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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:51 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #9

Squats - 45 lb (10) - 65 lb (5) - 85 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 85 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Row - 85 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dips - +20 lb (10/6/5)

Main lifts still relatively easy. Added more weight for dips. Feels good. Will try +25 lb next time.

I worked in alternating sets for a while with a cute Russian girl. Something very attractive about watching a young lady doing heavy bench presses and deadlifts. While there is intense societal pressure for women to be fit and slender, powerlifting seems to go stridently against much of what society expects of women, and to see a young woman aggressively pursuing physical strength and power in a room dominated by meat-head alpha males is just awesome!

In other news, been steadily gaining weight, and not too surprisingly some chub on the waistline. Gained three pounds in the past one week alone. Maybe I have been overshooting my eating, but I wanted to err on the side of excess because of my extensive running schedule (ran 11 miles Saturday)...I'll keep a closer eye on things to make sure bodyfat doesn't get too out of control too quickly...

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:20 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #10

Squats - 45 lb (10) - 90 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 45 lb (10) - 70 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Chinups - 10/6/6

Second rep on the first working set of Squats almost started to get off balance a little bit. Was thinking about keeping the curve in the lower back and started to fall backwards a little bit at the bottom of the squat. Glad I decided to start this program at the lightest possible weights and increase so gradually to get little form issues like that sorted out early on. On both OHP and Deadlifts at one point I wasn't sure whether I had done 3 or 4 sets so I assumed the lower count each time, which means its possible I did 6 sets on OHP and/or Deadlifts. Need to bring a pencil and paper to tick off sets as I do them so I don't lose count like that in the future. Fun workout and I'm starting to sweat a little more.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:34 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #11

Squats - 45 lb (10) - 95 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 95 lb (10/10/5)
Rows - 90 lb (5/5/5/5/5)

Ugh. Anxiety ridden session. I went the same time I always do but it was completely packed. First the squat rack was being used by a huge dude for bicep curls. I approached him thinking he was finishing up and he told me he hadn't even started yet and would need 10 minutes. I felt very intimated because of course the gym is filled with tough guy native brooklyn neighborhood folk who talk like characters in mafia movies and who all have arms that are bigger than my thighs. I waited.

After squats I looked at the benches and of course they are all three being used and each dude is benching 215 and over. I walked up to each to ask how many sets they had left. One of them said he was just starting but I could work in. I thanked him. I did feel a little sheepish when he finished his set and I said "just a 25" and he took off one of the 45 plates and replaced it with a 25, and I had to clarify "no, just the 25" and he looked surprised and took off the other 45 plate. sigh. Now so far these 5x5 sets have been really light easy and quick for me. And I felt embarrassed that everyone around me is really exerting themselves and I'm about to fly through 5 reps of really light weight. My pride made me wonder whether I should just treat this as my warmup set and keep increasing weight, but I managed to stay firm and stick to the weight I had planned for the day. But I didn't stick to my reps. I panicked and did 10 reps for the first 2 sets. Then I saw a bench open up and I moved there to be alone. Deciding I would just stick to the prescribed volume I just did one set of five reps and moved on (10+10+5=5x5).

Next would be rows, but of course all the barbells were taken and I felt too anxious to bug more big intimidating people and wait for them. So I grabbed a cambered bar, and knocked out my 5 sets as quick as I could. Unfortunately the cambered bar kind of hurt my wrists.

I always end my Workout A with dips, but the dip station and the belt were being used by the same guy that I waited on for the squat rack, so I just left without doing the dips. I wish I hadn't felt so much anxiety but I guess my insecurity about being the skinny in the gym just was too much for me today. :-(

One of the toughest things about doing this program has been how light and easy the weights have been so far, but I'm trying to keep thinking long term and know that eventually it will get challenging.

Next Friday I'll try go earlier and see if it's any less crowded.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:11 pm
by asparagus
Good luck on reaching your goals. Stronglifts 5x5 is a great program to start your strength development with. That's how I started and I made great gains to begin with. I did the same thing you are, adding a little more weight on some workouts because it was super light. In retrospect I shouldn't have, since the gains come pretty quick over time regardless. I think the assistance work is OK, until the bar starts to get a little heavy and you find yourself really pushing on the final work sets. At that point I would drop them altogether until you've been pushing the bar for 6 months or so. You really don't want to overwork yourself and find your main lifts suffering for it. The same goes for the 5x5 deadlifting. Once you start to feel like you are exerting energy on your squats you should cut the deadlift to 1x5.

