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Troy Archie
06-14-2009, 11:17 AM
My goals for this year is nothing but strength. I've wanted to put in a solid year of just old fashioned lifting and eating. I've been doing SS for the last 7 months plus and I it's time for a change but I'm not sure if it truly is.

Started Nov/08
BW 75kg
BS 100kg x5x3
SP 45kg x5x3
BP 65 x5x3
Deadlift 135 x5

Now
BW 82.5kg
BS 115 x5x3 (best 117.5 x5x3)
SP 50 x5x3 (best 51.5 x5x3)
BP - (best 72.5 x5x3)
Deadlift: 147.5 x5

Age 27
5'-11"

It's been an up and down 7 months and I've definitely put some strength and weight on but not as much as I'd hoped. Right now is a down moment. I'm finding with SS right now that's it's tough as hell to bring the same intensity for 5x3 everyday. I guess I'm getting bored too. If I have one bad day where I don't sleep 100%, eat 100% and lift 100%, I stall and even regress. I feel like if I don't gain weight, I can't advance even the slightest. Plus I'm feeling fat and shitty.

Even the "Now" lifts aren't 100% accurate. I've gone heavier on the back squats and presses but again, I go away for the weekend, miss a day, don't stuff myself stupid one day and I slip back to a lighter weight. This has been going on in some fashion for the last 7 months. I go up and then slip down again. To top it off I currently can't bench press because of a shoulder impingement. Shoulder presses are fine though.

So basically what I'm asking is;
Do I suck it up and keep at SS, eat more food to facilitate any bit of gains?
Or do I switch things up? Have I sucked up all the gains I'm going to make on SS regardless of the weights I'm lifting and my body weight? It's been nearly 8 months...

Arien Malec
06-14-2009, 12:53 PM
The fact that you've been going at SS for 7 months and you can't maintain progression consistentlly indicates that you are ready for weekly progression. Something like the texas method or Starr approach.

As for BW, you aren't exactly heavy at 82.5 at 5'11" so you do have some room to move there.

Do you have sport goals beyond being strong?

Dave Van Skike
06-14-2009, 01:03 PM
you have a slew of options but you sound stale. ideas.

fix your shoulder. full stop. this is goal 1. work on it everyday.

you're ready for a weekly progression to be sure.

do something radically different for a week while you think this up.

you need overarching goal and a plan, but make both short term and achievable.

if you don't have either, do something like crossfit until you do.

get a training partner that's stronger and smarter. you provide the drive, the comedic relief and if you're a good partner, donuts and coffee for Saturday mornings. (This has been the biggest boon to me. I love being one of the smallest and weakest guys in the group)

when I feel fat it's because I am. change that or stop worrying.

find a new gym, take a road trip to Wichita Falls. take a lesson, go to an Oly clinic, a Highland Games, a SM contest.... a whatever.

PS. I'm in Seattle, so not far from you. if you're in the neighborhood send me a PM. you could come play with tires and kegs for an afternoon. that will get your head right.

Troy Archie
06-14-2009, 05:23 PM
Thanks Dave and Arien.
No sport goals just a former CFer who got sick of being 150lbs.

I've been avoiding the whole shoulder thing for too long. My question is, do I need to go to a physiotherapist?

Gavin Harrison
06-14-2009, 08:04 PM
My goals for this year is nothing but strength.
...
[1] Do I suck it up and keep at SS, eat more food to facilitate any bit of gains? Or do I switch things up?
...
[2] Have I sucked up all the gains I'm going to make on SS regardless of the weights I'm lifting and my body weight? It's been nearly 8 months...

1. Switch things up.
2. Probably. It was a good long run, I'd say.

I'll be a bit more specific with what I think are your options, since your first sentence is "this year is nothing but strength", and I'll make it easy.

Personal Favorite choice: Wendler's 5/3/1. Do one major lift a day, rotating intensity, then whatever assistance work or conditioning fits your goals. This is probably the most flexible and comprehensive program for strength I know of...

If you just want to be kinda lazy, but get stronger weekly, but very powerlifting specific: Pavel's 80/20 Powerlifting routine.

If you don't mind spending a lot of time in the gym three times a week, Texas Method or Bill Starr's 5x5 are good.

That's about it, I really like the 5/3/1 method, very flexible and fun, set PRs in lots of rep ranges, cycling intensity, and the important part of the workouts are planned out specifically in detail for you, and the unimportant parts are left up to you to do what you want to. Buy the book from elitefts if you want to try it out :)

Troy Archie
06-16-2009, 06:56 PM
I read through Wendler's 5-3-1 yesterday. It's very simple, basic and straight forward. I like it. I'm a bit unsure if it would be right for me and my level of training right now (comments) but I figured why not give it a go? It looks like fun and something completely different from what I've been doing. I'm hesitant to go the Texas Method or Starr as I see it just more of the same of what I've been doing the last 7 months plus the workouts look like marathons and I'm sick of going to the gym for just about 2 hours per session.

