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Jordan's Training Log!

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Hey all,


So after about two months of going to my Univerisity's gym, and doing machine, cable, and iso excercises (there was some free weight stuff too), I've decided to switch over to the Stronglifts 5x5 at the recommendation of the wise Chewybaws!

This log will document my progress (both dietary wise, and lifting wise)


My goals: To gain 20lbs, to have loads of "real life" strength (ie. I'm not just "ripped" and defined, but I can actually haul my 123456789lb guitar rig around.. ha), and to look and feel my best (what we all want).



Starting weight: About 142-146lbs... it fluctuates. 6'1... I know, skinny.

Here are some starting pictures for reference, thanks to my iPhone camera and girlfriend!Forgive my awful blinding white body, and dark arms combo.





Day One of Stronglifts:

-Squat: 5x5x20lbs (was really focusing on my technique... I think I've got it pretty good now).

-Bench Press: 5x5x44lbs (20kgs)... started with just 20lbs, and worked on technique. Felt fairly easy. Misread Chewybaws suggestion to start at 20kg (INCLUDING the bar), and added 20kg to the bar. Managed the 5x5 still, though they were definetely hard.

- Inverted Rows: 3xF ... these are deceptively hard. I ended up having to do them with my knees up, and probably only managed 5-6 a set. I have had a tough time getting my chest to actually touch the bar, and I'm not sure I was doing them properly. Anyone have some suggestions?

- Pushups: 20/20/16. Arms were starting to get sore by the third set after the bench, and so I couldn't get as many pushups in as I'd like.

- Reverse Crunches: 3x12... these are terrible. I didn't feel my abs burning at all, and all I could feel was discomfort in my spine. I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong here. Again, any suggestions? I don't think I'm able to take a video of myself, but I could try.



That's it for day one! I'm just trying to eat 4000 cals a day, keep my protein up, and try and sleep enough (though I often only get 6.5-7hrs).

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Nice to see you've started man! Next time you do Workout A, go back to 22.5kg on bench. It'll feel light but you can work on your technique as the weight's getting heavier. Inverted rows are tough man, just get as close to the bar as you can, within 2" is fine (even when I do these now I only hit the bar with the first 4 or 5 reps). Switch with the easy version till you can do 15 reps in the first set. Then switch over to the full version. (something I like doing on the last set is when I can't do another rep is to do half reps, smaller range of motion, until my arms COMPLETELY burn out. Biceps and forearms are a burning after that!)


That's some good numbers on pushups! Are you touching chest off the ground (or close) and locking arms out at the top of the rep? If so switch over to dips.


Crunches, try get a vid of yourself, even if you're not going to post it. Can just take one on your phone for your own reference. How much of a counter weight did you use? If it's too heavy a counterweight you won't feel it much in your abs.


Got a good base to start building on man, can tell you've not been doing anything for your legs though. Keep the squats slow and controlled, don't rush 'em. You'll be going heavy soon enough and we'll get those big quads!


Keep up the hard work! You got squats/press/deads/chins/bridges coming up! Remember and start with 40kg (including the bar lol) for deadlifts instead of 20kg. Keep your back straight, especially putting it back on the floor!

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Stronglifts recommends you just do dips. You'll get stronger at them quicker and when you can hit 15 good reps, switch to 3x5 weighted dips (weighted dips will do a lot more for you than bodyweight). You then add 2.5kg the same as weighted exercises.

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StrongLifts Workout B:

Squats 5x5 @ 65lbs (bar + 10lbs on each side)

Overhead Press 5x5 @ 45lbs (just the bar)

Deadlifts 1x5 @ 95lbs (bar + 25lbs on each side)

Pullups 3xF... only managed to get 1 full/proper one each time, and then 5 negatives.

Prone Bridges 3x30s


The squats were good... technique still needs some refining. Overhead press is incredibly tough to coordinate. Stronglifts says the bar should rest on your front shoulders, just about touching your throat... this is very uncomfortable for me, as I have mainly bones in that area. Suggestions?

Deadlifts were brutal... I did my set, and then saw someone right next to me (a much more experience fellow I see often) do his, and his technique was way better than mine. I didn't realize my hands were to be on the outside of my legs... ha.

Pullups were tough, but I was expecting this.

Prone bridges seemed useless.. I felt barely anything in my abs. Maybe I need to do them longer?


That's all for today. Looking forward to the next workout! Until then... I'll eat lots!

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If you used an empty bar (45lbs) for squats in the first workout, you should only be at 50lbs in the 2nd workout (you only add 5lbs overall, not each side). Prone bridges make sure your hips aren't sagging down in the middle, and do 3 sets to failure instead of 30s.



