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Mahir Barbaro
09-29-2010, 05:21 AM
Brief history: I've strength trained for football since my freshman year of HS (i'm 24 now), and about 10 months ago I was at my highest weight of 190lbs while on a fairly standard body building program. Through a series of events (diagnosed with major depression and in an intense program with the US Navy), I dropped to 160lbs in three months, and have been steady at my current weight of 170lbs for about 6 months. My question is this: since I've been focused primarily on conditioning, 5k-10k running, and leanness (word?) for 6 months, should I consider myself a beginner and start with a program like Starting Strength (just saw this on t-nation http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/most_lifters_are_still_beginners)?
Or due to my experience with weight lifting for football and general body building will I not be likely to experience the rapid weight/strength gains, and therefore should do a periodized plan like 5/3/1?
Goals are size and strength as fast as possible (i still remember what it felt like to be man sized :rolleyes: ), with a keen eye on not overtraining due to the depression thing. Oh ya and I'm 5'11". Any help is appreciated!

Steven Low
09-29-2010, 06:09 AM
This can be answered by looking at your stats.

Height, weight, lift numbers in the core lifts (squat, DL, bench, press... also pullups, dips, rows if you prefer as well as Oly lifts)?

If your squat/DL isn't above about 1.8-2x bodyweight, and bench isn't above around 1.5x and press half of that then it's likely you're still a beginner

No need to get fancy... lift numbers basically decide whether you can still do linear progression in most cases

Geoffrey Thompson
09-29-2010, 06:36 AM
What Steven said, and also, it should sort of be the default to try linear progression first. It won't work for long (maybe only a few weeks) if you're not a "beginner", but it will help you find what level you're at and get you acclimated to real, dedicated strength training without "overtraining". I mean, if your squat is in the high 300s and you're squatting 3x per week, I don't think going back and trying "linear progression" is a great idea. It just won't work. If you're squatting once per week at that level, backing up a bit and using linear progression to "find your level" and get used to squatting 3x per week could be good - won't work long, but could be good. If you're not in the mid-to-high 300s, yeah, you should give linear progression a shot for however long it works for you, which may or may not be very long.

Yeah, that article was written for you. You're a beginner.

Arien Malec
09-29-2010, 08:31 AM
While it won't hurt to do 5/3/1, starting with linear progression is a better first bet. The nice thing is that both are self-correcting, and there's almost no way to start too low.

Pick a weight that you can do for 3x5 in your sleep. If you start at 65% of max at a max of 300#, you are doing your max for 3 sets of 5 in 6 weeks. Reset once or twice, and then switch to 5/3/1.

The worst that will happen either way is 2 months of a suboptimal program.

Eating big will stave off overtraining, as will planned breaks.

Peter Dell'Orto
09-29-2010, 09:38 AM
Go with the advice you got here - regardless of your numbers. Try a linear program like Starting Strength and just see where it gets you. Start light and work up.

Once you start stalling out, re-set with the weights a little lower and try again.

After that stops working, look at something like 5/3/1.

Linear progression is so fast and easy you may as well try it - if your body doesn't respond like a beginner or doesn't for very long, at least you find that out quickly. If it does, you make the fastest progress. I say to ignore you own lift stats because it's hard to tell - my bench, squat, and deadlift aren't anywhere near what gets tossed around as results from Starting Strength, but I'm beyond getting much out of linear progress. On the other hand I have a client in his late thirties who finished his first deadlift workout after a long, long layoff with a nice set of 5 at more than my 1-rep max and just kept progressing linearly week after week for months. So why not go for a linear program and find out quickly where you are at?

Gant Grimes
09-29-2010, 10:03 AM
If you have to ask, yes. I don't know how it can be stated any simpler than the article.

Numbers do not matter. Experience does not matter. Bodyweight does not matter. Percentages do not matter. The only thing that matters is whether you can add weight to the bar every damn time you train. That's it. You might crap out at 2.5BW squat or 1.0. It doesn't matter. It doesn't F'n matter.

Work up to a heavy set of 10 on squats. That's your 3x5. Since you're malnourished, just kick it up 5 pounds each time. That will drag it out a bit so your strength gains aren't limited by your emaciatedness. Reset one time and keep going. When you reset the second time, train 3 weeks on and 1 off. That will prolong your linear progression and get you used to the 531 cycles.

Mahir Barbaro
09-29-2010, 10:34 AM
Wow thanks for all the quick responses guys. Lotta good help. I realized after I posted that Mr. Rippetoe used my exact height and weight as his example for a beginner that needs his program. LOL. That, and being called emaciated by Mr. Grimes and seeing that my #s aren't in the range Mr. Low posted is really all I need.

