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Thread: Jess's Starting Strength Training Log

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Jess's Starting Strength Training Log

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    Hello all. I am new to the Starting Strength programming, but have been lifting weights pretty consistently for several years. Up until now, my workouts have been somewhat effective in developing strength, but my focus has never been specifically on strength for long enough to make significant gains and achieve the level of strength that I plan on achieving with this program.

    I don't currently play any sports and work in an office 5 days a week, so going to the gym is my main form of physical activity. I like the idea of constantly challenging myself to get stronger. My current goals are to be able to squat and deadlift 315 for 5 reps and go from there. There is no reasoning behind doing 315 on those lifts other than to set a goal for myself to try to reach.

    I am a 27 year-old male and weighed 170 lbs when beginning this program four workouts ago. I am using dumbbells for my bench press and press b/c i don't have a spotter for bench or bumper plates that i could drop if necessary, but the gym I go to does have padded flooring in the DB area, so if i drop weights there, it shouldn't be too big of an issue. My starting weights for each exercise are as follows (all weights are in pounds):

    Squat: 185
    Bench Press: 120 (remember, i'm using dumbbells here)
    Deadlift: 215
    Press: 90 (using dumbbells, remember?)
    Power clean: 95

    During my first workout on 10-11-10 I did the following:

    Squat: 135, 155, 3x5x185
    Bench Press: 100, 3x5x120
    Deadlift: 185, 215x1x5

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    St. Thomas, Ontario


    I'm not going to argue the efficacy of using dumbbell vs barbell for overhead press, but you don't need a spotter for OHP and you certainly will never need to drop it. You can ALWAYS safely lower an OHP weight to your chest and walk it back into the rack.

    Good luck with your progression!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010


    Second workout on the Starting Strength novice program:

    Squat: 135, 185, 3x5x205
    Press: 80, 3x5x90
    Power clean: 3x5x95

    I didn't have much trouble squatting this weight, but doing full squats (before SS I used to squat, but not past parallel) is more taxing than expected. I also felt it more in my glutes and hams than i had previously, so i know it is working. Getting the bar into to "low" position on my back took a little getting used to, but feels more natural when i squat all the way down.

    Presses went smoothly, but were heavy enough to tax my shoulders and stability. I enjoyed doing those while some dude who definitely weighed more than me was pushing less that that on some incline press machine. Ha.

    Power cleans are more difficult than i thought, but having never done them, i think the issue is more technical than strength related. I really need to practice using the shrug at the top of the motion to get the weight up, rather than using my arms to "power curl" it up. I also need to work on catching the weight in the rack position with my elbows up. My catch wasn't very fluid and i found myself catching the bar with my elbows pointing almost straight down a couple of times. I guess i just need to trust myself and not think about accidentally knocking my teeth out with the bar. Overall, i was pleased with how hard i worked and my level of fatigue at the end of the session. Definitely a good workout.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010


    Thanks MazdaMatt. That's a good point about the press. I figured since i was doing the bench press with dumbbells, i might as well do the press with them as well, but i guess i would never have a spotter on the press anyway, so my reasoning with the bench press doesn't hold true with the press. I'll have to reexamine my decision. I did feel like my hands were twisting, palms inward, at the top of my reps with the dumbbells, so using a barbell might make it easier to maintain better form.


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