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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default EOF's log

    • starting strength seminar june 2022
    • starting strength seminar august 2022
    • starting strength seminar october 2022

    Figured I would start doing my own log here, so I could hopefully get some constructive feedback. I am a newbie in the sense that I was in relatively good shape about 2 years ago, especially cardiovascular, but in January this year I would faint if I stood up too fast from sitting on a sofa. This had to do with a combination of surgery and cancer treatment. I am 189cm (6'2") and weigh around 82kg (181 lbs). Since January I have already gained around 20kg of weight, so you can pretty much imagine what kind of condition I was in...

    My squat and deadlift form should be pretty good, but my hamstrings have gotten pretty tight. Consequently, I need to work on stretching as currently I feel my lower back is rounding slightly when I squat. Unfortunately, I have never done power cleans, so that is something I need to teach myself. I will probably try to ask some of the coaches at my school in the fall to see if they could be hired to help. Now I'm staying in central London for the summer and paying hefty sums for a gym with only one squat rack... Fortunately, I am pretty much the only one using it.

    Workout is as follows:

    Workout A: Squat, bench, deadlift
    Workout B: Squat, press, row
    Sets: 3x5, except deadlift 1x5
    Training every other day.

    I started very light on the deadlift and the squat, because I was told by a doctor to be careful after having been on a high dose of cortisone for over a year. Current working sets are done with:

    Squat: 60kg
    Deadlift: 70kg
    Bench: 50kg
    Press: 30kg
    Row: 47.5kg
    Increments: 2.5kg, except deadlift 5kg

    My bench has always been extremely weak, so the 50kg bench is the first set I've had problems with and last time I was only able to do 4 reps on the last set. I will order some microplates next week, as the smallest plates at my gym are 1.25kg.

    I have also done crunches for abs. Currently 2x30 is pretty much the maximum and I am going to get this up to 2x40. At that point I think my abs will be strong enough to withstand sets of 10 reps with plates behind my neck. I want to be careful with my abs, because I have a fresh 15cm scar on my stomach.

    I have one question though. What kind of stretching have you done while on a program like this? I used to do isometric and dynamic stretches and could almost do a full split. Isometric stretching makes muscles tired, however, so I was wondering how much they could interfere with the lifting regime? My current goal is developing strength.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009



    Squat: 62.5kg 5x5x5 - not hard
    Press: 32.5kg 5x5x5 - last rep in 3rd set was almost a failure
    Row: 50kg 5x5x5 - could most probably do 5 more reps on 3rd set

    As an extra I did:

    Sit-ups: 3x10 with 5kg plate behind neck.

    I probably started disproportionately light on the row. Maybe I should go with 5kg increments for a few weeks? I don't do Pendley rows, but instead "normal" rows as I have very long legs and my hamstrings don't let me lean forward enough. I am doing isometric stretches after each exercise and static morning stretches, so in a month I should be able to switch to Pendleys. Lying in bed seems to kill flexibility.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009



    Great start.

    I would sub rows for power cleans like the proper starting strength program. Don't wait for a coach. Buy the Starting Strength book and DVD, video tape your lifts and you'll probably be better than most coaches out there. Good olympic lifting coaches are hard to find, and expensive. If Rippetoe didn't think you could learn it on your own, he wouldn't have included them in the program.

    Also, I would recommend zero isometric stretching. None.
    Some light dynamic stretching to loosen up the joints is fine as a warmup. But in terms of flexibility, static stretching - particularly hamstrings - has the potential to make your lifts weaker as a stretched muscle has diminished stretch reflex.
    You will get all the flexibility you need from doing weighted back squats with proper form - the loaded bar will actually get your muscles stretched in a manner conducive to heavy squatting at depth. Deadlifting properly will also stretch the hamstrings. It might take a few weeks, but you will get there.

    Back rounding, contrary to what is commonly written on the internet, is usually not hamstring tightness - it's usually a technique problem that can be resolved with an appropriate cue. Keeping the chest up fixes it for a lot of people. Rippetoe has written about the fact most people can't consciously contract their lower back muscles - SS outlines some drills to fix this. They don't involve stretching.

    Stretching, either before or after exercise, has been categorically proven to have no bearing on injury rates.

