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Need Starting Strength Advice

I started Rippetoe’s Starting Strength about 3-4 weeks ago. So far I have done only the main exercises with one exception - instead of the military press I bench each workout. This is because the ceiling isn’t high enough to accommodate the military press.

My first question is if it would be better for me to do a seated military press on B days instead of the bench press?

Second question: My progress on my squats has far exceeded everything else. I started off at 120 3x5 and today I got up to 200 3x12 (I was inspired to up the reps after reading some Milk and Squats posts). So my question is what can I do to improve the other three - bench press, deadlift, and pendlay rows?

My bench press has gone up a total of 15 pounds to 105. I have always had a stronger lowerbody but this is really frusturating. Also, I can’t lift it smoothly. I’m always shaking and I guess the best way to desrcribe it is I can’t keep the bar balanced.

Today I got up to 160 on the deadlift but I hurt my back. I might not train on Wednesday, I’ll have to see how things go. This is a completely newbie question but is there a specific weight at which I should start using a belt to support my back?

I don’t know if it is my form or if I’m just weak but my neck hurts when I do/right after I do pendlay rows. I’m so focused on looking straight/up when doing them so that my back stays flat but then my neck gets all tense and stiff. Does it sound like I’m doing something wrong?

I would say do seated military press as thats the closest to a standing one and its wise not to drift from the plan.

On the bench get a spotter if you can as this will allow you to keep your shoulder blades retracted and tight to form a solid base, this should remove some of the instability.

you could also try a wider grip as this would balance the weight better and i know it sounds simple but make sure your bench is placed directly under the middle of the bar but i’m probably the only one who has made that mistake.

I am not quite sure how the ceiling gets in the way with OH presses, but if you have to, seated dumbbell presses are an OK temporary solution.
Why are you doing rows instead of cleans?

In regards to the shaking- ignore it, it can only improve as you get stronger and more used to the movement.

I also agree with tennisdude in that you should stay as close to what the program says as possible and so i would incorporate the military press.

As far as the belt goes its a personal thing, but you certainly dont need one at that weight. I would guess the reason you hurt your back was due to poor technique- make sure you lift with a straight back rather than an arched one.

[quote]anoddparadigm wrote:
I am not quite sure how the ceiling gets in the way with OH presses, but if you have to, seated dumbbell presses are an OK temporary solution.
Why are you doing rows instead of cleans?[/quote]

it’s the accepted substitute if one doesn’t have someone to teach them cleans.

[quote] socno24 wrote:
Instead of the military press I bench each workout. Would be better for me to do a seated military press instead of the bench press?

What can I do to improve the other three - bench press, deadlift, and pendlay rows?

My bench press is shaky and I can’t keep the bar balanced.

Is there a specific weight at which I should start using a belt to support my back?

my neck hurts when I do/right after I do pendlay rows. Am I doing something wrong?[/quote]

Instead of replacing military press with bench press, replace it with seated military press, like ironman and tennisdude said.

The best thing for your other lifts is to follow the program. It’s cool if your lifts don’t go up proportionally. It happens. It means that, when you get more advanced, you’ll have specific weaknesses that are easy to address.

Drop your squats back to 3x5. Just add more weight. Follow the program.

Start using a belt when you can pull 405. This isn’t so much a hard and fast rule as an awareness that once you can do that, you’re familiar enough with form and how your body works to know whether or not it’s good for you.

Sometimes tension develops in the neck when doing rows. Intentionally relax it and make sure to breathe next time. See if this helps. Also, if your upper body is horizontal and your head is facing the wall, this puts your neck at a messed up angle.

Look at the floor a few feet in front of you, not necessarily at the wall in front of you. This is more an issue with barbell rows, not really sure with pendley rows.

Bench


Squat
http://www.T-Nation.com/article/supplements/squat_900_pounds&cr=
Deadlift
http://www.T-Nation.com/article/supplements/the_dead_zone&cr=

Don’t necessarily change your training based on these articles, but read them and incorporate what tips you can into your squat, deadlift, and bench (ie form suggestions).

