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ghij_mpu 02-12-2007 11:26 AM

Phil's Journal
Since I'm approaching stalling weights on some of my exercises, I'm going to start a journal. Hopefully I'll get some advice along the way. I've already been tracking my Rippetoe's Starting Strength program using a spreadsheet since I started in the middle of January 2007, but I'll just start here with my last workout.

I am 49 years old, 5' 11", about 175 (lost about 32 pounds since last summer). I've been lifting since July 2006, but until recently, I didn't have a plan or know what I was doing.

Currently, I lift Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I do pushups (low rep sets) and stretch quads, hams, chest and back before lifting. I also do sets of 15 pushups between my squat sets, including warm-up sets. I also do 12 - 15 minutes of light elliptical cardio after lifting. On non-lifting days, I do my stretching/pushups routine, then 20 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical. I also do sets of pushups scattered through out the day.

I've been consistently adding 5 pounds to the core lifts since I started. I recently added the curls and tricep extensions to the Saturday workout. Also, since the deadlift is my favorite exercise, I was doing 3x5 instead of 1x5. After reading more, I decided to change to 1x5 as the program states. So I'll be adding weight to my deadlift and do two sets less.

Saturday 2/10/07

Warm-up - Squat - bar x 10, 95x5, 145x1

Squat ----------------- 3x5 170 lbs
Military Press ---------- 3x5 120 lbs
Row ------------------- 3x5 115 lbs
Chin-ups -------------- 1x8 1x6
One arm dumbbell curls - 1x8 35 lbs
Cable Tri Extensions ---- 1x8 150
EZ Curl bar ------------ 1x8 65 lbs
Cable Tri Extensions ---- 1x8 150

12 minutes elliptical

I'm still working on my squat warm-up routine. I know the percentages and reps are not what's recommended, but my squat weight is not that large either.

I was psyched after my squats Saturday. I'm getting real close to stalling, but I've been paying close attention to my form and concentrating on the whole movement. I did my 3x5, the last 3 reps were real hard, but I kept my form with good speed and did them. I'm still going to add 5 pounds for Tuesday because I'll have the two days rest.

I think I stalled on Military Press. I had to use the same weight as last workout. The last reps were slower speed and I had to really push them out. I'll keep the same weight for Thursday then decide if I need to back off.

Rows are still going up. They started out difficult for me until I learned how to do them right. I was having a problem grounding each rep while keeping my back in good position. I think I have it now.

EricT 02-12-2007 11:51 AM

It's a good thing you dropped the deadlifts down.

I suspect you wouldn't have begun to stall out so fast if you hadn't been doing so much HIIT. I wouldn't do any cardio right after lifting. It would make more sense to do a little light cardio as a general warmup before you lift, but not too much. And I would drop the HIIT sessions down.

Another very important tip. If you are doing static stretches before you lift....DON'T. Bad mojo. Makes you weaker and sets you up for injury. Comprimises coordination. Stretch AFTER you lift. You can do dynamic stetches before you lift but they can take a lot out of you.

ghij_mpu 02-13-2007 12:48 PM

Thanks Eric. Got it....don't over do it. On lifting days, just focus on lifting.


Originally Posted by Eric3237 (Post 29906)
And I would drop the HIIT sessions down.

Do you mean it's OK to still do HIIT on my non-lifting days, but for less time, maybe 10 - 12 minutes?

EricT 02-13-2007 02:33 PM

^^^^Well not really. I see nothing wrong with doing the HIIT for 20 minutes on the days you do it if you've built up to that. But you really need to give your body some total days of rest on this program in order to keep up the progression for as long as possible, which is the key here.

I love HIIT but it is high intensity and it will impact your recovery. Remember the metabolic demands while not indentical are very similar. You've got to have rest and recovery. Now keep in mind that I am talking about this routine, which is a lot more demanding than people tend to think because of the low volume.

It depends on what your goals are though. If you're focusing on fat burning then it would make sense to do the HIIT sessions on non weight days....just not so many. If I read you right you're doing 4 and you just started, really, with the program. I'd cut it down for now. That is not to say you can't do more but that you should build up to it slowly instead of suddenly overwhelming your body with different demands which will diminish results. And that is even if you have been doing HIIT at this frequency all along, because, remember, you haven't been doing the Starting Strength which changes things.

If your are not focussing primarily on fat loss but are interested in the cardiorespiratory aspect and/or aerobic capacity then you can do it on the weight workout days to great effect. But you need to separate the two by some period of time. I'd want it to be at least 4 hours if not more. I only meant not to do cardio directly after weights. There is a context in which doing both on the same day makes sense you just need to separate them. But of course I agree with focusing on lifting in general :biglaugh:

Obviously I'm making assumptions about your goals. Some people want to be "fit" in a cross discipline sort of way, which is great too. But I'm assuming you wouldn't be doing starting strength if that were the case.

