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View Full Version : My unstable compass (opinions welcome)



thinwheat
01-17-2010, 02:25 PM
I decided to start a journal to try and focus my training by tracking my progress and thinking out loud. I started working out about five years ago to try to hit home runs in beer league softball. I am 5'8'' and weighed roughly 135lbs when I started at age 34. The first four years I did a million different isolation exercises because I didn't know any better (I wanted to do squats, but was working out in my basement and had no squat rack).

In October of 2008 my buddy turned me on to Starting Strength. I joined a gym and made more progress in one year than the first four combined, last summer I was squatting 245lbs 5X5 and benching 200 3X5 and I was up to 170lbs pretty lean. I also hit my first homer in a game.

My wife recently had twins, and I was out of the gym for five months. I just started back last month. My intention was to go for hypertrophy on a real program (although I didn't bother to research one) this year as I dropped almost tens pounds in the time away and wanted to add size. My first day back in the gym was pathetic. I struggled to bench 135lbs for two sets of six. So I'm back to sticking to SS. Hopefully I can track my progress and get some strength back so I can make a decision in the next month on which way I want to go this year hypertrophy vs power. I keep swaying back and forth between goals. Some days it is 200 bench, 300 squats and 400 dl, some days I think it will be to get to 185 lbs lean. I will need to decide soon or else waste time working towards the wrong goal.

Today is squat, press, hang cleans (I can't drop the weights at my gym so I don't do the powercleans) day. I hope to complete my sets @ 220 squats, 130 press and 125 hangcleans.

I am an admitted novice despite the years I have trained. I have lurked here for a few years and read the great info from everyone. I like the idea of getting as strong as possible, but having lived most of my life as a scrawny guy, the idea of getting big is also appealing. I just need to decide what will be the best route as I creep up on forty.

StLRPh
01-17-2010, 02:30 PM
Good luck with your goals. Seems like you're off to a good start no matter what your ultimate goal is.

Off Road
01-17-2010, 07:16 PM
I keep swaying back and forth between goals. Some days it is 200 bench, 300 squats and 400 dl, some days I think it will be to get to 185 lbs lean. I will need to decide soon or else waste time working towards the wrong goal.

Why do you need to seperate those goals? Why can't you get the strength goal and size goal at the same time?

thinwheat
01-17-2010, 07:53 PM
Why do you need to seperate those goals? Why can't you get the strength goal and size goal at the same time?

I have pretty limited time to spend at the gym. With 3 month old twins I can only sneak out three times a week. And only for about an hour at that. I guess my assumption is that I won't be able to do all the exercises needed for a hybrid routine in that amount of time. Is there a way to make both goals with that time commitment?

On another note, tonight I made my squats @ 220 for 3X5, missed my presses @130, dropped to 125 and made them, then hit my hang cleans @ 125 for 5X3.

Off Road
01-17-2010, 08:34 PM
Ya there is a way to reach both goals with a limited ammount of time. It's called Starting Strength. You are already doing one of the best mass building programs. Just get your eating down and you'll get stronger and build muscle at the same time. I'm not sure where you learned that you can't do both, but at your level...strength + eating = mass.

BTW...those are good starting numbers.

thinwheat
01-18-2010, 07:23 PM
Ya there is a way to reach both goals with a limited ammount of time. It's called Starting Strength. You are already doing one of the best mass building programs. Just get your eating down and you'll get stronger and build muscle at the same time. I'm not sure where you learned that you can't do both, but at your level...strength + eating = mass.

Yeah, SS is awesome. I plan on staying on it until I stop making linear gains. But after that I'm not clear which way to go. I guess I could stay with it indefinitely, or at least until I have more time to devote.


BTW...those are good starting numbers.

Thanks. I can't wait until I can add that second 45lb plate on each side for squats. That is a big psychological milestone for me. Should get there this week.

StLRPh
01-19-2010, 06:19 AM
Yeah, SS is awesome. I plan on staying on it until I stop making linear gains. But after that I'm not clear which way to go. I guess I could stay with it indefinitely, or at least until I have more time to devote.

Check this out:

http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/After_Starting_Strength

This is what worked the best for me. I also train 3 days a week and have an hour time limit.

thinwheat
01-20-2010, 04:39 AM
Thanks for the link. That might be the way to go. I do like keeping things simple, its hard for me to track too many different exercises and how much I did last time. TM seems pretty simple to keep track of.

I'm going to the gym tonight. Gonna try 225 on squats, 175 on bench and 245 dl. I need to get some straps soon for dl as my grip is weak.

StLRPh
01-20-2010, 05:44 AM
When I set it out I made the initial set-up and progressions so that I hit my current 5RM for 3 sets of five after about 3 or 4 weeks. An example that has you benching 3 times a week would be:

Bench 5RM = 175

1st workout 135 x 5 x 3

2nd workout 140 x 5 x 3

3rd workout 145 x 5 x 3

4th workout 150 x 5 x 3

5th workout 155 x 5 x 3

6th workout 160 x 5 x 3

7th workout 165 x 5 x 3

8th workout 170 x 5 x 3

9th workout 175 x 5 x 3

The first week is easy, then the second week feels like some effort, and the third week is pretty tough. This gave me a breaking in period and kept me on linear progression as well.

thinwheat
01-20-2010, 08:35 PM
Ran short on time at the gym tonight. No time for deadlifts.

