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Topshelf 06-19-2007 11:51 AM

Newbie just wants to verify I am on the right track
Hey all, new guy here. I found this site a little while back and after reading through tons of threads I ended up buying Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I just finished the book last week and started my workout on Sunday. I just wanted to make sure that I was doing things as closely to correct as possible. I have decided for the time being not to do the Power Clean as I'm having enough trouble making sure I am doing the other 4 exercises with proper form and they are considerably easier to learn, so there is a hole in the program already. But other than that I hope I have everything else in line. I'm 35 years old, 5'11" and 165lbs. I've worked out on and off in the past, but after reading this book, I've never done a single lift correctly. I'd like to put on about 10lbs of muscle, and would love to put on around 20lbs of muscle. My wife and I eat pretty clean for the most part, so I don't think there's any major changes needed to make to my diet. But if I understand Mark correctly, I can add a gallon of milk a day to my normal diet which would add enough calories and protein to allow me to grow?

Also, as far as the workout goes, I just wanted to make sure that it's as basic as I think. A few warm up sets while increasing the weight, and then 3 sets of 5 for the Squats/Bench/Press and 1 set of 5 for the Dead. Since I'm not doing the Power Clean, I'm using that free time for ab work and light shoulder work to help with a rotator cuff problem that seems to flair up every now and then.

Sunday - Squat/Bench/Dead
Tuesday - Squat/Press/Abs
Thursday - Squat/Bench/Dead

Is there anything I'm missing here? It's so simple that it doesn't seem right.:)

EricT 06-19-2007 01:16 PM

It's too much deadlifting. Replace the powercleans with rows and/or pullups. You are right, I think not to do the powercleans right now. Rip reccomends that powercleans not be included for beginners until basic strength and motor skills have developed enough so that reasonable form can be expected. When that is I don't know :) and, frankly, they are included for sports athletes when appropriate. That doesn't mean that everyone looking to get strong and big HAS to be doing them or that they are going to make or break you.

This would be my personal preference (what I would do and what I would like to see people do):

Workout A: Squat/Bench/Pullups
Workout B: Squat/Press/Dead
Workout C: Squat/Bench/Rows (so A,B,C for the week)

Most people do:

Workout A: Squat/Bench/Rows
Workout B: Squat/Press/Deads (A,B,A for the week)
They put pullups/chins in as an assistance....3 sets to around failure once a week

You can also reverse Pressing and Bench and have bench once a week.

You can make changes later on to include powercleans. I would recommend that the first thing you add (after a while on the program) be a slow (non olympic) posterior chain movement such as Romanian Deads, Glute/Ham Raises, or Pull Throughs. Maybe some extensions or reverse hypers. This extra posterior chain training will one, help your squatting and deadlifting, and two, help to injury proof you by devoting further strengthening the posterior chain without the potential for injury you get with unsupervised olympic lifting.

Also make sure you stretch apporpriately after lifting and that you train "abs" heavy. None of that 100 crunches stuff. Include extra work for the obliques.

Check out the journals :)

Topshelf 06-19-2007 01:41 PM

Thanks Eric! I think that pretty much clears everything up. Only question is how often should I hit abs? Is that every workout? Or once a week? And what is the best exercise for "heavy" ab work?

Thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll be popping up with more newbie questions over the weeks to come. lol

Riddick2112 06-19-2007 09:18 PM

i'm kinda like you, when i read Rip's book i was like, fuck man, i really dont know jack shit about doing the lifts properly, lol!
So after spending several nearly fruitless years in HIT hell, i ditched all that shit and tried his stuff out with far better results.
Anyway, here's another variation, done 3 times a week, that has worked well for me:

T-Bar Row

using an A,B,A, then a B,A,B schedule i hit each lift 3 times in 2 weeks

at 40 years of age (and plenty of mileage) i just can't squat 3 days a week, my knees just won't take it.

Eric's A, B, C routine is about as good as it's going to get if you can squat that often. the only change i would make is to alternate bench presses with OH presses every other workout so that they get equal time over the long run.

abs will get a lot of work with all those compound lifts so i'd say doing some weighted floor crunches or Roman Chair crunches once a week should be sufficient. maybe some of the other guys dont agree though?

Topshelf 06-20-2007 03:02 AM

Haha, that's so funny. When I was reading the book I swear that almost every single mistake he mentioned I was like "Dam, I do that too." lol I'm lucky I'm not a strong guy, otherwise I really could have hurt myself with such bad form over the years. But it is difficult trying to correct these moves without anyone else to help. Hopefully I'm getting better at them. I printed up a little cheat sheet that I take with me so I can go over the important points after each lift for now.

I was actually planning on an A,B,A routine. I should have been more clear in my first post. So yeah, I'm definitely swapping out the Bench and the Press every other workout. Right now my knees can handle the Squat 3 times a week, so I'm definitely sticking with that. So it was just the Clean that I needed to replace, and Eric pretty much cleared that up. I'll throw the weighted crunches in like you mention, and that should pretty much cover it for now. Just need to hope my eating is good enough for some growth without too much fat accumulation. There's nothing worse than being a fat skinny guy. lol

EricT 06-20-2007 05:32 AM

Hey Riddick, when I say "press" I definitely mean Overhead Press, sorry, I should be more clear. I don't mean a bench press variation, which is, 9 times our of 10 what most people would choose. When I talk about Rippetoe routines I tend to adopt his terminology, and when he says press he means overhead. Some people with chronic impingements may be unable to do OHP's altogether, though...

I also completely agree about the squatting. Someone is going to still make incredidble progress squatting twice a week and for some that could actually mean better and longer progress. Although for the person with no existing problems going for three and cutting down to two when necessary would be the best way to go.

I would like to say, however, for ANYONE, considering this type of routine, if you have a lot of pre-existing chronic injuries, this is probably not the routine for you. If you're slouched over like a caveman with chronic back problems and terrible need something different. This ain't going to fix you and could likely make you worse.

On the "abs" I agree you don't need a lot right now. The functional movements will train stabilization. I would, however, recommend doing somethihg like hanging leg raises (knee raises) every other ab workout. If you can't do hanging of course do lying. I like to suck in my belly button and force an exaggerated posterior hip tilt (make the top your pelvis tilt backward) and maintain that position while you do the raises. This will do wonders for your stabibility and long term health. Other than that, stabibility will be trained by the actual functional compound you are doing.

Which is why I mentioned obligues and basically twisting (torsion) or side to side bending work. This is the area that most people are likely to have a deficit in when first getting under a heavy bar (they find themselves listing from side to side or one side or the other). A little strengthening work like some type of side bend, and some type of twist can be good. Also "side bridges" to train the stabibility directly. Not too much of anything. Err on the side of less, not more.

hunt0r 06-20-2007 05:02 PM

Since I have been on this routine I have noticed that I have gained a great deal of strength in my core and stabilization muscles. I also didnt jump right into power cleans only because I wanted to get the form down on the other movements perfect before I move onto something more advanced. I added dips and pullups to fill in for the lack of power cleans.

One thing I want to note is how much the overhead presses have helped. I always did military presses sitting down with dumbells or at a machine and I thought it was a good the overhead presses with a straightbar standing are way more intense and a better overall workout. In the begining of this routine I had some back pain, but now my back feels stronger then ever and I think its due to doing all these compound workouts.

Topshelf, good luck with your routine.

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