T Nation

Starting Strength, First Stall w/ Deadlift, Press

Hi everyone,

I have what I think is a problem… but I may be wrong, so I need some advice please.

I have been doing SS as per practical programming since the 10th of September this year. I started out at a weight of 219lb and my lifts were as follows:
Deadlift = 90kg/198lb
Squat = 90kg/187lb.
Bench = 70kg/154lb.
Press = 40kg/88lb.

At the end of my first month, the workout before the one today, my weight was 221lb. My lifts are as follows:
Deadlift = 155kg/342lb
Squat = 125kg/275lb
Bench = 87.5/193lb
Press = 57.5kg/126lb

Today I stalled on the Press and on the Deadlift.

With the press I stalled at 60kg/132lb and my work set was 1 set of 5, 1 set of 3 and one set of 2. I couldn’t quite grind out the 3rd rep on the last set.

With the deadlift I managed two reps at 160kg/352lb and then couldn’t get the 3rd.

I am confused because in SS it states that the Deadlift should be the last to stall and it has stalled at the same time as the press. Is this normal? Have I been adding too much weight to the Dead? I have been adding 5kg/11lb for the last two weeks.

I have only put on 2lb in a month but I have lost quite a bit of fat and gained a lot of muscle. I know because I need new jeans… my legs barely fit in to them now, where as they used to be a little loose at the thigh. Sorry I know it is not very specific but it is as much info as I have. I don’t know bf% when I started and I don’t know it now.

My diet has been good. Suppliment wise I have been having protein shakes after every workout and I also take Magnesium, Zinc and fish oil. For breakfast I have 4 scrambled eggs on brown toast or a bowl of porridge, toast and a banana. Almonds for a snack between main meals with a glass of milk. Lunch will be a jacket potato with protein, either tuna, bakedbeans and cheese. Sometimes I have a Tuna salad or similar. For dinner I am having some meat and vegtables, but a lot, I cram it in till my eyes are bulging.

My sleep wasn’t great last night and I did have a glass of Single Malt scotch too… but surely that would not have affected me this badly right? 155kg/341lb dead last week didn’t seem too bad. Felt like I had a bit left in me.

If it was sleep shouldn’t my squat have felt really hard too, it didn’t. Also I know my form is OK because we have a british champion powerlifter in my gym and he checked out my form, he did say I hold too much tension in my shoulders and neck when I deadlift though. I need to drop them apparently but he did also say it wasn’t too bad.

Should I try and hit the deadlift again next week at the same weight and see what happens or take a deload of 10%. Are my gains on the deadlift too fast? I will only be doing the deadlift every 5th session in the gym now so will that help?

Sorry if it is a bit allover the place this post but I am new to weight training like this and want to give as much info as possible.

Thanks for your help in advance.

P.S sorry for the spelling mistakes, it’s not my strong point.

That was a pretty well written post. I just started SS so I would be interested in hearing the seniors’ advice but it sounds like you aren’t eating all THAT much and sleep has always made a huge difference for me.

Great job on the progress thus far man. Color me impressed. I’m hoping for similar gains.

I know that one of the first responses to “my lifts are stalling” is “eat more”.

Do you know roughly how many calories you’re taking in a day, and what your macros are?

(I don’t have personal experience pushing SS to the point where I’ve stalled, so I can’t really help you… I just want to rule out your food intake being the problem.)

The first thing I notice is that you didn’t include your current routine, I know starting strength has you doing 3 main lifts in one day and then suggests you break each lift out into its own day after a while, so your press and deadlift can easily stall on the press and deadlift if you’re still on 3 main lifts a day.

Thanks Bellmar

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Do you know roughly how many calories you’re taking in a day, and what your macros are?
[/quote]

Sorry I don’t know specifics, I know that doesn’t help. My basic thought process at this stage is to just get as much good quality food in me as possible. I just eat until I can’t fit any more in. As a rough calculation about 3000 calories. Mostly good quality but there may be a few snickers bars in there somewhere.

Like I say I may be wrong but surely my squat and bench should be stalling too if I have not eaten enough. They feel like they have plenty in them yet.

I can understand my press stalling at this stage, apparently it is meant to be the first to stall but the Deadlift has me puzzled. I understood that it should be the last one to stall. My bench and squat still feel as if they could carry on for a bit. It is the Deadlift I am worried about.

Thanks for all of your replies so far, it is appreciated.

So how many times did you miss the weight? You’re supposed to miss it on three different days before deloading… you my have just had a bad day.

BTW, I’m getting towards the end of SS myself.

you probably should have made less of a jump. You cant ride newbie gains forever, eventually they will slow down. I believe Rip advises to make smaller increases as the weights get heavier, in order to avoid this kind of situation for as long as possible. Its inevitable though, and you seem to have increased a good amount of strength in only a month

Like the 2 posts above me said:

1- Reduce the weight 10% after you can’t get 3x5 (1x5 for deadlift) in 3 consecutive sessions

2- eventually you need to start reducing the amount you add each time (2.5 pounds instead of 5 for press, 5 for deadlift instead of 10, etc)

3- If you eat more, it will take longer to stall

Thanks for all of your replies. I will eat more, hope that I was just having a bad day and see how it goes then.

In a month you’ve essentially doubled your lifts and are worried about something?

Man that is impressive stuff. Do as Chris87 has recommended and drop the weight 10% and see how you go again.

I thought I would drop in and let you all know how I got on.

After listening to you all I have upped my food intake a bit. However the powerlifting guys at my gym had a quick look at my training log and said that it may well be a recovery issue and that it may be a good idea to have a light squat day on the middle of the week and reduce my deadlift frequency. This would effectively give my legs and especially my posterior chain more of a chance to recover.

I have since gone back and smashed the previous deadlift weight and I will be confident in adding weight again next session.

My press has definitely stalled… I have gone at it 3 times now and fallen short of the required reps on three occasions now. I will be resetting this by 10% for my next session and working my way back up.

Thanks again for all of your replies.

[quote]ProMe3us wrote:
I thought I would drop in and let you all know how I got on.

After listening to you all I have upped my food intake a bit. However the powerlifting guys at my gym had a quick look at my training log and said that it may well be a recovery issue and that it may be a good idea to have a light squat day on the middle of the week and reduce my deadlift frequency. This would effectively give my legs and especially my posterior chain more of a chance to recover.

I have since gone back and smashed the previous deadlift weight and I will be confident in adding weight again next session.

My press has definitely stalled… I have gone at it 3 times now and fallen short of the required reps on three occasions now. I will be resetting this by 10% for my next session and working my way back up.

Thanks again for all of your replies.[/quote]

If you think it may be a recovery issue then maybe you should try out the novice program out of practical programming. It is suggested to people when they run into this problem. It looks like this:

Monday
Squat 3x5
Bench/Press 3x5 (alternate)
Chins 3x5 (add weight when you need to)

Wednesday
Squat 2x5 with 80% of 3x5 weight
Bench/Press 3x5
Cleans/Deadlift (alternate, do 3x3 for cleans and 1x5 for deadlifts)

Friday
Squat 3x5
Bench/Press 3x5
Chins 3x5 (I would suggest you do rows on this day instead)

I’d move on to Madcow or Texas method etc