T Nation

Should I Do Starting Strength?


Hi, I bought a 300 lbs Olympic weight set along with a bench and an okay rack that came with the bench (can be used for squatting) I'm 33, 140 lbs, 5'6". I'm pretty fucking weak too and hate that I lack basic strength to do shit. I want to get stronger, but don't mind a slow lean bulk. I tried weightlifting a few years ago and got stronger over a 6 month period, but I got fucking fat and the strength gains didn't feel justified by the fat gains. I'm a skinny-fat type person. Anyway, I lost motivation and stopped. Given my psychique I think I would do best on a program that got me stronger while not completely fucking up my physique.

I'm considering starting strength, but I get the sense I'll get stronger and a lot fatter on it. Hate to say it, but having a good phyisque while I get stronger matters to me. Is this possible and can SS even be done this way? I know most people here will say I should eat like a mofo. I tried that before, but like I said the strength I gained didn't feel justified by all the fat so I'd prefer a more moderate approach. Thanks!


Just follow the program, but increase weight slowly. Like 10lb a week for squat/deadlift, 5lb a week for the bench and the OHP.

That should mean that you don't have to eat as much to recover from the constant beating your body is getting.


Starting strength is a good choice, if you don't want to get fat whilst doing it then don't eat too much! Gradually increase your calories based on your lean body weight. Increase weight as and when you can, there's no point in limiting when you put weight on the bar- lifting more won't make you fat, quite the opposite.


I ran SS and gained 2 lbs. Sounds like you just need to get your nutrition in order.


I'm reading the chapter on squats and realize I've never done a proper squat in my life. Anyway, I'm practicing the technique without the barbell, but I keep tipping/leaning forward when I squat downwards often ending up on my tippy toes and not able to go all the way down. Any advice to fix my technique?


Your muscles are too tight.

Work on hip hinges (look them up online from various sources and practice them a lot) and do squats with wider stances.

Also do goblet squats and squats while sticking 5-10lb (basically a weight to provide proper leverage) out with your arms.


Thanks! I tried a goblet squat and noticed a big difference. I will be practicing form for a month before getting really started. Anyway, thanks for the advice.


There is no reason why it would make you get fat. Lifting weights can't make you get fat, it burns calories.
The only way you will get fat on this program is if you eat way too much. Just focus on your strength and not looks for now and eat a clean bulk diet and the looks will come with it in time (if not pretty quickly)


You been on this site 6 years and 900 posts and you're 140lbs??? You seem like a super-procrastinator. Just start. Good form will come with time


I haven't posted on this forum in ages. Back in 2007 I took up weightlifting, but didn't do things correctly and ultimately gave up on my endeavor. Since then I've basically been inactive when it comes to weightlifting. That's why I'm only 140 lbs right now. So, I haven't lifted seriously in five years. Yeah, I have 900 posts, but most of those were from a long, long time ago. For all intensive purposes you can treat me as a newb whose trying to do things the right way this time around.

BTW is the guy in the avatar you? If so, you don't even look like you lift...so I wouldn't go around lecturing. Otherwise, if that's not you or it's a before picture then I'm guessing you're in good shape then.


For these reasons I don't think you should do Starting Strength. And you definitely should not "eat like a mofo" if you care about your physique. Something similar to starting strength, with a focus on the main lifts, but ALSO including isolation work for everything that is neglected with starting strength, would be better.

Also, do keep in mind that your diet matters much more than what specific workout routine you try. No, don't "eat like a mofo," focus on eating good foods with high protein, figure out how much you need to eat to improve your physique, and eat that amount. Then, when progress stalls, adjust. If you're gaining noticeable fat, eat less. If you're not gaining muscle/strength, eat more.


saying this like this just makes you look/sound stupid (don't be an ass dude). even if we assumed (assumption-game is the worst game to play) that profile pic was him and he doesn't lift, then you still look childish for going down this tangent.

but to be clear, the man has actually completed the various programs being suggested and discussed in this thread, and therefore giving you advice about them..