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
anoddparadigm wrote:
I am not quite sure how the ceiling gets in the way with OH presses, but if you have to, seated dumbbell presses are an OK temporary solution.
Why are you doing rows instead of cleans?

it’s the accepted substitute if one doesn’t have someone to teach them cleans.[/quote]

I know rippetoe was pretty annoyed how rows became an accepted substitute for cleans. Obviously, some of us are stuck training in facilities that don’t allow us to do cleans. But in terms of performance, the whole point of cleans are lost when you do rows.

Note:
strengthmill.net/forum/showthread.php?t=223&highlight=rows

strengthmill.net/forum/showthread.php?t=732&highlight=rows

I really screwed up my neck being too tense doing OH presses or cleans. Not an excuse to avoid those movements, but really work on staying loose and breathing. Now, I have been getting terrible headaches when I lift but I’ve been getting over it.

I found one stretch that really helped with preventing my headaches, thanks fatcat, and might help you if your neck starts to get tight:

http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/TrapeziusUpper/Trap.html
(this one saved my life)

then just slow head rolls, and forward and back neck stretches.

I agree with what the guys all already said, particularly about staying close to the workout. You can replace military press with a seated dumbell press because it’s another vertical pressing movement, opposed to a horizonal pressing movement like benching.


trainersjournal.com
the fitness lifestyle

[quote]anoddparadigm wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
anoddparadigm wrote:
I am not quite sure how the ceiling gets in the way with OH presses, but if you have to, seated dumbbell presses are an OK temporary solution.
Why are you doing rows instead of cleans?

it’s the accepted substitute if one doesn’t have someone to teach them cleans.

I know rippetoe was pretty annoyed how rows became an accepted substitute for cleans. Obviously, some of us are stuck training in facilities that don’t allow us to do cleans. But in terms of performance, the whole point of cleans are lost when you do rows.

Note:
strengthmill.net/forum/showthread.php?t=223&highlight=rows

strengthmill.net/forum/showthread.php?t=732&highlight=rows
[/quote]

I see what you’re getting at. I’m not nearly as smart as rip by any means. But power cleans aren’t really a physique building lift. I love the oly lifts, and include them in my routine. But if building muscle mass is your primary goal, I think the barbell row is the superior lift. All of the reasons rip listed in he thread are legit and correct. When I did the program I did power cleans. But I still think rows are acceptable, maybe not the greatest, but good.

Thanks for all the advice. I’m definitely going to do the seated press from now on. Is a seated barbell press acceptable or should I stick to dumbbells?

Is there anything that I can do to speed up recovery of my back? It is really bothering me. When I’m just sitting or lying down its not too bad, just a dull ache. It hurts most when I stand up and sit down. I took some pain reliever, a hot shower, and have been using a hot pad. It hurts on the lower right side if that makes a difference.

[quote]socno24 wrote:
Thanks for all the advice. I’m definitely going to do the seated press from now on. Is a seated barbell press acceptable or should I stick to dumbbells?[/quote]

Do the barbell if you have assistance to rack/unrack the weight. Use dumbbells if you’re by yourself or have no military bench.

Injury advice should be taken with a grain of salt on the Internet. That being said, I would ice every 15 minutes and go to a chiropractor. Has done wonders for me and my lower back. It could be a number of problems that may or may not go away.

[quote]socno24 wrote:

Is there anything that I can do to speed up recovery of my back? It is really bothering me. When I’m just sitting or lying down its not too bad, just a dull ache. It hurts most when I stand up and sit down. I took some pain reliever, a hot shower, and have been using a hot pad. It hurts on the lower right side if that makes a difference.[/quote]

I had / have the exact problem. After the strain walking felt fine but making the transition from seated to standing or vise versa hurt bad. Hell, just tying my shoes hurt.I believe what caused my problem was bad form on rows. I let my ego load the bar before my ass could do the lift. To make things worse, against better judgement I continued my next training two days later and did my dead lifts. So, I took one week off, then started back with all movements except deads and rows. Now, one month later I added back the deads and rows at about 60 percent weight and am really concentrating on form. I am adding weight slooowly and doing good. After training my back is a little tight but loosens up in an hour or so. Fact is that a lower back strain takes time to heal.