Posted On:10/09/2008 8:57pm
Most of my conditioning experience is bodyweight only, but I've been lifting on and off for the last several months (mostly trying to learn the basic lifts and what have you). I really began to focus at the end of August, coming off of a vacation. I've been doing Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength program, and having a ton of fun with it. I'm seeing decent progress with most of the lifts, but I'm starting to get stuck on a couple. I'm 5'7", about 215lbs. My squat is up to 255, deadlift 250, both of which are progressing smoothly. My power clean is at 105, and I'm just starting to feel comfortable with the movements. My big problem comes with my bench and overhead press. My bench is capping out at the moment at around 150lbs, and my press is more like 105. The last two sessions, I've been able to add weight for the first set or two, but I have to drop back down to my previous weight for the final set. For example, Tuesday I did 2x5 at 115 with the overhead press, but had to drop back to 105 to finish my last set. This is really frustrating, because I'm still so weak, and I feel like it's too soon in my lifting career for my linear progression to stop (I mean, really, after just one month). I don't know if it's that I'm not doing enough assistance exercises, or if I added weight too quickly to begin with, but it's tough to see some of these lifts get stuck while the others progress just fine. I'm wondering if I'm not getting enough rest, since I lift or train most days (skill training on the days I'm not lifting) but I'm not really getting sore at all.
I'm looking for solutions. One thing I was considering doing was switching over to the program out lined in New Rules for Lifting. I've done their break-in program before, and enjoyed it. I just don't know if getting stuck here is something I should just work through, slowly bringing the weight up on the sets I'm missing it on, or if it's a good time for a change. I like the New Rules because they focus on compound lifts, but they seem to work a greater variety of assistance exercises, as well as targeting the muscles unilaterally, among other things. I really enjoy the simplicity of the lifts in Starting Strength, but is it time for a change? Do those of you who have more experience lifting (and familiarity with either of these programs) have any input?
Posted On:10/10/2008 9:55am
Style: creonte on hiatus
Be consistent. Don't be changing programs every time you hit a plateau, specially if you have been doing a plan for just a month.
We kinda need details such as the following:
- how many hours do you sleep on average
- how often do you work out during the week
- how do you split your workouts - are you following Starting Strength to the letter or doing some sort of variation?
For the last question, we need to know the average # of sets and # of reps per exercise, as well as the exercises themselves and the sequence in which they are executed.
Upper body "pushing" tend to plateau quite rapidly compared to other parts of the body. You might want to reduce the amount of work you do on the bench press and overhead press, and focus on "push up plus" with additional protraction at the top, push ups on a medicine ball, and handstand push ups (the later, with your feet placed against a wall.
For "push up plus" with additional protraction at the top, you do them as follows:
1. Place yourself as if about to start a rep.
2. As you lower yourself (the eccentric phase), bring your shoulder blades together as much as possible.
3. When you touch the floor, relax the shoulder blades.
4. Push yourself up (the concentric phase).
5. When your elbows are fully extended, push yourself even more at the shoulders. Imagine you are trying to get your chest to fly off and away from your shoulders while creating as much space as possible between the shoulder blades (the opposite of step #2). This action should be brief, no more than a second or two.
6. Then, reverse the movement by bringing the chest down without flexing the elbows and bringing the shoulder blades together again as in #2.
7. Repeat #5, then bring the shoulder blades together again as in #6.
8. With shoulder blades squeezed together, you have completed one push up. Then you proceed to the next.
Try to do this with most of your push ups, specially on a medicine ball.
In addition to that, check this article at stronglifts regarding thoracic mobility:
Do this for 4-6 weeks instead bench/overhead presses. Then resume pressing as usual and see if there are any improvements.
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Posted On:10/10/2008 10:44am
I'm following Starting Strength to the letter, but was supplementing the power clean with dumbbell snatch's until I got the hang of the clean and could add some weight to it. I'm lifting 3x a week, Tues, Thurs or Fri, and Sunday. Sleep is probably my weakest link; I probably get 5-6 solid hours a night. I'm working on getting more sleep.
I warm up with five sets of decreasing reps (5-1) divided between an empty bar and my working weight for each exercise. My working weight is 3 sets of 5 reps. So, for example, with a squat, I would be working with 255lbs on tuesday. I would do 1x5@45, 1x4 at 95, 1 x3@ 135, 1x2@ 185, and 1x1 at 225, before doing 3x5 at 255. That's based on the recommendations in Starting Strength.
Aside from the lifting, I'm mostly training. I figure that the best cardio for my kyokushin and boxing is sparring in kyokushin and boxing, so I don't do much else at the moment. I figure I get my supplemental exercises largely from the kyok. and boxing classes.
I'll start with those "push up plus'" for my pushups. I appreciate any additional input. I'm just trying to figure this lifting thing out; I'm really starting to love my time in the gym, and I want to go about it the right way.
Edit: I found some other recommendations for dealing with plateaus on the StrongLifts site you linked me to, thanks. It does lead me to another question though; Starting Strength recommends 3x5 for the lifts. StrongLifts is 5x5. Thoughts on which is a better idea?
Last edited by Bugeisha; 10/10/2008 10:51am at .
Submitting 1d6 Investigators per round
Posted On:10/10/2008 1:07pm
Style: ZHOO ZHITSU
Originally Posted by Bugeisha
I'm following Starting Strength to the letter
Then keep following it to the letter, including the part where he says "Don't worry about plateauing with the press or bench as long as deads and squats continue to go up."
Undisputed KING OF ASSHOLES.
Posted On:10/10/2008 11:02pm
Hah, I apparently need to read it cover to cover again. I did that maybe twice when I first got it, but since then I've just been referencing specific points on the lifts themselves.
My deads and squats still go up just fine. It was just the bench and press that I crapped out on early.
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