Another tip, on the rows, you don't need to let the plates hit the floor until you have 45lb/20kg plates on each side. Either let your arms hang straight down with your back locked in position at the bottom of the pull or put plates on the floor underneath the plates on the bar. Put enough plates under the bar so that it sits as high as it would when you have the 45/20's on there.

Stick to the planned weight progression! It can be intimidating to see guys in the gym lifting way more than you, but you have to realize that at some point in their lifting life they were just as small/weak as you. Stick with the smaller increments and get the practice on the lifts. At this point in your progression, the practice on form is much more important than increases in weight. If you get to lifting heavy with bad form you are just asking for a whole world of hurt.

Stick with it, and in 2 more months you won't be intimidated anymore.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:12 am
by BigRed
Asparagus - thanks for all the tips and encouragement!

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:56 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #12

Squats - 45 lb (5) - 100 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 75 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5) - 145 lb (5/5/5/5)
Chinups - 10/7/3

Thought I'd start weening off 5x5 for Deadlifts towards 1x5. So now that I'm using 45 lb plates I'll start with a warmup set with just the 45 lb plates and build up to the working set. So Friday will be 135 (5) 145 (5) 155 (5/5/5); next Wednesday will be 135 (5) 145 (5) 155( 5) 165 (5/5) and then the Monday after next will be 135 (5) 145 (5) 155 (5) 165 (5) 175 (5) and from there on out the working weight will only be 1x5.

Chinups I managed to squeeze out more on my second set than usual, but the consequence was that my third set sucked.

This marks the end of my 4th week of StrongLifts. I'm enjoying it. Overall the weights on the main lifts are still relatively easy, especially Bench Press. The only one that is starting to require some effort is OHP not surprisingly. Still able to make the reps without a problem, but I'm definitely starting to work a little. The biggest change in my appearance I notice so far is my belly. Ugh.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:00 pm
by asparagus
Good plan on dropping the multiple deadlift sets. Trust me, by the end of the 3 months you'll be happy you did, given the 5x5 squats every workout.

To answer a couple other questions from earlier in your log -

Where you feel the strain from deadlifts the most will probably depend on the condition of your different muscle groups and your form. Deadlift is a posterior chain movement, so it hit the hammies, glutes, and back pretty hard. If you're lacking in the hamstring department you might feel a bit worked as they struggle to keep up with the rest of the chain. Depending on how you set up to make the pull, you use more or less of different muscles. I'd recommend watching some youtube videos (search for Rippetoe Deadlift for good informational videos) and practicing with a broomstick or whatever you have at home.

On the rest between sets issue - Veggie's got it right, but I think to begin with short breaks are OK. Only take as much rest as you need to do the next set with proper form. That's not my idea - I'm sure I've read that in Wendler's book, and Medhi (Stronglifts) has probably said the same at some point too.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:25 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #13

Squats - 105 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 105 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Rows - 95 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dips - +25 lb (8/6/4)

This is the last time I'm going to increase bench by 10 lb rather than the prescribed 5 lb...still not challenging yet, but I don't want to get out of control with my eagerness.

Rows still experimenting with how wide to grip the bar...haven't found a width that I feel totally satisfied with yet...will research to see what recommendations to suggestions.

Think I'll stick to this weight for dips for a while and try to build up higher reps.

So, since May when I decided to go vegan and start exercising regularly I've been taking my stats once a month. I measured up today and here are the results so far (weight is in lbs, measurements are inches):

------------ 5/6/12 -- 6/12/12 - 7/1/12 - 8/8/12
weight ------ 174 ----- 167 ----- 169 ---- 173
chest ------- 40 ------ 41 ------ 41 ----- 41.5
arm -------- 12.5 ---- 12.5 ----- 13 ----- 13
thigh ------- 20 ------ 20.5 ---- 20.75 --- 22.5
waist ------- 34 ------ 32.75 --- 33.5 ---- 34
BF% -------------------------- ~13 ---- ~13

(*edited to add seems the formatting fucked up my little table here...don't know how to fix that)

(*edited again to add seem to have fixed with dashes but it took a long time to get it just right, ugh)

May to June I went vegan and started doing bodyweight exercises regularly, lost 7 lbs, gained an inch on my chest, 1/2 inch on my thigh and lost over an inch around my waist.