Next up, my shoulder...

Dave Van Skike
06-16-2009, 08:31 PM
I read through Wendler's 5-3-1 yesterday. It's very simple, basic and straight forward. I like it. I'm a bit unsure if it would be right for me and my level of training right now (comments) but I figured why not give it a go? It looks like fun and something completely different from what I've been doing. I'm hesitant to go the Texas Method or Starr as I see it just more of the same of what I've been doing the last 7 months plus the workouts look like marathons and I'm sick of going to the gym for just about 2 hours per session.

Next up, my shoulder... troy. i won't lie, I had great luck with the texas version of 5x5...that said, I think you can't go wrong with Wendler's stuff and you will have fun. rep PR's are very very rewarding.

Daniel Schenck
06-17-2009, 01:39 AM
I did the Texas Method after finishing my Starting Strength progression. I made progress, but like Troy found the sessions way too long. I then tried 5/3/1 for a few cycles, but the volume on the main lift was too low for me (you do just one set at the target weight) and recovery uneven (the rep max out was the culprit in that, I think). I actually lost some strength doing 5/3/1...

So, what I am doing now is a simple hybrid - one main lift a day, 4 days a week like 5/3/1, but I do it for 5x5. And then I do one accessory lift a day.

The work out takes me about an hour, and focusing on the one lift once a week helps me with both intensity and recovery. When I stall out on the weekly 5x5 progression, I will probably alternate 5x5 with 3x5 weekly.

Given your goals, you might want to consider something similar.

Derek Simonds
06-17-2009, 06:03 AM
First thing first get the shoulder fixed. Diesel Crew has a phenomenal shoulder pre-hab on YouTube. Check it out. Go to the doctor see what he has to say. Don't mess around with it, you are 27 and have many great years to lift ahead of you if you take care of yourself now.

I did SS for a many months and have moved on to Wendler's 5/3/1. I agree with Daniel the hardest part for me is the AMRAP on the last set. I don't feel like I am getting the most out of that but I feel better than I did when I was doing SS and have a lot more fun with the conditioning I have programmed.

Peter Andersen
06-17-2009, 07:01 AM
So, what I am doing now is a simple hybrid - one main lift a day, 4 days a week like 5/3/1, but I do it for 5x5. And then I do one accessory lift a day.

Can I ask what you're doing in the way of accessory work for each of the main lifts?

Jon Sikes
06-17-2009, 08:37 AM
I read through Wendler's 5-3-1 yesterday. It's very simple, basic and straight forward. I like it. I'm a bit unsure if it would be right for me and my level of training right now (comments) but I figured why not give it a go? It looks like fun and something completely different from what I've been doing. I'm hesitant to go the Texas Method or Starr as I see it just more of the same of what I've been doing the last 7 months plus the workouts look like marathons and I'm sick of going to the gym for just about 2 hours per session.

I just switched from a novice SS deal to the Texas Method. The volume workout on Mon. takes me up to 1.5h, but the light day and the heavy/PR day take about 40 min. Lot quicker than an SS workout, which had become long and soul crushing.

troy. i won't lie, I had great luck with the texas version of 5x5...that said, I think you can't go wrong with Wendler's stuff and you will have fun. rep PR's are very very rewarding.

Before switching to the TM, I spent a while floundering -- switching programs and getting frustrated cuz linear progression wasn't happening. So, I'll be a rare dissenting voice on 5-3-1. I tried it for a few months. It was better than winging it on my own, but it wasn't right for me yet.

On the plus side: quick workouts, variety, flexibility. 5-3-1 was fun.

On the negative side: squatting once a week wasn't enough practice to keep my form good. Rep PRs are nice, but I'm not an advanced lifter and don't always know how hard I can or should push it. Recovery felt unpredictable and I had a lot of doubt about what I could do on the last set of each main exercise.

Finally, you put 10 pounds on the training max for your squat every 4 weeks with 5/3/1. I'm putting 5 pounds on my squat every week with the TM. 20 pounds > 10 pounds.

Keeping the light day light is key. It's refreshing and easy and makes me feel good going into Fri. to set some PRs. I also switched in just enough new exercises to the TM to make it fun/interesting/different from my novice progression.

Dave Van Skike
06-17-2009, 10:05 AM
the lack of squat practice for me in 531 can be rectified by squatting every session using the VLE (very light effort) method.

Derek Simonds
06-17-2009, 10:09 AM
I just added OHS to my DL day just for that reason. Not the same I know but a squat motion and done lighter.

Gavin Harrison
06-17-2009, 11:17 AM
Not really advocating this really, especially if you don't want marathon work outs (2hrs+), but if you want to do the competitive lifts a lot, you could try Sheiko (http://www.elitefts.com/sheiko/) (356+ squats a month, depending on which cycle).. or the Smolov squat cycle (http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resources/training/smolovsquatcycle.htm) (408 squats in the first 3 weeks).

And yes, they both work for raw and un-drugged lifters.