Last question though: in the article Mr. Rippetoe doesn't say anything about percentages or pounds to increase by, he just mentions adding a bunch of weight really fast. Is this just a guess and check until I find a weight I can't steadily improve on? Actually scratch that question, I should just go buy his book and find out for myself. Reading is knowledge. I'm just excited to get started on getting some size back! Thanks again for the help.

Geoffrey Thompson
09-29-2010, 01:05 PM
The answer is in the book, but here it is: 10# on the squat might work for a couple weeks, after that, 5#. 5# on the bench and the press works for a little while, then 2.5#. 20# a couple times on the deadlift, then 10# might work for a while. Keep in mind that you'll be deadlifting once per week. I don't really think there's much of a point in doing smaller increments on the deadlift.

Gant Grimes
09-30-2010, 08:22 AM
Last question though: in the article Mr. Rippetoe doesn't say anything about percentages or pounds to increase by, he just mentions adding a bunch of weight really fast. Is this just a guess and check until I find a weight I can't steadily improve on? Actually scratch that question, I should just go buy his book and find out for myself. Reading is knowledge. I'm just excited to get started on getting some size back! Thanks again for the help.

Read my third paragraph again and again. You should be adding 5 pounds a session to your squats. You may find that you can only squat twice a week also.

SLow's numbers aren't gospel, but they are a range that most of the population will fall into regarding finishing your novice period. At any rate, you're not there yet. That should make you happy, as novice gains are the best.

Steven Low
09-30-2010, 08:30 AM
Read my third paragraph again and again. You should be adding 5 pounds a session to your squats. You may find that you can only squat twice a week also.

SLow's numbers aren't gospel, but they are a range that most of the population will fall into regarding finishing your novice period. At any rate, you're not there yet. That should make you happy, as novice gains are the best.

Definitely agreed.

There are some freaky people who START wiith a 2x bodyweight squat and get it up to 3x for example.

But yeah, just add weight each workout (5-10 lbs depending on how the last session felt -- easy or hard) and youll be fine.

Derek Weaver
09-30-2010, 04:47 PM
Does anyone have that article Rip wrote maybe 6-9 months ago about the two novices? The one that Lyle got all screwed up and pissed about for no real good reason?

That would be a good one to post up if anyone's got it. Lyle reaction could be left out though.

Gant Grimes
10-01-2010, 10:03 AM
I don't know, but Zach was the trainee he mentioned. And everything Rip said about him was true. He was a skinny, undersized dude who put on a lot of mass (some of it fat). Nothing that should surprise anybody.

Peter Dell'Orto
10-01-2010, 10:12 AM
Does anyone have that article Rip wrote maybe 6-9 months ago about the two novices?

Do you mean this one?

http://startingstrength.com/articles/novice_effect_rippetoe.pdf (wfs)

I never read any reaction from Lyle McDonald on it, but I remembered where I read an article about novices by Mark Rippetoe.

Steven Low
10-01-2010, 11:33 AM
There was a whole thing about Lyle ripping on it being impossible or something.

Anyway, yeah, "the novice effect" is a pretty good thing to read for most beginning weightlifters.

Derek Weaver
10-01-2010, 11:58 AM
Do you mean this one?

http://startingstrength.com/articles/novice_effect_rippetoe.pdf (wfs)

I never read any reaction from Lyle McDonald on it, but I remembered where I read an article about novices by Mark Rippetoe.

Thanks, that's it.

Like Steven said, Lyle got all bent out of shape because he thought there was no way it could be possible.

Like Gant said, the kid was skinny and put on a ton of weight, with a decent amount of fat, but plenty of muscle.

I think that article should be mandatory reading when someone signs up for a gym membership.

Kevin Perry
10-01-2010, 03:23 PM
Thanks, that's it.

Like Steven said, Lyle got all bent out of shape because he thought there was no way it could be possible.

Like Gant said, the kid was skinny and put on a ton of weight, with a decent amount of fat, but plenty of muscle.

I think that article should be mandatory reading when someone signs up for a gym membership.

Reading that article makes me wonder if I could pull off some more linear progressions some times. very tempting.

But yea, Lyle had a big thread about it on his site and Rip had one on his site by the other members I think and it turned into one big bash fetish

Gant Grimes
10-04-2010, 02:16 PM
Reading that article makes me wonder if I could pull off some more linear progressions some times. very tempting.

But yea, Lyle had a big thread about it on his site and Rip had one on his site by the other members I think and it turned into one big bash fetish

You won't know unless you try.

That's when I checked out on Lyle's training advice. The fact that he could not fathom those types of (not uncommon) gains told me a lot. He's still a good read for nutrition, though.

Donald Lee
10-07-2010, 10:40 AM
I think what may have happened is that Zack gained a lot, not some, fat and a lot of muscle, glycogen, and water. 1 lb increase in LBM does not equal 1 lb increase in muscle mass. Everyone on both sides were getting their panties twisted over semantics.

