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SS Completed - Results & Advice


Ok so i've been on the starting strength for 12 weeks now.. a little rundown of things that have happened-

  • First two weeks I was training with smith machine for squats/bench etc. etc... it was terrible

  • My own powerack since then.. much much better

  • Squat has gone from 40kg SMITH to my best 5RM of 102kg..

  • Deadlift has gone from around 80kg+ bar weight (probably around 90kg) to my best 5RM of 132kg including bar..

  • My benchpress has gone from 50kg SMITH to my best 5RM of 66kg

  • Press is now 42kg including bar for 5RM.. not a great deal of progress here for some reason.. definitely didnt start any lower then 30kg

  • Power Cleans.. i tried to learn but it never really happened.. could do about 55kg 5RM with very bad form. Switched to BOR instead.. 5RM of 70kg

Weight wise i have gone from between 158-161 to 165.. its a little hazy but i have put on at least a few pounds.

On paper (or monitor) it seems like decent progress but the past week and a half have seen me have some terrible sessions where i just havn't been able to shift the weight at all, nevermind the progress just stalling.. like i might have only managed 1 of my 3 sets.. or today where my body just wouldnt even let me try and shift the weight for a deadlift.. even when i dropped it down to 125kg.

I by no means think my gains are "lost" or something and i'm sure I am around the same level of strength as my 5RM's listed still really.. but its very demotivating and basically brings me to the conclusion...

I i want to to be training lots.. i dislike days when i'm not training, especially when 1 out of my 3 hours a week might go completely wrong.

Also.. I know the idea of changing may be contested against, but surely no one can tell me from a purely bodybuilding view i cannot make progress any quicker then this?

As always, i'm eating as much as i can afford/stomach.. all i can really do for now.


Have you been doing GOMAD? How much have you been eating on average?

The big thing w/ the starting strength program as Rippetoe wrote it, is eating enough to gain weight which ensures the linear progression. I would say you are far from ending your novice/beginner gains period, if you can make sure that recovery considerations, specifically nutrition/kcals are taken care of.

Rippetoe recommends resetting when you stall, going back to weights from a number of weeks previous and restarting linearly from there.

I think there is a typical number of 2-3 stall/resets before individuals who follow the program strictly, i.e. do the GOMAD, before they can no longer do the beginner progression and move on to the intermediate phase, i.e. the texas method. A lot of these guys put on 20-30lbs of muscular bodyweight.

4-7 lbs in 12 weeks as a complete novice with a lot of heavy lifting leads me to conclude that you haven't been doing enough work in the kitchen. This may require things such as force feeding, GOMAD, more peanut butter than you care to consume, olive oil shots every hour, grazing on something at all times, etc.

It also isn't meant to be a 12 week program, it is over when you end your novice gains and can no longer add weight to the bar every workout when recovery/food is adequate.

There is really nothing magic about the program, its just the basic core lifts and a lot of food. Another program might be more to your liking, but if you are focused on gaining weight/strength, you just have to eat more.

Personally, I'd reset and give starting strength another go until you stall again as you have made pretty good progress, but really aren't there yet in terms of a strength/bodyweight base.


Nice work dude. Results so far are typical.

Before you started, your muscle mass had untapped strength due to you never learning how to use your muscles properly.

You have just experienced the joy of "newbie gains" where you RAPIDLY increase the weight because you are simply learning how to make the muscles fire in a pattern that will exert the force they are capable of.

You are now at the stage where to get stronger, you have to actually start adding muscle ... weight ... building them up. This takes time. A lot more time than you are used to.

Before you add what 10lbs to a lift every DAY ?? Now you might only add 10lbs per week. Later, 10lbs per month. Then later still, 10lbs in a year.

Now you need to get all you can from newbie gains I don't think you are finished yet.

Why not skip 2 days or a week and come back to it, alternatively, drop all the weights by 10% and continue on. But make the increases a bit smaller than you have been doing.

