How to lift?

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January 22, 2019

I’m fairly new to RP. I’ve been reading the sidebar and started my reading assignments. I finished WISNIFG. Enlightening book. I’m half way through NMMNG. Also great. I’m ready to take the pill, but the one major fault I have is that I’ve never lifted. I get plenty of cardio from running and do lots of calisthenics. I don’t know how to lift and I want to make sure I get the right form so I don’t hurt myself and set myself backwards. (The last two sentences sound like DEERing). Any of you gave advice on where/how to learn how to lift?

Post Information
Title How to lift?
Author mbizjo
Upvotes 13
Comments 53
Date 22 January 2019 02:48 AM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
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[–]0io-Tsundere13 points14 points  (5 children) | Copy

Stronglifts 5x5 app works great. Starting Strength book is very helpful. Youtube is also a very helpful resource. The ideal situation would be to find someone who really knows how to do the lifts to give you hands-on advice. Most gym bros are pretty friendly. If you see some guy who seems to know what he's doing using the squat rack and tell him, "Hey, I just started lifting last week, can you check my form? I don't know what I'm doing..." most guys will help give you some pointers. You don't want your lower back rounded at all, that takes getting used to. You probably need to puff your chest out a lot more than you're used to also, that takes some getting used to.

As for the where to lift, you want the old-school gym with lots of free weights and not a lot of fancy machines. Depending on what city you live in, there may be recreation centers where they have gyms that actually have a free weightlifting class or coach. I would call your city or town's parks and recreation department and ask around, local colleges might have something you could use. I would get as far away from hype and fanciness as you can. You want a squat rack and not a smith machine or leg press.

[–]slappysq6 points7 points  (2 children) | Copy

5x5 will work but you will plateau to the point where you are failing every set and those 5 minute rests will stretch a 45 minute workout to 90 mins. You should transition to 531 or something else at that point.

Remember to eat protein and calories like it is your fucking job. Hitting +500kcal TDEE daily is almost harder than the actual lifting.

[–]FoxShitNasty830 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

500+ second that... Never go hungry again!

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I dislike stronglifts 5x5 specifically because (1) it takes too long per session and (2) the early part of the program uses needlessly low weights to give a false sense of progression each session -- the early workouts are just a waste imo, and eventually you will still hit the wall where you can no longer add weight each time.

[–]mbizjo[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks. I just pulled the app. I’ve got access to gym with free weights, squat rack and all. I’ll stop by the front desk and see if I can get a trainer recommended. That was my plan, but I wanted to get educated before I start.

[–]FlyingSexistPig7 points8 points  (0 children) | Copy

Stronglifts 5x5 is REALLY easy to follow. Do it. It tells you what to do every time you go to the gym. And it's really useful to do something where you don't have to think or organize or talk or plan.

It's just iron and muscle and lifting.

[–]travislaker13 points14 points  (7 children) | Copy

Mark Rippetoe has all your answers. His book •starting strength• is what you need to read.

[–]paterfamilias782 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy

"An adult male weighs at least 200 pounds" - Mark Rippetoe

[–]travislaker0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

He has a point. If you don’t weigh 200 pounds, maybe you should be doing something in your life differently

[–]mrp_awakening1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Depends on your height. If you're the average height of 5'10", 200 lbs at 8% body fat gives a fat free mass index of 26. FFMI over 25 is nearly impossible for a dedicated lifter to achieve without steroids. There's probably only a handful of people who have gotten there naturally... you'd need stellar genetics, naturally high testosterone, a perfect diet, and a world class lifting routine to get there. Not really achievable for the average guy. If you assume the average guy can get right to 25 at 5'10", you'd need 13% body fat... which is all right, but I'd certainly prefer to be at 8-10% and be under 200 lbs.

[–]gameoflibidos2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

All correct here.

All lifting advice should always be annotated with either on gear or not on gear. Routines and everything are different. You need more time to rest after hitting a muscle group, the gains come much slower, typical routine advice like splits dont work as well naturally. It's 2 very different approaches.

[–]mbizjo[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Thanks much. I just bought it.

[–]BryanW651 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

After you reach the end of your SS (or SL) linear progession, buy Practical Programming for Strength Training. I'd recommend SS over SL. SL adds tons (literal) of needless volume.

