1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Another weight lifting thread...

    I know you guys must get tired of all the "I'm new to weights" threads, but know that we newbs really do appreciate the advice from the more experienced guys here.

    So I've looked around and tried to come up with a few lifts I could do to build some strength (obviously!). I tried to focus on a few practical moves that work all the muscles. Here's what I came up with:

    military press

    I didn't include bench presses, mostly because I don't have room to set a bench up and its hard to find a spotter, and I like working my back/core muscles as I do the other lifts (something I love about calisthenics - they all work those muscles!).

    So, I don't hear the snatch recommended too often, how come? It seems like a good compound lift. Also, some don't recommend curls, even claiming they're useless - should I not include them?

    And I'll be doing pyramids - lift one weight five reps, add some weight for five more, and then drop down the weights after I max out, although I don't know the name for this type of program. I'll probably be able to do it only once a week anyway, due to time constraints.


  2. #2
    alex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    New Zealand
    Muay Thai
    Was about to offer some advice til I read your last line. Doing anything once a week isn't gonna get you much gains.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Judo noob, injured guy.
    You can sub a floor press for your bench if you want that movement, but since you are military/overhead pressing its probably not entirely necessary.

    Snatch is more technically intense than, say, a power clean and achieves a pretty similar goal (explosive, hip lever, etc) to said power clean, which is probably why you don't see it recommended as often. But if you know what you are doing with it, fantastic.

    Curls are an isolation/assistance lift. They pretty much only work your bicep. Which is fine if that is where you are weak, or if you insist on doing curls. But a chin-up, pull-up, lat pull-down, or row will work a larger muscle group (back) and hit your biceps as well if you are training for strength rather than aesthetics. Those exercises are generally more useful movements than curls.

    The only real change I would recommend is substituting chin-ups or rows for curls. And trying to go more than once a week. But once a week is better than never.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Cairo, Egypt
    I just came home from doing 5x5 and the best advice I can give at the moment regarding weights is to stay the **** away from them, holy **** my legs are jelly.

    I need crutches to walk.

    But crutches won't work either because I benched today too.

    Lord have mercy.

    (To answer your question the snatch is harder to learn than the power clean and you progress on weights slower because of the nature of the lift)

    If I were you though I'd stop theorizing as a beginner and do SS or SL5x5 as written, if you absolutely can't bench weighted dips are a fine substitute, and you don't need curls for strength.

    And get the **** out of here with once per week you need at least 3 times.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Are you doing MMA boxing and wrestling all at once? anyway, in my boxing gym we integrate a lot of fitness, either crossfit stile, or basic lifts. Im sure you get to work out a lot in the MA classes you take. When you do have this day off from MA and the energy to work out, just work on the muscles that don't hurt, or on the exercises mentioned above that you did not get to drill enough during the MA classes.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    To echo what Alex said - once per week isn't enough. You really won't see any gains - you need to do at least three sessions per week. If time is a problem then work out some shorter sets or just get up earlier in the morning.

  7. #7
    1point2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    BJJ blue, judo ikkyu
    Once a week will provide very slow increases in strength. If you're doing other hard training, twice a week is probably fine.

    The snatch is not often recommended because it's hard to teach, requires a significant degree of flexibility and strength, and is more likely to injure the novice than the clean.

    I can't stress enough the importance of finding a good text and/or coach to guide you through program selection and proper form. For that matter, why are you developing a program yourself instead of following a well-regarded novice program?

    When you say "max out", do you mean max singles? That's not a good idea, especially if you're doing other training, and especially if you're a noob. Will these pyramid sets involve rest periods? Why are you using pyramid sets at all if your goal is strength? Why are you making a program up yourself if you don't yet lift weights?

    If your goal is strength, then why curls instead of chin-ups? Again, why are you making up your own program if you're new to weights?

    If you can only train once a week, then I would do one set of twenty squats, one set of five deadlifts, three sets of pull-ups, and twenty Hindu push-ups. With the barbell exercises start light and add five or ten pounds on the first two once a month until you can squat bodyweight. Warm up with three light sets of five at increasing weights. Get a form check every week from someone who squats deep and never lets their back bend in a deadlift. Film your work sets, too, and post them here, on Catalyst Athletics, or on the Starting Strength forums for a form check. Once you deadlift 1.5x bodyweight you can ask about snatching and cleaning. Once you can do the Hindu push-ups in one set without shoulder pain you can overhead press with a barbell.

    Stay healthy.
    What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates


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