Consider buying Practical Programming book.

When you stall 2 more times on SS, consider this


Then this

That should take you through 2 years or so.


@theuofh: Had to google GOMAD.. but if i start it thats an extra 2000 calories a day? and a very good macronutrient base, it would allow me to not have to force feed to reach the calories.. would actually make it a lot easier overall, wish i'd have started this earlier! On average i will eat at a minimum of something like-

3 wraps full of meat/cheese etc.
1 meat sandwich
A cooked meal possibly spaghetti bolognese or similar
40g protein shake with breakfast, 40+ before bed... maybe a couple of scoops in the day. (havn't gone into too much detail but id say its 75% clean at least and it IS over 3000 calories every day already)

I'm thinking i couldn't help but put on weight if i added milk to that, I could also keep the solid foods fairly clean because i would have a huge increase in calories!

I will definitely be aiming for GOMAD after the next shopping trip, this should hopefully kickstart my progress again for awhile! thanks

Thanks man! Very useful, your post combined with the previous one have basically answered my questions!

My only other slight niggles are the adding of assistance work in the form of bicep/tricep work etc.. though i realise I am only going to see significant improvements in arm size through putting on 10+ pounds, I was wondering what the majority of people add in terms of assistance.. because for me time is definitely not a factor, so if i can add any assistance, or even maybe ab work/chest that will increase my progress/improve my physicue then i'd be all for it. I realise, as hard as it is to accept, that starting strength and eating shit loads is what i have to do now, but my end goal is to look good, of course, for the girls!


More advanced 5x5 programs (Madcow intermediate, Stronglifts intermediate and others) add chins and dips as assitance movements for arms, and crunches/sit-ups for abs (but you'd better search for more "functional" abs training). Just add them at the end of your basic WO, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, (arms on day 1, abs on day 2 and maybe calves on day 3) and be ready to cut them off if necessary to keep progressing on basic lifts (ex. deload week).


I would not go overboard with the eating. I don't think lack of eating is the problem, you are just at that stage. Size doesn't come in mega pounds per week, but it will come. Certainly nothing you have said suggests you avoid food (like a lot of people)

Don't worry about the temporary strength loss, it isn't real. Basically if you keep doing the same thing, your body says "screw you I ain't adapting this ain't killing me we won't die we've been doing this for ages and aren't dead you can get by with no more strength" what a bastard it is.

But if you drop the weight your body stops monitoring it, lets down its guard, then you increment again and it thinks it is a new stress. Something like that. Stupid body.


@fabiop: Yeah i was thinking about adding some sort of "proper" abs training, as they certainly seem to recover (or at least not limit performance) as much as training arms additionally might. I am currently doing a couple of sets of 8 BB bicep curls & BB skullcrushers at alternating workouts.. calfs wise i'm not too sure on the exercises that would be possibly with the equipment i have-

barbells, light dumbell, a bench and a power-rack, but certainly I would like to add some calf work in if there is anything available that will make a good difference.

@Magarhe: Refreshing post, I do think people misinterperate eating loads and end up eating lots of junk too when their end goal is to look good. Personally i'm thinking that by fully cleaning up what i'm already eating.. and drinking a good 1/2 gallon of milk a day i should see some gains, then perhaps up the milk if i don't see any solid weight gain.

& on the strength loss.. brilliant! seriously that is exactly what i thought on the matter of strength increasing and why this program confused me sometimes.. but as you have said dropping the weight should work, i definitely think i have a lot of progres to make before my gains start really slowing down yet!

Hopefully move towards 130-140 squat, 150+ deadlift and 90+ bench press at a relatively fast pace with things in place.. no real point in setting a bar though i understand.. perhaps i'll be able to go much further!


Home-made calf machine. Hold a DB for added resistance :slightly_smiling:

A jumping rope can do wonders, too!

Ps: everyone has a bad training day or two...If they becomes WEEKS, I'd say you need a change. Stay motivated!