[–]360_no_scope_upvote-4 points-3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Now use it for 6 months and then throw it out because you're gonna build one wonky ass body no one will be impressed with.

[–]rocknrollchuck5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy

Here's a great detailed road map for getting started with lifting, as well as advice for progression. Diet is addressed as well since it is such an important component of a successful lifting program.

[–]mbizjo[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks. I’m glad you threw something with addressing diet as well.

[–]rocknrollchuck2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

You're welcome. I think you'll find that post to be quite comprehensive.

[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret5 points6 points  (12 children) | Copy

Like others have mentioned, 5x5 is a great jumpstart. Then, you can move onto 3x10 or try variations. Form is key, and that is where YouTube can be very helpful. Start very light and be comfortable, and then go up 5 pounds a week . Resist the temptation to go up too fast as your joints, ligaments, tendons... etc have to get accustomed to the higher weights - not just the muscles. For me, I’ve been fortunate to be mostly injury free for a couple decades (knock on wood), but when I do get aches and pains it’s usually in the joints, particularly tennis elbow. So, pay attention to your body.

My gym has a mirror in front of the squat racks, which I find very helpful to make sure I am going deep and keeping good form.


Side note for anyone who has chronic tennis elbow

I found a great physical therapy band called “Theraband” that works extremely well. You can buy it on Amazon. It’s the only thing that has helped my tennis elbow, and I’ve had it so bad that half my lower arm was numb.


[–]Tbonesupreme1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy

Shoulder impingement is my haunting injury.

I saw a Joe Rogan podcast about free hanging - it helps reform the shoulder and creates some space, alleviating the impingement.

[–]boy_named_su1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

my physiotherapist fixed mine in a couple sessions

back shoulder was weak. front shoulder too strong. reverse flyes and freestyle swimming helped. not a problem at all any more

[–]Tbonesupreme2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks for the note on freestyle swimming. Makes sense that it would help. I have a 42 ft long pool that's halfway done (I'm in the north, just waiting for weather to break for them to finish.)

I'm on the reverse flys once a week. I guess I need to work it in twice.

[–]boy_named_su0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

ya, when you lift your arm out of the water in the front crawl, you're using your back delts. Nice and light. Low impact. High rep

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (7 children) | Copy

Side note for anyone who has chronic tennis elbow

I found a great physical therapy band called “Theraband” that works extremely well. You can buy it on Amazon. It’s the only thing that has helped my tennis elbow, and I’ve had it so bad that half my lower arm was numb.

Have you tried chin ups or heavy ass lat pull downs with a supine grip? Any time my elbow starts to flare up I start adding these to the end of my workouts. Works wonders. Also try a thumb less grip while squatting, for me this seems to be the culprit in my elbow flaring up.

[–]Reach180Red Beret0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

Have you tried chin ups or heavy ass lat pull downs with a supine grip?

Interesting....that is exactly what causes elbow pain for me.

I usually fix it by warming up with push-ups and front squats for a few days. The forced wrist extension seems to help.

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It was a suggestion I learned from rippetoe. Basically it causes more inflammation which floods the entire area with blood to fix the inflammation. It is used to fix leg injuries in horses, the term he used was pin firing.

[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

I usually fix it by warming up with push-ups and front squats for a few days

It took me a long time to figure out that it was rear squats that are causing it mostly.... matter of fact, I just figured it out in the last week or 2. It’s tricky because I don’t notice it while doing them

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

Have you tried a thumbless grip? This has helped manage the pain especially when squatting heavy,+300 LBS.

[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I was actually going to try a thumbless grip today. Heavy is the only way to squat

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Heavy is the only way to squat


[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I’ll try that. My right arm has been flaring for a month now, but it’s manageable with the theraband. Couldn’t hurt to try something new though.

[–]tspitsatgp2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

In addition to the other comments the Stronglifts5x5 sub-reddit is relatively active.

[–]mbizjo[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Thanks. I’ll start following it.

[–]gameoflibidos2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

Dude.. you are just avoiding the subject. Making up reasons why you haven't started yet. The answer is the same as it is for everything these days....

