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Started Stronglifts - 1st Session

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November 23, 2016


So I posted a long introduction in my first post a few days ago, see First Post.

I mentioned that I had joined a gym last week, and having never done weights of any kind before found it intimidating, so had been fucking around on the weight machines. Lots of people telling me to get over myself and just get it done!

Went there this morning and got over myself and started Stronglifts Workout A today. Following using the App so :-

  • Squat - Bar only 20kg
  • Bench Press - Bar only 20kg
  • Barbell Row - 30kg

Squats no problem at that weight :-), need to ensure I start getting my form correct though. Bench Press a bit harder but still completed. Barbell Row - Found this really hard, especially as no idea how good my form was, tried doing them side on to look in mirror to see back shape, was definitely rounding. Main thing was that I felt alot of stress in lower back so only did 3 sets and left it at that. Lower back is a little sore now, see how it goes tommorow.

Not back to gym until Saturday most likely so have 2 days rest and then I am on Workout B, where DL at 40kg 1st time is going to be interesting.

Should I deload the lower back stressing ones for a week or two given the fact I have no experience of strength training only long distance running. Need to make sure I take it very slow, possibly slower than stronglifts recommendations ?

So starting lifting is a very small step in the big scheme of things, but quite a big one for me personally. Thanks to everyone who called me out on it!

Post Information
Title Started Stronglifts - 1st Session
Author oluwawithin
Upvotes 7
Comments 35
Date 23 November 2016 02:55 AM UTC (4 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
Original Link
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[–]WesternhagenWinner3 points4 points  (4 children) | Copy

Agree with Gallbladder on reading Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (pdf is free online). I found it very useful because I hadn't done squats or deads before.

I'm going to guess you joined a big franchise gym with lots of treadmills, step machines, and weight machines. What you really want is a place with NO machines at all, only free weights, and lots of squat racks / bench stations. THAT is the place where you'll find people willing and able to help you. Yes you will be intimidated but get over it.

One thing you may not have thought about: shoes. For squatting and deads you want very flat soles. Squishy running shoes with thick soles are bad. They make you unstable. This will be more important when weight increases but no time like the present to get it right.

[–]oluwawithin[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Thanks for the tip on shoes, never would have occurred to be that they could be a factor being such a noob.

[–]SexistFlyingPig1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

There are a couple of different brands of lifting shoes. I bought addidas' $100-ish shoes with the 0.6" heel lift. The 'real' lifting shoes (that are twice what I paid) have a 3/4" heel lift. The difference between regular cross trainers to the shoes I have is immense. What I've read and seen says that the difference between what I bought and cross trainers is the same as real lifting shoes to what I have.

If you're serious about your lifting, then when it comes time to buy shoes, get really nice ones. You're only ever going to buy one pair of lifting shoes. You should never regret your decision, so buy good ones.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy

Good to hear you started with 5x5. It is a good program, stick to it.

And there is a very good app specifically for this program. Download it, use it.

[–]oluwawithin[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

Thanks. Yes have started with the App. Is it worth paying for the power pack unlock?

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yes, it is.

You get an ability to back up and export.

Even more important you get the warm up series as well. Therefore you do not have to even think about weights at all.

For squating 225lb for example, it gives you 5xempty bar, 5x empty bar, 5x 90lb, 5x180lb 3x200lb warm up (or something like that) and than you go for the kill.

It gives you the exact plate weights to use on the bar for the main series. Ie 2x45lb, 1x5lb to each side.

I purchased the full version after about a month after I had started. Keep in mind you are going to stick with this program for at least 6 months. The full version makes everything even smother, you are less distracted and can focus on lifting only when you are at gym.

It is definitely worthy.

[–]SexistFlyingPig2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

$10 is a low price to pay to support the program.

$10 is a low price to pay for anything that you get value from.

[–]regimental2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

u/hllgrmt +1 for the Alan Thrall vids. His videos helped my form more than anything else.

Getting your form right now will help when it gets really heavy. Don't be afraid to de-load a bit if you feel like form is breaking down either. Helped me enormously.

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

If you're having back problems with Barbell Rows, you might try Dumbell Rows instead. With less weight and more points of stabilization, its easier to keep good form while you build up your strength.

As your squats increase, your core will get stronger and you can start hitting the BRs again.

