BWare's Novice Training Log BWare's Novice Training Log

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Thread: BWare's Novice Training Log

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default BWare's Novice Training Log

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    I've been in the "weight-lifting" world since about 2015, and had the typically terrific "new-bee" experience of very nice results. But they were followed by what felt like a long period of stasis and the natural follow-on of CPH - chronic program hopping. I was first exposed to the scientific basis of training for strength, and started sampling programs that purported to focus on that, but they ran out of gas quickly.

    So, I found and read Rip's books (and Sullivan's too, since I'm a "Masters Athlete" - I like that spin on being a geezer!) and elected to start the Novice program, dropping all my previous work with super-sets and drop-sets and rest-pause sets, suspending any plan that talked about sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and "leaving gains on the table" and other marketing stuff like that.

    Prelim data: Age - 61; Weight - 183; Height - 5'10"; BF% est 11%

    Started clean-slate and pretty light on Saturday, 4 May. Working on following the form and movement patterns observed on Rip's videos, and I'll concern myself with getting to the heavy stuff when I progress to that level. Going low-bar on the Squat was the hardest movement to change, but it seems to be easy to retrain the body to move along those lines. By far, the hardest lift is the Press, but over the week, I've felt like my form for it was improving and my balance is getting better. I still have a tendency to "pop" the bar a bit further forward than over mid-foot, which tends to make me rock forward onto the balls of my feet. I think maybe my grip is too wide, and I'll keep working to refine that lift.

    Record:
    5/4 (first training session)
    Squat -- warm-ups, then 3 x 5 at 155. Low-bar has given me the ability to actually get to a true parallel at this weight. I'll boost this by 20 pounds for next session and see if the increased weight affects the depth.
    Press -- warm-ups, then 3 x 5 at 112. This was pretty solid, and feels like it is close to a good training weight for me. Add 2 pounds next time.
    Deadlift -- warm-ups, then 1 x 5 at 125. Really easy to keep solid form; add 20 pounds for next session.

    5/6
    Squat -- 3 x 5 at 175. Still very solid on form; add 20 pounds next time.
    Bench -- 3 x 5 at 135. Good form, touched my chest without bouncing. Had to put some plates on the floor to "shim" my feet a bit higher, hardest part was getting to lower back curve set. Add 10 pounds next time.
    Deadlift -- 1 x 5 at 155. No problems, add 20 pounds next time.

    5/8
    Squat -- 3 x 5 at 195. Still solid, although my left hip felt a little loose on the 4th rep of set 3; abductors? Add 20 pounds next time.
    Press -- 3 x 5 at 114. Very tough to keep my balance on these sets, and I feel this is about where I am, strength-wise. Go to 115 next time. Work on improving movement pattern and balance.
    Deadlift -- 1 x 5 at 175. Still solid; add 20 pounds next time.

    Recovery cycle so far seems to be reasonable (no major DOMS or problems sleeping) and my calorie uptake has increased from about 1900 a day to 2500 a day since I started. I'm sure my squat progression will very soon become truly linear (5 pound increases per session), but still feel like I have a lot of up-side on my deadlift before getting to the point of making 5 pound increases per session.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Welcome to the forums. Always good to have another geezer join the ranks!

    Just curious, what weights had your squat and DL gotten to before, on previous programs? You've made 2 20# jumps in each, and plan another 20# jump, which seems like a lot. Of course, if you were squatting 305# and deadlifting 405#, then it's no big deal. But, as you say, "leaving gains on the table" is kind of silly thinking, so there's no hurry to get to the higher weights. Just food for thought.

    Looking forward to your future updates,
    Bob

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanThornton View Post
    Welcome to the forums. Always good to have another geezer join the ranks!

    Just curious, what weights had your squat and DL gotten to before, on previous programs? You've made 2 20# jumps in each, and plan another 20# jump, which seems like a lot. Of course, if you were squatting 305# and deadlifting 405#, then it's no big deal.
    Bob
    Thanks for the welcome, Bob!

    At my best, I was squatting 320 -- but it was all bar high on traps and only closely approximating full available range-of-motion. That is, the top of my quad was getting to parallel, but the prospect of getting my hip-crease below my knee was un-thinkable. Right ankle mobility was (and continues to be) a key limiter (pins placed there in 1986 to keep my foot attached after a super-bad fracture). I find that working the motion pattern specified for this form of squat here actually enables me to significantly overcome this mobility issue.

    As far as deadlift went, I had gotten to about 315 with the bar, but to get heavier weights, I elected to transition over to the hex bar. Mechanically, the motion pattern I was able to adapt to with the hex bar is not that far off from using the straight bar, but it was much easier to get my center of gravity under the center of mass, so with the hex bar, I got up to 340. Now, under this program, I've switched back to the regular bar, and am working my way up fairly aggressively.

    I realize this planned progression is not "linear", but I expect that it will become much more so very soon. I know I'm very close to going small/micro progressions for the Press, but there's still a lot of up-room on squats and deadlifts.

    Here's the next set of sessions:

    5/13
    Squat -- 3 x 5 at 215; solid form and good depth, no wobbles like last time. Plus-20.
    Bench -- 3 x 5 at 145. Continue progression; plus-10, starting to feel like this is getting close to going linear.
    Deadlift -- 1 x 5 at 195. Continue progression; plus 20.