How do I change the brakes on my car? Answer: Youtube

How do I install a dishwasher? Answer: Youtube

How do I build a bookshelf? Answer: Youtube

Youtube any exercise you want and they'll show you how to do it with correct form. If you honestly had to ask this question and it's not your way of secretly making it o.k. with yourself that you haven't lifted yet, then you're just a huge dumbass.

[–]mbizjo[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

This is a great point. I learned more about my Jeep the day I started YouTubing regular maintenance on my Jeep (including replacing all the brakes myself).

[–]mrp_awakening1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Everyones saying SL/SS. TBH, I found those great for getting acquainted with lifting, but never made stellar progress on them. I made my own routine in college and in 1 yr made more progress than 2 yrs of SS. If it stops working, dont be afraid to try something new. Creatine is also a huge help and should be taken by everyone who lifts weights.

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Everyones saying SL/SS. TBH, I found those great for getting acquainted with lifting, but never made stellar progress on them. I made my own routine in college and in 1 yr made more progress than 2 yrs of SS.

You were doing it wrong. Any novice LP should not be done more than 6 months if done correctly. Once you start failing you need to switch to an intermediate program like the bridge or 531.

[–]mrp_awakening0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah, didn't know shit back then... reddit wasn't really big and I was on the 4chan /fit/ board where SS was meme'd real hard. As I said... good place to start and get acquainted, but there's better things to do once you've learned the ropes.

[–]BusterVadge1 point2 points  (7 children) | Copy

Stronglifts until you can bench 2 plates, squat 3 and dl 4. You'll get strong FAST as long as you eat enough and put the time in at the gym.

Switch from SL to something else as soon as you hit that milestone. I was injuring my traps all the time doing SL. I switched to something that focuses on hypertrophy a little more and stopped hurting myself.

Once you hit a plateau you have to mix things up a little to push past it.

Hell if I can do it at 44 you can too.

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (6 children) | Copy

I have to disagree on the milestone. The program is going to be different for everyone. LP is to be run until failure, not a specific weight. I personally stalled at 345 squat,190 bench and 365 DL.

[–]BusterVadge0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

Hmm. I suppose you're right. Everyone is different. I've been taught that you should try to hit the 2/3/4 club before starting a hypertrophy program. That's what I did... It took me a long time though.

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret1 point2 points  (4 children) | Copy

Switching to an intermediate program doesn't necessarily mean a hypertrophic program. 531 I would argue doesn't have enough volume but works well for the next step. It also is probably the most customizable program next to writing your own

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I do a lot of dropsets and superset stuff along with some of the eccentric athlean x increased range of motion lifts 2 years in.

[–]Reach180Red Beret0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

531 I would argue doesn't have enough volume

WTF? This is pretty ignorant.

[–]mindfulbutgutlessRed Beret0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

This is pretty ignorant.

You could be right with this statement. I dug back into this and I completely left out a key element in my statement, Intensity. Either way since I have not run 531, I should probably curb any opinion on that program. I might give it a try when my current program ends.

[–]Reach180Red Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It can have as much volume as you want. I've got a book here next to me on my desk with 250 pages of different variations - some have so much volume I wouldn't go near them.

The retard versions of the program that knock-offs build into a $1.99 app is, if it's not totally wrong, at best the program minimum.

[–]WesternhagenWinner1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

When I first started I took a class that focused on the basics (squat, deadlift, bench) and met three times a week. It was usually three to six people per session. The benefit of the class was consistency and also the presence of the instructor, who pointed out how to improve form - which was really important to me, since I'd never squatted or deadlifted before that. Took me a long time to get the deadlift form dialed in. I would advise looking for a barbell class like that.

[–]boy_named_su1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I got to the 1,000 pound weightlifting club late last year (by following StrongLifts then Mad Cow). Then I lost 40 pounds of fat in my cut. I'd recommend cutting first

StrongLifts 5x5 is okay, but their form videos are pretty good

PPL is better for hypertrophy (size vs strength)

Make sure you're eating a lot of protein:

Diagnostics: Get your T, estrogen, and aromatase checked. Magnesium, zinc, creatine, cruciferous veg to fix

[–]mbizjo[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Thanks much for the link

[–]TheGoldenShroom1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Generally speaking most guys will see significant gains in their first year of lifting as long as they push themselves and maintain consistency.

