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Old 03-21-2007, 07:18 AM   #1
Chris Lampe
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I'm a 39 year-old male, 5'11" and 324 lbs. I have played around with strength training several times during my adult life but have never engaged in a serious, structured program.

I am in my seventh week of the Starting Strength program and made the following progress over six weeks:

Squat:
Feb 1st 165 x 5 (3 sets)
Mar 15th 230 x 5 (3 sets)

Bench:
Feb 3rd 140 x 5 (3 sets)
Mar 13th 180 x 5 (3 sets)

Deadlifts:
Feb 3rd 165 x 5 (1 set)
Mar 13th 235 x 5 (1 set)

Press:
Feb 1st 90 x 5 (3 sets)
Mar 15th 115 x 5 (3 sets)

During the first 5-6 weeks I ate alot. It was dirty but it was a lot of calories and my bodyweight has been consistent. I feel much better and the way my shirts fit makes me feel like I'm replacing fat with muscle but my pants aren't getting looser and in fact are getting a little tighter around the waist.

Rippetoe discusses bodyweight and the expected changes on a program like this but all of his discussion is in the context of adolescents beginning strength training. He mentions gains of 10-15 lbs in 2 weeks and 20 lbs over 4 months as not being unusual. How well do these statements apply to an adult?

How much lean body mass gain is reasonable for someone my age and size in six weeks of training? Am I realistically looking at having gained less than 5 lbs of muscle? Between 5-10 lbs of muscle? More than 10 lbs?
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Old 03-21-2007, 09:39 AM   #2
Steven Low
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First off, congratulations on getting into training and picking Rippetoe's starting strength. :-)

Gains in adults will be slower than adolescents and those in their early 20s mainly because GH and testosterone levels are lower. Lean body mass gain will mostly depend on your diet and genetics at this point. Starting strength is a very good program to add LBM, but you need to get your diet in check if you want to optimized LBM gain (and fat loss if that's another goal of yours). At your weight if you have a good diet of around maintenance or a little below maintenance calories then you should be able to shed fat and gain muscle really well as your lifts skyrocket up. As for a number, I don't think anyone would really be able to tell you...
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Old 03-21-2007, 04:25 PM   #3
Craig Van De Walker
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Chris,
It is really really hard to say, especially at 325 lbs. Think of it this way at 324 squatting with 165 lbs is a total load of 489lbs (324+165) moving up to 230 on the bar is a roughly 13% increase in total load.

That amount of change could be almost totally neurological (coordination related). You may not have gained any muscle yet! But you may have.

Most of the great gains in muscle are on young men who are starting out underfed at a time when their testosterone levels are at lifetime peaks. I remember that time fondly but alas it was long ago.

I am going to take a stab (knowing what I do about my own strength levels and size I am 72" tall and have roughly 170 lbs or less of LBM) I will guess you have less than 170 lbs of lean mass that puts you at roughly 48% bodyfat +- 10%. Now if you were benching and deadlifitng 700lbs and squatting over a 1,000lbs at 325 I would say you might be closer to 15-20% bodyfat.

Now this is just my opinion so take it for what it is worth. I would highly suggest continuing on your program and getting your diet in line. Eat either a zone or paleo diet.

Think of it this way if you lost 100lbs and the strength in your legs stayed exactly the same you should be able to squat 330 instead of 230 with similar gains in the deadlift (but not bench)!
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