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Old 09-30-2007, 11:03 AM   #1
Jamie Cole
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Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

Hi,
I found out about Crossfit about 2 months ago while I was searching for advice on training, getting fit etc. Before starting Crossfit I decided to work on my strength as I am pretty weak and I haven't done any sport since I was 20, I'm now 33.
I started Starting Strength 2 months ago but I have not seen good gains. For instance my legs can not recover quick enough to squat 3x week. So I've modified SS to hopefully better suit me.

Day 1
Squat 5x5
Press 3x5
Pullup 3x to failure

Day 2
Deadlift 2x5
Bench 5x5
Chinup 3x to failure

Day 3
Squat 5x5
Press 3x5
Wide Pullup 3x to failure

I squat 2x week instead of 3x but I've increased the sets. Also I press more than bench, but increased sets for bench.

Can any experinced lifters give their opinions on my training. Also my diet is good, clean, enough protein and calories. I'm currently changing over to the Crossfit style diet, zone and paleo.

Thank you.
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Old 09-30-2007, 03:24 PM   #2
Tim Donahey
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

If you're a beginner (less than a full year of strength training) and you're unable to squat 3x/week you're either a) not eating enough b) not sleeping enough or c) running too much

So my questions are:
When you say your legs can't recover, what does that mean?
Are you eating *A LOT*? (like "double cheese burgers and whole milk" a lot)
How much sleep are you getting?
What other leg intensive activities are you doing?
How much can you squat? (3x5)
How much can you deadlift? (1x5)
Have you been able to add 5 lbs/workout on squats every workout?

If we can't pin down why you can't squat 3x/week, I'll help you with a different routine.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:22 PM   #3
Derek Maffett
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

On every one of those days you are doing pull ups to failure. A set to failure every once in a while to test your limits is okay, but training to failure is going to mess things up pretty bad. SS must refer to this somewhere.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:34 PM   #4
Jamie Cole
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

Hi,
Thanks for the reply.

For the last week my diet hasn't been great due to changing over to zone paleo. My diet used to be
Meal 1
50g oats with milk
6 egg whiles and 1 whole egg
protein shake

weightlifting

Meal 2
protein shake with creatine
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice

Meal 3
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice

Meal 4
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice

I sleep about 7 hours a night.

2 months ago when I started weightlifting I also started mountain bike riding once or twice a week (1 or 2 hours a week).

In 2 months my squat has gone from 60kg to 75kg. I have been told my squat form is good, going deep below parallel, torso upright. My legs can't recover, for instance on a Monday I squat 75kg for 3x5, Wednesday my legs feel to weak to squat 75kg so I squat 70kg, come Friday I manage 75kg or just about 77.5kg.

My max squat is 75kg 3x5
deadlift 80kg 1x5

I normally add 5lbs to squat per week.

I weigh 75kg at 5 ft 8".

Maybe I've been expecting to much or as you suggested not eating enough.

How important is it to squat 3x week. Is substituting a squat for a heavy deadlifting day sensible for strength gains.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:42 PM   #5
Jonathan Moomey
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

I disagree with both responses that have been given to your routine. I dont think you can blame lack of sleep or not enough food for you not being able to recover to squat three times a week. Lets face it, you havent done physical activity for 13 years...My legs had the same problem when I first began. They just arent used to the workload you are putting them through yet. Once you are more experienced and THEN showing delayed recovery times, it would be time to start looking at overtraining, diet, lack of sleep, etc. Right now, the best thing you can do, is just try to work through the DOMS you will experience with your legs, and as time progresses, it will get better. Normally I would agree that continuosly lifting a lift to failure is a bad idea, pullups just dont fit that criteria. In my personal experience, doing pullups to failure was the only way to progress. For instance, when I began, three was failure...I would say just keep with it. Do what you can, and always try to progress with every workout. Your diet looks good and SS is a good routine so stick with it!
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Old 09-30-2007, 05:35 PM   #6
Tim Donahey
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

Quote:
How important is it to squat 3x week. Is substituting a squat for a heavy deadlifting day sensible for strength gains.
First off, excluding skeletal irregularities, you should absolutley be able to squat 3x/week with the weights you are describing. Why 3x? Because of the volume of muscle tissue involved a unique nueroendocrine response is elicited which triggers exceptional strength and muscle growth. Squating 3x/week is essential to beginner strength training.

