T Nation

Moving on from Starting Strength


#1

Quick background, in the past year and a half i went from 250 to 165. Once I realized I didnt have the mass to finish losing the love handles, I decided to gain some weight. Since I have always been "big" (even as a kid playing baseball and doing all the fun outside kid stuff) I am assuming fat and muscle might come easily.

I made my own programs when I was dieting and spend most of the time doing upper lower splits with a push pull setup. I really enjoyed it.

When I decided to put some mass on, I thought I would try ABBH. Two weeks into that and, to me, it seemed like a crazy waste as it had me training my calfs 2 times a week. I guess between what for me was a lousy program and starting to eat again I packed on some fat. I no longer really fit into my 31-32 inch shorts. Sucks.

I moved into Starting Strength and I have enjoyed it for almost a month now and I beat the log book every workout which is super cool since that hasnt happend since I made my month or two of gains when I first started lifting, but it didnt last due to my dieting down.

When I started SS I initially felt like I just wasnt doing enough, because before my workouts were much longer and I went to failure nearly every time. I walked into the house every day wobbly, having felt like I got hit by a bus. Not the case with SS. So I added dips and chins, just one set to failure at the end of the session. I did that for a week and still felt I wasn't getting enough so I added pendlay rows and RDLs.

I am still making gains, but actually, I am getting tired of squatting 3 times a week. I feel like im not allowing myself to go balls to the wall so that I wont be too sore come the next session.

Right now my work set weights are:
bench, 165
press 105 my shoulders have always been a weak spot
power clean, 150
squat 205
DL, 275 (missed 385 last night, couldnt lock out)

I havent tried to max out anything but my DL, since I am worried about pinning myself. I am probably weighing about 188 at the moment, a very soft 188 most likely.

Anyway, I was hoping someone had a good suggestion on a program to work off of that might be a 3 day split. I would like to go somewhere in the lines of a PL program where I could train my bench one day, squat one day, and DL one day. Is this something like a westside way of doing things? I dont have the money to invest in bands at the moment, and I think thats why I havent gone with the west side stuff. I was also thinking of going with chains on my squats, as I really suck out of the hole.

I hope this makes sense, as I am at work and have had to take many breaks while writing this. Thanks for everyones help.


#2

If the main problem is squatting three times a week, then simply don’t squat three times a week. What I mean is drop the squats from one of the days, preferably the day you deadlift. So one week you end up squatting twice and deadlifting once, and the next week you squat once and deadlift twice. This will relieve the pressure of having to squat every workout, but will still allow you to get in a solid amount of lower body work during every workout.

I did Starting Strength for about 6 months back when I first got serious about lifting, and this change is essentially what I did after I had stalled and re-set a couple times. It enabled me to keep making progress for another 6 weeks or so.

In regards to looking for a powerlifting type program, I would recommend that you hold off on doing one. There are a lot of good ones out there, but most are geared towards relatively advanced lifters. You seem to be a a point in you training where you can still add weight to most exercises every workout. Doing something like westside or sheiko will certainly make you stronger, but you can get stronger faster by sticking with starting strength for now. As long as your numbers in the gym are going in the right direction, your body will be too.


#3

A) One month is not enough time to have gotten anything out of starting strength. First and foremost, I think you should keep doing this program and keep beating the book. As for holding yourself back so you won’t be so sore? With all due respect, stop being such a pussy.

B) If you really want to do a Westside routine… Westide 4 Skinny Bastards III is a great routine (one I am currently doing) and involves no bands or chains.


#4

[quote]GuerillaZen wrote:
A) One month is not enough time to have gotten anything out of starting strength. First and foremost, I think you should keep doing this program and keep beating the book. As for holding yourself back so you won’t be so sore? With all due respect, stop being such a pussy.

B) If you really want to do a Westside routine… Westide 4 Skinny Bastards III is a great routine (one I am currently doing) and involves no bands or chains.[/quote]

I dont hold back to not be sore, nor do I really worry about being sore, and I probably dont actually hold anything back, just hate being sore when I squat.

I just hate missing finishing a set


#5

[quote]johnward82 wrote:

I feel like im not allowing myself to go balls to the wall so that I wont be too sore come the next session.

[/quote]

If you feel this way, then you probably are holding back, even if you don’t realize it. Either way, you can understand the confusion.


#6

[quote]GuerillaZen wrote:
johnward82 wrote:

I feel like im not allowing myself to go balls to the wall so that I wont be too sore come the next session.

If you feel this way, then you probably are holding back, even if you don’t realize it. Either way, you can understand the confusion.
[/quote]

Indeed, but I do know that I hold back in some form or fashion just because I dont want to go for that one more rep for fear of getting stuck…and alone in the garage is not the place for that. Maybe when i get a cage.


#7

Although this leads me to this question for people that have done SS before. What is your opinion if my program is set up as such.

squat
bench
DL
pendlay row
chin

squat
press
power clean
RDL
dip

and on fridays if i have some left in the tank ill superset skull crushers and curls for grins.


#8

[quote]johnward82 wrote:
Although this leads me to this question for people that have done SS before. What is your opinion if my program is set up as such.

squat
bench
DL
pendlay row
chin

squat
press
power clean
RDL
dip

and on fridays if i have some left in the tank ill superset skull crushers and curls for grins. [/quote]
It seems to me that if you’re worried about going heavy with SS, then you’re going to run into the same issues with any other strength based routines. Your exercise choice looks pretty solid, but it’s basically SS with an extra exercise each day. I’d stick with SS, and get some saw horses or a cage so you can go heavy.