June to July significantly increased calories, started lifting dumbbells, gained 2 lbs, 1/2 on my arm, 1/4 inch on my thigh and gained 3/4 inch around my waist. Concerned about my waist growing I decide to use calipers to estimate bodyfat. Measure shoulderblade, back of arm, front of arm, and waist and use durnen/womersly to calculate. According to the chart I am 9% BF. However, the chart says this based on the fact that I'm under 30, but I'm 29. If I were 1 year older the chart says I would be 13% BF. So I'm sticking to the higher number, because I'm not rippling with abs or anything.

July to August, still eating big, now have joined gym and been using StrongLifts 5x5 program for 4 weeks. Gained 4 lbs, 1/2 inch on chest, 1 3/4 inches on thigh, and 3/4 inch around waist. Caliper measurement on shoulderblade increased slightly, and caliper measurement on waist increased significantly. However, caliper measurement on front of arm and back of arm decreased. Gaining fat on my waist and losing fat on my arms - interesting.

Generally I still look very skinny, but with some chub around my waist. Looking forward to gaining strength and muscle in the future, but not thrilled with the idea of my waist continuing to get chubbier. Maybe I overdid the food this month having gained 4 lbs, but as I'm in marathon training now I thought it would be better to err on the side of excess...guess I went too far.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:47 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #14

Squats - 45 lb (10) - 110 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 80 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5) - 145 lb (5) - 155 lb (5/5/5)
Chinups - 10/7/6

I can already tell the next time I do OHP it will start to be tough. Looking forward to it.

Started talking with a big muscular guy who was doing crazy bodyweight exercises and he showed me how to do human flagpole and muscleups. Tried the muscleup - huge fail. Maybe worth working toward? Will try human flagpole next time...

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:08 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #15

Squat - 115 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 110 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Row - 105 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dip - +25 lb (9/6/5)

Barbells were being used by others when I was going to do Rows, so rather than just wait I tried something else. There's a rack full of short bars with small plates permanently stuck to them of various weights, but they are in 10lb increments so instead the prescribed 100lb for today I used the 105 lb bar.

Dips got a couple more reps than last time. Cool.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:14 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #16

Squat - 120 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 45 lb (10) - 85 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5) - 145 lb (5) - 155 lb (5) - 165 lb (5/5)
Chinups - 10/7/4

For Squats I've been using the squat rack, but today the power rack was unoccupied so I tried squats there and was so happy that I was able to go a lot deeper than I can with the squat rack because of the shape of the thing. I guess I could go that low using the squat rack if I walked really far back out into the open, but it doesn't seem like a great idea. With squat rack I can go to parallel or maybe a smidgen below before the bar bangs on the equipment, but with the power rack I had the poles on the lowest hole and was able to get waaay below parallel which was fun.

OHP today was the first time I've felt like I've had to work hard on a main lift since I've started. Next time will be a real challenge. Here we go!

Was disappointed I didn't get one or two more chins on the last set, but my grip was starting to give out.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:00 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #17

Squat - 125 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 115 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Row - 110 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dips - +25 lb (10/7/5)

Nothing notable to say. Everything going fine.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:04 pm
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #18

Squat - 45 lb (10) - 130 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 90 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5) - 155 lb (5) - 175 lb (5)
Chinups - 10/7/5

Overhead Press really challenged me. A couple reps were real grinders but I made it. Curious to see whether I'll be able to make the 95 on Friday. Took longer rests than usual between sets of OHP so I just did 3 quick sets for DL rather than my usual 5 so I could get out. May have to start earlier on OHP days from now on.

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:41 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #19

Squat - 45 lb (10) - 135 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 120 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Row - 115 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dips - +25 lb (10/5/4)

Re: BigRed goes 5x5

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:33 am
by BigRed
StrongLifts Workout #20

Squat - 45lb (10) - 140 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 45 lb (10) - 95 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Deadlift - 135 lb (5) - 155 lb (5) - 175 lb (5) - 185 lb (5)
chinups - 8/4/4

Can't believe I made all the reps on OHP! It was hard but I made it. Part of me didn't want to make all 25 reps because I'm nervous how hard it will be when adding another 5 lbs! ha!

Fewer chins than usual I think...grip was starting to fail me...