Hello everyone,

although COVID closing the gyms cut short the last few weeks of progress on my novice phase, which makes it impossible to give a complete picture of my results, I would like to share with you
the things that I've learned during my linear progression.
Having read the Book intently and noted down everything to do with technique and the practical details of going the the gym, I won't comment on any conclusions I drew about strength training in general.
Instead I'll just describe the 3 lessons I learned that I did not learn from reading the Book or reading articles / watching videos, the lessons that ultimately had the biggest impact on my training.

1. Eat EVEN more

Having started as the classic skinny, ectomorph-type guy, I knew what I was getting into and decided to follow Rip's recommendation of eating at least at a 1000 calorie surplus.
For me that meant ramping up from 2800-2900 a day to 4000 a day, two weeks in advance, to start lifting with the surplus in place.
After that I increased the intake by 100 calories per week, in an attempt to gain about 25 kg (55 lb) of body weight in 25 weeks.

Yet looking back, it is very clear that of all the issues I experienced during my NLP, not eating enough was the easiest to fix and most impactful.
I missed my first rep 17 days in, on the deadlift, after some very encouraging progress from 60 to 120 kg (132 to 264 lb). That same weekend I missed reps on my press and my bench as well,
though progress had been much tamer there.

After that, I got stuck several times on the squat and deadlift, and had to take much smaller jumps on the bench and press.
I thought about this for a long time, and afterward concluded that I had misinterpreted the general concept behind eating to gain body mass for strength.
I had expected to have no problems with my lifts keeping up, as I was already eating at such a huge surplus and gaining 1 kg (2.2 lb) per week.
Yet since I had started with such a small amount of muscle mass, I think I needed a "catching up period" to gain enough muscle to "contain" the strength I was gaining.
Even at a 1000 calorie surplus, my strength increased faster than my muscles could grow.

I could have taken smaller jumps from the beginning, but that wasn't in the Book. Rather, I could have been less reluctant about increasing my intake EVEN further.
Since I had improved my diet approach from my first time strength training (non-SS, but similar, where I ate 4000 with great effort), I could now eat 4300 comfortably with "clean" foods.
Had I understood WHY I was eating so much exactly, I would have increased my calories from 4300 to 4400, to 4500, and so forth, without trying the calculate the "correct" surplus
I should be eating at my current bodyweight. I thought 3500 calories equaled 0,5 kg of weight gained, but this turned out to be an oversimplification.

In conclusion: had I increased my intake as fast as my stomach could handle to my ultimate maximum of 5000 calories a day, I would have been even bigger and more muscular BEFORE I hit those sticking points,
and I would have been able to continue my progress without getting stuck. I would have created a buffer of muscle to allow my strength to catch up, instead of getting so strong so fast that my muscle could no longer
exert the necessary force for continued progress, despite eating what I thought was more than enough.

2. Avoid resets at all costs

After reading the Book, I had concluded that one should reset the weight if one was unable to complete all reps at the same weight three times.
This moment came quickly for me with the deadlift, as described above. I repeated 120 kg (264 lb) three times, being unable to find a reason for getting stuck, and reset to 110.
This, and several later resets on the squat and press, turned out to be a mistake that severely cost me on my potential progress.

I had been too focused on just doing what was written and following the program to the letter, instead of thinking for myself and synthesizing an approach to getting stuck that took into account
the totality of the information in the Book and the articles and forums. Had I taken a different approach, I would have been able to retain a slower, but steadier progress ultimately resulting in a higher end PR.

Now, I think I should have used the following approach: fail once, take smaller jumps and eat more. Fail twice, go back to the last weight you can complete the sets with reliably (only 5% down or so) and take smaller jumps. Fail thrice,
only then is it time to fully reset the weight and build back up.

3. Smart increments over stubborn increments

When my bench got stuck for the second time, I ended up in an annoying pattern for several months. I would make progress, fail a rep, fail again, then make progress, make progress, fail a rep, make progress, fail again, etc.
This was partially due to technique, but that wasn't the point. I realized later - and this held true for my other lifts as well - that taking smaller jumps in weight will ALWAYS result in better progress than trying to complete all the reps
repeatedly. Had I done this, I would have consistently kept setting PRs instead of struggling with completing all the reps. Since one will hit a final weight for each lift anyway, approaching it steadily will allow for a better overall
experience and more retained "momentum" of progress.

What this meant in practice is that I should not have tried to stick to the 5 kg - 2,5 kg - 1,25 kg increment scheme, but should have chosen in-between weights using microplates, based on my subjective appraisal of the difficulty of each workout.
Had I chosen to start using 3 kg (6.6 lb) jumps after barely failing a 5 kg (11 lb) jump, instead of trying the same jump again, I would have had much longer periods of progress without getting stuck.
Even something as minor as cascading down from 2,5 kg - 1,5 kg - 1 kg on the squat, at the right times, would have deftly avoided several plateaus that kept me back during my actual NLP.

In the end, I did end up with some decent final weights, but I'll always feel that there was so much more that I could've gotten out of my Starting Strength experience.
Hopefully, someone will be able to read this and use my conclusions to their own benefit during their NLP, so that at least some good comes out of my struggles with getting stuck.

Thanks for reading!