That vid's great for deadlift setup.



That will help with your press.


Good luck

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StrongLifts Workout A:


Squats 5x5 @ 60LBS (bar + 7.5lbs on each side)

Bench Press 5x5 @ 55lbs (bar + 5lbs on each side)

Inverted Rows with knees up, 3xF = 12/10/10

Dips 3xF ... could barely do one full one. All in all, I think I managed maybe one or two passable ones in total... the rest were failures. So I did

BOSU Pushups, 3xF = 12/10/11 ... and then when I got home, I did another two sets of standard ones, 12 reps each, just to give me a good muscle failure feeling since dips failed.

Reverse Crunches 3x12 ... still not really feeling too much here. I'll try and get a video of me doing them, and if my technique is judged to be spot on by you guys, is there a harder, more intense ab workout I can move to?



All in all, the workout was fairly good. My knees started hurting towards the end of the squats, and even though I stretched them out pretty well, my groin, and hamstrings were getting pretty tight towards the end too. I'm sure more flexibility will come in time!


Also, would you guys reccomend having a recovery drink( ala. the Thrive Diet), or a protein shake after a work out? I made a Thrive-ish recovery drink (but with soymilk, 25g of soy/brown rice protein, and without the dulse or maca, since I don't have any), and it tasted pretty damn good.

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Stick it out with the dips, how deep were you going with them? If you can only do a couple, then yeah do your 3xF pushups, but try the dips first everytime - the only way you'll get better at them is doing the exercise. Negatives are an option (will help your balance/control).


How much counter weight are you using on the reverse crunch? The lower it is the harder the exercise.


I highly recommend doing dynamic stretches, and if you can, foam rolling your hips, it band, quads, groin. Do anything to improve flexibility and loosen those tight spots. When I started, I was adding weight quicker than my groin could recover from and I had real bad problems for months and months, the same thing happened with my friend (he got it sorted much quicker though). It's prob why I had problems with my knee as well.


I've always used the recovery drink from the Thrive book, and think it works pretty well - but most things will. As long as it has a good amount of simple carbs and protein you'll be fine. You may want to add fruit, dates are good.

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I wasn't using any weight on the reverse crunches.


What exactly are dynamic stretches? I'll have to look into those.


I was trying to go to a full 90 degrees with my elbows on the dips, but I couldn't do it. Negatives would be starting from the top and easing yourself down?

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So here's a video of my reverse crunches... it may be a little off since I was on a fairly hard floor, and my spine doesn't like hard floors very much. Suggestions? Is there another ab/core exercise I can switch to, or my technique horribly wrong? (keep in mind, my current technique is minimizing impact on my boney back)


Courtesy of my girlfriend and my terrible quality iphone video camera:


Reverse Crunches

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Here's a few pointers that could help your reverse crunch


1) Your thighs should never go past 90 degrees on the way back down. Control them and don't let them pass vertical.


2) Put something at the back of your knees (held in place by flexing your knee as much as you can, kind of held between your calf and lower hamstring, i use a roller, anything works). This stops your legs from opening up and makes it harder. (this makes a BIG difference)


3) Your hands shouldn't leave the ground, ever. If you can't do this, hold a light weight until you can.


Try these first before switching to another exercise (hanging leg raises would prob be good).


Good luck!

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StrongLifts Workout B:


Squats 5x5 @ 65LBS (bar + 10lbs on each side)

Overhead Press 5x5 @ 50lbs (bar + 2.5lbs on each side)

Deadlifts 1x5 @ 100lbs (bar + 27.5 on each side)

Chinups 3xF 7/5/5 (SO much easier than pullups!)

Pronebridges 3xF 90sec/60sec/60sec ... did the two 60 second sets alternating one leg up for 10 seconds.


Overall, it was a pretty easy workout (save the deadlifts... ugh).


So, here are some videos courtesy of my brother (also a vegan weightlifter!... I'm going to try and get him to create a profile and show his stuff off!). Please critique my technique!



Overhead Press

Front view of Squats

Side view of Squats



ps. My trueproteins order arrived. 50% brown rice, 30% gemma, ad 20% BCAAs with unsweetened chocolate and stevia. It tastes surprisingly good! 5lb bag shipped to my door only came to $54.

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Deadlifts - These are actually looking good, but apart from the first and last rep, the bar was too far away from you at the start of the rep. When you're getting the bar back on the floor, you're bending at the knees first, which isn't allowing the bar to go down in a straight line. You're having to go round your knees, and because you're not resetting the bar, it's ending out a couple inches in front of you when you start the next rep (you can see it clearly from where it's sitting on the plate). Break at the hips first, and when you pass your knees you can bend them (keeping a tight, straight back the whole time of course). Look at your first and last rep on the way up, almost a perfect vertical bar path. You want this every rep, whether the way up or the way down. Don't be scared to completely reset to get into position until you get this. It's better you get good 5 reps.


