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Thread: Going Intermediate - very slowly

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Going Intermediate - very slowly

    Greetings everyone,

    I've decided to start a training log, to coincide with the beginning of my intermediate program. As it is customary, I'll spend the first post introducing myself and giving some background. It's going to be fairly long, and I apologise for this in advance. Future posts will be more concise.


    I am 40 years old, 6' tall, and weigh around 192Lbs (87Kg). I am based in London, UK. I began Starting Strenght in June 2009, and at the time I weighed around 167Lbs (76Kg).

    Why strength training ? I think it all started a couple of years ago, when I attended a motorbike training day at an old, disused military airstrip in Essex. As a drill, we were asked to to lift a motorbike off the ground. As bikes go, mine (a Yamaha Fz6) is fairly light; I saw others grab it and yank it upright with seemingly little effort, but I could barely get it off the ground, before getting pathetically stuck.
    It was a humiliating experience.
    Some time later I started to experiment in the gym with lifting a barbell with mixed results. But the seeds of curiosity had been sown, and eventually I came across Mr. Rippetoe's fabulous book. And with that, it all started.


    I admit to having made slow progress. My lifts are:

    Deadlift = 250 Lbs (set of 5)
    Squat = 202.5 Lbs (3 sets of 5)
    Bench = 152.5 Lbs (3 sets of 5)
    Power Clean = 146 Lbs (5 sets of 3)
    Press = 100 Lbs (3 sets of 5)

    Reading my gym book, I can see at least a partial explaination for these very unimpressive numbers. I strained some muscle in my left leg twice, just a few weeks after starting, and that meant a few sessions spent recovering with small weights.
    I lost two weeks in August because I went on holiday. When I came back, I reset all lifts by 10%, and it took a while before I could set new PRs.
    Then, in November, while attempting a set of 5 deadlifts with 275Lbs, I injured my back fairly bad (lost the lumbar curve, and ended up lifting with the back flexed), and it took about a month to recover. My deadlift is still not at the level where it was.

    In the meantime I've had at least one reset on all the lifts. And I've also realised that every session was leaving me more and more tired. I thought I could not keep making linear progress for much longer; also, I thought starting a new phase in my training at the beginning of a new year would be quite neat.

    Hence, here I am, with a new program based on the Texas Method template. Here's the outline of my planned training.


    Week 1

    Volume

    Power Cl. - 7 sets of 3
    Press - 5 sets of 5
    Squat - 5 sets of 5


    Recovery

    Power Snatch - initially I'll just learn the movement
    Bench - 3 sets of 5
    Front Sq. - 2 sets of 5
    Pull-ups - I'll just start with some singles


    Intensity

    Squat - 5 reps max
    Press - 5 reps max
    Deadlift - 5 reps max





    Week 2

    Volume

    Power Cl. - 7 sets of 3
    Bench - 5 sets of 5
    Squat - 5 sets of 5


    Recovery

    Power Snatch
    Press - 3 sets of 5
    Front Sq. - 2 sets of 5
    Chin-ups - singles again here


    Intensity

    Power Cl. - 6 sets of 2, max
    Bench - 5 reps max
    Squat - 5 reps max


    There's a lot of fast lifts, because they are the ones I like most. It's also the reason why I put them first in every session.

    I've put the deadlift on the intensity day, and then only one every two weeks, because I am not sure I'll be able to do it at the end of the volume days. They are going to be pretty hard, and after the injury I've had I am wary (read: very scared) to deadlift when I'm tired. Things might change of course.

    For chins and pulls, I'll try to increase one set a week, by one rep. Again, if I see I can go faster I might make changes.

    Last but not least, I've set myself a very slow progress rate. I plan to increase the squat just 2.5 Lbs every week, and the bench/cleans 2.5Lbs every two. For the deadlift, I'll try to keep a 6Lbs increment every two weeks.

    It's very conservative, but if I can keep these rate of progress, in 20 weeks (5 months) my squat will be up to 250Lbs, and I will be very happy with that. I think lifting might be part of my life for a while, probably for a few years to come. I've got plenty of time to make gains, and I'm happy to go slow.


    And this is pretty much everything I wanted to say. Thanks a lot for reading so far, I wish everyone a good day.

    IPB

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Sunday January 3rd, 2009

    First training of the year, and also first session of my Intermediate Program.
    I was actually in the gym yesterday afternoon, something I've never done before. Indeed, I ignored they shut at 6pm (Saturdays in the City can be pretty lonely affairs), and I could barely manage 15 minutes before being booted out. Felt pretty stupid about it.

