T Nation

Pretty Sure I'm Still a Noob

Hey guys,

I’ve been lurking these forums for about oh…6 years now? And in that time I’ve read all sorts of garbage from trolls but also have taken in a wealth of amazing information from the guys that truly know what they’re talking. Over the years I’ve also read a ton of stuff from Thibs, Waterbury, Poliquin, Shugart and a bunch of other amazing contributors. I’ve also done a lot of Waterbury and Thibaudeau workouts as well (most recently WM, AWM, TBT and 6 Weeks to Superhero).

I understand the importance of big compound lifts. I am aware of the importance of diet. I understand the importance of periodization for intermediates and higher and the need for progress load and/or increased volume. And I’ve learned that one must never do bicep curls in the goddamn squat rack. lol (amongst many other basic tenets).

But only recently (because apparently I am stupid) have I come to realize that, “fucking A, despite being ‘intermediate’ in terms of knowledge and time in the iron game, I’m actually still a ‘beginner’ in terms of my actual level as a weightlifter.” In other words, I might know more than the average guy simply due to my reading a lot of T-Nation, but I’m really still just a freakin noob! And in light of that revelation, I’ve decided to re-evaluate my entire approach and kind of start from the beginning.

To begin, I purchased Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”. I intend to read it cover to cover. I also intend to do a stronglifts 5x5 program.

But I’m also here to have those far more knowledgeable than me, assess my true level to see if they are in agreement that I am indeed still a noob.

My stats:
5 ft 6 in tall (or short)
164 lb. I lost 21 pounds over the last twomonths doing my version of a cut phase (South Beach Diet) and I am now read for a serious bulk phase. I intend to do a clean bulk consuming about 4000 super clean calories per day. Roughly 225 - 250 grams of protein and approx 150- 200 grams of carbs, half of which will be taken post workout.

I dont know my PR’s (another indicator of being a noob) but I’ll tell you what I did on my last workout.

Bench: 195 5x5
DL’s: 185 5x5 (weaksauce)
Squats: 145 5x5 (weaksauce squared…but in my defense, I’ve had a nagging back injury all year and was unable to support added weight on my back especiallywhile standing so I’ve been doing leg presses as a pathetic excuse for a replacement to squats and I only recently got back into doing squats as the back is all healed up).
Power Cleans: 115 5x5
Power Snatch: 65lb 5x5. I just started doing these this week for the first time ever.
Overhead DB Press: 65 lb in each hand 5x5

So…
A) Based on the above, I’m still a noob right? I mean those wack ratio’s from bench, to squat to DL’s kinda say it all IMO.
B) Based on the above, will stronglifts 5x5 or Rippetoe’s Starting Strength workout benefit me? I think I need the progression and strength training to get my strength up and it would even benefit me in terms of hypertrophy even though I’ve been “training” on and off for years now.

Currently, I believe I am still a noob and that I should read Starting Strength and I should do a stronglifts 5x5 program to get myself on the right path.

I look forward to your replies.

You have typical bench hugger stats… Your BP is actually pretty decent for a guy your weight, but yeah… You need to get better at squats and deads. AND shoulder presses. Take stronglifts 5x5 OR starting strength (they’re actually quite similar) and follow it to the LETTER (no added curls, snatches etc… you can add pull ups if you want to, but that’s it) for six months straight.

One or two weeks off in between, max. Couple this with a good diet (depends on your body type; you don’t seem to be super skinny for your height. See what works for you; high protein isn’t always necessary, some people work better with high carbs or high fat. I’m an ecto and I can eat obscene amounts of carbs). I think you’ll be pleased with the results. Once you reach 1xbw shoulder press, 1.5xbw squat and 2xbw deadlift for at least one rep each, you’re starting to see the light.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
You have typical bench hugger stats… Your BP is actually pretty decent for a guy your weight, but yeah… You need to get better at squats and deads. AND shoulder presses. Take stronglifts 5x5 OR starting strength (they’re actually quite similar) and follow it to the LETTER (no added curls, snatches etc… you can add pull ups if you want to, but that’s it) for six months straight. One or two weeks off in between, max. Couple this with a good diet (depends on your body type; you don’t seem to be super skinny for your height. See what works for you; high protein isn’t always necessary, some people work better with high carbs or high fat. I’m an ecto and I can eat obscene amounts of carbs). I think you’ll be pleased with the results. Once you reach 1xbw shoulder press, 1.5xbw squat and 2xbw deadlift for at least one rep each, you’re starting to see the light.[/quote]