    The coach at my powerlifting club has a no stretching policy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009


    I bought the book "stretching scientifically" a few years back and stopped stretching before exercise after reading it. According to the book stretching impairs your muscles maximal strength and coordination. It did however advocate isometric stretching after exercise, but also acknowledged that for some sports loose muscles impair performance (bench pressing was given as an example, but I assume it applies to squats too).

    I was thinking about asking some of the coaches at UPenn for tips regarding technique after I get back to Philly. However, I found this which seems to be what I was looking (and it's also less than two miles from my place):


    Regarding back rounding, I am currently barely able to sit on the floor with my legs straight and with my back in a 90 degree angle. That sums pretty well my current stiffness.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips. I will check the exercises in SS to see if they improve my form.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I feel that just going down into squat position and pushing your knees out with your elbows (the way Rip teaches novices to squat) before the actual squatting takes place (and in between sets), really helps to reach the necessary flexibility for squatting, but doesn't push it too far (like other stretches might). And since it helps your technique as well (gives you a 'feel' for correct position), I'd recommend it (I do it myself and have my younger brother do it; it works for us).

    You've come a long way and seem to do a hell of a job (gaining 20kg in four or five months time...). I wish you the best of luck with your training.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009



    Squat: 65kg 5x5x5 no problems
    Bench: 50kg 5x5x5 some effort on last rep in last set
    Deadlift: 75kg 1x5 no problems at all

    Somehow the squat felt easier than last time even though the weight was bigger. Looking forward to my next workout!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009



    Squat: 67.5kg 5x5x5 eeeeasy
    Press: 35kg 5x5x4 disappointing
    Row: 52.5kg 5x5x5 eeeasy

    I don't know why, but the two first sets were very easy for the press. In the last set, suddenly the 3rd rep felt heavy, the 4th really tough and on the 5th I couldn't get under the bar anymore as I couldn't lift the weight over my forehead. When small muscles get out of juice there doesn't seem to be much you can do. Should I keep the weight till next time or try 37.5kg? Or is this the time go buy microplates and go with 36kg?

    I also bought a belt, so I am going to start using it once my deadlift reaches 90kg and my squat reaches 80kg.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009



    Ok, so I was abroad today and did my training at a hotel. The hotel had only a Smith-machine, so I couldn't do squats with free weights (they had a bar, but you can't get it behind your back). Another interesting thing was that their smallest plates were 2.5kg.

    I thus did the following:

    Squat: ??kg 5x3x3 the machine was weirdly balanced, so that the bar had no weight, but the inertia when trying to push it fast was huge...
    Bench: 55kg 5x5x5 yay! they had no 1.25kg plates, so I had to go with this.
    Deadlift: 85kg 1x5 no problems at all

    I was pissed off after the squat, so I did a 10kg heavier deadlift. It was no problem, so it seems I'm still quite a lot under my max.

    What pisses me off the most is that I'm in a little town and this is the only gym. The interesting thing is that it's the largest gym I've ever been to and the amount of empty space between machines is just huge.

    The gym also claims that they have this revolutionary system that makes it possible to do moves in 3 dimensions!!! Wow, I never thought a barbell could to that:


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Why are you doing 5 sets instead of 3?

    About the gym issue, you could try a homegym.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009


    starting strength coach development program
    A home gym is really not an option when I am abroad. I am also a grad student, so I live in a little box, which barely fits my bed, so there's maybe space for some dumbbell curls. I don't even own a car much less a garage.

    Regarding your confusion about my sets, I should probably use commas instead of 'x' between the sets as it can be interpreted as doing 5x5x5=125 reps instead of just 15.


    Squat: 70kg, 5,5,5 -- eeeasy
    Press: 35kg, 5,4,3 -- should I reset?
    Row: 60kg, 6,6,6 -- felt so light, that I did more... still no problems

    I also did the following:

    Barbell curls: 32.5kg 5,5,5
    Sit-ups: 5kg behind neck, 15,15,15

    I should probably go with a 10kg plate the next time I do sit-ups. How about the press? Should I still do 35kg or drop it to maybe 30kg and start microloading with 0.5kg microplates?

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