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Thread: JohannesG's SS log

  1. #1
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    Default JohannesG's SS log

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    I started a Starting Strength program by myself about two weeks ago. I've been keeping a log since I started but haven't posted it until now. This is mostly for myself, but I'd appreciate comments of course.

    Aside from a clueless stint in the gym about 7 years ago, I've never done any sort of lifting. I'm very carefully reading through Starting Strength 2nd edition and trying to do the exercises right, but I'm definitely somewhat worried about my form as I do them. An experienced friend will be coming back in a few weeks, so he'll be able to critique my form as I move into heavier poundage.

    Oh, I'm 25 years old, 6'6, I weighed 215 pounds when I started the program. Surprisingly I don't have much fat even at that weight so I'm trying my best to keep up eating and maintain a little bit of chub around my waist to be turned into muscle. I've gained about 5 pounds in the past two weeks, but those are fairly normal fluctuations for me. I'll know this stuff is working when I hit 240 heh heh.

    My goal with this program is mostly to stave off the effects of a job sitting down (modern life). In the past year I've started to develop a few small ailments and I'm hoping a strength program will keep me fitter in that regard. I'm especially hoping for a stronger lower back. I've never really cared for aesthetic goals but it would be nice to look better.

    15/09:

    Started out very slowly with the squat as described in Starting Strength. Did a few warm-ups getting into the right bottom position without the bar, then used the empty bar (45) for 3x5 sets while carefully monitoring form. Added 10 pounds at a time for sets of 5 until I noticed my speed going down at 75, so I did 3x5 sets across at that weight and moved on to the bench press.

    I had a decent amount of trouble with the empty bar right away. I found it very hard to balance properly. I did about 3x5 sets to get the hang of it then slowly moved up to 70 where I noticed my balance starting to fail again. My right arm is slightly stronger and thus gets the bar up easier when the weight gets high. I hope this corrects itself as I train more.

    The last exercise for the day was the deadlift. I ran into a little snag here - from what I've read it's recommended to start the deadlift at the standard height of a 45 plate, but with the bar already weighing in at 45 pounds, it doesn't seem like a proper weight to start training a deadlift as a novice, or even as a warmup for someone more experienced. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what I ended up improvising, but I do remember doing 3x5 sets at a weight that was quite easy to sustain on the way up. I noticed I had a lot of trouble bringing the barbell down properly. I was rounding my lower back pretty much every time and had trouble getting the barbell below my knees without unlocking them. I also noticed my lower back was starting to hurt (something that troubles me a lot), so I decided to call it a day and revisit the exercise next week.

    Despite already feeling somewhat sore I played a scheduled friendly soccer game at night (2 hours of cardio).

    Sticking points:
    - Take a schedule with me to the gym the next time I go.
    - Deadlift form
    - Bench press form

    17/09:

    I've been excessively sore both yesterday and today. I was pretty worried about being able to do a full deep squat so I went and got a massage before my workout and took a while to warm up. Once I was warmed up I managed to squat down deep and well. Did 3x5 warmups with the empty bar, then moved up 10 pounds at a time with sets of 5 until I got to 85 pounds. Did 3x5 there, but noticed myself slowing down and struggling on the last set. I might only go up 5 pounds for the next workout.

    Tried out the overhead press. Damn, this one was a struggle. I did 3x5 with the empty bar, then I tried to do a set of 5 with 55 but failed right away on the 5th rep. Tried again and failed on the 4th rep. I can't really tell whether I'm doing the technique wrong or whether I'm just that weak. Probably the latter, heh heh. Oh well, try again next week.

    Last exercise for the day... barbell rows. Another exercise where I'm not very confident in my technique yet. Moved up 10 pounds at a time to 60 pounds, did 3 sets across there and called it a day. As for my decision to do barbell rows: there's simply no space in the gym I'm at for power cleans. I do my deadlifts and barbell rows in a small empty space in front of the power rack. :/

    19/09:

    Soccer game at night (90 of cardio).

    20/09:

    Woke up feeling not too sore. Did my workout after breakfast.
    Squatted 3x5x90. One muscle was quite sore when I squatted deep down and it affected my form a bit.
    Bench pressed 3x5x75. Struggled a bit with the last rep of the last set but otherwise this one was quite easy.
    Deadlifted 1x5x100. My technique is improving slightly. I'm taking better care about locking my shoulders when I'm up. Also doing 1x5 is a lot easier than 3x5

    22/09:

    Squatted 3x5x95, at a much faster pace than I did before. Most videos seem to go a lot faster than I did. Less time to check on my form this way, but I feel like I'm starting to get it down pretty well now. Only struggled a little bit on the last rep of the last set. Think I can do 105 next workout.