Interesting. I am actually an endomorph and a FFB. My body retains fat with a quickness which is why I went on the South beach Diet to cut weight before I began a true bulkphase.

Currently, all my carbs come solely from fruits and vegetables…that’s it. I don’t consume anything that contains sugar and I eat a lot of chicken, fish and red meat.

Although I wouldn’t currently classify myself as a “bench hugger” because I always do full body workouts a la Waterbury. But I do acknowledge that in my early years I was definitely a bench hugger…so that when I began more well designed workouts (after discovering T-Nation) I did so without previously addressing weaknesses.

Either way, it looks like you agree that I would benefit from stronglifts 5x5.

I should’ve asked this specifically before but check out this excerpt from a T-Nation article:

Readers might find themselves wishing they’d come across Mark Rippetoe years ago, when they first found the high school or college weight room. After all, 50 or 60 pounds in a year? Oh, to be 18 again.

Put your hankies down. You may still be in luck.

According to Rip, just because you’ve been training for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve progressed or adapted past the initial “beginner” stage, where rapid increases in loading and bodyweight are possible. If that initial adaptation still hasn’t occurred, Rip says there’s no reason why it can’t now.

“You can take the average guy who for 10 years has fucked around in front of the dumbbell rack and walked on the treadmill watching TV. You can take that guy and get him to adapt and grow,” says Rip.

“First thing you do is get him to squat. And two days later, you can get him squatting again, but five or ten pounds heavier. Whether he’s 25 or 35 or 55, if that adaptation hasn’t occurred, it still can occur,” says Rip.

“Most people out there, despite what they think, are still beginners.”

Am I still considred to be in the beginner stage where rapid increases in loading and boyweight are stillpossible?

Yes you are a beginner, rippetoes programs will work for you.

[quote]Chris87 wrote:
Yes you are a beginner, rippetoes programs will work for you.[/quote]

thanks man. Appreciate the input.

just finsihed the squats section of the book.

Wow, I’ve been doing so many things wrong for years.

I’ve also done a full squat because of what T-Nation taught me…but my feet werepointed forward, the bar was a bit too high on myback, my grip was too wide, my thumbs were wrapped around the bar and hip drive was something I never even factored.

wow…so much fail. So much to learn.

I’m truly a beginner.

Try madcow 5x5, and instead of benching 2x per week and OHP 1 time, switch it up

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Try madcow 5x5, and instead of benching 2x per week and OHP 1 time, switch it up[/quote]

This is also a great option. I would alternate bench and press each time you lift.

Sounds like you are thinking entirely too much… work on improving your intensity… that alone should have you farther along than you are now…

I dont know how somebody could physically be capable of benching that much more than they squat or deadlift…Unless they were in a wheelchair. Blows the mind.

^lmfao

[quote]RDeschain wrote:

So…
A) Based on the above, I’m still a noob right? I mean those wack ratio’s from bench, to squat to DL’s kinda say it all IMO.
B) Based on the above, will stronglifts 5x5 or Rippetoe’s Starting Strength workout benefit me? I think I need the progression and strength training to get my strength up and it would even benefit me in terms of hypertrophy even though I’ve been “training” on and off for years now.

Currently, I believe I am still a noob and that I should read Starting Strength and I should do a stronglifts 5x5 program to get myself on the right path.

I look forward to your replies.[/quote]

Hey brother,
here are 2 routines that will blow your old PRs in no time:
Squat: The Smolov (50lbs+ gains in 6 weeks are typical)
Deadlift/Squat/Bench: The 54321 Countdown to Power(a 45lbs gain for your 1 RM in 4 weeks)
RKC Ladders are great for mass and strength too!