Well, I didn't appreciate his tone calling me a super-procrastinator (i.e. lazy). Why is that okay for him to say?

Maybe if he wasn't being an ass I wouldn't either.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but if you look like you don't even lift then I'm not going to listent to your advice...no matter how many programs you've been through.

I apologize for being an ass...I can be a bit sensitive at times. I'll try to do better next time. This is why I've tried to avoid forums for years now...they bring out the worst in me.



With that said, though, I don't think Starting Strength is appropriate for your current goals or experience. Look into 5/3/1 or another program from the Archive. Tim Henriques had some good strength-focused plans. And like Gmoore said, nutrition is going to be crucial. There are plenty of articles the should help you set up a plan.

Goblet squats are definitely a good call. But also consider kicking your stance a little bit wider. A lot of the time, coming up on the toes is simply from having too close a stance and getting off balance.

I giggle a little bit when I see someone say this to RampantBadger. Just sayin', I laugh almost like the Master of Puppets was pulling my strings.


Here are the reason why I want to do SS:

Firstly, I canceled my gym membership and bought an olypmic weight set. All I have access to is olympic bar + weights, bench and a stand for doing squats. That's it...I can't do leg presses or stuff that requires gym equipment. The thing I like about SS is it's basic in its requirements. Just need bar, bench and stand and you're good to go.

Secondly, my first venture into weightlifting was a joke. I would do squats in the smith machine, because I had no access to a squat rack at that time. I also didn't know shit all about form. So, I was definitely working out suboptimally and probably eating like someone who was working out correctly. You add those two together and you get a guy with moderate strength gains along with a bunch of fat.

This time around I want to do shit right. So, maybe eating and getting fat isn't such an issue for me as long as I'm seeing good numbers in my lifts. Last time I wasn't. I think that's the bigger issue I have. I think getting too attached to my physique will just hinder me so I'm thinking I need to loosen that attitude a bit and be okay with some fat gains.

Lastly, SS focuses on the core lifts. Shouldn't I be getting those down pact before venturing further? When I look at something like SS it strikes me as common sense in many ways, because it's focused on the core lifts. Last time around I was doing a whole bunch of shit, including a bunch of isolation stuff, but looking at it now that seemed kind of dumb when I don't even have the basic, most important lifts down.

Again, sorry for the rude, dickish comments. I take back what I said. I shouldn't be a dick like that, especially since you guys are here to help. I just can be this way sometimes...:confused:


5/3/1, other 5x5 programs... they all require minimal equipment (a barbell, squat stands and a bench), and focus on the core lifts.

Honestly, very few of the recommended routines around here require much (if any) in the way of machines. And for the ones that do, there's always alternative exercises.


I'd pick 5/3/1 over starting strength.


Why the lack of support for SS? Five years ago when I was on here everyone was telling to do it, but I didn't because I had no access to squat rack. What's so special about 5/3/1? Keep in mind, I'm a clueless lifter so the simplicity of SS is appealing.


I understand what you are saying, and you are half correct. You are correct about the part of you not training correctly. That part is clear.


at the same time you are trying to say that everything you don't know about nutrition is going to be cured by better form. That's obviously a load of bullshit.

I wouldn't want you losing gains because you're too proud to realize that there are things you might be wrong about or might not even know.

Here is a video series you can watch to at least get started. You don't have to count calories to be skinny, you just have to know enough not to be fat.


Why isn't it?

You said you gave up because things didn't go well. That is being lazy.

The first three months that I ran SS, I gained 13-15lb and didn't get much stronger. It pissed me off. I realized that the whole "eat a shit-ton" doesn't mean diddly squat when you're not moving a whole lot of weight to begin with. So I took a different approach. Things improved.

When you hit problems you either work around them or find a way to blast through. Anything else is being lazy and unmotivated.

He wasn't being an ass.

Then stop being sensitive. That is an issue with you, not others.

And taking avatars to be representative of the individual is silly.