I just lost around 35 pounds of fat and now I'm looking towards building some muscle for the summer. I'm 5 11 and around 172 pounds. I've been looking around for some information and I've narrowed my options down to two programs. My goals are primarily to gain some muscle around my chest area; basically have more defined pecks and lose fat around my stomach area and make my stomach area more harder. Better defined biceps are triceps would also be great but not the main focus here. I was focused on Stronglifts 5x5 for a while and it seems like a great program, however I've been hearing that it is more geared towards gaining strength and not necessarily towards gaining a more defined look. The other program that I've found is the following:


The program seems like what I want to do really but I don't know if Stronglifts 5x5 can provide me the same results. I'd rather go with Stronglifts 5x5 simply because of the app and more easier schedule. What would you recommend for me? How about something like Stronglifts 5x5 one day, then rest then pure chest workout and rest and so on and so forth?

  • I made ridiculous size and strength gains on my chest with Smolov Jr. It's really a crazy routine though, not for novices. Personally I choose bulgarian style whenever I want to put on lots of size and strength in as short amount of time as possible, but that's just me. I think the routine you linked seems kind of gimmicky, especially since it's loaded with bogus supplement ads.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 7:12
  • As a beginner, nearly everything works. If you want to focus on a body part just do more work on thise muscles. I dont agree in suggesting a strength based, advanced routines with a hell of volume like Smolov Jr. and for going ona a bulgarian style of training, where the focus is purely on strength and not size I would even say that you need to have at least 2-years of training on your back because you need to have a good awarenes of what a daily training max is. Just stick to 5x5 and do one more session on the bench and keep your diet clean.
    – mitro
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 7:22
  • @mitro You know I used to think the same, but presently I don't think there's any harm in starting light with a volume routine. I'm thinking more and more that training the muscle every other day with lots of reps is a great way to make some serious progress for beginners, especially when they've got one exercise in mind they'd like to be good at. You're a martial arts guy -- what's more beneficial for a beginner: training once a week or training a few times a week? I think it'd be a while before the rigors of "actual" bulgarian training would present themselves.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 7:38
  • @Daniel, I dont understand 'starting light' with volume... A beginner will also make gains with Smolov and Bulgarian style (where there is no general protocol and needs to be observed by a good Coach and adjusted if someone wants to do it right - also it was created for Oly-lifters who are not seeking size). The main reason I dont recommend those is the weight that is or should be used in them what is too high for a beginner and not necessary to build muscle. There is just a simple rule if you want size: break the muscle and rest for the body to repair. So still I would recommend him 5x5
    – mitro
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 7:49
  • With an additional chest session - what would be enough there are a lot of examples of people that used it with success ... for size and strength. - I personally am running a bulgarian kind a style myself as I loves moving heavy weights ... and training the skill rather then getting more size ;-)
    – mitro
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


I really disagree with knocks against strength programs that they don't do anything for size. You simply cannot overhead press your bodyweight, or squat twice your bodyweight, without being big and powerful.

I've never done a curl in over a decade and my arms are bigger than 90% of the people in a gym (which isn't saying much, to be honest). Because although I don't do curls, I do barbell row around 200lb and do 60lb weighted chinups.

For nearly anyone, and certainly in your situation, I would recommend:

  1. A good barbell program like Strong Lifts 5x5. Starting Strength is great too, but if you like SL 5x5, go with it.
  2. Get to intermediate strength standards. Honestly, until you are at least intermediate in your physical strength, it's just sort of silly to focus on anything else.
  3. After you get to intermediate on all of the standards (maybe take out the clean, if you really want to), you have a terrificaly balanced training program, a lot of good habits, and a foundation to go into body building, strength competitions, or any form of general athletics.

There are a lot of gym rats who immediately opt for a body building and they are nearly always the same people a year later with chicken legs, blown out shoulders, and weak backs.


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