Congrats on taking the first step.

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

Thanks, I will see how I go next time round, I suspect I have very weak lower back muscles from years of desk sitting, so will need to take time to build up.

[–]Mukato1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

you are pulling yourself up with each rep on the bent over rows, that is why your lower back hurts. keep your back un-rolled and your lower back ridged. you don't want to "ratchet" yourself up to a straighter and straighter standing position as you do your sets. keep yourself in your chest out, back straight and belt over at a 45 degree angle through the lift. don't more your lower back.

[–]cholomiteMod / BP Downvote Magnet0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

There's nothing wrong with going slow to ensure proper form. I would repeat weights sometimes just to make sure I didn't strain or pull something. I figure it's better to go slow than not go at all. That being said, don't be a pussy about it. You need to be pushing yourself every day. Don't become one of those half assed gym faggots making excuses. I've been there and it's weak as fuck.

Protip: Don't let your girl see you lift until you get at least some 25lb plates on each side. If my girl saw me squatting 5lbs while the guy next to me did 350, I would just say bye because she would lose all respect for me.

[–]BobbyPeru0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Barbell rows and squats can both be tricky, so good thing you're starting light. You may want to invest in a good lifting belt.

I used to jack up my back doing barbell rows two or three times a year, but a few years ago I made a slight adjustment. I'm no expert, so take it for what it's worth, but when I started putting my torso and more of a 45° angle when doing bar Bell rows, I haven't been injured since. Also, you can do dumbbell rows on an incline bench (45 degrees or less) until you build up some strength. Pull ups work a different angle of your back, and I've noticed more definition since I incorporated them.

Lots of YouTube videos for form. Everybody's body is a little different, keep that in mind. I agree with Cholomite - if you are going to do it, sure start off slow and light, but start pushing yourself over the following weeks. There's truth in the cliché "No pain, no gain. "

[–]RagnarTeller0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I have degenerative arthritis in my lower back and have had a lot of pain when I started lifting. I did a lot of research and found that the best thing to do besides good form is to build your core. I took a break from lifting to strictly focus on core. During this break I worked push-ups, pull-ups and tons of core stuff. I had a session with a world class competitive power lifter to up my form along with every vid I could find on YouTube. With my core strong and good form, I got back on my 5x5 and the pain was down by about 70%. Learn to brace properly when you lift (holding your breath and "pushing" your stomach) and learn good form. That's what helped me.

[–]Gallbladder_Summoner0 points1 point  (10 children) | Copy

I'm in a similar place, been on SL5x5 using the app. The progression is slow in order to give you time to get the form right before you have to deal with heavy weight. I'm almost 2 months in and am just getting to the point where some of the lifts are truly difficult; is hard to be patient, but if you stick with it, it will come.

Check out the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and look him up on YouTube for videos. I started the book last week, and have watched a few of his videos, and it has already helped improve my form by pointing out what I've been doing wrong since my gym has a nice weight room, but no strength coaches.

Also check out the Fit Notes app once you get more advanced and want to add accessory exercises. It's far more complicated than the SL app, but lots more flexible and free, whereas SL requires the paid version to add warmup or accessory exercises.

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

Thanks for the comments. I did look at SS briefly, also noticed there is an app for that as well. Most people seem to talk about SL on here, so thought that was the better program to start for a true beginner. Will read the SS book to get better idea on form as well as YouTube videos.

The SS is 3x5 reps whereas 5x5 for SL. Lots of comments on the benefits of either on the internet as with everything. Guess best to stick to SL now Ive started.

Had a look at fitnotes, looks great, probably start with SL app for now and move to that later on.

[–]SexistFlyingPig0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I love SL5x5.

It takes a long time to actually do squats with good form. I went through one round of a couple months of lifting and while I got my squat weight up to about 280, I don't think I ever had good form. This time through I'm going as low as I can, given my leg/torso proportions. My hamstrings are squished against my calves when I'm at the bottom of the lift. I don't think that it's possible for me to go lower. On a side note, I can't actually go as low as I want to unless there's at least 40kg on the bar helping me. Now I love doing squats.

The app has videos for each of the lifts. That might help you critique your form. /r/weightlifting is also a great resource, once you get going a bit.

There's a great video showing what squats can look like for different people. (

Keep lifting bro.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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