Overhead press - When you're racking/unracking the bar you don't want it floating about in front of your chest. When it's on the rack, get your grip (tight) and push your elbows forward and it should sit tight against either your shoulders or upper chest depending on flexbility, it shouldn't leave here till you start the rep (and when you're done it shouldn't leave your shoulders until you get it on the rack). The idea is so that if you look from the side your forearms are vertical (would be good to get a vid from the side too). Also, at the end of every rep, you need to shrug up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJFjYyA40ss (2:20, also the rest of this video is good for getting into position).


Squats - Looking quite good for starting off, though I'm pretty sure you're doing a high bar squat instead of a low bar squat (I done this, and didn't notice for at least 6 months or something lol. so you're better getting a 2nd opinion from someone on here haha). From the front view right before you lifted the bar off the rack you slid your right hand out making the bar unbalanced, it looked like it was starting to cause you problems on the last couple of reps. This will be a BIG PROBLEM with more weight, so sort it out early. I noticed you pull your knees back at the start of each rep but I don't really know if that'll lead to anything bad, just pointing it out. Also it looks like your back bends a bit at the bottom, but this will prob change a bit when you change bar position.




From the side view when you're at the bottom you get a good view, looks like the bar's on your traps instead of further down. It'll feel kinda weird when you try a low bar position to start with but you'll get used to it.




Btw, don't be discouraged by all this, you're doing really good for someone just learning the lifts. I was making these mistakes for a long long time, because I wasn't taking videos or getting people to help me, they went on for a while. (and my technique's still far from perfect, still got a lot to learn, bad habits and flaws).


Keep up the hard work!

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So what's the main differences in bar position? Why did you switch from a hi-bar to a low-bar? The diagram was very helpful, thanks.


I'm excited for my workout this afternoon. I'm going to shred those BOSU pushups and inverted rows. Work is going by dreadfully slow.

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So what's the main differences in bar position? Why did you switch from a hi-bar to a low-bar?
Starting strength/stronglifts recommend that you use a low bar position. http://stronglifts.com/correct-bar-placement-on-squats/. That shows you the differences there. Basically low bar uses less quads and more hips than the high bar, and you can use more weight.



Don't give up on those dips! Try 'em before your pushups.


Glad you're pumped!

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StrongLifts Workout A:


Squats 5x5 @ 70LBS (bar + 12.5lbs on each side)

Bench Press 5x5 @ 55lbs (bar + 5lbs on each side)

Inverted Rows 3xF 12/8/9 ... with knees up, and chest within a few inches of the bar.

Dips.... couldn't even do one proper one, so did 5 negatives and moved to...

Elevated BOSO Ball pushups (feet on the BOSO ball, and hands fairly wide) 3xF 12/10/8

Reverse Crunches 3xF ... still not really feeling these at all, even with implementing Chewy's observations. Is there something else I can switch to? I'll try and get another video to ensure that I'm actually doing them correctly.


Squats were terrible... I couldn't quite figure out the lo-bar squat position. It just seemed to be jabbing into my spine quite hard. And then, added to that, my knees felt weak, and my hip flexors were acting up. It's not that the weight was too heavy, it's just that my knee strength and general felxibility is shit. Hopefully this will improve. Other than doing squat stretches and obviouis hamstring/quad/groin stretches, what other ones should I be doing?


On a dietary note... I really need to figure out how to be breaching the 4000 cal/day mark with primarily healthy, whole, raw foods. My skin responds adversly to gluten, so large portions of seitan, or pastas and bread are out of the question. I'd like to gain weight and muscle without my skin getting worse than it is. Ideas?


ps. Trueproteins RULES! I got unsweetened chocolate with stevia, 50% brown rice, 30% Gemma and 20% BCAAs and it tastes great! I'm very happy that I've found a non-soy, afforable protein supplement!


That is all for today... looking forward the B on Friday, since it's usually the tougher one.

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Also, is it a bad idea to be doing pushups (both diamond and wide stance ones) at work on my off days, to get a more full workout feeling? Since I'm at the beggining of the program, and the weight is still light, I'm not really feeling too much muscle burn. Will it help or hinder my progress to be adding things to stronglifts?


I've also noticed that my chest feels severly underworked (and it's something I really want to focus on, since I look sickly in that area...ha)... will it get better as bench press gets higher weight? Can I add flys?

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