That being said, do some research to determine your genetic body type (ectomorph/endomorph/mesomorph) so you can make sure you have reasonable expectations for your progress. If you are an ectomorph and you end up having a hard time gaining muscle you will know not to get frustrated and give up. If you are mesomorph and you aren’t building muscle, you will know that something needs to be adjusted.

Aside from training and diet, make sure you are getting adequate sleep. A lot of data suggests that testosterone is replenished during slow wave activity when we sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep your test levels can drop and you also aren’t giving your body enough time to heal and grow from your training. Best of luck.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Easiest way to start out when new to lifting is to stop making excuses and get a gym membership.

Look into the 5 lifts in StrongLifts 5x5.

Reality is, you're going to be atrophied and you're going to need to build a baseline before you can get progressive with the lifts.

Start with lighter weight, something you can do each of the strong lifts exercises in sets of 16 to 20 lifts at a time. If you're not overweight, but skinny fat like i was this should be something along the following lines when you start:

Deadlift: 95 to 135lbs (watch the Athlean-X videos, dude will show you how to properly set up; laces just visible on the other side of the bar, bend over till hands are parallel with knees, then squat directly down)

Squat 80 to 100lbs (make sure your knees are bending directly out, or you'll pull a groin with knees flared out, contrarily if you fold your knees inward at the bottom/while lifting back up from the bottom you'll fuck your outer abductors/hip up and make sure you go all the way down to where your ass is almost touching the back of your ankles)

Barbell Rows: 40 to 55lbs (the setup for this exercise is a lot like an underhanded deadlift set up, except you lock into it and flex the hell out of your core while you lift the bar directly into your midsection; again, watch the Athlean-X videos and it will feel right, and comfortable when you're in the correctly triangulated form)

Overhead Press: 40 to 50lbs (put the seat 1 notch back from vertical, make sure the bar comes down to rest on your chest just below the clavical. Pinch your shoulder blades together towards your spine, push your lower back firmly flat against the backrest and lift.)

Bench Press: 70 to 90lbs (watch videos online on how to correctly set up for the bench, its trickier than you would think, and failing to properly set up will put the work onto your triceps and front delts instead of your pecs; it's an awkward position that takes some getting used to start at low as you need to on the weight to get the form correct, because over the long term bad form on the bench will prevent you from correctly developing your pecs once the initial noobie gains are reached and you find it nearly impossible to progress any further than 160ish lbs)

Aside from the big-5 youll also want to do Triceps, specifically, on chest day, because weak triceps will prevent you from ever fully activating your pec muscles on a proper bench press, they're kind of the lowest common denominator when it comes to bench and overhead pressing is underdeveloped.

After 2 months or so of developing your baseline back from being a lazy atrophied fuck, then start adding weight and get your rep-count more in line with the actual SL 5x5 program.

[–]ac3jc1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Look up athleanx on YouTube. You’re welcome

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Everyone gave you a great program to follow. I can only add this; Make sure you try your hardest to get proper form on these lifts you can hurt yourself or just stunt the growth you should be getting.

Mike Rippetoe has good youtube videos and the Stronglifts website has great breakdowns on proper form;

Worse case scenario, pay a couple hundred bucks and find a trainer that will teach you the CORE COMPOUND lifts... Thats all you need to learn... dont let them sucker you into some class with cardio or stations... CORE COMPOUND LIFTS (Deadlift, Squad, Overhead Press, Benchpress, Chinup) - Learn them and do them often

[–]linkofinsanity190 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

5x5 is fine to start, but realize that it is only a beginner program and will only take you so far. Once you reach that point, I would advise against searching for the program that works best for you. Every man should learn the basics to programming for himself so that you can program based off of your individual strengths, weaknesses, goals, and recovery ability. 3 books to give you the majority of what you need to be able to start programming for yourself are "The Art and Science of Lifting" and "Scientific Principles of Strength Training". Read these once you have a basic understanding of lifting. As for form, Omar Isuf has several great form tutorials, as well as the JTTS and RP boys on YouTube with their lift pillars series.

This is the information I wish someone had given me 3 years ago, when I spent most of the first year and a half spinning my wheels trying different programs.

Edit: Also, learn to stretch the correct muscle groups as part of your warm up. Don't risk having bad workouts or injuries by not taking 5-10 minutes to stretch.

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