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Thread: AK's Starting Strength Log

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up AK's Starting Strength Log

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    I started the SS novice program on the 25th of Sept-- didn't have the book then and was very cautious with my starting weights on the advice of the SS wiki site. I do have the book now.

    Starting stats: 34 year old male. 6 ft even. 162 pounds. Never lifted weights with any regularity in my life. (Probably redundant given my height and weight.)

    First workout weights followed by the the weights I used the last time I did each lift.

    Squat 95--150
    Bench 85--120
    Deadlift 95--155
    Press 55--65
    Power Clean 55--75

    I haven't missed any reps in any workouts yet but have been very conservative about the weight increases between workouts. I've been following the program strictly and have cut out all cardio. I do ride my bicycle and walk to get around (I live downtown and don't own a car) but I don't have to go far and take it very slow. I've tried to cut out longer cycling trips.

    I currently live next to a small city-run boxing and fitness center with all the equipment I need and insanely cheap dues ($50 for a year), but will be moving in the next 4-6 months to a rural location where I'll either need a home gym or drive 12 miles into town, so I want to be very anal about following the program while I have such convenient circumstances. I literally jog about a 1/4 mile to the gym on MWF when they open at 6am and I have the weights all to myself.

    Not counting calories but I've always had a good appetite. I worked up to GOMAD in the first week. Hadn't had milk in a while and it upset my stomach slightly at first but that went away quickly and now my gallon goes down easy. Other that that I just eat big meals and I try to snack a lot all day. I estimate I'm getting at least 4000 calories in daily.

    So far so good. I already feel stronger and have gained 10 pounds. I'm just getting to point in the last week that the workouts feel pretty difficult. The first week I resisted the temptation to lift more and focus on technique. I did some chins and dips after the first few workouts because I didn't feel like I'd worked enough. No such sensation on Wednesday or Friday.

    I plan to take some video soon to have my form checked so that I can try to break any bad habits early.

    I'm enjoying weightlifting very much. Got my fractional plates in the mail today so I'll have them when the time comes. Chalk is on the way.
    Last edited by Anthony King; 10-23-2010 at 10:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    10-11-10 session

    Squat 160 5x3
    Press 70 5x3
    Power Clean 80 3x5

    Squat was very difficult and I need to video myself to check some things. I know I'm looking up too much as a come out of the hole. I'm also sure that my back is too vertical/hip angle not acute enough. I've been so concerned with getting deep enough that I haven't paid eough attention to this part of the lift. On my last warm up set I believe I did it right and I noticed coming out of the hole was easier when the hip angle was more acute. I'm positive that I didn't carry this through to all the work set reps, though. I was a bit intimidated by the weight on my back. Back of my neck hurt quite bit after each work set. Not a sharp pain but one pretty much like the inflammation in the back of the neck I get with a sinus headache. My hunch is that this is caused by looking up as I get out of the hole. I'm only increasing the squat by five pounds for the next workout and will take a video.

    Last rep on the last work set of presses was very, very slow. Didn't rest enough between squats and presses and I noticed that I was a little loose in the ab/back area.

    Power Clean was good and felt like hard work for the first time. I really enjoy this exercise. I still find it very awkward to touch the bar with my thighs before the "jump" and rack. Seems much easier to start the explosive movement earlier. I'm going to have to reread the PC section of the book and look at some videos on the web.

  3. #3
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    Squat 165 5x3
    B. Press 125 5x3
    Deadlift 175 5x1

    I put a green ball on the floor in front of me to look at while doing squats to make sure I didn't look up. I had the same pain that I had on Monday when doing my warmup sets, but it seemed managable so I continued and tried to see if I could fix things. I worked on getting my grip very close and focusing on contracting my upper back muscles. That seemed to be the problem. The pain was still around from doing it wrong in some of my warmups, but it didn't hurt any more during the last two sets. The more acute hip angle I used this time helped a ton. 160 on Monday seeed very heavy and 165 today was much easier. I took some video that I haven't looked at yet. I'll post it in the form section to get some feedback.

    Just looked at the vids. Damn, I'm high on the squats. I need to go another 2-3 inches down. I'll take vid. on Sat. and reevaluate.
    Last edited by Anthony King; 10-14-2010 at 10:04 AM. Reason: fix typos, add info

  4. #4
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    10-16

    Squat 170 5x3
    Press 75 5x3
    Power Clean 85 3x5

    Took vids of squat again (posted in Technique section). Better but still a little high. Ugh.