BTW, same thing on the stretching before the HIIT sessions. Do it after while your muscles are at their warmest.

ghij_mpu 02-14-2007 12:25 PM

Eric, you're right, I never did state my goals. For 5 months my goal was simply to lose weight. I lifted, did lots of cardio, carfully watched my diet, and ate smaller more frequent meals.

In December I decided to change my focus to lifting. Now my goal is strength. I'm eating more and concentrating on getting at least my body weight in protein and getting my carbs. I still want to do cardio to try to walk that fine line of getting stronger while not increasing body fat. But bottom line is strength and adding muscle. I know I can always lose the fat again later. I'm wondering if I can add muscle at my age, I guess we'll see.

I'll try two days of total rest. I think I'll start with Fridays and Mondays. This way I'll be real rested for Tuesday (two days no lifting and one day total rest) and a little more rested for Saturday (second workout in a row with only one day of no lifting in between).

Tuesday 2/13/07

Warm-up - 5 minutes, 3 mph, treadmill
Warm-up - Squat - bar x 10, 95x5, 135x2, 155x1

Squat ------------- 3x5 175 lbs
Bench Press ------- 3x5 180 lbs
Deadlift------------ 1x5 220 lbs
Dips -------------- 2x8 plus 20 lb weight

No cardio, just left the gym

Squats went great again. I think it's a combination of two days rest and I read a technique article at Powerlifting Heads-Up. As the article suggests, I used my whole body by "flexing everything".

Did some minor warm-up reps for bench press just to "feel the weight" before I did my working sets. barx10 115x5 135x2 Bench is still going up steadily, but getting tougher.

I added 15 pounds to the deadlift from my last time because I'm starting to do just 1x5 instead of 3x5. Did the 220 comfortably, going up to 230 next time.

I'm pretty strong with the dips. This was the first time I assisted with weight and I did my sets pretty easily. Plan to use 25 lbs next time.

EricT 02-14-2007 02:07 PM

Sounds good. I think your warmup for squats is perfectly fine for what you are doing, btw. It would be optimized if you could use a cardio (warmup) option that had a wider range of motion while still being easy and non-fatigueing. I particularly like to use a rowing type motion for my "cardio" warmup and I find my preparedness for squtting is MUCH better than when I used to use the treadmill. A bike may be a good option too. Just throwing things out there.

I think your on a good path. Keep up the good work!

ghij_mpu 02-14-2007 04:11 PM

Thanks for the advice Eric. I think I'm getting it.

By the way, no pushups at all at the gym for Tuesday's workout. Keeping it simple, use all my energy for the big lifts.

ghij_mpu 02-16-2007 08:03 AM

Thursday 2/15/07

Warm-up - Treadmill 5 minutes
Warm-up - Squat - bar x 10, 95x5, 135x2, 155x1

Squat ----------------- 3x5 180 lbs
Military Press ---------- 3x5 120 lbs
Row ------------------- 3x5 120 lbs
Chin-ups -------------- 1x8 1x8

I just started using the squat warm-up four workouts ago and what a difference it makes, especially now that I'm at a squat weight that is very challenging for me. In particular, the last two sets that let you "feel" the weight, but are not the working sets. Speaking of challenging, I now know what it's like to really work at a movement. I've been raising my squat 5 pounds every workout and I'm approaching my maximum. The last three workouts I've amazed myself that I actually did my 3x5. I found that I am able to summon every thing I have to do the reps. I've never felt that before. I feel that way after deadlifts too. It's not the muscle failure feeling because I'm able to finish with good form and timing…it's hard to describe, but what a feeling. You don’t get that feeling with bicep curls. I think this may be another area people miss out on when they just isolate certain muscles instead of the whole body.

MP has been the same weight for the third straight workout, but I was stronger this time. My form was not good the last two reps, I found I arched my back to get the weight up. I'll stay at 120 and work on keeping form next time.

Rows are still going up.

First time I did 2x8 chins (and I make sure I go all the way down each rep). I suspect it's because I'm not doing pushups during my routine anymore.

EricT 02-16-2007 08:13 AM

What your are experiencing is a sort of neural maturation. Basically you are being able to generate more intensity because your nervous system is learning to coordinate itself better so that your muscle is being used closer to it's utmost. It's a very good thing.

EricT 02-16-2007 08:32 AM

On the MP's if your are able to get them moving again and put on 5 pounds I can almost guarantee you'll stall again and/or begin to miss reps. The BEST thing you could do is go to smaller increments of 1 to 3 pounds, i.e. microloading, which would probably allow you continued forward progress. If not you will end up backing off, which will get things moving again but once a stall is reached it could be hard to recover this way a second tiime.

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