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Donpalmero's Training Log

I’ve been lifting for about a year now, normally with my workouts a kind of mixed bag of lifts. I managed to add about 10kg to my frame, but I’m not much stronger than I was before.

I’ve decided to try Starting Strength and make a serious shot at getting strong. So, strength is my goal, but any weight gain associated with this is welcome!

Some stats:
Age: 27
Height: 182 cm (6 ft)
Weight: 81 kg (178 lbs)

I’ve been a vegetarian for about a decade now and I’m going to stay one (EDIT: not anymore). Despite this, I’ve reasonably well managed to keep my protein intake high, but it’s not always been easy. Anyway, I’ve upped my caloric intake over the past few weeks in anticipation of increased workload.

First two workouts to follow…

Listing workout weight as sets x reps x weight.
I won’t list warmup sets. I keep track in kilograms, but I’ll put lbs as well. Generally each workout I’m trying to increase my previous lift by about 2.5% (although I’m not set in stone on this).

Friday, May 16th. Workout A:

squat - 3x5x60kg (132 lbs)

bench - 3x5x50kg (110 lbs)

deadlift - 1x5x90kg (198 lbs)

chins - 3/2 @ bodyweight 81kg (178 lbs)

Sunday, May 18th. Workout B:

squat - 3x5x62kg (137 lbs)

press - 3x5x40kg (88 lbs)

power clean - 5x3x60kg (132 lbs)

chins - 4/3 @ bodyweight 81kg (178 lbs)

*I know it’s probably unusual that my squat and clean are the same. Until recently I didn’t have a rack (I work out at home) and I was just squatting what I could clean/push-press. For the moment my only assistance is chins although I’ll thrown in dips and situps as time goes on.

Good choice of program. What I have found to be successful is incrementing by 5 lbs each workout - allows for steady, linear progression.

I’m not going to bash you for being a veggie. Rippetoe suggests/recommends/commands a lot of food. To really take advantage of strength/size gains, a caloric surplus is needed. I’m not sure how your diet will need to be tweaked, or if it even needs to be tweaked. If you’re taking soy protein, just know that it is not a favorite around here for many reasons.

Thanks for the comments, TheDude. Indeed I am aware of the dislike of soy protein. Luckily I’ve been off of it for several years now (although I admit it was a staple when I was younger). Certainly my supplements are whey (it is an animal product, but I’m not a vegan). I’ve been pretty successful as a cyclist (and as a runner before that) while a vegetarian. However, it seems that the diet demands of weight training are somewhat different. I’m going to see how far I can get this way. As it is, the veggie thing is non-negotiable. Luckily, I have access to a lot of really good food I’m hoping I can manage to eat what I need.

I’ll have to hunt for some more veggie advice on the forums. There must be a few more out there. Heh.

As for progressive overload, I think I’ll go ahead and go with a fixed incremental increase of weight like you suggest.

I have seen some vegetarian-nutrition-type threads here. I think there is a bodybuilding forum elsewhere focused on vegan and vegetarian nutrition.

If you can have whey, then you should do just fine. I think the hardest part for you will be getting enough calories with such healthy food. I think it was CS or CT that stated ‘you can’t get fat off of eating veggies and fruit.’ How this will play into strength training, I’m interested to find out.

Wed., May 21st. Workout A:

squat - 3x5x64kg (141 lbs)

bench - 3x5x52kg (115 lbs)

deadlift - 1x5x92kg (203 lbs)

chins - 4/3 @ bw=81kg (178 lbs)

dips - 2/3 @ bw=81kg (178 lbs)

The work set of DLs was brutal. I think the ramp up to them is a bit too tough. I usually go 5x50kg/5x60kg/3x70kg/2x80kg. I’m thinking of dropping a set of 5 and spreading over 3 warmup sets.
Something roughly like 5x50kg/3x63kg/2x76kg maybe. How many warmup sets are people doing for DLs?

As you can see, I’m learning how to do dips. My chest is def one of my weaknesses.

the point of warming up if im correct is to… actually warm up the muscles… (not to sweat) and to stimulate the CNS. you dont need so much stuff to stimulate the CNS. you’d be better off doing a single at 92kgs.

and whatever else you need to warm up the muscles… before that 92 single

I do singles as a warm-up.

Cool. Thanks for the advice. I’ll play around with different warmup sets over the next few workouts.

On this topic, what about rest between warmup sets? I know it varies from person to person, but is it good to take a min or two between warmup sets, or just lift as soon as you get the bar loaded, or…? As for the work sets, I normally take 1-3 mins of rest depending on how I’m feeling.

I’m trying to make sure I get the most out of my warmups. My wife won’t be too forgiving if I manage injure myself as a result of insufficient warmup (nor will I be happy). She never gets tired of nagging me to make sure I’ve warmed up enough.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s lifting!

Warm-up rest time - usually 30 secs to 1 minute. I take as long as I need to get mentally prepared to do the working sets. Rest time between working sets is 1 minute - I have a timer. You can definitely do much more. I thought I read in SS that 2-3 minutes is acceptable.

To me, the warm-up is not to prevent injury or ‘warm’ the muscle. I use to to help me mentally prepare for the heavy weight I am about to lift. Here are my ram-ups from yesterday to give you an idea.

I’ve had slight shoulder problems in the past, so I do this before every training day:

db lateral raise
10x10 lbs
front raise
5x10
db press
5x10
db bent over (rear)
5x20

This seems to have helped.

bench
10xbar
5x135
2x185
2x205
230 working set

front squat
5xbodyweight
5xbar
5x135
3x205
2x225
255 working set

deadlift
5x135
3x205
2x275
1x325
345 working set

Hope this helps or gives you an idea. I’ve never been a big fan of warming-up. I do it, but I don’t like it.