#9

[quote]ninjaboy wrote:
johnward82 wrote:
Although this leads me to this question for people that have done SS before. What is your opinion if my program is set up as such.

squat
bench
DL
pendlay row
chin

squat
press
power clean
RDL
dip

and on fridays if i have some left in the tank ill superset skull crushers and curls for grins.
It seems to me that if you’re worried about going heavy with SS, then you’re going to run into the same issues with any other strength based routines. Your exercise choice looks pretty solid, but it’s basically SS with an extra exercise each day. I’d stick with SS, and get some saw horses or a cage so you can go heavy.
[/quote]

That has been a plan of mine to just make some plain safety spotters or something. I dont require anything fancy. Homemade is just fine.

Should I just keep SS with the extra exercises in there? Without them sometimes I feel like im just not getting enough work in.

Whats your thoughts on those days, when you are having an off day, poor rest, where your weights are down and whatnot. What do you guys do in these cases? Sometimes I just throw the day out the window and do some sets of my more favorite lifts, IE DL’s or somethign I never do, like front squats or something to mix it up, or ill do the basic SS program and ditch the extras that way I give 110% into the 3 or 4 main lifts.

Also, I was thinking of changing one squat day to a front squat, say on the day I do my cleans, opinions? Just something to mix it up from squatting 3 times a week.

Thanks for the input.


#10

This is what I am doing, and what you might possibly want to try after SS:

stronglifts.com/the-texas-method-
strength-training-for-intermediate-lifters/

Next logical step. That or Madcow. If the volume is starting to get to you, then you might be ready for a change of scenery.

I have modified the TM (above) on Fridays. I am doing the Coan-Phillipi deadlift cycle instead.

tsampa.org/training/scripts/coan_phillipi_deadlift/

The main reason is that my deadlift is just plain weak. Well weak to me. I also like it because it, and the TM are both about 10 weeks long.


#11

[quote]johnward82 wrote:

It seems to me that if you’re worried about going heavy with SS, then you’re going to run into the same issues with any other strength based routines. Your exercise choice looks pretty solid, but it’s basically SS with an extra exercise each day. I’d stick with SS, and get some saw horses or a cage so you can go heavy.[/quote]

ditto

[quote]Should I just keep SS with the extra exercises in there? Without them sometimes I feel like im just not getting enough work in.

Whats your thoughts on those days, when you are having an off day, poor rest, where your weights are down and whatnot. What do you guys do in these cases? Sometimes I just throw the day out the window and do some sets of my more favorite lifts, IE DL’s or somethign I never do, like front squats or something to mix it up, or ill do the basic SS program and ditch the extras that way I give 110% into the 3 or 4 main lifts.

Also, I was thinking of changing one squat day to a front squat, say on the day I do my cleans, opinions? Just something to mix it up from squatting 3 times a week.

Thanks for the input.
[/quote]

Scratch my last post and read this one instead.

Stick with SS for a long time. A long time means until you have had to deload and reset several times.

What do I do on off days? Man up and hit the weights anyway. Now sometimes I am just not rested enough. Then I will take an extra day or two off. Rarely. You’ve only been doing SS for four weeks. You have not reached a point in your training where you’re using maximum weights that require you to take extra days of training off. But if one of those days really does happen, just don’t do the squats for that day. Do the rest of the workout though.

You should be doing deadlifts either once or twice a week no matter what. That is in the program.

Maybe I’m wrong, but you seem a little soft. You need to man up and attack those weights as if your life or a loved one’s life depended on it. Maybe it will some day. Maybe I’m being a little too hard.

Good idea to switch to front squats. How about every Wednesday do front squats.

Check out the Starting Strength/Rippetoe thread in this (Beginners) section. I’m not sure what page it is on, but it SHOULD be stickied at the top.


#12

If you need a break from starting strength, eg. it’s really NOT working anymore, then I’d say that one of the numerous 5x5’s or something similar would work well.

That said, I think after learning what it means to really push yourself with a set x rep scheme like 3x5, you’re well prepared to do a program like CW total body training. Why? You know weights better and have a good idea of what the “1 or 2 reps short of failure” he suggests means. That and the varying set x rep schemes and variability make sure that your body keeps guessing. It’s not a bad next step. The Texas Method TheDude posted is basically the same idea.


#13

I definatly know what 1 or 2 reps short of failure means. Last night I gave 110% in my squats…I just blow monkey nuts at them.

Realized I had sawhorses in the garage that were of proper height, and glad I was using them. I only got 4 reps @ 215 on my first set before I missed.

I dont know WTF is up with my squats, I dont remember ever really feeling like I had a problem with them, maybe I need an A-HA moment like i did with my deads.

Last night I did my 1 set of 5 DL with 295 and missed the last rep because of sweaty hands. This leads to the question that was raised in my mind last night, is that ratio acceptable? My working set for deads at 295 and my working sets that I can finish in squats at 205? That is right at parallel I am really weak out of the hole past parallel.

Should I just keep training below parallel and go wtih lighter weights? Or should I keep wiht heavy weights (at the end of the 3rd set at 205 the bar is just crawlign at that point) and go to just parallel.

If I had internet at home Id post a video of my lousy squat…but alas, dont have that option.


#14

Go below parallel on your squats, use lighter weights if you need to. Your deadlift will probably be higher then your squat by a good bit for some time.