BigRed goes 5x5

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BigRed
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BigRed goes 5x5

#1 Postby BigRed » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:37 am

Stronglifts Workout #1

So after couple months of steady dumbbell work out at home and maxing out my weights, I decided to take the plunge and join a gym (had been worried about cost) so I can attack the barbells and gain some strength. Fortunately I was able to find a gym very close by that is a lot cheaper than I anticipated.

I started StrongLifts 5x5 today. I did Madcow for a couple months when I was in University and had gym access maybe about 7 years ago and enjoyed the routine so I have experience with the concepts and movements.

I decided to go ahead and start off with just the empty barbell as the program advises. As expected, the first workout was a breeze:

Squat - 45 lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 45 lbs 5/5/5/5/5
Row - 65 lbs 5/5/5/5/5

This is less than half the weight I've been using lately at home with dumbbells so of course the effort was minimal. Because it was so light I didn't have the patience to wait more than 10-20 seconds between sets - of course I know that will change when it gets more demanding over the next two months. I thought that I would feel self-conscious pushing around an empty bar in front of all the massive grunting meatheads around me, but as my other hobby is barefoot running I guess I've really become used to not worrying about other people judging what I'm doing. Since I had so much energy leftover after this 10-15 minute workout I attacked the dip station.

Dips - 13/7/5

Couple questions for anyone that might be reading this:


Rows
With the barbell rows I was bent over quit a bit but not to the point where the barbell went all the to the floor. Is this okay for now? I imagine with 45 lb plates it's another story, but with the little 10 lb plates, it seemed excessive to try to get it all the way down to the floor.

Dips
There was a mirror in front of the station and I noticed that I go down to the maximum depth possible with these. Is that okay, or is it better to just go to parallel? the angle of my elbows was definitely more like 45 degrees than 90. And for the guys who are familiar with stronglifts - do you recommend keeping stuff like pullups and dips in the workouts or is it better to only do the basic 3 exercises each time? At least for now I'm going to need to do the dips and pullups just to feel like I'm getting a workout.

Even though I went super-light I did feel my muscles engaging in a different way than they do with my dumbbells. Squats for instance I felt in the outside of my thighs more than I usually do. So looking forward to progressing with this system. I love being able to push a bar around. So much more satisfying than dumbbells for some reason.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#2 Postby C.O. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:57 am

Nice, you jumped in full force. That's awesome, try to use your peers, friends, and all of us forum members to keep you motivated. Not making it to the gym is an easy excuse that many of us make to let ourselves off the hook of sticking to our fitness goals. I went through it transitioning from working out at home to hitting the gym hard at first and then losing motivation, not getting out to the gym and then of course not even working out at home. You sound super motivated though that's awesome. What specifically motivates you?

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#3 Postby veggiesasquatch » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:31 am

Nice to see someone actually doing a proper program!

Will be following this from now on...
"Don't fall for that crap that people are peddling on the message boards, in magazines or on TV. Get your shit in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn't matter" Jim Wendler

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#4 Postby BigRed » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:27 am

StrongLifts Workout #2

Squats - 50 lbs - 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead Press - 45 lbs - 5/5/5/5/5
Deadlifts - 95 lbs - 5/5/5/5/5
Chinups - 10/4/5

The only thing more emasculating than working out with an empty bar is putting dainty little 2.5 lb plates on that empty bar LOL!

Still could not find patience to wait more than 10 seconds between sets on the Squats, 15 seconds on the OHP and 20 seconds on the Deadlifts.

As I write this I realize now that the program only calls for 1 set of DL's whereas I performed 5. Oops. It's light, so for now I'm sure it's fine.

After the second set of chins I realized I gave up too easily without enough struggle, so I was able to squeeze out more on the third set.

Quick workout. The 5 deadlift sets did produce a little bit of sweat on my body though :-) No A/C in the gym, which I actually like. There are enough fans around that it's okay, but I'd rather be a little too warm than too cold. I wonder what it's like there in the winter.

So much fun. I've missed barbell workouts all these years that I've been without them. So glad to be doing this!
Last edited by BigRed on Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#5 Postby BigRed » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:41 am

C.O. wrote:Nice, you jumped in full force. That's awesome, try to use your peers, friends, and all of us forum members to keep you motivated. Not making it to the gym is an easy excuse that many of us make to let ourselves off the hook of sticking to our fitness goals. I went through it transitioning from working out at home to hitting the gym hard at first and then losing motivation, not getting out to the gym and then of course not even working out at home. You sound super motivated though that's awesome. What specifically motivates you?


C.O. - The forum has already motivated me immensely - reading threads from members like sosso, chewy, veggiesquatch, forklift, and many many more (sorry for all the tons of people I left out!) has been such a motivating force in pursuing strength!

What motivates me? Well, I want to see what a guy like me whose been skinny all his life can achieve in strength if I really commit to exploring my potential. I also remember that the times I did lift weights in uni I genuinely enjoyed just the act of lifting weights - I don't know why, it's just very satisfying - maybe a more intense release of pent-up energy than I get when I'm running - running is more like meditation for me. The other issue is that I perform on the stage and looking more filled out and strong on stage will certainly be a competitive advantage for me when going out for more "heroic" parts. The other thing, is that like some other people here, I came to vegetarianism and eventually to veganism from a moral philosophical stance, and I want to be an example that one can be healthy, active, fit, athletic, and even very strong without animal consumption. I held back from vegan for a long time, even though I respected veganism intellectually because I was afraid that giving up dairy/eggs would be a hindrance to my health and athleticism, but reading about vegan athletes in such a wide variety of sports has helped give me the courage to follow my ethical beliefs more completely.

