T Nation

Starting Strength a Myth?


I did starting strength for 4 months. While I'd love do get strong, my main goal is to look good naked. I was deadlifting 365 with straps last June but only squatting 185ish. I thought SS would be the ticket. Since then I got my squat up to 305x5 on SS but only raised my bench press 20 lbs from 225x5 to 245x5 and my press from 135x5 to 150x5. My deadlift went DOWN to a current 325x5, but I stopped using straps. Starting strength did add some strength and for that I'm psyched, but I really don't look any different now than I did in June.

As in not-at-all. My chest is the exact same now as it was then (48R dress jacket), my arms are the exact same (16 in), and my legs also look the same. I was doing dips and chin-ups along with SS. I know hypertrophy isn't the primary goal of SS, but shouldn't this much ass-busting show at all? I was pretty sold on the idea that raising my squat 100 lbs would make everything else fall into place.

I'm 34, 240 lbs, 26% fat according to the electric-grab-it device. My sleep is good but not great and my diet is very clean but I'm not doing the GOMAD part of SS given my 26% chub. I'm eating an omlet and Ezekiel bread from breakfast, fruit, cold veggis and yogurt for lunch/snacks, a 50 gram protein shake post workout, fish or chicken for dinner and a carb like sweet potato for dinner, maybe another protein shake or fruit before bed.

My medium-term goal is getting to a 500 deadlift, 405 squat, 315 bench, 225 press. I'd like to stop looking like a guy who used to play high-school football and start looking like a guy who can change a tire without using the jack.

I'm still going up with linear progression in squat but have crapped out on everything else. Any suggestions?


You gained 100lbs on your squat & 20lbs on your bench in 4 months while doing a STRENGTH program and you're unhappy??? What?

IMO you do not have that great of a strength base right now. I would continue with a strength oriented program until you can bring your numbers up. Maybe not SS but something like 531 could be a good option (I've used it and liked it)

Your diet is pretty bad. You're getting a TON of carbs and very little protein, no wonder you are carrying more far than you would like. Are you doing any cardio?


That is one of the creepiest pictures I have ever seen.


OK. I hear that, but how strong do I really need to get before putting on some muscle size? I am happy with the squat gains but but feel it's not so impressive given my body weight/genetic potential. I am unhappy only with the fact that the program did almost nothing for my physique. I want to actually get BIG and strong...... not just strong.

I keep reading on this site that putting weight on your squat is the ticket toward "getting HYUGE" - and I'm not seeing it. I'm pretty confident I can get to 405 in a year if I keep pushing, but I'll be awefully bummed out if I can squat 405x5 and look exactly the same as I did before all that hard work.

I'm eating about 150 grams/day of protein. Is this really not enough? I'm not 18 anymore. What carbs should I cut out? My cardio is OK but not great - walking, jogging, inline skating 2-3 times per week. Yes I want to lose fat, but how will this help me get 18 inch arms and a 52 inch chest?


The dude or the blonde?



Dude, be patient. You're not going to wake up one day and say "Ah, I'm big! Neat."

It doesn't happen overnight.

Keep lifting more and eating more.



What is your goal, again?


Are you training your arms?


try something new like a bodybuilding split. and uh eat more protein.


My goal is to 1) get big. My secondary goal is to get strong. Big to me means take my arms from 16 to 18 inches and my chest from 48 to 52 inches. Doing SS my measurements haven't changed in any way measurable. My secondary goal, getting stronger, has measurably changed, but this is my secondary goal, not #1.

I just started doing BB curls and bench dips 2 weeks ago.


yeah dude how about since you just did starting strength you could try an upper and lower split or a bodybuilding split where each day hits a specific body part or any other awesome routine people talk about these days.

oh and if you want your arms to grow for real. you need to dedicate some time to isolations, sleep and massive amounts of protein.


Worst avatar ever lolol

oh and dont expect to get big muscles if you eat like a bird


OK fair enough. I know I should ear even more protein - I guess it basically means having another protein shake in the AM and maybe walking every day to get the fat off. I remember seeing Mr. Popular bitching about Starting Strength on another post and I'm wondering if maybe he's on to something. I like the idea of being strong as a bull, but I'm starting to think that training for strength directly is not the way to go unless you're very, very weak or else want to compete.


i dunno man strength and size arnt always proportional or directly happen in even increments but ive never gotten significantely sronger without getting much bigger. i mean i couldnt imagine gaining 20lbs on my bench and not getting bigger. arm size is another beast on its own.


Dude, what are working out on "3G" or something? He can TOTALLY get instant results.


SteelyD -

That was awesome.


Four months is a blink of an eye where physique transformation is concerned! Think 'busting your ass' for four years. You didn't get in that condition in four months.
If the 26% is accurate; you have 62 lbs of fat on your frame. I doubt you added 100 lbs to your squat without a change to your LBM, but agree that it would difficult to recognize in your current condition. IMO...you should try to add a consistant cardio/conditioning schedule to your routine and get some help with your diet. Perhaps you can lean-out gradually while maintaining(or increasing) your strength levels. I suspect you are going to have to get down to at least 210 if looking good naked is the goal. Memorial Day 2012 is a good target date.


Hey Blue Collar -

Wow simple math sure is a bitch. 62 lbs of fat. Ouch.


This where you loose me.......from 48 to 52 at 26% BF? or a lean, conditioned 52" chest?


I basically just have a gut. Not much obvious fat up top, so I didn't really think it would make much of a difference. Clearly getting down to 15 or even 18% would make a huge visual difference though, but I don't think it will effect my chest or arm measurements much.