As for the 5/3/1.. I quite like the routine, I like the volume of the main lifts, it's not that I don't like squatting, but it's that I don't feel like I'm under-training because of the AMRAP sets, and I like the cycling of intensity. As for the linear increase being slower, you might find that the given "speed" is exceeded by the program if you test your maxes every once in a while, since one of the motivations of the program is that you don't have to operate at your max ability to be able to perform at your max.

I think assistance work becomes very important on this type of program, not as important as if you're doing true max training, but way more important than if you doing "eastern block" powerlifting style training (ie, tons of volume in the competition lifts at lower intensity, and very little, if any, assistance work). Strict form and a moderate pace is important for the assistance work too, I think, since you're not building the movement itself, but the muscles the assistance work is targeting.

EDIT/PS: Korte's 3x3 is another similar eastern block inspired marathon program..

George Heckert
06-17-2009, 03:18 PM
Troy,

Have you brought this up to Rippetoe on his forum on strength mill? Maybe he will have some insight on why you have gotten such luke warm results on SS. I agree that it does get pretty boring after the first month or so.

There is some good advice from the other posters though. Good luck!

Troy Archie
06-17-2009, 04:15 PM
Troy,
Have you brought this up to Rippetoe on his forum on strength mill? Maybe he will have some insight on why you have gotten such luke warm results on SS. I agree that it does get pretty boring after the first month or so.


No I haven't posted on his forum because I know his answers:
Gain more weight.
Drink milk.
Got to love his simplicity though.
I'm not surprised with my results and I'm actually a bit happy with them to this point. I started with 100kg LBBS and manged 117.5kg HBBS. I'm a beginner strength-wise but not lift-wise. Multiple years of trying to get strong but not having any idea what I was doing, Hardgainer, 2 years Crossfit, a year O-lifting...plus this is my second time around with SS. Last time was for 3 months.

Thanks for all the advice and feedback all. Going to give it some more thought as to which way to go, either TM or 531...

Daniel Schenck
06-17-2009, 10:20 PM
Sure. this is my current weekly program:

day 1 - Back Squat 5x5; Weighted dips

day 2 - Press 5x5; Power Cleans

day 3 - Rack Pulls/Halting DL - 1x5/8; Back Squat (80/85%, 1x5 or 2x5 depending)

day 4 - Bench 5x5; chin-ups

And then I do a weekly session or two of hard interval rowing/running and more rarely a short hard kettlebell or barbell complex session.

so that's my attempt to keep it short, sweet and effective, with focus on strength (which as I age I value more and more) and plenty of recovery (ditto). Working so far!

If anyone has suggestions for improvement or changing it up while keeping the workouts short and effective and hitting most of the bases, i'd love to hear them...

Steven Quadros
06-18-2009, 09:02 AM
Daniel, that program looks frighteningly similar to one which I had conceived last night on the train ride home, with the main goals being to get me out of the gym at around 1:15 minutes, get stronger, and keep accessory work relatively limited.

You could also, if you so desired split the work into an upper/lower split, which would take care of some possible issues with fatique carrying over from the dips to the overhead press (I find dips hard on my triceps). One is to press on your squat day, which might make it a a bit too long for your taste. The other is this:

Lower 1: 5x5 back squat, 3x8 RDL or 6x3 power clean, opt. 3x8-10 lunges or bulgarian split squat

Upper 1: 5x5 press, 5x5 chin ups, optional 3x5-8 dips

rest

Lower 2- 1x5 deadlift or dead ass., 3x3 Front squat or med back squat, 3x8-10 BSS or lunge

Upper 2- Bench 5x5, row variation 3x8, either dips 3 sets or possibly dumbell press medium intensity

Troy Archie
06-18-2009, 10:14 AM
main goals being to get me out of the gym at around 1:15 minutes, get stronger, and keep accessory work relatively limited.


I'm in the same boat right now. I'm looking at the Texas Method and expanding it to four days.
Day 1:
BS 5x5, SP 5x5, Stretch/Foam
Day 2:
Power Cleans 8x3, Pull-ups x3, Back ext, Plank
Day 4:
Front Squats 3x3, Push Press 3x3, Evil Wheel
Day 5:
BS 5x1, SP 5x1, DL 5x1, Pull-ups x3, Stretch/Foam

I find with shorter sessions I actually stretch and foam roller afterwards, which is important. Very Important.

Daniel Schenck
06-18-2009, 10:57 AM
Steven, my acessory lifts are light enough not to give me too much carry over trouble, and that's I have a day between the dips and press (I do day one on sunday usually, and then day 2 on Tues) and also why I put the DL day between the press and benching..but I really like the split idea you propose - that'll probably be what I move to next, once my current set up stalls out (or I just get bored with it)...

I think all of these set-ups, also the one Troy gave, are good solid intermediate programs for those of us who work hard and love to lift, but also want an effecient program. Probably can't go wrong with any of them...
.
thanks for sharing!