    Pressed 3x5x55. Went a lot better than last week. Still a little bit worried about my form - watch videos!

    Barbell rows were much better this week. 3x5x70. I'm only a bit worried about my back and the position of the barbell on the floor. Maybe it's my length, but I can't seem to put it over the middle of my foot/up to upper stomach without hitting my knees. It's more like 5cm in front of foot + lower chest for me. Watch videos!

    24/09:

    Squat 3x5x105. Going fast but worried about form. Going to 110 next time.
    Bench press 3x5x80. I have NO balance. Can easily go up 5 pounds tho.
    Deadlift 1x5x110. I feel like I'm doing very well with this now. Maybe 125 next time?

    26/09:

    Soccer game at night (90 minutes of cardio).

    27/09:

    Squat 3x5x110: I notice my knees are buckling a lot. Balance.... ugh.
    Press 3x5x60: My form felt fine, but I failed on the last rep of the last set. Might have to stay at 60 depending on how I feel with the bench press.
    Barbell rows 3x5x75: Still have some issue with having the bar over the middle of my foot. Maybe the bar should be further out for me as I'm taller?

    29/09:

    Squat 3x5x115: Lost my focus during the 3rd set. It's hard to balance the feeling of working hard and maintaining perfect form. I'm curious whether I should just use less weight. For now I guess I'll keep going up 5lbs at a time.
    Bench press 3x5x80: I couldn't remember what weight I did last time, so I accidentally didn't go up. Good, actually, because I'm only really happy with my form up to about 60 pounds.
    Deadlift 1x5x125: These felt great. I've been lowering the barbell a bit faster and I've stopped pulling the bar up too far. 135lbs next time, love that milestone with 2x45 plates on the side.

  2. #2
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    01/10:

    Squat 3x5x120: I felt very good about these. There's a few muscles that always seem to be sore when I start my workout, so I took extra care in warming them up today. I did a few extra "sets" without the bar, just to get my body warm and comfortable. The last few workouts I had not been happy with my technique in the work sets, but this time it felt very good. I was a little bit slow on the last rep of the 3rd set, but the bar just felt heavy, there was no soreness or cheating going on. Good.

    Press 1x5x65, 1x3x65, 1x5x60: As I was warming up my technique felt very good. I'm putting the bar up higher, shoving out my elbows in front of me and getting under the bar pretty well. I just can't be greedy. If I failed on the last rep of the last set last time, it's probably not time to move up 5 pounds. Hrm. It would be nice if my gym had 1.25lbs plates, but no such luck. I guess I can do 65lbs next time though.

    Barbell rows 3x5x85: I wrote down 85lbs on the schedule for today, but I'm not sure why. I did, however, and I felt it. I reread the instructions for it before going to the gym and I immediately notice myself cheating a bit as the weight gets heavy. I started giving my arms a bit of slack to make the explosion easier, and I did a bit of a hip extension. Both of these take away from the muscles this exercise is meant to train. :/ I'll just go up to 90lbs next time and try not to cheat.

    - I SHALL NOT BE GREEDY.

  3. #3
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    03/10:

    Soccer game (90 minutes)

    04/10:

    I read somewhere that Rip recommends warming up on a bike for a few minutes before the lifts, so I tried that today. I can't say I felt it helped. My problems in the squat mostly seem to stem from a few small muscles that I only use in the bottom position of the squat. Lots of quick sets without the bar seem to help to warm those up.

    Squats 3x5x125: So-so. Form felt a bit off, my knees seemed to buckle inwards a few times. Weight felt quite heavy, slowed down significantly on the last rep of the last set but completed it.

    Bench 3x5x85: I felt somewhat worried about being able to complete the last set but gritted my teeth and pushed it up. I can not seem to push the bar up in a straight line every rep.

    Deadlift 1x5x140: This felt great again. Heavy, but great. I think next workout I'll slow down the increase to 10lbs.

  4. #4
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    06/10:

    I spent 95% of the last 36 hours before this workout sleeping. My housemates baked some special brownies and apparently massively overestimated the amount necessary. So I'm not in the best of shape leading up to this workout.

    Squat 3x5x130: Wow, this weight is starting to feel a bit heavy. I notice things are starting to hurt in my wrists and elbows. I'll have to reread starting strength, because there must be something wrong with my grip. Other than that I felt okay about these three sets. Did a lot of no-bar sets to warm myself up and it seems to help. Also, is the "knees out" cue supposed to keep everything tight while down in the hole? If so I might've just "got" it today.

