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Asparagus Strength Journey


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I had one quick question mate , how were the physical aesthetics after the strong-lifts regime . I know its basically a strength training program but now that you have done it for so long i would really like to know how much of that strength attributed to physical development .

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I had one quick question mate , how were the physical aesthetics after the strong-lifts regime . I know its basically a strength training program but now that you have done it for so long i would really like to know how much of that strength attributed to physical development .

Well, before beginning Stronglifts I weighed 178 lbs (80.9 kg), and when I switched programs I was at 196 lbs (89.1 kg), so that's a pretty significant gain. I didn't accurately measure my bodyfat, but based on appearance my bodyfat levels didn't change much. If anything my percentage might have decreased a little based on increased lean mass. I was probably at about 18% bodyfat to begin with, again judging only on appearance. I can say that a majority of the 18 lbs of weight I added was muscle. I definitely notice the difference looking in the mirror, and my wife is happy with the change (That's the most important thing, or so I'm told)

 

I also didn't follow any sort of "bulking plan". I only ate as much as I needed to increase strength and slowly increase body mass. That is why my bodyfat didn't change much and I didn't put on more mass. Also, in the 10 months since then, my weight has stayed pretty much between 193 and 198, fluctuating depending on what I've eaten and how much water I have in my system.

 

I'm happy to stay under 200 lbs body mass. I am going to get as strong as I can before hitting 200 lbs. When I get there then I'll adjust my training so that I don't put on any more weight.

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5/3/1 Lead-up to 1RM test

 

5x100 jump rope alternated w/ 5x2 widest grip pullups

 

OHP

5x45 lbs

5x85

3x110

3x135

5x145

 

Squat, high-bar, ATG: 10x45 lbs, 10x135, 10x225, 2x225

Pullups, neutral grip: 8,8,8,8,7

 

OHP went fine, a bit of a struggle for rep 5. That struggle might have lead to my failed set on squats. I had intended to do my normal 2x10x225 lbs squats as assistance, but as I started coming back up on my second rep of the second set, I felt a muscle in my back tighten up and strain. I finished the rep and racked the bar and immediately stretched it out carefully. I was able to do the pullups with no notice of the strained muscle, but afterwards I could still feel it (and still feel it now, although it's diminishing in severity. There was no pain, just a tightness and discomfort. Hopefully it clears by tomorrow so that I'm good for deadlifts on Friday.

 

I have some scheduling issues over the next 2 weeks, so I'm only going to hit the gym on Wednesday and Friday each week. I'll hit each of the main lifts over these 4 workout days as if it were the 2nd set of a normal cycle (3x70%, 3x80%, 3x90%) with assistance that focuses on the non-primary lift muscle groups, so that I am getting some full body work each time. Then in 3 weeks, I'll do a 4-day split (M, T, TH, F) and test my 1RM for each of the main lifts. I'm basically going to treat my test as a meet and do 3 attempts (after warmups) for each lift. My plan:

 

Monday - OHP, theoretical max: 169 lbs

150 lbs (89% of my theoretical max - I can currently do 4 reps at this weight)

165 (98%)

175 (104%)

 

Tuesday - Deadlift, theoretical max: 455 lbs

405 lbs (89% - haven't lifted this much since last December, but i can do 6 reps at 380 so should be easy)

435 (96%)

465 (102%)

 

Thursday - Bench, theoretical max: 245 lbs

215 lbs (88% - last max was at 220 lbs back at the end of June)

235 (96%)

250 (102%)

 

Friday - Squat, theoretical max: 361 lbs

320 lbs (89% - last max was at 315 lbs back at the end of June)

345 (96%)

370 (102%)

 

If I fail any of the third lifts (the ones higher than my theoretical max) I'll drop the weight down to 100% and try again.

 

What do you guys think of this plan, these numbers? I've never done this before.

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I had one quick question mate , how were the physical aesthetics after the strong-lifts regime . I know its basically a strength training program but now that you have done it for so long i would really like to know how much of that strength attributed to physical development .