Thanks for the suggestion, that's basically what i'm going to try and construct sometime soon, shouldn't be too hard!

Also: Today i trained with lighter weights and didn't push it too hard, shouldn't take long to work myself back past my previous figures..

One thing i'm always weary of is that my form might be a little off in some exercises, so it's on the to do list to video one of my heavy deadlifts/squats/benches for analysis! Especially for squats, i feel like the "feel" of them is sometimes much better then others.


Excuse me for sounding a complete newbie but is Olive oil actually something you can consume raw in shots?

Another question,I'm new to bodybuilding and am starting a 4,000 cal based diet,you think GOMAD in addition with my regular 4,000 cal diet is good? or should i cut my diet a bit to inlcude GOMAD?

Im very mentally strong and am very capable of force feeding my self but not sure if GOMA plus my regular diet is healthy.And just in case you're wondering,i'm 5'8" 135lbs.

Sorry for reviving an ancient thread but i don't want to create another thread when there's one already speaking about the subject.


Yes. It's a good way to stuff in a few more calories on those days when you have to force feed.

I think 4000 calories is going to be plenty for you at the moment unless you have a ridiculous metabolism. The milk should fit within your calorie guidelines. I mean, you're going to gain some fat if you do this right, but you don't want to turn into a blob.

Great attitude. I wish more newbs were this positive about it.

shrugs New thread, old thread... doesn't matter to me. But your question might go unnoticed by some if they've already read this thread and pass it over.


Thanks alot for the response.Will the gallon of milk serve as a substitute for my gallon of water a day?




My last question is;sorry for asking so much but i'm not trying to make the same mistakes some ppl make when starting.

Won't GOMAD have too many grams of fat?Plus,i'll already be having a good reasonable amount of fat in my diet.I not trying to become a big fat blob.

ppl have been tellig me that if i want to get big i have to go big on carbs.

I'm going to to try and do 25/50/25 for carbs/pro/fat with 4,000 cals split into about 6-8 meals a day.

Assuming a follow this diet and start gaing about 2-3lbs every two weeks,should up my cals/carbs/pro/fat intake?

what do you think of this?again thanks for the replies i appreciate it.


There's more to worry about from carbs than from fat, so don't sweat it. As long as it's within your caloric allowance you'll be fine. If you start to see too much fat gain, then back off the calories a little. You're going to have to make adjustments anyway.


Thanks alot dude.Since i'm currently not working and am looking for a job, im gonna stick to GOMAD,what i regularly eat and calisthenics.When i get a job i'll be able to fully dedicate my self to my diet and weight training.thx again.


You say that people tell you to eat carbs to gain weight yet you are hardly eating any. 25%? If you are eating 4000 calories I'd actually lower the protein and up the carbs. At 135 lbs I don't think you need 500 grams of protien. 250-300 would serve you plenty while uping the carbs. And it would be easier on the pocket book. You could even drop the fat a little bit. If you look up the GOMAD philosophy (not what I would recommend but do what you feel is best) It states saturated fats as a good part of the plan so I wouldn't worry about it.


While I applaud your dedication to gain weight, calisthenics is not an acceptable substitute for the core lifts. You may put some weight on which is good considering your very underweight, but I would encourage you to find a local YMCA or cheap gym to train at. In fact, I would rate a squat rack, barbell, and some plates above the GOMAD as a priority.

Rippetoe just put out another article detailing loading progressions and how the weights should increase to not stall out to soon...


...good stuff in there for anybody completely new and starting the program.


Woah woah woah... Like theuofh just alluded to, we assumed you were doing SS.

Do .5GOMAD and spend the $45-60 you were going to spend on the other .5 gallon for a Y membership.

If money is that tight, I agree that doing core lifts and eating your normal diet will give you better results than GOMAD + calisthenics.


Nice edit, dude. Only the first two lines were there when I read it.

Go back and read the stickied threads at the top of the beginners forum. It's a lot of reading, but you'll benefit from it.