Greetings

[quote]RDeschain wrote:
just finsihed the squats section of the book.

Wow, I’ve been doing so many things wrong for years.

I’ve also done a full squat because of what T-Nation taught me…but my feet werepointed forward, the bar was a bit too high on myback, my grip was too wide, my thumbs were wrapped around the bar and hip drive was something I never even factored.

wow…so much fail. So much to learn.

I’m truly a beginner.[/quote]

the bar placement depends on your squatting style… Glenn Pendlay would disagree with Rip, so would others. It’s a matter of opinion.
Also, as an Endo: Don’t do a full bulk. You’ll probably gain way more fat than muscle. bwx16 calories per day, you can add more if you feel you need to.

Yep. Still a beginner strength wise.

really appreciate your comments guys. I’ve decided to try the stronglifts program for 12 weeks.

I’ll make sure to post my progress.

[quote]Field wrote:
I dont know how somebody could physically be capable of benching that much more than they squat or deadlift…Unless they were in a wheelchair. Blows the mind.[/quote]

yeah, in my early years I clearly focused way too much on bench with no focus on DL’s and squats. When I discovered T-Nation years ago I onlythen started squatting and DL’ing. But instead of addressing weaknesses wehn I moved onto better training methods I learned of here my strength progressions in those important lifts always lagged.

Anyway, that’s why I’mhere…and that’s why i’m determined to get on the right path.

Just a quick update on my training (in case some were actually interested).

I’ve been doing SL5x5 and here is where my lifts are at:

Squats 5x5x185
Deadlifts 5x5x205
Bench 5x5x180
OHP 5x5x105
Pendalay Rows 5x5x125
Unassisted Pull ups 5x5. I’ll be looking to do these weighted as soon as I return to the gym.

Needless to say considering how light the weight still is I’m doing everything without any straps/belts etc.

I have yet to hit a stall so I’m happy there but I injured my neck a few weeks ago and kept training through it. I’m truly frustrated as I’ll have to take some time off as I can’t lift without pain. I know this because I tried to lift last night and paid the price as I was nearly imobilized. My impatience is literally hurting me it seems.

I gotta remember that this shit isn’t a sprint…it’s a new way of life. A one week recovery period is but a blip on the long term screen.

Why would you buy starting strength and then do stronglifts? makes no sense.

Also, there is only supposed to be one set of deadlifts in either of those programs, not 5x5.

You can do 5 sets of 5 pullups? that’s not bad. maybe just give up on squat and deadlifting for a bit and find exercises that are working better for u. once u start making progress, slowly work them back into your routine. focusing on geting all three up at once might just be too much.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
You have typical bench hugger stats… Your BP is actually pretty decent for a guy your weight, but yeah… You need to get better at squats and deads. AND shoulder presses. Take stronglifts 5x5 OR starting strength (they’re actually quite similar) and follow it to the LETTER (no added curls, snatches etc… you can add pull ups if you want to, but that’s it) for six months straight.

One or two weeks off in between, max. Couple this with a good diet (depends on your body type; you don’t seem to be super skinny for your height. See what works for you; high protein isn’t always necessary, some people work better with high carbs or high fat. I’m an ecto and I can eat obscene amounts of carbs). I think you’ll be pleased with the results. Once you reach 1xbw shoulder press, 1.5xbw squat and 2xbw deadlift for at least one rep each, you’re starting to see the light.[/quote]

65lbs per hand isn’t a bad DB press at all in comparison to his squats and DLs, assuming he’s got good technique. Also, a BW OHP seems rather high in proportion to a 1.5xBW squat (which would only be around 250lbs for him). I think a BW OHP, 1.5xBW bench, 2xBW squat, and 2.5xBW deadlift would be a better ratio. Perhaps even higher because the OP is short and endomorphic, so it should be a lot easier for him to develop strength in proportion to body weight than most.