I definitely notice the difference looking in the mirror, and my wife is happy with the change (That's the most important thing, or so I'm told)

 

 

Indeed pleasing the lady makes all the effort worth it " title="Applause" />

Reading your post i feel even more motivated i guess its just been month and a half i am working out on Stronglifts and i shouldn't be over thinking on size gains yet . I should first aim at getting by 12 weeks and then see where i stand . As for as Bodyweight is concerned i guess with the coming festive weeks ahead there only place its gonna go and that is up

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Skipping today's workout. I no longer notice a strained feeling in my back, but in certain positions it still feels a little off. Pulling a back muscle is not something I want to deal with, and considering today is Deadlift day I think it's better to wait until Monday. I've cancelled an event on Monday so I'll be able to lift all three regular days next week.

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5/3/1 Lead-up to 1RM Test

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x3 widest grip pullups

 

2x5x100 lbs clean and press

 

Deadlift, no belt, no chalk:

5x135 lbs hook, very slow

5x195 hook, slow

5x245 hook

3x290 hook

3x330 hook

3x370 over/under

2x405 over/under PB

1x445 over/under PB

 

GHR, +10 lbs plate at chest: 3x10

Dumbbell OHP, 3x5x50 lbs

Lat Pulldown: 20x100 lbs, 2x10x120

 

Wanted to get a feel for pulling heavy, since I've been working so far below my max pull for the last 6 months. The heaviest I've pulled on a set since I set my max before 5/3/1 is 380 lbs, 83.5% below my theoretical max of 455 lbs. I intended to pull 1 at 405 and then 1 at 425, but when setting up for 405 I told myself I'd pull 2. Which I did, as singles. Then in my rush to set up for the 425, I put 2x10 lbs plates on each side instead of 1 and didn't realize it until the bar hit the floor after the pull. It was a really tough pull. While it was going up I was thinking to myself "shit this 425 is pretty heavy, going for 465 is going to be a bitch!" I think 465 is still going to be a bitch, but I've got a better feel for how hard it will be after today's pull. My hips shot up right at the beginning and I ended up with a pretty stiff-legged pull, but I kept my core and back tight and up it went.

 

Was feeling funky afterwards so I hit all sorts of weird assistance, with the dumbbell press and lat pulldowns. Not sure why, but I wanted to get some shoulder and back work in so those seemed to do the trick. First time I've used a machine since I started Stronglifts 5x5 back in February 2011.

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Thanks!

 

5/3/1 Lead-up to 1RM Test

 

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x3 widest grip pullups

 

Bench

10x45 lbs

5x85

5x125

3x160

3x180

3x205

1x225 PB

1x235 PB w/ stupid spotter

1x240 PB w/ stupid spotter

 

DB row: 2x10x50 lbs, 20x85 lbs

Dips: 5x11

Squat, high-bar, ATG: 10x45 lbs, 10x135, 2x6x225

 

Bench went well, with the exception of the stupid spotters. I had a good spotter for the 225 attempt, but he wandered off so I had to find others. The 225 went up pretty easy as I expected it too. For 235, there was a "personal trainer" lifting on the bench next to me so I asked him for a spot and told him "no assistance unless I'm about to crush myself". I figured as a personal trainer he would be OK - nope. As soon as the bar slowed down about 3/4 way up, he had fingers on the bar, even though I was growling "I got this". If I can get the bar 3/4 of the way up, lockout will be slow but I can pretty much always finish it at that point. I figured I'd go for 240 with a different spotter, same instructions. Same result. As soon as the bar slowed at 3/4 way up he had fingers on the bar. Why can't people follow instructions? Again, I knew I could lock it out, but it was going to be hard. 250 next week will be a grinder. Hopefully I can get a decent spotter for it.

Edited by asparagus
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The "stupid spotters" were just guys working out around me in the gym. The first one had on an official gym "personal trainer" shirt, so I thought he would be ideal for spotting, but I was proven wrong. I decided to find someone else for the final set, but they weren't any better.

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5/3/1 Lead-up to 1RM Test

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x3 widest grip pullups

 

Squat

2x5x45 lbs ATG

5x95 ATG

5x145 ATG

5x195 ATG

3x235 ATG

3x270 parallel

3x305 parallel

1x325 parallel

1x345 parallel PB

 

No assistance today, it was late and I wanted a quick lift to finish the week. Squats went really well. Lost focus on the 235 set, got it back after the 270 set. The 1x345 wasn't that hard, I could easily do more, but it will wait until next Friday to finish my max test off with a bang before starting my 2 week break.