I usually rest 30-60 seconds during my warmups, and 1-2 minutes during my working sets. And I give about 2 minutes between exercises (usually long enough for me to set up for my next lifts).

Fri., May 23rd. Workout B:

squat - 3x5x66kg (145 lbs)

press - 2x5x42kg, 1x4x42kg (93 lbs)

power clean - 5x3x62kg (137 lbs)

chins - 5/2 @ bodyweight 81kg (178 lbs)

dips - 4/6 @ bodyweight 81kg (178 lbs)

Man, that was not an easy workout. I think I’ll only increase the press by 1kg next time, I missed the last rep. I gotta keep concentration on the cleans. I made em all, but the first few sets were lazy and I yanked the weight off the floor and the entire thing was ugly. When I focused and explosively drove off the floor they were much better (and easier, go figure). I might only increase them a bit next workout and make sure my form is right.

Otherwise, it was great to do 5 chins. I don’t think I’ve been able to do that since high school. I’d like to be able to do 10 in a row.

I feel like maybe my squat should be bigger. Dunno, I’m pretty flexible and those are really ass to ankles. I’ll try and post a pic of my depth.

Good workout. Just keep adding weight progressively to your squats and you’ll hit your ceiling soon enough. Do some bodyweight squats before your workout (if you don’t already), to loosen yourself up.

Also, not sure what your warmup sets are like, but I do my last warmup set of 1 rep at a higher weight than my working weight. I found that it really helped me perform better with my squats.

In fact, I was wondering about that high single you were doing. I’ll give that a try next time. Probably it will help me get more comfortable under heaver weight too.

The lowest catch setting on my rack is an inch or two higher than the bottom of my squat, so I normally just use the rack for loading. I guess when the weight gets high enough I’ll probably have to just bite the bullet and not go as deep so I can use the safety catch. Bleh.

Sun., May 25. Workout A:

front squats - 1x2x46kg (101 lbs), 1x3x50kg (110 lbs), 1x2x45kg (99 lbs), 1x3x40kg (88 lbs)

bench - 1x2x54kg (119 lbs), 2x5x50kg (110 lbs)

deadlift - 1x5x90 kg (198 lbs)

dips - 4+5+6 @ bw 81 kg (178 lbs)

Friday’s ugly cleans had consequences. I had some lower back pain on Sat. This has made me concerned about my form on other lifts. Today I’m well, but I decided to take it back a notch on the workout.

I also think I’m not getting enough quad activation on my squats. I may be leaning too far forward on them. I decided to go with front squats for a bit to try and correct this. These were humbling (as you can see I was trying to feel out the right weight)!

do you know how to do power cleans?

they are pretty hard to understand. if you arent flexible enough your back will round on them, hence your back will be sore/tight/hurt the next days.

find a dan john video on google. or go to danjohn.org (i think) and find it there. he explains how to do an RDL. power cleans are quite the same.

only difference is when you throw your chin to the ceiling(as you will see in the video he says) you also shrug your shoulders, and jump with your feet(but really if you just think chin to the ceiling it will happen kinda automatically).

also you must bend your elbows so the bar doesnt fly forward, gonna take some practice to learn when to bend your elbows, but you’ll get it. try it with just the bar.

on the high weights, after you stick your chin towards the ceiling, think of pulling yourself under the bar afterwards.

oh and… going forward in the squats makes you use your quads more actually. you shouldnt really be trying to “Activate” your quads in a back squat. you should be pushing your knees outwards to activate the hips and hamstrings.

also you should be leaning forward as long as your back doesnt curve and the weight remains on your heels. this puts less emphasis on quads and more on hams, hips, back and abs. if you want to build up your quads more, then do front squats. they are easier IMO.

Thanks for the advice, lordstorm. Until Friday, I thought I knew how to do power cleans. Now I’m having second thoughts. I’ll check out Dan John’s stuff. My lift from the ground mainly was the problem. I’m pretty satisfied with my hang cleans. I’ll focus on the full movement on my next workout rather than trying to increase the weight.

Interesting about the squats. I guess I didn’t know that. I think I’ll be sticking with front squats for now either way.

Wed., May 28th. Workout B:

power clean - 5x3x63kg (139 lbs)

press - 5,4,3x43kg (95 lbs)

front squat - 3x5x45kg (99 lbs)

chins - 5+2+2 @ bodyweight 81kg (178 lbs)

Much better workout than last Workout B. Putting cleans first worked well. I’m usually beat up by the time I do them and it’s hard to do all of them properly. Today I was very satisfied with my form. I was bending my back and elbows last time. That was what caused me pain. I won’t be doing that anymore.

It seems that I’m maxing out my press. I’ll probably hold at 43 kg until I can get all of the reps.

I’m hoping for relative quick gains in the front squat. I haven’t done them regularly in quite some time.

Fri., May 30th. Workout A:

back squat - 5,4,3x67kg (148 lbs)

bench - 5,5,3x53kg (117 lbs)

deadlift - 5x95kg (209 lbs)

dips - 6+5+6 @ bw=81kg (178 lbs)

Good workout. I’ll hold the back squats and maybe the bench. I tried a heavier single for the squat and bench. I can’t tell if it made a significant difference, but I think I’ll try it again.

I felt good on the DL warmup so I made a slightly bigger jump than I planned. I don’t think my overhand grip is gonna hold out much longer; I’ll start practicing mixed grip.

I’ve been doing wall squats every day for a week now and I feel that they are having a positive impact on my squat and DL form. I also decided to alternate back and front squats between A and B.