T Nation

Linear Progression Ending Advice


Hi, I was gonna ask this on bb.com but then I decided that I actually wanted constructive responses so I made a T Nation account. Anywho I've been on starting strength for a little over 6 months now and these are my stats: Age:16 Weight: 146 pounds height: barely 5'8 main lifts(all 5rm): 288/266/166/116. So I've been stalling on ss for the last few weeks, and squats take at least 3 sessions to increase weight, my bench and ohp have been stuck for almost 4 weeks!

What I've been wondering is should I try to squeeze out a little more linear progression with the ss advanced novice(seems like just squat less on Wed). Or should I move on to the Texas method programme. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Three things come to mind immediately.

1- Maybe you could use a week to deload. Either lift lightly or just rest up.

2- Eat more.

3- Check and double check your form.


Have you tried resetting?


You have not been doing the program. 6 months on SS and you weigh 148? You should probably reset your weights and start working up to drinking a gallon of whole milk per day while continuing SS. I don't mean to just shit on you, your numbers aren't horrible, you just aren't following the program correctly and your progress will be even better if you follow my (Rippetoe's) advice.


Well I could try increasing my caloric intake, but I can't do the GOMAD thing cause of lactose intolerance issues. And I've also done resets a few times now.


Pretty much this. You are way to novice to worry about linear progression not working anymore. I would at least drop the weight back 10-20lbs if anything but resetting would probably be ideal. The best thing you could do is start to seriously take in calories. If you think you are "eating all you can" then start keeping a food log at least for a week. Generally, you arent eating as much as you thought you were.


Meat, eggs, weight gainer powder, and lactose free milk. Just a few off the top of my head that will help but on some weight.


Well what do u guys suppose my weight and bodtfat % should be given my height(my bodyfat is about 12% give or take). Also should I make wed a light squat day? 3x/week is really taking a toll on me.


Lactose free milk IMO is expensive.....but worth every penny to not have to worry about sharting yourself :slight_smile:


Use a pound a day of a fattier mean like dark chicken, certain cuts of pork, and beef and eat a dozen eggs a day in addition to whatever else you eat. That's about the same callories as GOMAD. Granted you don't get nearly as many carbs.

Personally, I'd just get fat and unhealthy doing that so I'm more of a fan of gradual leaner weight gain.


Ya it certainly isnt as cheap as regular milk but its slowly going down in price due to the demand.


Not at all. I improved my health(cholesterol, estrogen levels, etc) and dropped down to low bodyfat with a low carb/higher fat diet that consisted of lean meats, eggs, etc. But thats a whole different thread by itself.


So what do u guys suppose I should weight, at 5'8? Enough to continue linear progression, not becom a fatass


Are you still growing? At 16 maybe you are maybe you're not. I would say that if you expect to hit at least 5'10'' you need to be 200lbs as soon as possible. If you don't grow another inch then in my opinion you need to be AT LEAST 180 as fast as you can. Rip himself advocates getting up to about 20% bodyfat for LP.

I am certain that you are not eating enough. You need to take a hard honest look at what you eat and when. If i were you i would aim for a dozen whole eggs a day, 1lb of ground beef and 1/2 gallon of milk. Then work that up to a full gallon. Maybe start with a quart of milk and work up if you think you have problems with milk. Unless you are full blown lactose intolerant you will be fine if you work up to a gallon systematically and consistently.

Keep in mind that the GOMAD is recommended simply to maximize your prime growth time during Starting strength. Even if it isnt super comfortable, if you can complete your workouts while doing it, it will help you. When you do switch off SS you can and should cease GOMAD.


Not because of the macro breakdown, but because of the massive additional calories and how fast I'd be putting on weight. But then again, I'm not an underweight teenager in the beginning phases of weight training so it could work for OP. My recommendation is to take pictures every couple of months so he can evaluate how much fat he's gained and decide if that's acceptable.


Rip and GOMAD are full of shit. I'm at 6'1", fluctuate between 170-185lbs, 6-9%bf, and making faster progress now than when I was on Starting Strength. And due to my leanness and proportions, people assume that I'm over 200lbs. You don't need to get bigger to get stronger, you just need to train smart. Getting fat is the dumbest thing you can do as a new trainee. Once you gain these fat cells, you'll get fat more easily when you get older. Don't blame lack of progress on your size, blame it on shit training.

For a small young guy, you are doing quite well. If your lifts are stuck at the same weight for almost a month, then clearly linear progression the Rip way isn't working for you anymore. A upper/lower split with higher volume should work well for you. I've made faster progress on several periodized programs than I did on linear progression.


Certainly no need to get to 20% bf, but if you train hard and eat as much as you can of classic "strength/muscle building" type foods (eggs, meat, vegetables, rice, sweet potato, pasta etc.) and don't let any one food group get out of proportion (i.e. don't just gorge on bread) you should stay quite lean and progress well for now.
If this doesn't work, start tracking your diet (either full macronutrients or just total calories and protein). Adjust to fit goals.
No need to worry about changing program yet, SS is fine for now - give it another 6 months at least.
Finally, not really based on anything other than opinion, but as you asked I would say that 180+ lbs would be a decent weight for your height. Not that it matters as much as much as strength and muscle gains.


This isn't right. He has already stalled a couple times and should be looking to switch to Texas method if it weren't for being quite underweight. Reset your weights to 90% of what they are now and start gaining weight right now. Gaining weight should get your linear gains going again for a bit. If you have gained about 10-15 lbs by the time you stall again that would be ideal.

Halcj, have you read Starting Strength or Practical Programming?


Yes I have read Practical Programming and Starting Strength, and one of the points Rippetoe stresses is that it is best to get as much as possible from the simple linear progression of SS before changing to a more advanced form of programming. At OP's weight and strength (which is reasonable for his bodyweight but still leaves plenty of room to progress) more can be made from simple progression.
I remember Ed Coan stating in an interview that he got to a 500lb squat by maxing once or twice a week for a year or so. While I wouldn't necessarily advocate this, it does show the power of simple programming.
I will add that I agree that resetting to 90% is an option, though probably not a necessity if diet is amended for weight gain.
Simplicity and hard work are key for a relative beginner.


LOL implying Rippetoe's advice holds for anyone past the first 4 months of their training. I've seen Elite level lifters progress faster on Westside or Bulgarian Method than most novices on SS/SL/TM/MC, etc.

And I'd say what Ed Coan did is more effective than SS. SS simply is not enough volume nor intensity past the most beginning stages.
The kid could go to a competition right now and place well with a squat well over 2x bodyweight. I don't know how many of you Rippetoe nuthugging tough guys or even Rip himself could do that.

Programming can still be very simple, but there's no need to follow a strict template. Just make sure your form is as perfect as possible, do multiple sets of 1-5 reps multiple times a week, throw in whatever assistance you need, and you will progress even well past the Elite level.