    (note: Weight x reps x sets for all lifts)


    Power Clean

    85 x5 deadlift
    85 x3 hang clean
    105 x3 hang clean
    125 x1 x2
    126 x3 x 7



    Press

    40 x5
    60 x5
    80 x5
    90 x2
    91 x5 x5



    Squat

    40 x5
    90 x5
    130 x5
    170 x2
    180 x5 x5



    I've already written enough for the first two posts, so I wont' make any further comments about today.


    IPB

  3. #3
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    Tuesday January 5th, 2009

    Five days into the new year, and still no sign of the cyclical invasion of New Year Resolutioners. I guess they really haven't had the time to fill in the subscription forms yet, after all yesterday was the first day the whole country was properly open for business.
    In the meantime, I enjoy the peace of the gym in the early morning.

    (Key: weight x reps x sets)

    (Recovery day)


    Power Hang Snatch

    40 x5 x3
    55 x5 x3
    70 x3 x3

    First time ever with this exercise. I spent quite a few minutes on the Burgener Warmup, before moving on to the hang movement with just the bar. Weights are pitiful so far, but the main concern was trying to get a feel for the movement.
    Early impressions are positive; moving a bar quickly from mid-thigh to over the head is liberating, and quite fun. I look forward to when I'll be able to use at least a couple of 25# plates, and do the full movement from the floor.


    Front Squat

    40 x5
    60 x5
    80 x5
    110 x2
    120 x5 x2



    Bench

    40 x5
    90 x5
    110 x4
    122.5 x5 x3


    Pull-ups

    9 singles.

    There doesn't seem to be a decent place to hang from to do pull-ups. Using the bar on the Smith machine, locked on the top rung, is no good: once I hang down, my knees rest on the floor.
    The top mount of the cable machine would be perfect. It's sturdy, albeit rectangular in section, and free from obstructions. But it's only 4 inches below the ceiling, so it's a choice between banging the head or giving up on the last part of the movement.
    The only option left is the horrid Gravitron, which I really don't like. The handles are a tad too wide for my liking, and I keep banging my knees on the uprights, or the weight stack rails.
    Still, there's nothing else available, so I'll have to adapt.


    IPB

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Ohio
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    Hey, I like the set up you've got here. Deadlifts after heavy squats will be hard, but it is hard to find another place for them on the Texas Method set up. Best of luck!

  5. #5
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    Thursday January 7th, 2010

    Did I write 2009 ? yes, I did, and not just in the previous entry, but in the one before that too. What a plonker!
    First TM intensity day for me, although I dont' expect huge problems. The weights I'm starting the program with are just below the PRs I reached at the end of the novice phase (press excluded). Still, those DLs are coming after a set of heavy squats; in the past, on DL days I used to do front squat, in order not to get too tired. It's all change now, and I'm curious to see how it will pan out.



    (Key: weight x reps x sets on all lifts. All weights in pounds)

    (Intensity day)


    Squat

    40 x5
    90 x5
    130 x5
    160 x4
    180 x1
    200 x5



    Press (Military)

    40 x5
    60 x5
    80 x5
    90 x2
    101 x 5

    My press has not progressed for a long time. I have great hopes that this new program will enable me to finally increase my numbers, even a little bit. So it's already a bit worrying that the last rep of the work set felt slightly more difficult than I expected.



    Deadlift

    100 x5
    150 x5
    200 x5
    240 x1
    251 x5
    230 x5 back-off set

    On the last workout before Christmas I did 250. I was determined to start the new program with an increase, even a tiny one. One pound is nothing, but represents a little mental victory.
    The heavy squats at the start of the session didnt' seem to create many problems (thanks Serus for your encouragement).


    IPB

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default

    slow motion's better than no motion. keep at it!


    PS i like the program you set up.

  7. #7

    Default Youre intermediate

    I can guarantee you will run into problems in the 3-4 week of the texas method as you are delaying problems that you encountered on the novice phase. You stated you only had one reset why not run the course until you had two. If not you are being a pussy and this will not help you in the intermediate phase as doing sets of 5 across is hard. Also at your level you shouldn't be stalling. No offense but you are still very weak and this is not because of genetic ability or age ect but because you are small. At 6ft you are skinny and need to gain weight although their are lifters in the lightweight catergories e.g 60kg there are all quite muscly but they are also quite short. Also i know you will be reluctant to gain weight as you are older and you will gain fat easier so don't do the milk as rippetoe states for young people and eat more protein and fat, cheap foods like fatty mince or corned beef is good and cheap. You need to be a lest around 225 lean so more if not.

