Neophyte getting his strength on Neophyte getting his strength on

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Thread: Neophyte getting his strength on

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Neophyte getting his strength on

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    Quick intro:
    26 year-old male. 175cm (5í10Ē), 79kg (174 lbs). Currently doing Starting Strength with added dips and chins at the end.

    Iíve been working out more or less (95%) 3 times per week since the beginning of September (aside from 1 rest week). Before that point, I had a month where I ran around the gym like a headless chicken, accomplishing very little. Before that again, Iíve had no weight lifting experience, and no regular athletic activity.

    Iím currently studying abroad, but will be going home before Christmas. I foresee no problems continuing my current regime at home. If anything, nutrition will be much easier. There, I cook every day. Here, itís just not feasible, and the food is pretty damn oily (but delicious). I haven't been on a diet, to say the least.

    That said, Iíve gone up 4-5kg since I started, keeping the same waist measurement Ė and I carry pretty much all of my fat on my waist and torso. Iíve always put on weight easily. Hopefully that also translates into putting on muscle easily!

    My starting (4th of Sept) and current (12th of Dec) stats are:
    Squats 70kg (154 lbs) / 115kg (253 lbs) (stalled)
    Shoulder Press: 35kg (77 lbs) / 55kg (121 lbs) (very stalled)
    Bench Press: 50kg (110 lbs) / 75kg (165 lbs) (very stalled)
    Dead lift: 60kg (132 lbs) / 150kg (330 lbs)
    Power Clean: 40kg (88 lbs) / 60kg (132 lbs) (stalled)

    As you can see, Iím well and truly stalled. I havenít tried a 1RM max yet.
    With the Squats, my problem is lower back strength. If I scale back to 100 kg, I can do 3x8 with perfect form, but as soon as I head up to 117.5kg, I start bending forward too much. Iím scaling back to 100kg and doing more reps to stress the back. I go below parallel, until I basically stop. Iím not the worldís most flexible person, but itís below parallel. It tears ass (and quads), so to speak.

    The Shoulder Press stalled relatively quickly, and Iíve more or less been treading water for a month. The same goes for Bench Press. Iíve also had bouts of shoulder pain making me go easier on these exercises. I scale back the moment things start to hurt. I also think my tricep strength is keeping me back on both these exercises.

    The Power Clean is very difficult. I find it difficult to Ēlet goĒ (open grip) of the barbell as they do in the instructional video, when the weight starts getting heavy. ĒGettingĒ this exercise took a while, as well. To be honest, I'm still not sure I get it completely.

    Dead Lifts are still improving. My intial problem at around the 110kg mark was grip strength, but after adding 3 repetitions of static holds after my main set, this is improving rapidly. I still have to use a mixed grip on my work set.

    My plans for the reset is to scale back 20% and work my way back up, hopefully breaking through this plateau.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Weymouth, MA
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    You need to gain some weight I would say. 179 is pretty light at 5'11". You've made some great strength gains, but I am guessing your BW is what is holding you back now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Off and on

    The shoulder pain I was talking about was a pretty annoying supraspinatus injury (self-diagnosed, pay no heed ).

    I took a 4 week break in February because I was working too much, had several exams and a lot of other stuff going on, as well as a bum shoulder. I suspect it's from bench pressing without proper technique; contrary to what most people experience, I didn't get the injury on my dominant side. I attribute this to my job as a barista, where my I use every part of my arm repeatedly throughout the day. I suppose that strengthened my shoulder supports enough to stave off injury there.

    What they say about the slippery slope of missing one workout, then two, then three is all too true. Before you know it, you're at home watching tv and drinking soda :O

    Anyway, the arm is back more or less to normal. I occasionally feel discomfort, but with proper warmup there's absolutely no pain when working out. I still only do incline bench press, but now mostly because I have nobody to spot me.

    Unfortunately, I'm still no up to what I was at before I left for home, but I'm getting close.

    Today's workout:
    Squat 110kg (242lbs) 3x5. Felt good, but I need to tighten my core up.
    Press 47.5kg (104lbs) 3x5. Last rep was hellish.
    Deadlift 140kg (308lbs) 2x5. I did two sets because I felt very strong today. A sweaty grip made the last repetition hard, and unfortunately my new gym (like the old one) has no chalk. However, it is several times cheaper than anything else I can get and pretty good aside from that ($120 for half a year!).
    I also threw in a set of 3x8 slow dips using bodyweight to "check" on the shoulder. At my worst, I couldn't even do one. Now there was no discomfort.

    I'm eating better now. I make sure to get enough protein every day (from natural sources, mostly tuna fish) and generally try to eat 4-5 times a day.

    After a few weeks of pigging out on food because I was going home, I came home at around 90kg/198lbs bodyweight, a lot of which was fat. I'm now down to 180lbs, a lot of which is still fat (around my torso).

    Good news is that since I'm back home, the air is clean enough to go jogging, something I've missed. Spring is here, so it's time to get my cardiovascular system back in shape.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Goals for 2010

    I've been thinking I should have something to work towards. As I have the next year and a half back home to work out in a stable environment and routine, this is the best time to get into it properly.

    1. Grit. Working out at least 3 times a week (SS) without fail.
    2. Eating right. Always getting my bodyweight in kilos x2 in protein, and the rest any other way I feel like it.
    3. Squat: I want to reach 160kg / 352lbs by years' end. To accomplish this, I will switch to a low bar stance.
    4. Deadlift: I want to surpass 200kg / 441lbs. I still have a lot left in me, but it needs to be incremental; my grip strength is nowhere near where it needs to be.
    5. Press: I want to be able to press 80kg / 176lbs
    6. Power Clean: 100kg / 220lbs. This will be hard. That is all
    7. Bench Press: 100kg / 220lbs. This will also be hard. I did 75kg before my shoulder injury, but I think that with slow progress it can be done.
    8. (Hangups: 3 sets of 10 BW. I can do 3 sets of 3 now (haven't really focused on them))
    9. (Dips: 3 sets of 15, then with weights)
    10. (Running: a half-marathon)


    Now, I don't want to become a hulking "70's big" looking kind of guy. I just want to look and feel fit and strong.

    I realize some of these goals are a little out of my league (particularly the Squat and PC goals) but I want them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Workout April 6th, 2010.

    First day after the easter holidays, so the gym was filled beyond capacity. I used the rack with 3 other guys(!) (two of us on the rack proper and two guys behind DL'ing). Rest times were cut down a tad.

    Squats
    3 warmup sets
    5x3 112.5kg / 248lbs (high bar). My quads weren't in it today, but the form was decent.
    Plus 5x2 60kg / 132lbs (low bar) just experimenting with it. Will try it again when the time pressure has abated somewhat. Need to work on shoulder flexibility.

    Press
    2 warmup sets
    5x2 50kg / 110lbs
    5x1 45kg / 99lbs Felt weak for some reason; I attribute it to not being able to work out during the easter holiday, as well as coming straight from work.
    Will attempt 50kg next time.

    Deadlift
    3 warmup sets
    5x1 145kg / 320lbs
    Felt great. No trouble whatsoever.

    Dips
    8x3 Felt good. Will increase by 1 across sets next time.

    Must eat more.

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