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Old 07-01-2008, 01:55 PM   #1
Jack Germain
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SS and large weight increases

I started Starting Strength about a month ago after reading the book, and have improved from being a weakling cross country runner, doing pretty much the bar on all lifts, to being slightly less weak. For example, I can now do a bodyweight pull up . I'm in high school and weigh 125 pounds.

My problem is that the smallest plates in my high school weight room are 5 pounds, which means I must jump in 10 pound increments. This hasn't been a problem with the deadlift or the squat.

However, the 10 pound jumps are causing me to stall on the bench press and overhead press. A good bench press for my age, looking at my friends doing football, is 135. I, however, can not, no matter how hard I try, bench 95 for a set of 5. After benching 85 for 3x5, the last three bench workouts have looked like this:
95 for 3/3/3
95 for 4/3/3
95 for 3/3/3

Being weak is extremely frustrating.

I'm confident I am eating enough calories, and while I don't get 8 hours of sleep a night, I'm not pulling all nighters. I do some basic agility stuff twice a week and run Crossfit Endurance sometimes, so recovery may be a problem, but I don't think it is.

I know the textbook advice is 'get smaller weights', but I can't do that, seeing as it is a school weight room, and for some reason they threw out the 2.5's while remodeling. How can I approach this from a programming viewpoint?
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:18 PM   #2
Benjamin Walsh
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Re: SS and large weight increases

First, re-read the section on bench press and make sure your technique is perfect.

Starting Strength works very well, but it is not the only way to get strong. Keep working hard, be creative, and you will see results

Is there a place you can do dips? Does the weight room have dumbbells? Can you get some rings? You can work the same muscle groups as with the bench press and see more growth as you learn the movements. I had a 20lb jump in my bench press after I start doing ring dips.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:23 PM   #3
Jack Germain
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Re: SS and large weight increases

Already reread the bench press section a few times. I will do so again today just to make sure I don't waste your advice with silly form errors .

I have access to a dip bar and dumbbells, no rings. What exactly are you suggestion in terms of exercises and the volume of those exercises?
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:42 PM   #4
Benjamin Walsh
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Re: SS and large weight increases

Every other time you're supposed to do bench press, instead do dumbbell bench press or weighted dips for sets of 5,5,5. Or replace bench press all together for a while. Or if you feel like you are recovering well, add an exercise in addition to bench press. Something will work. You have a lot of time to figure out what works. I'm sure you will. You could also try ask Coach Rip himself at strenghtmill.net Just make sure you don't ask a question that has been answered before.

Last edited by Lynne Pitts : 07-21-2008 at 08:37 AM. Reason: unqualified link
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
Jose Michael Robledo
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Re: SS and large weight increases

I would go back down in weight and do 85# 5x5 for 2 workouts then try again with the higher weight. You can always increase volume a bit if you don't have the 2.5# plates.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:45 PM   #6
Jason Lin
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Re: SS and large weight increases

You can try getting some 2" washers from hardware store and bring them with you to the gym.

You can also try drapping some chains over the bar.

Or for that matter just try to find anything you can hang/drape over the bar. Weight is weight ... as long as it will stay on the bar, it'll do.

Don't know if you ever saw Shyamalan's "Unbreakable". That's how Bruce Willis loaded his maxed out bench press in the movie.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:52 PM   #7
Jack Germain
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Re: SS and large weight increases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Michael Robledo View Post
I would go back down in weight and do 85# 5x5 for 2 workouts then try again with the higher weight. You can always increase volume a bit if you don't have the 2.5# plates.
I'm going to try this with some dip work and I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:24 PM   #8
Derek Franks
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Re: SS and large weight increases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Germain View Post
I know the textbook advice is 'get smaller weights', but I can't do that,
Why not? Go buy a couple of 2.5 pound plates and bring them with you in your gym bag or backpack. And go pick up 6 2" washers from Fastenal so you can move up in 2.5# and 1.25# increments.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:51 PM   #9
Derek Weaver
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Re: SS and large weight increases

If you are running WODs from CF endurance, not sleeping enough and "confident" you're getting enough calories... then recovery is probably the issue.

Sleep more, if you're sleeping 7 hours, sleep 8... if you fail to get 8, take a nape during the day at some point.

Cut the endurance work until you are freaky strong... yes a kid in High School can get freaky strong if you follow the program.

Drink the milk... cheapest 4k calories you can get.

Follow the advice of backing off your weights a bit or... do the washer trick... Rip has advised this one in one of his past writings that I think is in "Strong Enough"

Last edited by Derek Weaver : 07-01-2008 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:04 AM   #10
Jason Lin
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Re: SS and large weight increases

Agreed. 25 reps @ 85 is not the same as 15 reps @ 100.
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