    Had a couple of extra days between last session and this one due to family-related travel out of town. Going to have another session this week, and then another long-ish weekend coming up with more travel.

  4. #4
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    Continuing record:

    5/15
    Squat -- 3 x 5 at 235; solid form and good depth, but I feel that I am approaching the linearity point, so will only go Plus-10 on next session.
    Press -- 3 x 5 at 115; I think I corrected my grip width (after watching a whole mess of videos on the website here), and my balance was much better. I still don't feel that I am getting the full benefit of the hip-thrust bounce, but I got all 3 sets with good form and a solid finishing shrug up top. I am programming linearity with this lift, Plus-2 next session.
    Deadlift -- 1 x 5 at 215; solid form, continue progression; Plus-10.

    All-in-all, my bench and press lifts are now in the linear progression mode at a 2-pounds per session increase planned; squat is probably one session away from being there, too; deadlift feels like there is still some room to move up aggressively, although I may have to modify my grip to go with the alternating switch-hold. The lift at 215 at reps #4 and 5 felt like I was working hard to keep my grip on the bar.

    I'll be delaying the session that should have been coming up Friday to Monday next week, as I'll be traveling for family event. My "Masters Athlete" recovery mechanisms seem to be keeping up with the stress (so far), but we'll see how getting M-W-F sessions next week works out.

  5. #5
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    Continuing record:

    5/20
    Squat -- 5 x 3 at 245; that felt really good, and getting nice depth; I know last time I said I thought I'd be going normal increment linear here, but that was such a good round that I will go Plus-10 again for next session.
    Bench -- 5 x 3 at 155; also felt really good and stable form; I think focusing on grip width in the same manner as with the Overhead Press has driven improved performance; go with Plus-5 on next session.
    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 225; continue at Plus-10 for next session.

    For the next two weeks, I'll be taking part in an Adult Novice Shell Rowing class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It's only 6 sessions, but I'm looking forward to using it for my "cardio" conditioning days -- after that, it's back to Latin dance lessons.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:33 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

  6. #6
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    First novice rowing session last night. We're using an 8-shell, and I didn't realize how heavy those things are. And my crew of 8 was 2 guys (me and another) and 6 women. Not a question of strength per se, but once we had the shell on our shoulders, I found myself walking around in a semi-crouch because of the height differential. And then, at the end of the session, picking the boat up out of the water -- kind of like doing a deficit deadlift -- well, I'm just glad my deadlifting training is going well, because I pretty much had the stern half of the boat to myself until the boat was up to waist level, and then the ladies were able to help and finish the lift to an overhead press.

    I estimate that in the 2-hour class, I rowed probably about 40 minutes in 4 or 5 minute increments, with lots of rest between. But I definitely got the majority of my "workout" from lifting and carrying the boat. The rowing parts should get better as the crew gets more experience and training. We have only 4 more training sessions and 1 day at the end of the class is a "regatta/race" for graduation/fun.

  7. #7
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    That sure sounds like fun and a great way to demonstrate your gainz.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynJerry View Post
    That sure sounds like fun and a great way to demonstrate your gainz.
    Well. I had been taking Latin dance lessons - salsa and bachatta - for my "cardio conditioning", but just stumbled across this local rowing club that is looking to recruit new members. They offered this 2-week novice "camp" - 2 nights a week and 2 Saturdays - so I have to skip dancing for a bit while trying this out. I'm not the oldest guy there, but (being the kind of humble dude I am) have to admit I look pretty hale and hearty next to some of these folks. LOL!

  9. #9
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    Session 5/22:

    Squat -- 5 x 3 at 255; solid form, good depth, and really feeling like I have hit my expected training weight. Will go Plus-5 next session.

    Press -- 5 x 3 at 117; well, I got 'em all, but I am not going to brag about my form. I think I have the grip width figured out, and the warm-up weights I am able to handle the hip-thrust-pop motion fairly consistently. But when I get to my working weight, I am really working hard to get the bar to finish overhead. The pop gets it to level with the top of my head, and after that it is pure will-power to complete the lift. I am going to try Plus-2 next time (119).

    Deadlift -- 5 x 1 at 235; a few days ago, I had commented on my grip feeling less than solid in the last rep or 2. I tried speeding up (slightly) my recovery down to the floor, rather than lowering it slowly, and re-setting the whole body position on each rep. Only takes a few seconds, so I am not really taking an "in-set" rest. And I had no problems with the grip today. Still got a lot of room here, so I'm going Plus-10 next time.

    From my reading, it seems that once my deadlift has gotten to the same (or more) weight as my squat, I am supposed to adjust the NLP to the next phase? Go from "rank novice" to "early novice". Trying to follow as closely as possible Sullivan's _Barbell Prescription_ guidance for geezers.
    Last edited by Bruce Ware; 06-17-2019 at 08:33 AM. Reason: convert to Rip's rep x set report format

  10. #10
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    Rowing session #2 last night -- carrying the beast down to the dock and then back up to the barn at the end of the session is still the most strenuous part of the exercise. But we did get a solid set of novice drills accomplished -- arms-only, arms-and-back-only, legs-only, half-slide strokes, full strokes by pairs, by fours, and by sixes. Our coach and coxswain even had us try out some power drives by sixes, which from what I'm told is way ahead of the lesson plan set up for the novices. I think they want to win the regatta on 6/1, which marks the end of the camp and our "graduation". That would be cool!

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