Also, Rip's ppl are more concerned with getting big (70s big), while Lyle's ppl are more concerned with being ripped. Different approaches appeal to different folks. While the amount of fat gain may not look like much to Rip's ppl, it would look like a lot to Lyle's ppl.

Gant Grimes
10-07-2010, 01:47 PM
I think what may have happened is that Zack gained a lot, not some, fat and a lot of muscle, glycogen, and water. 1 lb increase in LBM does not equal 1 lb increase in muscle mass. Everyone on both sides were getting their panties twisted over semantics.

Also, Rip's ppl are more concerned with getting big (70s big), while Lyle's ppl are more concerned with being ripped. Different approaches appeal to different folks. While the amount of fat gain may not look like much to Rip's ppl, it would look like a lot to Lyle's ppl.

No need to apologize for Lyle. The whole dispute was over Lyle's claim that a person could only expect to gain 0.5 lb/wk of muscle mass and Rip's examples of people gaining more. Sure, LBM is composed of more than muscle mass, but are you gonna stand by Lyle's 0.5/wk figure?

Geoffrey Thompson
10-07-2010, 02:12 PM
No need to apologize for Lyle. The whole dispute was over Lyle's claim that a person could only expect to gain 0.5 lb/wk of muscle mass and Rip's examples of people gaining more. Sure, LBM is composed of more than muscle mass, but are you gonna stand by Lyle's 0.5/wk figure?

And that nobody could possibly be getting that strong that quickly was later tacked on.

Donald Lee
10-07-2010, 08:01 PM
No need to apologize for Lyle. The whole dispute was over Lyle's claim that a person could only expect to gain 0.5 lb/wk of muscle mass and Rip's examples of people gaining more. Sure, LBM is composed of more than muscle mass, but are you gonna stand by Lyle's 0.5/wk figure?

I've gained close to 0.5 per week, so on pure conjecture, I'd guess that higher than that is possible, especially when you're going thousands of calories per day beyond your baseline. I don't remember how much Zach was supposed to have gained per week, but I wouldn't care too much if someone claimed 0.7 per week. I wouldn't believe it if someone claimed 1.0 per week, unless it was rebound weight gain from prior training or prolonged food deprivation.

Anyways, there's no need to rehash all the arguments, especially when both sides were misinterpreting each other which led to further arguing.

Personally, I'm not a fan of GOMAD style. It definitely works, but I don't think stuffing yourself with much over 750 calories per day in excess of maintenance is necessary. For someone underweight, yes, but for the majority of folks, no.

I think stuffing yourself silly is useful because people can't estimate calories and just don't understand how much they should be eating. It's more of a psychological thing, with bodily implications for sure, but it's not physiologically necessary to get maximum growth.

But yeah, both sides were just flaming at each other. Lyle probably should have been slower in his reactions, as a lot of the conjectures/internet opinions he was basing his comments on turned out to be wrong. Internet hissy fits happen.

I tend not to idolize fitness gurus, because I can think for myself. I love learning from what Lyle has to say, but none of this stuff bothers me. Lyle can be quick to judge in many of his forum responses, which is where a lot of the criticism of him comes from. His articles are pretty much all very well thought out though.

James Evans
10-08-2010, 12:50 AM
I tend not to idolize fitness gurus, because I can think for myself. I love learning from what Lyle has to say, but none of this stuff bothers me. Lyle can be quick to judge in many of his forum responses, which is where a lot of the criticism of him comes from. His articles are pretty much all very well thought out though.

Really?

Come on Donald, you're a bright guy but a lot of your posts are "Joel says this..." or "Lyle says that..."

I know you're learning all the time but let's not be so artless.

The whole spat was mindless. A kid coached by a guy who wrote a book called Starting Strength got stronger. In that process to support those gains and his hard work he consumed calories and put on weight. But he got stronger. He did not aspire to some silly 21st Century convention of looking like an andro rent boy and fearing the loss of visible abz. A bunch of keyboard warriors who favour the leg press & coke fuelled Armani models wet their pants about it.

Utterly pathetic.

Peter Dell'Orto
10-08-2010, 06:32 AM
You won't know unless you try.

Yeah, and the best thing about linear progression is either it's going to happen or it's not. If you aren't adding weight every workout or every week, you aren't progressing linearly and you can go try something else. If you are, you keep going until you can't. It shouldn't take long to notice if it's working or not. ;)

Kandy donald
03-10-2011, 11:23 PM
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with some suggestion.

Aimee Anaya Everett
11-30-2011, 11:39 AM
I am beginner in bodybuilding and want to gain weight and
also some strength. please help me in to achieve my goal
with some suggestion.

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