A thank you & question from a fat guy
Mark, first of all I wanted to say thank you for Starting Strength. The book is simply awesome, and it's got me doing barbell exercises for the first time in years. I used to be a little hesitant about squatting, because back in high school power lifting class and football I messed up one of my knees because of the bad form that my teacher/coach taught me. The reason I first bought your book was because I read off of one of the reviews on Amazon about how in depth your chapters were on squatting technique (and all the other lifts as well). Since reading your book, I've been lifting every Mon/Wed/Fri and have'nt had a problem yet! (except trying to get down the proper form for power cleans, don't worry, I'm not adding any weight until my form is better).
Anyway, thank you, I can't wait to read your other books. I already ordered both Practical Programming and Strong Enough shortly after I finished Starting Strength.
Now, a little about me. I'm about 6ft 1, and I weigh 245lbs. I want to lose weight and improve my conditioning, so I wanted to add some conditioning work outs to the program. After looking through this forum for a bit, I found this thread relevant:
In it you say:
"LSD is really not good for humans. Middle distance efforts and sprints can be quite useful for metabolic conditioning, and CrossFit makes good use of them. If you are working up through your novice SS progression, I'd recommend holding off a while until your initial plateau is reached; this linear strength improvement will be more valuable in the long term than met/con, which is easier to obtain and comes more efficiently when you are strong. If you are already an intermediate-level trainee, you could add a sprint day to your week, and then add your middle distance day a month or two later after you have had time to adapt the rest of your training to the added work."
That makes very good sense, so I guess my stupid question is do you think someone as out of shape as me should wait also for an initial plateau, or would starting now on improving my conditioning and body compostion carry over any benefits in getting stronger? Also, how long does it usually take for the initial plateau to happen? I know that fat loss in mentioned on page 302 of SS, and it says that it will kind of naturally happen on the program, but I'm not sure if it will also improve my conditioning like hill sprints or other fun stuff.
One more dumb question. I know this sounds funny seeing as how I'm fat and everything, but would there be any point in trying to improve my pull ups when I'm this big? I used to really like doing weighted pull ups and dips, but right now I can do about 1 chin up, and can't even do a single pull up. Should I wait until I weigh less before I try to improve these and add pull ups as an additional exercise to the program?
I apologize for the long post. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks again!
Glad to be of help to you. If you want to start some CF-style metcon now, go ahead and put it in on an off-day. You'll find that the novice situation applies to you here as well: you're not really in good enough shape right now to tap in enough to disrupt your other training too much. This applies specifically to your situation, in which a bigger guy has better recovery ability than a thin guy, and your bodyweight is such that you're not going to get a 16-round "Cindy" anyway. A thinner guy might be able to disrupt his strength training progress with a lot of metcon at this stage, but you can't do a "bunch" of metcon, so I doubt it could hurt you too much.
As for the chins, I'd keep at the singles and just accumulate as many as you can do in, say, 10 minutes, or do them until you accumulate 10 reps. Don't worry about pullups right now. And you might find that hanging bodyweight rows are useful to you, because you can do higher reps on the exercise and therefore get some work that's not singles. As you lose weight and get stronger your cins will obviously improve.
Great! Thank you for the quick and helpful response. I will add 1 conditioning work out to the program this week, wait a few more weeks to get a little adjusted to it, and add one more. I will also make chins my additional exercise, maybe varying them with dips (I'm excited to start working with these again).
Thanks again for your help and the awesome book!