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Can I ask why you switched from ATG to parallel during the sets? Just curious really, as I find ATG easier for me as the weight goes up; I find trying to stop at parallel quite hard on my knees.

I find I have no trouble with my knees stopping at parallel. The trouble I have with going ATG on my heaviest sets is the bar position on my back. I suppose it has to do with my body dimensions, but I have trouble keeping the bar higher up on the back once I get low. It slips down a little and that means the leverage changes and dropping my ass too low means my top needs to drop pretty low forward to compensate or I'll tip over. This is much harder on my core and doesn't feel very safe. I suppose if I put more work into keeping my upper back/shoulders/arms tight then the bar wouldn't slip and I'd be able to get a better deep squat. For now, when I get heavy, I'm sticking to parallel as it feels more comfortable for me (and I can lift heavier ).

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I had a quick question mate , by the time you reached your Personal Best in Squats during your 5x5 days were you still able to squat thrice a week with regular weight increments ??

Well, as I progressed on Stronglifts 5x5 every weight increment was a new personal best!

However, once the weight started getting heavy on all my lifts, I had to prematurely switch to 3x5 as the workouts were taking too long. Including walking back and forth to the gym, warmup and stretching before and after, 5x5 with 2+ minutes rest in between sets was taking longer than the 1 hour gym time I had available (I lift on my lunch breaks at work and need to get back to the office on time). The same thing happened on 3x5 when I started needing 3 minute rests in between sets, so I switched again to 1x5 sooner than the program called for.

However, the brief answer to your question is yes, the first 5 months of the program at least, perhaps longer, I was doing 5x5 and squatting heavy 3x week with regular increments.

 

Once my deadlifts starting getting challenging, I started doing only lighter squat sets on deadlift days. Also, towards the end of my Stronglifts days, I was not progressing on squats each day, but usually only once every 2 to 3 squat workouts. The same with deadlifts, it was usually 2 deadlift workouts for each weight progression.

 

I also went through many deload periods. Some were because I had taken a few extensive (3-6 week) breaks from lifting, others because I stalled on progression.

 

This is probably more than you were expecting from an answer to your question, but I felt like extrapolating to give a bit more background to my answer. Every lifter will experience different progression. Keep lifting, you'll like the results!

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I find I have no trouble with my knees stopping at parallel. The trouble I have with going ATG on my heaviest sets is the bar position on my back. I suppose it has to do with my body dimensions, but I have trouble keeping the bar higher up on the back once I get low. It slips down a little and that means the leverage changes and dropping my ass too low means my top needs to drop pretty low forward to compensate or I'll tip over. This is much harder on my core and doesn't feel very safe. I suppose if I put more work into keeping my upper back/shoulders/arms tight then the bar wouldn't slip and I'd be able to get a better deep squat. For now, when I get heavy, I'm sticking to parallel as it feels more comfortable for me (and I can lift heavier ).

Fair enough mate, but as long as you put in a good amount of time working your posterior chain that will help heaps.

 

Safety is key though, and good work on your squat PB. Big weight moved there

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Had to skip my gym session yesterday because I left my gym shoes at home.

 

5/3/1 1RM Test Week

 

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x2 widest grip pullups

 

OHP

8x40 lbs

5x70

3x100

1x135

1x150

1x165 PB

175 fail

175 fail

1x170 PB

 

Deadlift, no belt

8x135 lbs hook

5x185 hook

3x275 hook

1x365 hook

1x405 over/under

1x435 over/under, chalk

1x460 over/under, chalk, PB

 

I had a feeling that 5 lbs over my theoretical 1RM for OHP was a bit much to try for, but I went for it anyway, twice. Then I dropped down to 170 and pushed it out. This actually helped me realize that I need to do a bit of assistance work for my triceps, as the transition from delts to triceps is the hardest part of the lift. I have similar difficulty on the bench press.