    Also rest time on the novice program are much longer than people think. When i got above 185 for bench and 275 for squat i rest 10-15 minutes. Until you reach over 225 for squats i would still rest at 7 minutes.

    Im not trying to be rude or horrible but it is the truth, you can defend and make excuses. Also if your deadlift is such a problem just get damn strong on squats and pullups, its not optimal or good but if thats what you have to do to get stronger without injury so be it.

    Hope i could be of help

    Adam

  8. #8
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    Hello beast,

    Quote Originally Posted by beast View Post
    I' m not trying to be rude or horrible

    actually you are, but that's fine :-)



    Quote Originally Posted by beast View Post
    If not you are being a pussy ... No offense but you are still very weak
    I might shock you, but I have no problem being considered a pussy. And you are right, in absolute terms I am still weak, you just have to look at the numbers around here to realize that.




    Quote Originally Posted by beast View Post
    When i got above 185 for bench and 275 for squat i rest 10-15 minutes. Until you reach over 225 for squats i would still rest at 7 minutes.
    I train in the morning, before going to work. I don't have that much time to rest between sets. I know, I should, but I simply can't. I need to find a compromise between my training and my life, bearing in mind that the second, boring as it might be, will always have precedence over the first.

    It's also because of this need to compromise that I thought it was a good time to switch to a different program. Three heave sets of squats (or other lifts) were taking longer and longer, and leaving me very tired. Moreover, Rip suggests that older trainees, and I think I fall into that category, might not benefit that much from multiple resets, and can benefit from switching to a different program earlier than younger people. And yes, all this can be seen as just a nice excuse.

    I thank you for your words. No, really. I think they will give me some extra motivation.

    I hope you will continue to follow my progress. Or lack of it, as the case might be.

    IPB

  9. #9
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    Saturday January 9th, 2010


    Last week I started the volume session with the Power Clean, and closed it with the squat. The Clean benefited a lot from the fresh legs, but by the end of the session I was quite tired, and the squats suffered.

    Today, I'm trying to switch the order of the exercises around. I think that with tired legs, the Cleans will deteriorate less than the Squats.


    (weight x reps x sets for all lifts)

    (Volume day)


    Squat

    50 x5
    100 x5
    140 x4
    170 x2
    182.5 x5 x5



    Bench

    40 x5
    90 x5
    110 x5
    130 x2
    137.5 x5 x5



    Power Clean

    85 x5 deadlift
    85 x3 hang power clean
    105 x3 hang power clean
    105 x2
    125 x1 x2
    127.5 x3 x8

    The program actually calls for just seven sets, but I didn't like much the executions on the last. I therefore decided to add an extra set. This is a luxury that I can only afford during weekend sessions, when I have no time constraints.

    The experiment with the exercise order seemed to work fine, and I think I'll leave it like that for future volume days. Intensity day will for the time being remain as planned, with Cleans first.

    IPB

  10. #10
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    Monday, January 11th, 2010

    This is a nice way to start the week and beat the Monday blues: a short session with light weights.

    (Key: weight x reps x sets)

    (Recovery day)



    Hang power Snatch

    Burgener warm-up
    40 x5
    55 x5
    65 x2
    75 x3 x3

    I like this lift a lot, although I'm still experimenting with the grip. Too wide and the wrists seems to be in the wrong place, too narrow and it's a long way to lock-up above the head. So far the preferred option seems to be putting the index finger on the bench press marks. Still working on it.



    Press (Military)

    40 x5
    60 x5
    81 x5 x3

    It's not entirely ideal to press at this point, as the shoulders have just been worked by the snatch. It's still easy so far, but could be less so, once the Snatch weights get a bit higher.



    Front Squat

    40 x5
    70 x5
    100 x5
    110 x2
    122.5 x5 x2



    Chin-ups (trazione presa supina)

    2 x3 three doubles
    1 x7 seven singles


    Tomorrow evening I've got a volleyball session. It's two hours long, albeit fairly casual. I'm curious to see if there will be any consequences on the Intensity session, which is scheduled for Thursday.


    IPB

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