Would it still be considered functional?
I keep a pretty detailed training log, for exactly these reasons.
Originally Posted by H TO THE IZZO
At the beginning of September, I first tried to bench with the 20lb preloaded bar. It was successful. (Seriously, I had like NO upper body strength whatsoever when I started.) Progressed comparatively quickly from there.
I first successfully performed 5x5 at 55lbs the second week of October. A week or so later I successfully benched 60lbs for one rep, on the first set, failing on the second. Ever since, I've been alternating between doing 5x5 at 55lbs, and attempting 60lbs; I can usually manage the better part of the first set (3-4 reps); I tend to fail trying the second set and usually drop the weight again.
I'm 5'5", somewhere between 140-150lbs (I don't weigh myself so I'm not entirely sure). I can do 105lbs for squats and 85 for deadlifts; I don't have a problem adding weight every time I lift. I am seeing progress overall; my coach told me in no uncertain terms to keep doing what I'm doing.
Originally Posted by dinnerpig
As far as diet is concerned, I eat pretty well, yesterday's a typical example:
Breakfast (7am): steel cut oats with dried apricots, cranberries, 1 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, scoop of whey
Breakfast #2 (10:00am): rye pancakes (made with cottage cheese) with applesauce
Lunch (1:30pm): scrambled eggs with 1 cup chopped peppers, refried beans
Snack: veggies (1 cup or so) with cottage cheese dip
Dinner (5:30pm): chicken stew with quinoa
Dinner #2 (7:30pm): sweet potato & parsnip casserole with turkey sausage and amaranth
All right... so you can perform your one-rep max from roughly a month ago three or four times now. Based on this, I don't think you've necessarily plateaued.
Originally Posted by Sona_Bear
In my opinion, the primary problem you're facing is a logistical one - going from 55lbs to 60lbs is roughly a 9.1% jump. You could keep working with 55lbs and 60lbs in some fashion (it sounds like this is what you're doing right now) until you finally hit 5x60lbs. I'd assume you'll make it there before another month passes if you keep at it.
Alternately, you could buy/borrow/kludge together some 1.25lb weights. You could purchase a pair of these (if you do, make sure you get the correct size - Olympic vs. standard). Alternately, you could put an extra pair (or two) of clamps on the barbell, or cut appropriately-sized sections of pipe to fit onto the ends of the barbell. Lots of options, depending on your means and resources.
Originally Posted by Emevas
Other than the 2-3 days a week you lift, do you do calisthenics during MA practice? Push-ups, dive-bomber push-ups, holding a low push-up position for 10-30 seconds. Those are good ways to work you chest and shoulders as you warm up or cool down from MA practice. And since you teach kids, it gets them stronger, too. When I taught a kids Judo camp in college, we did a lot of stuff like that. have contests to see who can do more push-ups, you or the kids.
Also do you alternate between flat bench and inclined bench?
Since its the stronglifts 5x5 then no, you don't alternate the bench. It's all flat bench work.
For fractional plates, you can go to www.fractioinalplates.com. That's Piedmont Design Associates, who make some great stuff. You can also get some budget priced ones at www.ironwoodyfitness.com.
Ensure you are getting adequate recovery between sets and outside the gym (i.e food/sleep)
Ensure you are not taking too large jumps between workouts. In the case of presses many males require microloading, this is accentuated with women, who whilst progressing at a linear rate, will do so much slower due to various genetic dispositions. (Make home made plates to microload, it will usually require gluing two washers together, info on this can be found all over the net. Either that or buy microplates.)
Ensure you have correct form. Post your presses here, or get rip to have a look at them over on strengthmills forum.
Wow lots of good advice here. Your title made me expect something totally different. The only thing I want to add is that you really shouldn't train any differently than a man. When it comes to strength 99.9% of the difference between men and women comes down to muscle mass. Chicks are just smaller.
Big lady = big weights
Awesome suggestion. My wife has had similar problems with upper body barbell exercises since 5lbs (two 2.5 plates) is just too big of an increment for her. So we use small 1lbs ankle weights to get 2lbs increments instead. And on her lower body training (squats and deads), sometimes she used two 3lbs ankle weights instead of 5lbs plates whenever a 10lbs or a 5lbs was not appropriate. Thus, you might want to do something like that - that is, get two 1lbs ankle weights from Sports Authority and use them instead of using 2.5lbs plates.
Originally Posted by Carpe Noctem
Another thing to consider is that for a woman, her ration between her 1RM and her 5RM (or 10 RM or whatever) tends to be smaller than the 1RM/5RM ratio in a man. Can't remember where I read this (possibly Thibedeau or Shugart at t-nation describing her female clients.)
That is, if you try to calculate a heavier RM out of a lighter RM (and thus the weight increments needed to get there), you might come up with a number greater than what you can actually handle. The opposite occurs with men, in which they tend to underestimate their heavier RMs. Seems as if women tend to do better with higher reps whereas men tend to do better with producing maximum strength.
Anyways, what all of this might mean to you is that you might need to deviate a bit off the 5x5. That is, use smaller increments than the ones you would compute out of your 5x5.
Other approaches are :
- When you get to a set where you have trouble completing more than 3 reps, stop. Rack the bar, take a few breaths and crank the reps again, one by one if necessary until you get 5.
- When you get to a set where you have trouble completing more than 2 reps, stop. Rack the bar, take off some weight off it, but just enough so that you can complete your remaining 3 reps, one rep at a time if necessary. Here you have to play with how much you take off. If you find you can complete 3 reps with ease, you took too much.
- If you still have problems after doing either of the previous two approaches, then stick to the weights you can use for 5x5, but increase the effort by one or more of the following changes:
- Aim to do your reps faster. What matters is not how fast you can do your reps (perhaps there won't be much of a difference). What matters is your intention and effort at doing the reps faster.
- Shorten the amount of rest between sets.
- At the end of each set, add an additional bodyweight exercise, as many reps as possible within, say, 10 seconds:
- push ups,
- push ups with your hands on a stability ball (very important exercise),
- handstand push ups,
- push ups where you lift one leg off the floor at each rep.
- one-hand wall push ups (also very important). You place on hand in a wall, the other one in the back, spread your legs shoulder width, and do a push up. Move your feet away off the wall until you find a distance that is challenging for 15 reps to 10 reps. Then use that distance to crank as many reps as possible with one hand in 10 seconds, and then with the other hand for another 10 seconds. Aim for speed while keeping good form.
Any of these to be done for, say 3-4 weeks. Then, go back to the standard 5x5 template and see how it goes.
- Taper. Rest. You could be running into over training. If you are not taking glutamine (at least 5g a day) as well as vitamin c (at least 300mg 1-2 hours before your workouts), you should. No amount of good eating and sleeping will compensate your body's ability to recover.
- Consider taking a supplement before your lifting sessions. I recommend either Nitrix, NOXplode or at least, a good B12, B6 or B-complex supplement.
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