 

OHP @ 175 lbs fail:

 

OHP @ 170 lbs, fair bit of growling:

I think there's a little bit of cheat on this one that I didn't notice until watching the video. I picked it up from the rack and went straight into the press, possibly using a little bit of torso lift to add momentum. I should have stepped it out and pressed it. However, given that I was able to start 175 from the chest, I'm sure I could have done 170. I was just pissed that I couldn't hit 175 and rushed it.

 

Based on my performance on OHP I dropped my deadlift target by 5 lbs, so only 5 lbs over my theoretical 1RM instead of 10 lbs. Deadlift went great, but I was interrupted after my 405 lift and after my 435 lift to give squat instruction to someone, which took 5 minutes each time and threw me off my rhythm. Although I suspect it was also beneficial to get a little added rest in between lifts. Looking at the video, my form is terrible on the final lift. It looks like I'm lifting with a totally rounded back, although when I pulled I had everything sucked in nice and tight and didn't feel any strain or notice my form being off.

 

Deadlift @ 435 lbs, fair bit of growling:

Slight rounding, although it might seem that way due to the camera angle. It didn't feel as if I was rounding my back...

 

Deadlift @ 460 lbs, loud with the growling! Even more so because of the echo in the place:

Looks like really poor form on this one. Again, it didn't feel like I was rounding my back, but it certainly looks that way. Again, perhaps it's the camera angle, but I'm not so sure. I was feeling pretty stoked, so I held the bar there for a bit. Once I calmed down a little I realized I should put it down. I definitely could have done 465, but that will come another day. So loud! Everyone in the free-weight section of the gym stopped and watched me lock it out since I was making so much noise.

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Lift wasn't too bad, maybe practice some lockouts as I noticed you had to hitch the last inch or two. Solid weight though. Only had a quick watch now as I'm off to bed, just gone 11pm with me. Will watch again tomorrow and see if I can come up with any constructive feedback. Wasn't a horrible lift though, nice work.

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A whole lot of nothing is what I have planned for my break, although I might hit up the local Gold's gym for their free 7 day pass and get some workouts in.

 

5/3/1 1RM Test Week

 

5x100 jump rope w/ 5x2 widest grip pullups

 

Squat

8x75 lbs

5x145

3x215

1x285

1x320

1x345

1x365 fail

1x365 PB

 

Bench

8x45 lbs

5x95

3x145

1x195

1x215

1x235

1x245 PB

 

The lifts went well, other than the fail at 365 and stupid spotter on my final bench set. I dropped both of these lifts 5 lbs off of what I originally thought I'd lift due to my performance on Tuesday. The bench lift is in line with my theoretical 1RM using Wendler's formula, and the squat number I lifted is 5 lbs over my theoretical 1RM.

 

Squat 365 lbs fail:

The bar slipped a bit when I got down in the hole and it threw my balance off a bit and it wasn't going back up.

 

Squat 365 lbs:

I just barely hit parallel on this one. I made sure to have a better grip on the bar and hold it tighter so it wouldn't slip again.

 

Bench 245 lbs:

Notice the stupid spotter here - I told him that I was doing a 1RM test, that the lift and lockout would probably be pretty slow, AND NOT TO TOUCH THE BAR UNTIL I TOLD HIM TO! This is a major problem facing America these days - the kids just don't listen or follow instructions! I actually had to yell at him twice while I was lifting that "I've got it!".

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good work on the squat!

 

If you find that you get stuck at that mid point for the toughtest spot, consider trying overloaded half squats where your ROM at bottom will end at the depth of your sticking point. So, if you find that right in the middle of your full ROM is where you tend to have trouble, set the pins at that spot, add maybe 20-40 lbs. to your current max, and hit some half squats to your sticking point with a bit more weight than your max, and you'll build some extra strength through that spot over time. Looks like you come out of the hole quite strong, but the spot where you need to push your hips through (my weak spot on the deadlift, not as much on the squat) is where you might be having a bit of trouble. Heavy deadlifts from just below the kneecap will help with that a bit as well, getting you to strengthen that hip push during the transition where most people tend to have their weakest spot.

 

Nevertheless, great progress, onward to 400!

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