I decided to start starting strength this past monday. It's my first weightlifting routine ever and also my first time lifting weights in a gym. Anyways...I'm having a few issues/concerns regarding my weightlifting...
Firstly, my shoulder flexibility, I already posted a thread regarding this but I'll add it here again. I can't comfortably get my arms far enough back to hold the bar during squats. I can do it, but when I'm done my shoulders hurt. The first two times I squated it wasnt bad. But after my squats yesterday, my right shoulder is pretty achy. So I'm kinda iffy about doing squats... I talked to my chiropractor today, and he said that my pecs were too compressed, and that I need to regularly stetch them to elongate them therefor allowing me to move my arms farther back. I suppose I will try this...
Secondly, I know it was only my third day doing starting strength, but I'm not seeming to get much gain on my lifts. Could this be due to soreness and unhealed muscle? For example, the first time in the gym I squated 185. The second time I could barely manage 155 because of how sore I was. And the third day it was still 155. My deadlift has stayed the same. My bench was 170 and yesterday I could barely manage 155 and I didn't really feel sore or fatigued at all. This past week I have eaten like a monster; consumed as much protein as possible, lots of carbs, lots of calories, much above my maintenance I am sure. I'm not sure what to think about this... I have Nitrean and Results on the way!
As far as the shoulder issue, you will simply have to stretch your pecs and shoulders daily. I would also do a decent warm-up for the shoulders and some shoulder stretches before squatting to help you get under the bar better. Also make sure your bar position isn't too low.
As far as your lifts regressing, I would see how the next workout goes. If you are still not making progress, I'm guessing you started too heavy. The whole point of the program is to add weight at every workout. If you start too heavy, you can't recover from workout to workout. I would also suggest you buy the Starting Strength book if you don't have it already. You will get alot more details about how to perform the lifts and the proper way to start and progress than you will with online summaries of the program.
Just remember that getting stronger is a long-term pursuit. We all tend to get impatient and want results faster, but we're better off taking a controlled approach and when in doubt start out lighter than you think you need to. Reset and start over lighter and you should be fine. Many people report in the first couple of weeks on Starting Strength they aren't doing "enough" because it wasn't an epic struggle to complete the workout or they aren't completely exhausted, but that's fairly normal. If it seems too easy at first, just keep adding weight to the bar each workout as the program prescribes and it will get really hard soon enough. Just be patient.
Last edited by Sean S; 11-13-2010 at 12:44 PM.
Here's one of the best stretches you can do for shoulder range of motion, which also stretches the chest somewhat:
Some basic chest stretches (for pectoral major & minor):
I probably don't have to mention this, but I will anyway - always be gentle when doing these stretches, since you don't want to get rough when dealing with your rotator cuff muscles.
Like Sean S said, you should do these daily as well as during your warm-up routine. Another thing, even though Rippetoe recommends performing the low bar squat, but I prefer doing the high bar squat - it's a relatively small change that won't mess up the routine, but it may provide immediate help with the range of motion issue... it's really just up to your personal preference.
Last edited by MyWeightLifting; 11-13-2010 at 07:44 PM.
If you liked my post, you'll probably like my weight lifting information site too. Check it out, Slime!
Thank you for the video links, those will be helpful.
I already do high bar squats. I don't have enough range of motion in my shoulders to even to low bar squats. I just can't manage it. I hate my body, with a passion.
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'There are no layby's on the road to strength'
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If it's your first time lifting weights in a gym and doing a real strength training program you're going to need more than 3 days to figure out how to do everything properly. You will need to read the book cover to cover and then reference it many times in the first month.
I "began" doing starting strength a month ago, and only in the last week or so have I really gotten my stride and started making progress(though it probably won't take you so long). Tape yourself doing your lifts very often so you can critique your form. Also post videos of anything you're not sure about on forums so others can critique.
Last edited by shaddix; 11-14-2010 at 03:28 AM.
Yeah make sure you aren't starting at the heaviest weights you can barely manage, especially if this is your first go at weight training. The idea of starting strength is to allow you to increase the weight each workout for the longest period of time possible. This means starting a bit below what you feel is taxing to allow your body to adapt to the exercises, range of motion and loaded resistance in general.
Like stated above, make sure you understand that form and technique is more important than weight on the bar at first. Start lighter than you think you should. This will give you time to nail down the technique and form on each lift. Once you have the form down you can start loading the weight up.
One thing that really helped me when starting was to download a starting strength excel sheet calculator. It lists all your warmup weights and working weights for as long as you want to program. I feel like this is key for people who want to start heavy because they want to see big gains right away. Once you program starting strength out for 6-8 weeks or so, you'll be able to see numerically how fast and heavy the workouts become. If you only do 5lbs increments on the workouts, you add hundreds of lbs in a matter of months. It will definitely encourage people to start lighter and adapt to the training.
Also, get the book and read it a few times.
Last edited by Runty; 11-14-2010 at 04:40 PM.
"Fine, if I'm not allowed to light it on fire, can my imaginary friend?"
Definitely a red flag that you were able to do 185 your first time in a gym ever. If you were using proper form, I find that very hard to believe. I think you need to be realistic with your strength and really start light. You will gain strength a lot better this way if you start light. Not only that, but you will gain confidence as well which will fuel your workouts. Starting strength is also linear progression, meaning you will add weight to the bar every workout so it is preferred to start at an easy weight. You need to learn the movements before you start loading heavy weight on the bar...the best way to do this is start light!
Just enjoy it now while it lasts, because when you hit the intermediate or advanced stage, you will be happy just to add 5 pounds or add 1 rep to a lift in an entire MONTH. Milk it now for what its worth.
Also, do dislocates multiple times daily with a broom stick. This will help your shoulder flexibility.
Last edited by mchicia1; 11-15-2010 at 10:30 AM.
Not sure if it has been said but try to video record yourself. It makes a world of difference when you can focus on just form while lifting and critique yourself after the lift, not during. Really helps with determining if your back is not rounding at the bottom of the squat and deadlift, which is key to not blowing your back out in a month.
"Fine, if I'm not allowed to light it on fire, can my imaginary friend?"