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Old 02-29-2012, 11:09 AM   #1
Jeremy McGinnis
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Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

I posted a thread at the beginning of the month asking about Starting Strength vs. CFSB for where I am at. I received some fantastic advice which helped to clarify my goals and plan of attack. I've decided to to Starting Strength for 2.5-3 months and then switch to GSLP before going back to crossfit due to strength and size deficiencies.

(I'll try to keep this brief and painless, assuming anyone cares )
Background: Child-hood asthma (due to family smoking in the home) kept me from participating in sports in my youth. At 25 years of age (weighing 145) I hit the gym with a marine buddy and gained 30 lbs. of LBM in 3 months.

Fast forward to current age of 35. I began doing WODs on my own (kind-of) mid-November when I weighed 180 lbs skinny/fat. I joined an affiliate (claiming to be Strength-biased but really more of a 5/3/1 mix) in the beginning of December and started the Whole30 challenge in the beginning of December.

At the end of January I did a crossfit total and put out the following numbers (don't judge... you don't know me! ):

Squat: 220#
Press: 110#
Deadlift: 230#

(And) Bench: 150#

Bodyweight at that time: 174#
The results of crossfit were that my resting heart-rate was at about 52 BPM, and I was getting about as cut as when I had a summer of surfing and working out a couple of years back. However, strength gains were clearly lagging behind conditioning gains and I think I was borderline (if not straight-up) overtraining, not that I'm afraid of overtraining.

(p.s. I've recently asked my wife, if she had to chose one or the other, would she rather I had a beefy chest or a six-pack. Her response was a beefy chest! I sure wish this epihanic bit of iconoclasm had occured much earlier in my life.)

After ordering Starting Strength and Consulting the Crossfit Oracle (Thanks to Eric Montgomery, Blair Robert Lowe and Matt Haxmeier for information and support, among others) I decided upon my current plan. I'm on my 4th week of Starting Strength, am back up to 181 lbs., and have thus far not logged my progress on this site.

My next post will be my backlog.

I would use the Starting Strength forum but I appreciate the relative lack of toxicity in this forum along with the stronger sense of community and general respect.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #2
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

Backlog (sorry so long)

02/06
Squat: 120
Bench: 120
Dead: 135

02/08
Squat: 130
Press: 75
Dead: 150
Pull-ups: 8-5-4

02/10
Squat: 140
Bench: 125
Dead: 165

02/13
Squat: 150
Press: 80
Dead: 180
Pull-ups: 9-6-5

02/15
Squat: 160
Bench: 130
Dead: 195

02/17
Squat: 170
Press: 85
Dead: 210
Pull-ups: 8-6-5

02/20
Squat: 180
Bench: 135
Dead: 225

02/22
Squat: 190
Press: 90
Dead: 240
Pull-ups: 8-5-5

*** Note: for pull-ups, I'm weighing more and I used my Reebok Crossfit Oly's (weighing a little over a pound) for the first time today.

02/24
Squat: 200
Bench: 140
Dead: 255

02/27
Squat: 210
Press: 95
Clean: ???
Chin-ups: 8-5-5
***Switched to chin-ups after speaking to a guy at the gym nearing the end of his Starting S. program who has a similar build to mine and is unhappy with the underdevelopment of his arms. Honestly, despite the potential for oncoming flame at this statement, I can relate.

I began doing cleans on this day (27th). Well, re-learning them anyway. Though, it feels as if I'm learning them for the first time (I did them a couple times in crossfit, but hang, not power) and I ran out of time before I felt I had technique down adequately enough to claim a starting weight.
Caught the bar and 40# in my throat once. Caught my junk on the way up another time. And bloodied the lower knuckle on my left thumb a bit. All in good fun, though!
I'm really feeling my traps today.

Also, I lost form on my 2nd and 3rd reps of my 2nd squat set. 3rd set was okay. Wondering If I should A) Back it up 5# and progress at 5# increments from there, B) Just continue at 5# increments from here or C) carry on with 10# increments? Though from what I've read on the SS forums here, option A might be the way to go?

Presses are getting difficult as well, last rep in last two sets are slow, so I'm wondering if I should slow down to 2.5# increments.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:05 PM   #3
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

02/29/12
Squat: 195
Bench: 140
Deadlift: 265

Due to advice received yesterday, I decided to move my squat down 15# and continue at 5# increments. Bench remaining the same was to correct some form issues I'd discovered (corrected to touch the bar to just below my nipples in the down position)
Deadlift was quite a struggle and I've made huge leaps, so I'm thinking I will back off of this 20# and move up in 10# increments. Deadlift has switched now to twice on A dominant weeks and once on B dominant weeks according to an ABA/BAB schedule.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:07 AM   #4
David Meverden
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

Hey Jeremy!

First off: Post a video here or in digital coaching of your clean. Sounds like it needs a LOT of work, haha.

As for my real advice: Sounds like you've already heard my main thing, which is that you need to slow down big time on squats, and slow down too on the deadlifts. You squat 3 times a week so even at 5# a week that adds up FAST.

With a 1RM of 220, your 5RM should have been in the neighborhood of 185-190, so I wouldn't have wanted you to take the 10# jumps any farther than maybe 180 but since you already blew past that and seemed to do fine, dropping back to 195# will probably be fine if you are eating a whole lot. At 5# jumps that would project out to sets of 260# after another 6 weeks, 290# after 8 weeks. 260 would not be impossible in 6 weeks if you eat A LOT, though I don't think you could make it to 290# in one stretch.