  5. #5
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    10-19

    Took an extra day off to help back and neck pain that began to be a real problem Monday the 11th. I think I finally got the grip on the squat correct today. Previously I was resting the bar on my rhomboids too much and focusing on where the bar fit in relation to those muscle. I was getting the same pain today as the weight increased and found it impossible to focus on my form or complete my work sets. I did one work set, then went back to 135lbs and slowly increased the weight, doing a rep or two each time. Again around 150 my neck can back started to hurt. I knew that something had to be wrong with my grip. I then put on a little more weight and this time focused on bearing the weight primarily on the posterior deltoids (just like the book says, moron). This felt much, much better and I did a rep or two at five pound intervals until I got back up to 170.

    By this point I was gassed and my neck, back, and head were hurting from previous incorrect reps. I think I have the grip sorted out and hope very much I can squat next time without pain.

    Other lifts went well, deadlift was hard, hard work. Form on bench broke down on the last reps of most sets, not sure how much longer I'll be able to make 5lb jumps on the bench.

    Squat 172.5 5x1 then abandoned to try to find a pain free bar position
    Bench 130 5x3
    Deadlift 195 5x1

    I gotta ditch my running shoes. I feel like I'm squatting in a bounce house. No money for weightlifting shoes right now. I think I can get away with squatting barefoot at this gym until I have the money for shoes.
    Last edited by Anthony King; 10-19-2010 at 11:17 AM.

  6. #6
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    Hopefully squatting barefoot, in Chuck's, or weightlifting shoes will help with the upper back or neck pain too. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Good luck Anthony King! I started this about the same time as you, and some lifts are similar. I even bike commute too

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
    Hopefully squatting barefoot, in Chuck's, or weightlifting shoes will help with the upper back or neck pain too. Good luck.
    Thanks. I guess I'll know for sure on Thursday if the barbell placement was causing all the pain--but I feel fairly confident it was. When I changed the placement today it felt much better, but by then things were already burning and throbbing pretty good so no effort was going to be pain free.

  9. #9
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    10-21

    Not a normal workout today because I was sorting out barbell placement on the squat as well as taking video and reviewing my depth between all warmup sets. I continued with the adjustment I discussed in the last workout entry and everything felt good until I worked my way up to 170 for my first work set. After my normal warmup I did doubles at 10-15lb increments in between 135 and 170 to work on form and barbell placement. First work set at 170 I got the now familiar back of the neck burning and throbbing but it wasn't too bad. My hunch was that I had the bar in the right place but was too loose. On the next set I used the same placement but tightened up my back and shoulders more and I did't have any pain. Same thing on the last set except I was even tighter and it felt even better.

    Although I haven't upped my squat workset weight since the 11th when I started having problems with my back and neck I'm very happy to be squatting without pain and feel confident I'll progress now. I spent an extra hour the last two workouts reviewing my form. I'm pretty happy with my depth now , and on the last work set today I think I finally "got" (or at least started to get) good hip drive and a more acute hip angle. No time to post vids now but I'll put them in the technique section tomorrow for criticism. Second work set today I only got four reps. I wasn't using good hip drive on that set and I think my back was too vertical. Didn't have bar pain on that set but it wasn't comfortable either. I really tightened it up on the last set and everything felt great.

    Squat 170 5,4,5
    Press 80 5x3
    Power Clean 90 3x5
    Pull Ups 6,5,4
    Last edited by Anthony King; 10-21-2010 at 10:31 AM. Reason: clarity, typos

  10. #10
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    10-23

    Didn't squat my worksets today because the pain in my neck returned when I took my work set weight off the bar. I don't know if it was because of the pull ups on Thursday but my upper body flexibility today was terrible. I had a very hard time getting the barbell situated correctly. I was a little loose when I took my workset off the bar and should have racked it immediately but I stupidly tried to do the set.

    Here's what I did finish
    Squat 175 4x1
    Bench 135 5x3
    Deadlift 205 5x1

    I might post to the injury or tehcnique section about the problem I'm having. I feel like I have a decent handle on it and I'm not scheduled to lift again until Tuesday. When this pain started on the 11th it was because of barbell placement and it really smashed me up good. I didn't squat pain free until the 21st. I have some other form problems on the back squat I've tried to sort out in the meantime. My warmup sets today at 140 felt very good and I definitely had good depth when I looked at the tape. On the first work set I was just stupid and hurried. I knew the barbell wasn't sitting right. I'm going to work with 155 on Tuesday if everything feels good and start linear progression again from there. If I feel at all like I still have irritation in my neck and rhomboids I'm going to do a front squat until I'm sure everything is ready to go again.

    Despite no small amount of frustration that I injured myself and stalled everything else is going well. Today marks four weeks on the program and all the other lifts are going well. I'm still making 5 pound jumps on press, bench, and clean. I've just moved to 10 pound jumps on the deadlift. I'm drinking my gomad and I'm sixteen pounds heavier than I was four Saturdays ago.
    Last edited by Anthony King; 10-23-2010 at 11:32 AM.

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