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Old 07-11-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
Hunter Molzen
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Starting @ Starting Strength

Hey guys, I've decided to switch from Wendler's 5/3/1 and give Starting Strength a try (praying for some good linear progression).

First off, stats for reference (I just tested my maxes last week):


Height: 6'1"
Weight: 193lbs
Age: 21
BF: 12-13%

Deadlift: 295lbs
Squat: 255lbs
Bench: 220lbs
Press: 150lbs

Been lifting for 3+ years. Wasted alot of time training for hypertrophy (immaturity), but followed good programming by people like Alwyn Cosgrove. Since 2010 I've been following a Wendler 5/3/1 + Short/Heavy WOD program, but I'm not happy with the strenght progress. It's steady, but too slow for someone with lifts as low as mine.

My main priority now is strength, with the long term goal of transitioning back to a Wendler 5/3/1 + WODs program.

My question is, should I start with the basic beginner Starting Strength program?

I've done alot of reading on the progam, it it seems that it really is tailored for COMPLETE beginners. Not saying that precludes me , but I just want to make sure I'm doing this right, and shouldn't start on Practical Programming or something else...

Also, I can't do power cleans. I workout in all that is available to me (a globo gym) and they don't have bumper plates, or an area in which I could safely do them.

If you guys think I can get atleast 4-6 months of progression out of this,
how should I calculate my starting weights?

The book, for example, recommends starting with 45lbs for the squat and adding 10lbs until a proper form x5 isn't possible. Obviously this method won't work for me, I'd have done literally 60+ total reps by the time I got to my capable weight....

Any input on starting this is appreciated. I'm very excited, but a little confused.

Thank you in advance, and I look forward to reading your input.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:15 PM   #2
John Stone
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

I am pretty new to this -- I've only been doing CF and Wendler's 5/3/1 for 4 weeks now -- but your 1RM numbers confuse me somewhat.

Is there any chance you have been using poor form in lifting?

Before last month, I had never in my life done a bench press, deadlift or squat, and after a month with Wendler's 5/3/1 + CF all of my 1RMs are significantly higher than what you are posting.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:31 AM   #3
Dan Andrews
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

Hey dude, I feel for you, making your lifts go up as fast as possible is really tempting. If you do switch to SS, make sure you do it right, at 193 and 6'1" your not really underweight, but your going to want to do GOMAD (gallon of milk a day) atleast for the first couple months. Make sure you do the program, there is a big issue with people that "say" they do SS, but in reality they are eating raisins and chicken broth and are wondering why they are not getting stronger. You definitely have alot of linear progression in you, atleast 3-4 months worth. Make sure to do the Chin or Pull ups.

Probably the most important thing to take away from this is that strength takes time to build, you cannot increase all your lifts by 200 pounds in a month, just doesn't happen, though I wish I could. Start light, way lighter than what you want to start at, the lighter you start and the slower you go up the more linear progression you will milk out. To be honest, starting with the bar is not a bad idea, this gives you time to really hammer out your form and make sure it holds up as the weights get heavier. If you are making progress you are winning.

So in summary I suppose, Drink the milk, eat lots of good food, start light, go up slow, and do the program. This will make you strong, it seems to simple, I know.

There isn't anything wrong with his numbers really John, everyone starts at different levels.

Last edited by Dan Andrews : 07-12-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:21 AM   #4
Brian Bedell
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

Doesn't seem like you're confused, you just don't want to do what the book says. If you're confident your form is solid I'm sure starting at 135 is not gonna hurt you. Apply some common sense.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:26 AM   #5
Nick Hoffman
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

Linear progression and being a "novice" is not about how much weight you can lift; it's about being able to put more weight on the bar every time you lift and still progressing.

Really the only way you can tell where you're at is by doing the program, whether it's for 1 month or 6.

It's better to start lighter than you think you should than to go too heavy. The weight gets heavy very fast.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:19 AM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

The book's recommendation you mentioned is for someone who has literally no idea where to start for a set of 5. Since you've got some lifting experience, start with weights that you can do for 3 easy sets of 5. If you start low, you'll benefit from that adaptation even if it feels like it's so easy you're wasting your time in the gym. Plus you'll be able to use that time to hammer home good form so it's natural by the time the weight is heavy enough to make you struggle a little. Starting too high is a good way to stall your progress prematurely.

The book will say back off to a point where you'll hit your previous 5RM sometime between weeks 4-6. Since you'll be squatting 3 times per week, adding 5lbs to to bar each workout, that will have you start about 60-90lbs below your current 5RM (3x5=15, 15x4=60 or 15x6=90). Adjust accordingly for your other lifts since you'll only be doing them 3 times every two weeks rather than 6 times every two weeks. That means you should be able to make 10lb jumps on every deadlift workout so your deadlift gains can keep pace with your squat gains. Be ready to start microloading your press, it'll be hard to maintain 5lb jumps for very long on it. So look for some 0.5kg plates or find a hardware store where you can get big washers/fasteners that you can glue together in 1lb increments.

Other than that, make sure you're eating and recovering appropriately. Don't be trying to lean out while doing SS, that's a good way to stop gains.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:45 AM   #7
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

"Also, I can't do power cleans."

I doubt this. If you have a place to deadlift, you have a place to do power cleans.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:20 AM   #8
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

Your upper body lifts may not go up very much on SS and you may need to switch them to intermediate programming, but your squat and deadlift have a ways to go. 1.5 bw+ for 3 sets of 5 is fairly common for squats and deadlifts should be higher.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:25 AM   #9
Ross Waller
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Bedell View Post
Doesn't seem like you're confused, you just don't want to do what the book says. If you're confident your form is solid I'm sure starting at 135 is not gonna hurt you. Apply some common sense.
I agree with Brian, and I'm also wondering if your diet or intensity is holding you back. If you're putting in the work, 5/3/1 should be giving you the results you're looking for, unless you've got form/balance/diet&/or intensity issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
"Also, I can't do power cleans."

I doubt this. If you have a place to deadlift, you have a place to do power cleans.
Exactly. I understand that there is a danger lowering the weight without dropping it, but IMO most people aren't lifting enough to really worry about it.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:27 AM   #10
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Starting @ Starting Strength

I'll see if I can find a video on the proper way to lower a clean without bumpers. THere really should be one on here though.
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