Too late for a linear progression? Too late for a linear progression?

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Thread: Too late for a linear progression?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    23

    Default Too late for a linear progression?

    Greetings! I just joined the forums and think this might be the right board for my newbie question about how best to transition into Starting Strength after a potentially sub-optimal program.

    Iím in my late 30s and have been training for about 10 months. I literally had never used a barbell before last July, when I checked out a weightlifting club near home. I asked them to teach me how to squat and deadlift and quickly got hooked. My training over the last 10 months has consisted of regular squats (high bar ass to grass), front squats, snatches, cleans, deadlifts, presses, push presses, and a little benching. I went from 165 lbs at 5í10Ē up to 195 lbs, and Iíve had all kinds of physical benefits, like my knees and back donít hurt anymore and my wife is constantly remarking on my new physique. So mostly great news! (although Iíve had to buy new clothes)

    However, I discovered Mr. Rippetoeís articles recently, and I get the sense that I left some general strength gains on the table by learning Olympic lifts and using periodization without ever going through a disciplined linear progression. For example, after 10 months, my deadlift is only about 1.7x bodyweight, not the common benchmark of 2x. My squat (HB ATG) is only about 1.3x bodyweight, and Iíve read about benchmarks of 1.5x-1.75x (low bar?). It sounds like guys on Starting Strength get to this level in something closer to 3 months. Yes Iím a little older, but not so old for that to be an excuse.

    So my question: Is it too late to benefit from the SS linear progression? If not, do I just start the same as everyone else? Deadlifting three times a week, even if I start where a set of 5 is really comfortable (say 275 lbs), seems like a bit much. Iím tempted to jump straight to phase 2 or 3, but donít want to short circuit the program either. Iíd love to just find an SSC and get some individualized advice, but I live in Idaho now, and I donít see any in the SS registry.

    Thanks in advance! I apologize if this question comes up a lot. I imagine my situation isnít unique.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Atlanta area
    Posts
    4,907

    Default

    In this case your best move would be to get with an SSC for an in-person consult. Quite frankly, you're most likely going to at least squat wrong (we see this all the time), so getting that fixed is imperative. And then the person coaching your squat can see and help set your starting weights from there.

    As a general rule, when I work with someone like you (lifting but not using the SS model for the lifts), I generally back them off to what seems (to them, and would to you) silly-light weights so that the weight is not a distraction from the form/technique/model - which will be new for them (and you). Then I adjust the increment from workout to workout so that we are "greasing the groove" while moving back up to weights they had previously attained. The important part here is that it *can't* be hard for a while - there's a new movement pattern to learn. If that gets hard to quickly, the client *will* revert back to old technique.

    I do not think it's too late to benefit from running an (abbreviated) LP. You'll use a bigger increment at first, but may benefit from the form/technique changes enough to continue it well beyond what you would have attained doing what you're doing. It just won't be as profound an affect, since you came to it late and having trained.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Thanks for the advice! This makes a lot of sense to me. I was actually thinking something similar. Like I'd back off to 135 lbs for my first workout to start learning the LB position, and then go up in 10 lb increments for a while, which will give me some weeks to get comfortable with LB before I start pushing to new levels. I'm actually pretty interested in what the LB squat will do. It was fairly anathema at my old club, but I haven't made much progress on my squat in a while and I'm hoping it will help me bust through the plateau.

    I'm still a little circumspect about deadlifting 3x per week because I already use a position with high hips (not a clean deadlift, which is a little different from the weightlifters who coached me, but I think it feels much stronger and better for my back). I'll still start really light and just let it play out over those same few weeks. Power cleans with high hips is a little interesting. I've tried it a few times after watching the YouTubes and it does actually feel like the bar goes higher. I like the high hips and stand up cue. I hate the idea of letting my snatch deteriorate, but I want to give the program a try in it's fullest form. Hopefully I'll be that much stronger when I re-train the snatch in a few months.

    Thanks for the help. I don't have any SSCs in my state, but the SSOC program sounds like a fairly good value actually. I'll check it out.

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