If there is one constant the quest for bigger numbers or rep PR's or muscle mass, it's the ever present question of "what could I change to make things better?"
This question often causes more chaos than a room full of Charlie Sheen escorts on Ecstasy.
Guys will then scour the interwebs for every possible routine before they settle on something, and settle on something "because that dude is swole". This is an excellent reason to pick a program. Oh wait, it's fucking not.
The truth is, your lifting goodie bag already consists of all the movements you need to get as strong and as developed as you're ever going to get.
Squats - regular, front, safety bar
Deadlifts - regular, block, elevated, stiff legged
Chest Pressing - flat, incline, decline, db variations
Overhead Pressing - standing, seated, db and barbell variations
Support Work - chins, rows, curls, face pulls, various triceps
So that covers everything. There's really no reason to venture out to find every exotic movement known to man in order to reach strength and development goals.
You don't need to make wholesales changes to a template or routine in order to get past plateaus. Here are some of the things you can do to get past a sticking point once you become frustrated.........
Do bodybuilding -
If you've been doing a ton of low rep work with higher rep work on the assistance, switch over to bodybuilding style workouts where you rep on every damn thing. Do a bodypart split, and wear bright clown colored clothes. Seriously, switching over to doing reps when you have been doing singles, doubles, and triples can be quite eye opening. Most guys don't want to do this because they are lazy and out of shape.
Do powerlifting -
If you have been doing higher rep work, switch gears and hit some singles, doubles, and triples for a while.
Drop a stubborn lift -
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, kill it and eat it. Ok I don't think it goes like that, but either way, sometimes when a lift is just being a pain in the ass the best thing to do is to drop it, and switch to a variation of it. For example......
Deads - go to stiff legs
Bench - go to incline and overhead
Squat - go to front squats and hacks
Overhead Press - pick a new variation
Chins - go to heavy pulldowns
Drop the lift for 4-6 weeks then come back to it and start light again, and ramp back up. Often times this will help you past a stubborn weight.
Fix bad technique -
This generally helps a lift right away. If you don't know how to fix bad technique, get a good coach. Finding a good coach is usually the hard part.
Supercompensate that lift -
Train a lift into the fucking ground over a two week span. Train it three to four times a week for two weeks, then take a break for 8-10 days and come back and test it.
Change rep tempo -
One thing guys don't use much when training for sheer muscle mass, is the negative portion of the rep. The eccentric actually has more potential for growth than the concentric. This is one reason Dante of DoggCrapp emphasized the negative portion so heavily in his training. He had a great saying about this....paraphrased it was.........
"Think about getting the weight back up, just for the purpose of lowering it slowly again."
Best rep advice ever.
Explode as hard as possible on the positive, and use a controlled negative. Yes, your lift will take a bit of a dive first, but it DOES come back.
Work harder -
This one isn't as easy or as straight forward as you think. For example, lots of guys doing 5x5 think they are working hard. Then I have then take weight off and do a set of max reps in the squat and they writhe around on the floor for the next 20 minutes in agony. Sometimes the key is just forcing the body to do shit it hasn't been doing. Remember, you're trying to get the body to do something it doesn't really want to do. Building huge amounts of strength and muscle mass is something it does slowly because it's not in the best interest of survival to do so. Often times, you need to do shit that is just flat out puke bucket hard for a while to get where you want to be. You have to get out of your comfort zone and work harder than you have ever worked before.