Squats 220 X 5, 220 X 5, 225 X 4 (left the fourth rep on the pins)
Bench 175 3X5

Felt pretty good, too bad though, had to get home for my shift watching the babies.

thinwheat
01-27-2010, 09:51 PM
Got back to the gym tonight finally. Between work and household repairs I missed two workouts. I felt good though.

Missed the last rep on squats @ 225 for 3 X 5. I stayed at 125 on presses for 3 X 5. And made all but the last rep of hang cleans @135 for 5 X 3.

I'm actually looking forward to doing deadlifts again, it has been almost two weeks since I last hit dls.

thinwheat
01-29-2010, 08:49 PM
Worked late, but still made it to the gym, just later than I would have liked.

Squats 235 1 X 3, 230 1 X 5, 225 1 X 5
Bench 175 1 X 5, 180 2 X 5
No time for deads again. Did two sets of cable flies 145 2 X 12.

Really need to make sure I make time for deadlifts next workout, but it's my night up with the babies and I have to work tomorrow so I had to cut it short.

halfabrotha
01-29-2010, 09:05 PM
Good stuff man and welcome back to it. It is tough enough for me with a 3 year old and a 4 month old, so i can't image having baby twins. No worries starting off slow, at least you are doing it. Off Road and StLRPh have it right, lift heavy, eat and you'll start packing it on! Good luck with the goals.

thinwheat
02-01-2010, 04:59 AM
Good stuff man and welcome back to it. It is tough enough for me with a 3 year old and a 4 month old, so i can't image having baby twins. No worries starting off slow, at least you are doing it. Off Road and StLRPh have it right, lift heavy, eat and you'll start packing it on! Good luck with the goals.

It is tough right now, but I'm sure it is nearly as tough with a 4 month old and a toddler. My eating is good, but my sleep is way off, obviously. Once the kids start sleeping through the night I'll get more rest and hopefully make better gains. I'm switching my Sunday workout to Monday nights to fit better into the home schedule.

StLRPh
02-01-2010, 08:40 AM
Just do what you can. The family comes first. Have you looked at some of the 2 day a week protocols? Might be good for your current set of circumstances.

thinwheat
02-01-2010, 07:43 PM
I'm not familiar with the two day programs. Any suggestions?

StLRPh
02-02-2010, 06:07 AM
Wendler's 5/3/1 can be set up for twice a week. He outlines a few options in the book on how best to do that.

Off Road
02-02-2010, 06:52 AM
You can just continue Starting Strength two days a week. It should work very well as a two day program.

StLRPh
02-02-2010, 07:24 AM
An excellent suggestion.

thinwheat
02-03-2010, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I'm gonna try to get three days in a week for now, but I like knowing there is a fall back plan. Got back into the gym tonight. It's been a rough week @ home and work, but it felt great just to be in there. Not much time again to work, but I got in the important stuff.

Squats 1 X 5 @ 225, 1 X 5 @ 230 and 1 X 5 @ 235
Bench 1 X 5 @ 180, 2 X 5 @ 185

I hope to get better sleep between now and Friday and get all my exercises in (Squat, OH press, hang cleans).

StLRPh
02-04-2010, 06:25 AM
Good job focusing on what's important (at home and in the gym)

thinwheat
02-05-2010, 08:51 PM
First full workout in a while.

Squats 3 X 5 @ 230
OH Press 3 X 5 @ 120, 1 X 8 @ 95
Hang Cleans 5 X 3 @ 135
Shrugs 3 X 12 @ 230

StLRPh
02-07-2010, 08:40 AM
good job getting the work in

thinwheat
02-12-2010, 09:15 PM
Its been a week since I was able to make it to the gym. Did some push-ups on Wednesday with my 9 year old on my back since I couldn't get to workout, better than nothing. It was nice to make it back tonight.

Squats 2X5 @225, 1X5 @235, 1X8 @135
Bench 2X5 @185, 1X4 @190, left the last one on my chest (luckily I had a spot), 1X8 @135

StLRPh
02-13-2010, 06:18 AM
Doing well with what you can do

Coke
02-13-2010, 11:22 AM
Its been a week since I was able to make it to the gym.

It happens to us all man, way to resume things.

thinwheat
02-13-2010, 03:15 PM
I'm thinking about getting a pull up bar for nights I can't make it to the gym for whatever reason. A night of daughter weighted push-ups and some pull-ups might not be too bad.

StLRPh
02-13-2010, 04:24 PM
Have you every checked out Ross Enamit's Never Gymless? Could be helpful for you, and I think that's a good idea

thinwheat
03-17-2010, 08:22 PM
Well, that was a long time away from the gym. I finally got back, work and home (babies) kept me away since mid-February. Did an abbreviated workout, but I still know I'll be sore as hell tomorrow and the next day.

Squats 3X5 @ 185
Bench 3X8 @ 155
Arnold Presses 3X6 @ 35
Calf raises 3X12 @ 200

Hopefully this is just the first day back on a long streak.

StLRPh
03-18-2010, 05:44 AM
Way to get back at it