Jump to content

Hey Guys - I need some assistance

Recommended Posts

So I need an objective opinion, for my wife:


We started doing Starting Strength about 3 weeks ago, and tonight she did squats at 70kg (155#) She is feeling a bit let down because the weight "felt heavy" and that she is progressing very slowly.


She does not believe me that what she is doing is actually pretty impressive (proximity bias, and all that), so can I ask your objective opinion on her behalf (I will show her the comments):


Is 155# x3x5 a decent lift for a 40 year old woman after 3 weeks of training?

My Challenges:  1

Link to post

... I'm an average sized woman in my early thirties. I've been lifting for a year and my maximum squat is 115lb. I can increase the weights on most of my lifts by 5lb maybe once every six weeks. 155 after three weeks is... exasperatingly impressive. I don't believe your wife's progress is slow at all. 

Congrats to your wife on finding something she's good at, and on getting stronger! 

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

Link to post

I'd also make sure that she's doing it safely! But yeah, that's not slow progress - she may feel like that in comparison to yourself (?), but dudes can typically lift more regardless.


If you'd like more data to help:



...but I'm adorable! Ask anyone who doesn't know me...

Link to post

Late to the party, but when I started lifting in my mid 20s it took me over 3 months to get to 135 on my squat. My squat was the lift I saw the most progress on too... She is doing INCREDIBLE! The key to lifting is to stop comparing yourself and your lifts to other's, which, I get, is hard as heck. I'm someone who never appreciates how far I've come, instead I focus on how much further I feel like I should have gone, but powerlifting is great in the sense that the ONLY person you're competing against is you. Any improvement over what you used to be able to do is a huge win. I've been lifting for about 5 years now, with a huge break in the middle because of life, and I can say that I totally understand where she is coming from and why she doesn't think her lifts are impressive even though they totally are. 


Dear Dolf's Wife (I apologize for not knowing your name)

Please love the curve of your quads, the way life feels easier now that you've discovered the barbell, and the baby steps of progress you're making every day. You may not be as strong as you someday hope to be, but think of how much stronger you are compared to when you started. Lift for the endorphins, lift for the ability to move things without help, lift for the long term benefits, lift because you love yourself. LOVE that your body can now squat 155. Love that your body is strong and capable of getting stronger. Love that you are clearly in the top ranking of average women as far as strength goes. Most women cannot squat 155, no matter their age. You are not a professional strength athlete, and it is logical that your lifts don't have the same numbers as professional strength athletes, and that is ok, because you're still a major badass and I'm in awe of the work that you've put in and the progress that you've made. Thank you for being brave enough to even touch the barbell in the first place, you're an inspiration. 

May you be blessed with all the gains,


  • Like 1

Warrior, Ravenclaw, book lover, history nerd, Red Sonja wannabe


Current Challenge

Battle Log

Link to post
On 3/11/2019 at 1:00 AM, Dolf said:

So I need an objective opinion, for my wife:


We started doing Starting Strength about 3 weeks ago, and tonight she did squats at 70kg (155#) She is feeling a bit let down because the weight "felt heavy" and that she is progressing very slowly.


Okay, a two-part disclaimer: Based on your name, I'm assuming you're male. If you aren't, none of what I'm about to say applies. Secondly, it may seem a bit harsh, but I'm phrasing it this way because it's something I struggled with when I was working out with my husband, and really wish someone had spelled out for me in the clearest possible way.


Compared to you, your wife is progressing slowly. Compared to you, she always will.


Women have several unfair disadvantages compared to men when it comes to building strength and muscle, some of them biological, some of them due to how society treats us when we grow up.


To begin with, men have more testosterone than women. This means it's easier for men to build muscle faster, and build larger muscle. It is an anatomical fact that the average man is physically stronger than the average woman. Of course there are weak men and strong women, but looking at the whole big picture, the biological male is the physically stronger of the two, and the one whose physiology is better optimized for building more strength.


Second, boys are encouraged to do athletic things their entire lives, in ways that girls often aren't. Boys run around, climb on things, they wrestle each other and the adults in their lives, they are enrolled in sports early in life... most girls are not. So when those boys grow up and go into the weight room in the gym, they simply do not start as far back as most of the women do.


What all this leads up to is the part that may sound a bit harsh.


To Dolf's wife: Stop comparing your progress to your husband. It will only lead to your progress looking bad and you feeling bad about it, because you will never catch him. Not only that, but it he ever stops working out entirely and you finally do, the moment he starts back up again, he will not only catch up to you in a about a month, his progress will soon pass yours and keep going. Comparing your progress to his is never going to make you look or feel good about your own gains. Stop doing it. In fact, stop comparing your progress to anyone except yourself.


I know it's hard. I had to stop working out with my husband before I was able stop seeing it as a competition in who could progress the fastest, and accepted that the slower progress I'm making is great and good and makes me badass. The great game of gains is rigged against us in many ways, so the way I see it our slower gains are actually worth more because we fought harder for them.


Look into a mirror. You're doing this for her. Ignore everyone else, what they are doing, and how.  :)


On 3/11/2019 at 1:00 AM, Dolf said:

Is 155# x3x5 a decent lift for a 40 year old woman after 3 weeks of training? 


As a 40 year old woman who is struggling to get to 105 after nearly two years of training, I think I might hate your wife. (Kidding! Kidding! She's impressive in every lift-related way.)

  • Like 1

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26

Link to post

155 for reps is awesome. And yeah, women have less testosterone than men, but we don't use it for as many essential functions either, so it IS possible to let it run around and build us muscle. Especially awesome posterior chain muscle. :) If your wife wants to progress faster, she should look at her diet and her sleep. She's doing amazing! When I get frustrated with my own progress, I have to remind myself of things like "I've been riding my bike too much to bulk" or "I work 40+ hours a week and am tired at the end of the day." As a woman in her 40s, she probably has some other real life responsibilities kicking around that keep her from training like a professional.


Also, every new lifter plateaus. 5x5 is only GOOD for a few months, and then people tend to need to mix it up. I think if she's interested in nerding out about programming, there's a lot of info out there. Lifting has been around for A WHILE. Women don't necessarily need different programming. So there's a lot she could look at to switch things up and see more progression. But yeah, if you're still adding 5 lbs per workout, or 5 lbs per week, you're still progressing. She also may want another workout buddy. I have a couple female friends who lift - we rarely lift together, but we cheer each other on.

  • Like 1

Current challenge:This is not how daemoncorax used to wake up

Previous challenges: DaemonCorax doesn't go on vacation

(STR 21; DEX 3; STA 10.5; CON 8.3; WIS 15; CHA 2 - but these are SUPER out of date.)

While we have to stay away from the desert, we can always ride our bikes.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

New here? Please check out our Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines