Strong Progess

Today marks the start of week 6 of my strength training program at Stronglifts as I make strong progress. I continue to increase the weights as I move towards my 12 week goals, which were established before starting the program. Since I had little experience with free weights prior to starting, I began most of the lifts with an empty bar (45 lbs.), but have seen some nice increases, especially in the squat and bench press. The key to this program is getting to the gym on a regular basis, for me that is 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and increasing the weight on each lift, every session.

The squat is the cornerstone behind Stronglifts and one that is of the utmost importance. It was an exercise I never did before starting this program. Starting with the empty bar, I have made a 105 lb. increase and can do a 1RM (1 rep max) of 150 lbs after 5 weeks. My 12-week goal for the squat is 240 lbs. There have been a few issues with my form that have been resolved, thanks to another SL member who provided guidance and insight. I now feel confident in my squat form and think 240 lbs. is well within reach.

The bench press been just as impressive in terms of weight added. Just like the squat I started with an empty bar (45 lbs.). At times I felt a bit ridiculous benching an empty bar, but progress was being made. While my current work weight (for my 5×5) is 115 lbs. I just achieved a new 1RM last Friday of 155 lbs! An increase of 110 lbs. in 5 weeks! The goal set for the 12-week program is 140, so I am ahead of the schedule on the bench press. Still have a few form issues to resolve on the bench press, such as pushing my chest up before I lift. My grip continues to baffle me from too narrow to possibly too wide.

The final number I am using as a target is the deadlift is 260 lbs. This is another lift that I had never done before learning of Stronglifts. I had seen it done by power lifters, but never considered myself in that category when lifting weights. Starting with 140 lbs. I have increased the weight 10 lbs. a week. Last week I was able to pull a 1RM of 200 lbs. It probably could have been 20-25 lbs heavier and still be considerable a good rep. This is another lift where form, especially with the back is important. I have scabs on my shins from literally dragging the barbell up my shins, which tells me the form is still not completely correct as my hips are too low when starting the lift.

Still with some minor issues in my form, progress is being made. I am gaining strength across the board in all 5 lifts I attempt, as well as in the dips I am able to accomplish. Right now the only thing holding me back is pain in my left shoulder. I am trying to decide if it’s an injury (pre-existing before I started lifting) or just tightness in my shoulders requiring mobility training. The twinge is more noticeable when I am pulling weight, as in the barbell rows or doing dips. Last night I want is an injury that will interfere with my work out schedule.

Stronglifts: 3 Weeks In

Prior to finding Stronglifts5x5 I had a difficult time finding a reason to workout at the gym. It was easy to sell myself on an excuse and say, “I’ll go tomorrow.” Due to the untimely death of my training partner I was lost on the gym floor, doing split routines until muscle failure and thinking I was working towards a goal. Unfortunately with the number of exercises I was doing and the amount of sets/reps I figured I would have seen more progress since May, but that wasn’t the case.

After reading through the Stronglifts site I was sold on the approach, it all seemed to so simple. Reading the success stories and hear interviews with some of the “regular guys” who are lifting weights beyond their expectations has me believing in this program. Much like Dr. John McDougall program, following a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle, this 12-week Stronglifts program will have me seeing strength increases I could never imagine.

Today I start week 4 of the program, after starting from an empty bar (45 lbs) on the squat and bench press, I have made continual gains the first 3 weeks of the program. I see no roadblocks in the near future that will derail my weight gains as I work towards my initial 12-week goals. The more important component in these early weeks, using the correct form for each exercise in order to get the most out of each move.

As of Friday I have recorded and posted 2 videos to the Stronglifts Inner Circle asking for a form check, in order to assure I am performing my squat correctly. This exercise is the cornerstone of the Stronglifts program and I have some minor flaws that I am currently working on fixing in order to get the most out of this exercise. My initial squat goal is 220 lbs and if I continue the gains I have seen recently I should achieve that goal early in January.

What even feels better is going to the gym, knowing what lifts I will be doing and what weights I will be attempting. I have direction, I have motivation and I am working towards goals. It makes me want to go to the gym and push myself even more to achieve these gains.