As for deadlift, at 10# jumps it will go up just as fast as squats. If you drop to 245 that projects to 320 in 6 weeks, 350 in 8. Even with a ton of food that seems a little too ambitious. I'd probably drop back 30# right now instead of 20 to play it safe. Remember that your back will be getting PLENTY of work on this program even with really light power cleans so I'd be more worried about your back not getting enough rest than not getting enough work.

Questions for you:
How much are you eating?

How much weight do you intend to gain?

Do you already know what you will do when you stall? Will you drop 10% and build back up or will you switch programs?
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:25 AM   #5
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

03/02/12
Squat: 200#
Press: 100#
Power Clean: 45x5x2 -- 55x5x1 -- 70x3x1 -- 85x2x1 -- 90x2x3 -- 65x3x3

Still learing on power clean, though I managed to avoid my junk and my neck. Bruise on my collar bone, though, and I don't think I'm getting my elbows up fast enough when I put weight on the bar. I feel it in my bicep right by the elbow on the rack and elbows are low more than half the time with weight.

Watched Pendlay's instructional video at the advice of Eric Montgomery and that made a few things clear. I will try to remember to bring my camera to post a vid next time I do cleans. (Wednesday)
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Meverden View Post
I'd probably drop back 30# right now instead of 20 to play it safe. Remember that your back will be getting PLENTY of work on this program even with really light power cleans so I'd be more worried about your back not getting enough rest than not getting enough work.
Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Meverden View Post
How much are you eating?
Anywhere from 3500 to 4500 cals a day. 3500 being less common than 4000 and probably up into 5000 once or twice with the occasional beer/wine. Drinking about a half GOMAD, mucho fish oil, little grain comparatively. I will have a double scoop protein shake of syntha-6 with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of instant oatmeal added, 4 eggs, raw carrots, 1 cup of oatmeal w/blueberries, MEAT all daily staples.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David Meverden View Post
How much weight do you intend to gain?
As much as it takes to get my strength closer to where I want it. The fat I'm putting on is less undesirable than I thought it might be, not that I won't want to cut it. I wouldn't mind being anwhere near a lean 190 or even 200. If fat gains put me a bit above those numbers, so be it. I just dont want to get out of control with the fat... need to find my current BF%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Meverden View Post
Do you already know what you will do when you stall? Will you drop 10% and build back up or will you switch programs?
I was thinking that that depends on what I stall on and where I am when I stall. If I stall 2 months from now, I'll switch programs. If I stall next week on my shoulders, or something.... I'll probably reset 10 %. (Shoulder reps yesterday were a struggle on the last one on the 2nd set and last two on the 3rd set with form a bit sloppyish) I've also read(was it from you?) that taking a week between resets was a good idea, and it seems a sound doctrine.
I want to give Starting Strength a fair shake before switching and I really want to gain proficiency with the clean before I move on. If for no other reason than it's a cool lift. I'm convinced of it's strength gaining benefits. I'm not sure GSLP has you cleaning?

As a P.S. to yesterday's workout, I'm wondering if I should slow down on my press or bump it back a bit as well. I've really been trying to avoid making 2.5# jumps so early, but my shoulders are danged weak. I'm hoping the trap work from the cleans will help this.

Thanks a million for your response, David!
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
David Meverden
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

Food intake sounds pretty good.

Sounds like you are on the right track, aside from climbing the weight a little too ambitiously.

As for press, there are several legit approaches, but I'd probably just keep going with 5# for now. You'll probably stall pretty soon, so you'll drop back 10 or 15 lbs, work back up with 5# jumps. If, when you're back near your previous stall weight, you're struggling again then drop to 2.5# jumps.

Honestly, you might not make amazing upper body gains on SS, since it's geared more for the lower body. But, that's OK, since you can redress that once you get your squat and deadlift (more important lifts) are in order. GSLP allows for more upper body focus or accessory work, including--if you want it--more hypertrophy based work.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

03/05/12
Squat: 205x5x3
Bench: 145x5x3
Deadlift: 235x5x1

Squat reps were slow after the first two. Felt really gased by the end of this workout. Thinking, and hoping this has to do with not sleeping well the night before. Quads were really tight yesterday before I performed this workout. They feel great now.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:12 PM   #9
David Meverden
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

If you're eating enough you will get to a point where you will have no idea how in hell you can finish the next workout, but you will finish it anyway. Be ready for it to get damn hard.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #10
Jeremy McGinnis
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Re: Jeremy's Starting Strength Log

Bad day. So I go into the gym with one of my two notepads and want to make quick work of it, so I was all business. Not even paying attention to the weight I had written down on the pad, only the plates. (I figure what plates I need for each weight and write them down before-hand for expediency) By the time I got to power cleans I realised, to my dismay, I had already written down numbers for Pull-ups??? Come to think of it, this workout was written in black rather than the blue pen I'd used earlier that day.
If only my detective reasoning could have kept me from A) mistakenly using the numbers from last Friday's workout due to grabbing the wrong pad and B) forgetting to bring the camera to video cleans.

03/07/12
Bodyweight as of 03/05/12: 184 (10# gain in 4 wks.)
Squat: 200x3x5
Press: 100 (5,5,4)
Power Clean: 90 (5,4,5)
Chin-ups: 9-7-5

Anyway, so, yeah... bit of a set back, but I'll go on from here. Not to mention, my dinner the night before and lunch that day were both pretty light, which I'm thinking is what caused me to miss my last rep on presses. Though, I had already performed at this weight, with slightly sloppy form on some reps. GRRRR!

My last rep of power clean was interrupted by some dudes shaking hands right next to me. They'd walked next to me and shook hands right over my bar as it came up for my last rep. Thoughtless. Clean form was slightly better, my grip was too narrow before. Still need to post vid, though.

Last edited by Jeremy McGinnis : 03-08-2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Sp. & Forgot Chin-ups
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