Quote:
My legs can't recover, for instance on a Monday I squat 75kg for 3x5, Wednesday my legs feel to weak to squat 75kg so I squat 70kg, come Friday I manage 75kg or just about 77.5kg.
This shouldn't happen. Something's definitley wrong here.

On your very first workout were you doing near your 3x5 max?

Quote:
My diet used to be
Meal 1
50g oats with milk
6 egg whiles and 1 whole egg
protein shake

weightlifting

Meal 2
protein shake with creatine
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice

Meal 3
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice

Meal 4
fish/chicken
cup of vegetables (peas, sweetcorn, carrots)
half cup brown rice
No offense, but you eat like a cardio bunny. Goto www.fitday.com (WFS) and plug those details in (it's not hard). Looks to me to be about 2000 calories/day with very few fats.... that's not even at maintenance level. (BTW fat is essential to certain vitamin uptake and overall hormone production.) When you're doing SS you really should be eating like a champ: whole eggs, whole milk, beef, steak, peanut butter, etc. Don't concern yourself with eating "clean" even, whatever surplus calories you're getting will equal 95% muscle (and strength) gains. Hold off on Paleo even. *gasps* I just don't want you wasting precious time weighing almonds when you should be devouring handfuls. Shoot for 6 meals/day.

Quote:
I sleep about 7 hours a night.
Sleep 8. Best nutritional supplement ever.

Quote:
2 months ago when I started weightlifting I also started mountain bike riding once or twice a week (1 or 2 hours a week).
This is okay, just make sure you're doing it on your non-weightlifting days and that you're resting completely one full day.

Quote:
I have been told my squat form is good, going deep below parallel, torso upright.
Some forward lean is neccesary in a full squat. I suspect if you widened your stance that this will correct your lean. Stance is shoulder width (not hip width). If it feels like you're standing a little wider than shoulder width then you probably are at shoulder width.

Can you post a video?

Quote:
I normally add 5lbs to squat per week.
Should be 5lbs per workout, 15lbs per week (7.5 kilos). Easily done.

Here's what you need to do. I want you to follow Rippetoe's bare bones model:

WO A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench
1x5 Deads

WO B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Press
5x3 Power Cleans (or 3x5 Pendlay Rows)

Add in some ab work as desired.

You're going to reset your squat to 60kg and reset all your other lifts to their original weights, you're going to eat like every meal is your last, and you're going to add 2.5 kilos to your squat every workout. You're going to add 5 kilos to your deadlift every workout. In 6 workouts your squat will be back to 75kg, in four weeks your squat will be 90kg and your deadlift will be at least 55kg more. Sound good?

Quote:
In 2 months my squat has gone from 60kg to 75kg.
This is not good. Follow my advice and if you don't add 30 kilos onto your squat within 4 weeks, after I eat my hat I will write you up a new program myself. My email addy is timdonahey@gmail.com. Lemme know what happens in two weeks.

Last edited by Tim Donahey; 09-30-2007 at 05:44 PM..
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:12 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

^^^^

Very good post by Tim. I was hoping someone would be very detailed so I wouldn't have to be.
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:00 AM   #8
Jason M Struck
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

If Tim's advice doesn't work, last scenario is to increase rest between sets and cut total volume a little, like 2-3 sets of 5 instead of 5.
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:08 AM   #9
John Alston
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

Pullups can be waited progressively just like your squats, deads, presses, etc.
I'd also mix up your pulling motions - rows, either bent over barbell or 1 arm dumbell should be mixed in there.

Also, eat more fat.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:49 AM   #10
Jamie Cole
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Re: Pick apart my strength routine, thanks

Thanks for the help.

Tim, I'll follow your advice and report back in 4 weeks.

My first workouts were near their max 3x5.
I should have started at a lower weight?
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