit using it and it goes quick. Fat takes a lot more work to loose.

    "If you're not getting stronger, you're getting weaker."

    Good luck!

  3. spober


    Feb 22, 2005
    wendel n.c.
    bp from 180 to 300
    squates from 375 to 450
    these kind of gains would requre anabolic steroids.Id stay more realistic and shoot for 250 on the bench press by x may pull off 450 on the squates they are a much larger muscle group than the pecs/delts/tricepsform over increases in weights.dont cheat,be strick.better gains and safer ,less chance of injury.;Q :soap:
  4. Guest

    I weigh 180 pounds, I bench press 230. My max is going up around 5 pounds per 2 weeks, if not more, so I think that 300 and 450 is reasonable. I just want to stay small.
  5. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    While I'm not sure you need anabolics to make your gains, I think you should expect your gaind to slow down some th more you train. If that didn't happen there would be 1000 lb (raw) bench pressers and ton squatters all over the place.
  6. Mister Joshua

    Mister Joshua Sig Addiction

    Jan 21, 2005
    Tampa, Florida
    I squat 525 and deadlift 500, can overhead press 275, and have even walked 100 feet with a 740lbs yoke on my back in Florida state record time... without anabolics. It is called "effort".

    As far as my contribution. Keep lifting and don't worry about your bodyweight. Your intake will manage your gains... but it will also limit your strength. You need to experiment and find a happy medium.
  7. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    Maybe you need to read "Explosive Lifting for Sports" by Harvey Newton.


    Mar 6, 2001
    Go heavy, few reps, more sets. That is part of Pavel Tsatsouline's invaluable advice for building dense, powerful muscles, without the excess bulk (mainly water) common with high rep, low weight sets. Look up that name on ("Power to the People" is the book you want).

    You could also run/jump rope with your routine.
  9. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

    If you are getting stronger, don't worry about bodyweight. Your body will find its best size.

    For Jack and others familiar with Westside:

    Many years ago, during a lunch buffet, the late Matt Dimel was asked, "Matt, what was the best advice you were ever given?" Weighing a HUGE 385lbs, Matt pulled up his sleeve to show off a tattoo that only said "GFH". He was then asked, "What does GFH mean?” Matt then replied, "Hey tweed! You figure this out and you will know the answer to your first question."
  10. benji


    Sep 23, 2003
    i think what you eat and your genetics will determine your size. keep lifting heavy and don't sweat it. YOU WILL HIT A PLATEU!!. if everyone's max went up 5lbs/2weeks i'd be lifting a house by now.
  11. python1340

    python1340 Licensed to Ill

    May 2, 2002
    Lots of cardio. I'm about 10-15 pounds lighter and just as strong when I put a lot of cardio into my workout.
  12. Steve7


    Apr 4, 2003
    Parts Unknown
    Lift heavy, low reps, few sets.
  13. gunguru1


    Dec 8, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Try doing a few sets with many reps. Example: 3 sets of 20 reps with a light weight. I've heard this works wonders.

  14. Mister Joshua

    Mister Joshua Sig Addiction

    Jan 21, 2005
    Tampa, Florida
    Catabolically, yes, it does work wonders. Speaking of wonders, ever wonder why the guys that do 3 sets of 20 reps of 20lb bicep curls in the mirror never get any bigger or stronger?

    There is alot of "do this specific thing to get this result" as if A + B = C. There is no scientfic forumulae that takes into account your present chemistry.

    How about we try common sense?

    Eat 2,000 daily calories and lift regularly with progression (adding weight to the bar as much as possible). If you lose weight, eat more. If you gain weight, eat less. If you stay at the same weight, good job.

    this is not rocket surgery

    Thank you, that will be $19.95 please.
  15. wow, i wish i had your problem. ha!

    Wet Dog hit the nail on the head. it's all genetics. i can't gain muscle for nothing. i'm 5'4" and i was down to 122lbs at 5.5% bodyfat and my 'biggest' was 138lbs at 9-10% bodyfat. no matter how much i lifted and how much i ate, i couldn't gain any significant muscle. i'd start to gain some fat in my abdomen, but, no extra muscle.

    i would absolutely LOVE if i could get up to 140-150 lbs at 6-8% bodyfat, but, its not going to happen... not naturally anyways.

    i've seen guys who had it worse than me though (even less muscle), so i cant complain too much. one thing though, even though i only weighed 122lbs when i was at 6% bodyfat, i looked as if i weighed more due to the muscle definition.
  16. thats all? no annual contract to sign or anything? wow, thats a deal!
  17. El Duderino

    El Duderino Go Gators!

    Dec 29, 2004
    " matter how much i lifted and how much i ate, i couldn't gain any significant muscle..."

    The quantity will get you nothing without the quality. That applies to training as well as diet. I can almost guarantee that you were overtraining, eating the wrong foods or both.
  18. El Duderino

    El Duderino Go Gators!

    Dec 29, 2004
    "...122lbs at 5.5% bodyfat and my 'biggest' was 138lbs at 9-10% bodyfat..."

    How did you measure your BF% and LBM? Caliper, scale, hydro?

    If you went from 122 to 138 but your BF% went from 5% to 10% you gained nothing but fat. A 5% difference in BF is rather significant, especially for someone only weighing 122 lbs.
  19. this was a couple years ago, so I don't remember exactly what routine I was following or what my diet consisted of. i do know that I was slowly making gains, however, I wasn't gaining any muscle. i counted calories and ate 6 times a day and i used to know how many calories i need to stay where i was. i'd increase the calories a little bit and i'd gain weight in my stomach. i'd decrease the calories and my belly fat would go away. i tried experimenting like this for quite a while, when i just decided that i wouldn't be able to gain much muscle.
  20. thats exactly what i was trying to say. all the weight i gained was fat. darn my genetics! ;)

    my buddy had one of those scales that you enter your height and then step on it with your barefeet and it uses resistance to calculate your bodyfat. i'm sure it wasn't the most accurate thing, but, i used it for all of my measurements.

    well, i know that when i first started working out (~4.5 years ago), i weighed 138lbs at 15% bodyfat. over the next few months, i read everything i could and really took a huge interest in eating healthy and exercising. i completely changed my diet and started counting calories. a buddy and i were competing to see who could get the lowest bodyfat and 3 months later was when i was down to 122lbs at 5.5% bodyfat. everyone gave me static about being 'anorexic' though and i started increasing my daily intake. about 1.5 years later was when i weighed the most, that was the 138lbs and it was around 9% bodyfat. it could have been 8%, i really dont remember. that was the most i've weighed since before i started the whole diet/exercise thing.

    it's been 2 years since i've worked out and i'm around 132lbs now. even though i haven't regularly exercised, i could never go back to my old way of eating. even the thought of all those deep-fried foods and reguarly fast-food feedings make me want to hurl.

    again, all of the measurements were on a scale that you stepped on. when at 5.5%, i did check it at an exercise 'store' with one of those hand-held devices and it read 5.5% as well.