Thanks for the reply!

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#6 Postby BigRed » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:46 am

veggiesasquatch wrote:Nice to see someone actually doing a proper program!

Will be following this from now on...


Thanks veggie - I love following your posts! Will look forward to getting feedback from you as I travel this journey!

I love this workout plan. Years ago I found the MadCow routine on bodybuilding forums and followed that for a while and enjoyed it immensely. I like stronglifts right now because of the simplicity of it - when i've run my course with it way down the line I will look into other possibilities (I see 5/3/1 is becoming popular around here). I feel much more stimulated by strength-type routines than bodybuilding-style routines.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#7 Postby BigRed » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:58 am

StrongLifts workout #3

Squats - 55 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Bench - 50 lb - 5/5/5/5/5 (may have lost track and done a 6th...not sure)
Rows - 70 lb - 5/5/5/5/5

Generally 5-10 seconds between sets

Dips - 15/10/8

Whole workout took me less than 20 minutes.

Considering adding weight for dips soon. I guess I just hold a dumbbell between my knees?

Took a look around the gym today and noticed that I am the skinniest guy in the weight room by *far* (6'0" 168 lbs) - no worries, I'm sure in a year's time I'll be catching up to some of 'em.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#8 Postby C.O. » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Permission to fb or tweet your motivation statement? It was really good, and should be shared as much as possible.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#9 Postby veggiesasquatch » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:33 pm

Bar Dips or bench dips?

If its bar dips gym may have a dipping belt.

Just a tip, usually strength training you'll I've yourself 2-3 mins between sets. Maybe something to start now so you get use to it
"Don't fall for that crap that people are peddling on the message boards, in magazines or on TV. Get your shit in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn't matter" Jim Wendler

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#10 Postby BigRed » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:51 pm

C.O. - sure, I don't see why not.

Veggie - Bar dips. I'll ask the front desk if they have a belt then next time...

I know over a minute is standard, but the program at this point is so doggone light I feel silly waiting when I've barely put forth any effort!

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#11 Postby BigRed » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:43 am

StrongLifts Workout #4

Squats - 60 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
OHP - 50 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Deadlift - 115 lb - 5/5 - 105 lb 5/5/5
Chinups - 10/8/5

Okay, so on Deadlifts I was planning on staying 5x5 rather than 1x5 as the program dictates until the weight gets challenging. I absentmindedly loaded on a 25 and a 10 on each side, rather than the 25 and a 5 that I meant to do to stick with the program. I didn't realize it until after my second set, then I changed it back to the intended weight for the remaining 3 sets.

Is it normal to feel deadlifts in the hamstrings? I know it's primarily a lower back exercise...perhaps when I get to using 45 lbs there will be a little bit less stretch to move the weight up and down than there is now when the biggest plate is a 25.

I think when I get my last set of Chins to 8 I may add weight to those...

Workout was quick - though per Veggie's advice I really tried to make myself weight longer between sets, but I still had the impulse to keep moving on to the next set after 20-30 seconds rest. Again, I imagine the need to wait longer between sets will emerge organically when the weight becomes challenging...

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#12 Postby BigRed » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:39 am

StrongLifts Workout #5

Squats - 65 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Bench Press - 65 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Barbell Row - 75 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Weighted Dips - +10 lb - 12/10/5

I went ahead and skipped over 55lb and 60lb and went straight to 65lb on Bench Press. These workouts have been so light and easy that I felt maybe I was being too dogmatic about sticking to the program so purely. I don't mind staying light on squats for now because of the sheer volume of doing the exercise 3 days a week. Legs and Back get hit plenty, but chest not as much, so I thought certainly I could afford to move up a little faster on Bench Press. 65 lb is still ridiculously light, but at least it's moving ahead more quickly.

First time ever doing weighted dips. Enjoyed that very much!

Tried to keep rest between sets no quicker than at least 20-30 seconds...

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#13 Postby BigRed » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:40 am

StrongLift workout #6

Squats - 70 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
OHP - 55 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Deadlift - 115 lb - 5/5/5/5/5
Chinups - 10/5/4
Bicep Curls - 40 lb - 8 - 50 lb - 8/8

Was disappointed that I didn't make as many reps on chinups as last time. Each set I definitely gave up early and after finishing the last set I felt regret that I didn't struggle harder for more reps. Next time.

Felt like doing Bicep curls. I dunno why.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#14 Postby BigRed » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:08 pm

StrongLifts Workout #7

Squats - 45 lb (5) - 65 lb (5) - 75 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Bench - 45 lb (10) - 65 lb (5) - 75 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Rows - 80 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Dips - Bodyweight (15/10/9)

Thought I'd start getting in the habit of incorporating warmup sets, even though the weights are still light...

Bench moving right ahead adding another 10 lb from the last workout rather than the prescribed 5. I'll keep doing this the next few workouts to keep things moving.

I'm out of town this week and the gym I'm using doesn't have belts for weighted dips, so I just stayed with bodyweight for now.

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Re: BigRed goes 5x5

#15 Postby BigRed » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:21 pm

StrongLifts workout #8

Squats - 45 lb (10) - 65 lb (5) - 80 lb - (5/5/5/5/5)
OHP - 45 lb (5) - 55 lb (5) - 65 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
DL - 115 lb (5/5/5/5/5)
Chinups - 8/6/7

I need to be more careful checking my program. I got the amounts wrong twice I see. OHP I did 65 when I should've done 60, and DL I did 115 when I should have done 125. Oops.


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