Minimizing Leg Hypertrophy
I'm an advanced barbell novice with a side interest in bodyweight skills on still rings, etc.
I took up gymnastics too late to compete at college but it would be great to continue becoming stronger (upper and lower body) while avoiding leg hypertrophy. I've had great success with Starting Strength.
Strength Training History:
Been 'lifting' for about a year. I started SS in July. Stupidly, I added a weekly xfit WOD in September until thirty 135lb snatches for time earned me a lower back injury. Most lifting with even the bar was painful or made my symptoms worse the next day. I could not even reach a deadlift height bar.
A couple weeks later to still train what I could while my back was healing I joined our gymnastics club and started ring training. I've since learned front and back levers, muscle up, human flag and ring press handstands. I'm getting closer to my iron cross. Anyways, I'm home now for winter break and my back is much better and I've trained single leg squats and RDL's the past month to prepare for barbell work again.
Squat: 275x5 (pre-injury)
Deadlift: 270x5 (pre-injury)
Power Clean: 195x3 (pre-injury)
Weighted Chin: +115x1
Would the Advanced Novice Program be the right place for me to start?
-The front squats mid week would seem to give my low back a little break.
-The chin-ups and pull-ups have good carry over to still rings.
-The majority of my lifts are decent or at "advanced".
My legs are naturally quite big, starting strength made them bigger and any excessive leg hypertrophy is rather unhelpful on rings.
Front Squat 3x2
Would this be a good way to modify SS or SS advanced novice when too much leg growth is unwanted?
I already know the rep ranges on chins/pulls need changing as 3 sets to failure for me would be a bit boring and useless from a strength building perspective.
This is my planned change:
The lower reps will probably still make your legs grow, since you've been off of squats for a while. If your primary interest is in bodyweight gymnastics work to the extent that you now consider yourself a gymnast, I don't know that you need to squat more than 1x/week to do what you want to get done. What was the nature of the back injury?
Thanks for the reply,
My Chiro suspected that a couple of my discs had thinned possibly from an end plate fracture but I didn't want any x-rays since he said it wouldn't have changed the treatment.
I wouldn't consider myself a gymnast.
What happens is 4 months of the year the only place I can lift is with my high school's weightlifting team early in the morning. The coach there is a great guy and says he will help me if I want to compete in olympic lifting.
Then up at college I prefer training at gym club because there are very strong people there and I'm not surrounded by baffled 150lb frat boys curling in the squat rack, leaving weights unracked everywhere and discussing how to isolate their forearms. The gymnastics gym also has round plates and doesn't have 3/4 the floor space blighted with machines. It's simply a far better place for training performance, unfortunately at my second choice sport.
Neither gym has platforms. Only the facility for the athletes. Ironically if I ever made the gymnastics team I could have access to an ideal place to train weightlifting year round. Although that's not realistic.
At gym club, I get help from the old guys and there are club meets I can compete in but I may not be ready to do a full rings routine this season. Nor is that a necessarily a goal of mine.
I prefer weightlifting and my body type is better suited to it. Ultimately, I'd like to be an good weightlifter who happens to also be able to do an iron cross, one arm chin and a few other skills I've always wanted.
I reasoned that it would be easier to get the relative strength skills first and then maintain them with 1-2x a week practice rather than allowing my legs to grow and get discouraged chasing moving targets. Although I'm not sure relative strength skills can be maintained in such a manner during weight gain.
Right now I'm home on winter break so it's lifting. But I haven't worked my squats up to anything heavy enough yet to stimulate real growth.
If you want to be a weightlifter, you have to squat. This means your legs will grow. If you want to be good at gymnastics (and I assume that if you can do an iron cross and a one-arm pullup, that is kinda good) you will need to keep your bodyweight down relative to your upper-body strength to do it. But you can't pick two sports with different metabolic/strength/morphological requirements and excel at both of them. Sorry, but this is just the rotten truth of athletic excellence: it requires specialization.