    Press 3x5x65: Whee, actually made what I couldn't last week. My left arm is coming up a lot slower than my right arm though, so it feels like I'm somewhat cheating. With my rate of progress there seems to be no way I can move 3x5x70 next week, so I guess I'll do same weight with prettier form this time. I should probably also try and get some microplates somewhere.

    Barbell rows 3x5x90: Back to not cheating. Well, for two sets at least. The 3rd set I didn't have the explosive power in my arms to do, so I ended up using my hips again. Oh well. Be better next time.

  5. #5
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    08/10:

    Squat 3x5x135: Really liked the adjustments I made today. I think I overestimated how low I need to be to make my squat low-bar. Before I was having the bar as low on my shoulder blades as I could support. I moved them up to the deltoids and now I actually feel the bar grind into my back, not my wrists/elbows. I also had much less of a knee buckle going on this time. Last rep of last set was tough. Somebody actually tried to come spot me by grabbing the right side of the bar, but I managed to wave him off and grind out the last bit of the rep.

    Bench 90x5, 90x5, 90x4: Ooh boy. I'm starting to get scared here, I really need to get myself a spotter. I was swerving dangerously on the 4th rep of the last set, so I decided to call off the last rep. Well, my experienced lifting partner is back from his trip, so I'll make sure to do workouts with him from now on.

    Deadlift 1x5x150: I've been concentrating on keeping the bar as close to my shins as possible. I'm doing good on that, but it's pretty hard to do both that, and put down the hexagonal plates in such a way that they don't roll away after I put them down. I had to reset my stance after every rep today, rather annoying. Other than that these felt good. I think I could've done 155 actually, so I'll go up to 165 next time.

  6. #6
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    Friend drunkenly offered me 4:1 on being able to do 50 consecutive air squats. Obviously took it, but he's confident I'll be winded on the last 20. Odds that I'll make it given what I posted here so far?

  7. #7
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    10/10:

    Crushed the above prop bet easily, did the last 10 at about 3x the speed just to rub it in. Then 90 minutes of football.

    11/10:

    Squat 3x5x140: I was a bit worried I wouldn't make this, but it was easier than I expected it to be. I've been eating a lot more and that may have helped my recovery in spite of two late nights this weekend. I find it hard to pay much attention to my form when I'm doing my worksets though. I try to perfect them in my warmups and then I hope to do it right in the worksets.

    Press 3x5x65: Also easier than I thought they would be. 70 next workout.

    Rows 3x5x95: Much much better. I'm keeping the weight over my mid-foot better by having my lower legs straighter. Takes a little bit of effort in my calves to keep balanced, but the rest of the pull feels much better this way.

    Overall a workout I feel pretty damn good about. Next workout I'll have a buddy check my squat/bench/deadlift form.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohannesG View Post
    Friend drunkenly offered me 4:1 on being able to do 50 consecutive air squats. Obviously took it, but he's confident I'll be winded on the last 20. Odds that I'll make it given what I posted here so far?
    95% +. Air squats are easy provided you don't set a crazy pace. When I was crossfitting, I used to do squat jumps instead of air squats to try and catch up on WODs. Just avoid slow decents, that's what's likely to wear you out.

  9. #9
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    Yup, crushed them out yesterday and I think I could've gone another 50. They just didn't put me over that edge where I'd be getting out of breath.

  10. #10
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    13/10:

    Recovery was hard past two days. Not sure what it was exactly, but the night post-workout and yesterday I felt very very tired. Full of energy this morning, though. Worked out at a different gym today with a buddy.

    Squats 5x145, 5x140, 5x140: Had to push terribly hard on rep 4 of the 1st set, then did the last rep with a terrible buttwink and felt my lower back flare up, so I decided to lower the weight for the last two sets. I think it was a good decision, did them with good form and not too much trouble.

    Bench press 3x5x90: Too easy. I watched some of Rip's videos and started arching my back. My buddy commented I have a strange grip where I tilt my wrist inwards (towards the middle of my chest), so I'm probably not gripping wide enough. With both a wider grip and a higher chest, 95 should be easy next week.

    Deadlift 1x5x165: No problem. I only strained to keep my back straight on the way down of the last rep. I'm surprised by how easy the rest of the movement still is, given my struggle to increase the weights on the other lifts. 180 next time, let's see how I hold up. Maybe part of it is that this gym actually has round bumpers instead of hexagonal ones. I might start going to this gym for my bench/deadlift workouts.

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