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Mark D Ponders His Next Challenge


Mark D

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Is it time for my third challenge already?

 

My first was met with mixed success as a recruit, I lost weight but not as much as I'd hoped, I got stronger but didn't improve as much as I'd hoped. 

 

My second challenge (first as Warrior) was a success.  I began strength training on the cruise, then began Stronglifts as soon as I returned from said cruise.  I've been going to the gym three times a week, and while I've failed reps on OHP twice so far I've stayed with the program, so I'd call that successful.

 

I think the weights are now heavy enough that I should do a form check, so I have to see what I can do about getting video and posting in the form check forum, then make any needed corrections.  I'm not sure if this is odd, but I find my form is a little shaky during my lighter, warm-up sets (especially squatting with the empty bar) then it tightens up as the weight gets heavier, then it tends to go South again as I get tired.  

 

Other than that, I'll use this challenge to continue making progress in Stronglifts according to the program.  I'll see what the mini-challenges are and if it's something that I'm up for in ability, the last thing I want is to try to do too much at this point and end up getting hurt.

 

Question for more experienced warriors:  I've been doing Stronglifts now for five weeks, going three times a week.  What would be an appropriate challenge for me at this point?  Should I begin some accessory lifting (curls, bro?  Farmers Walks?  Kettlebell?)  Or would I be better off just staying the course for now and using the program as designed?

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OK, decision made.

 

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.

 

First off, I'm willing to hear advice on my plan, if anyone who knows more about these things than I do (which wouldn't take much) cares to make a suggestion I'm all ears, er, eyes.

 

Since I stalled once on overhead press, it makes sense to add accessory work to improve that lift.  However, since I struggle with OHP, I figure on Workout B (squats, OHP and deadlift) day I'm getting enough OHP work in, need need to accessorize for OHP during that day.  So, on workout A day (squats, bench press, rows) I'll add alternate dumb bell presses, using a weight I can handle between five and ten reps without failure.  Probably three sets to start off.  I'll increase the weight when I can reliably get over ten reps for all three sets.  On workout B days I'll do the same with dumb bell hammer curls (because biceps are cool, and if Mark Rippetoe can say that curls are his guilty pleasure in the gym then so can I!).  

 

I think that's enough to do some good, without over stressing my aging body.

 

And yes, I know the Muscles from Brussels (Mehdi of Stronglifts fame) recommends chin-ups and dips for accessory work.  Only problem is I'm not yet strong enough to do either, and at my gym the pull-up bar and dip station see considerable use, but I shouldn't have any problem getting dumb bells.  If it becomes a problem I can always get a set of adjustable dumb bells for home and do my accessory work on my "off" days or in the evening on gym days.

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OK, decision made.

 

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.

 

First off, I'm willing to hear advice on my plan, if anyone who knows more about these things than I do (which wouldn't take much) cares to make a suggestion I'm all ears, er, eyes.

 

Since I stalled once on overhead press, it makes sense to add accessory work to improve that lift.  However, since I struggle with OHP, I figure on Workout B (squats, OHP and deadlift) day I'm getting enough OHP work in, need need to accessorize for OHP during that day.  So, on workout A day (squats, bench press, rows) I'll add alternate dumb bell presses, using a weight I can handle between five and ten reps without failure.  Probably three sets to start off.  I'll increase the weight when I can reliably get over ten reps for all three sets.  On workout B days I'll do the same with dumb bell hammer curls (because biceps are cool, and if Mark Rippetoe can say that curls are his guilty pleasure in the gym then so can I!).  

 

I think that's enough to do some good, without over stressing my aging body.

 

And yes, I know the Muscles from Brussels (Mehdi of Stronglifts fame) recommends chin-ups and dips for accessory work.  Only problem is I'm not yet strong enough to do either, and at my gym the pull-up bar and dip station see considerable use, but I shouldn't have any problem getting dumb bells.  If it becomes a problem I can always get a set of adjustable dumb bells for home and do my accessory work on my "off" days or in the evening on gym days.

 

 

I like it. I used to be firmly in the "Follow the program as designed, accessory lifts are useless if you do the major lifts" camp, but now I think they're great as long as they don't take away from the main lifts, and extra great for developing any weak areas you have. 

 

One other thing you can do to help out your OHP without going too crazy is to just add a set or two of a lighter weight right after your 5x5. This will add a bit of volume, as well as giving your brain some extra practice at that specific movement. A lot of strength gains can come from your body learning to do the movements more efficiently. 

“Push yourself harder than you think you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself.â€
– Stanley McChrystal

 

Current Challenge

July 26 - Sept 6 Challenge

June 8 - July 19 Challenge

April 13- May 25 Challenge

Goals:

  • 315/455/495 Bench/Squat/Deadlift
  • 230lb Bodyweight

Current:

  • Bench 280lb
  • Squat 431lb 
  • Deadlift 441lb
  • 265lb Bodyweight
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Well, I know it's a few days early, but I started my accessory work this morning, I went for alternate presses with 20 lb dumb bells, I tried three sets of ten but crapped out after eight on the last set, so I guess I'm working hard enough to accomplish something.  Mind you, this was after squatting, bench pressing, and rowing.  My shoulders are letting me know I did more than usual.

 

The only real potential problem I see with my plan is that, especially when I deadlift, I'm wiped out.  The thought of grabbing more weights and doing MORE work appeals to me about as much as a stick in the eye, but I shall endure.  Embrace the suck!

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And yes, I know the Muscles from Brussels (Mehdi of Stronglifts fame) recommends chin-ups and dips for accessory work.  Only problem is I'm not yet strong enough to do either, and at my gym the pull-up bar and dip station see considerable use, but I shouldn't have any problem getting dumb bells.  If it becomes a problem I can always get a set of adjustable dumb bells for home and do my accessory work on my "off" days or in the evening on gym days.

 

Challenge goal #1: get a picture for your avatar

 

Additional accessory work for OHP could also be just tricep or shoulder work instead of more presses. i.e. tricep rope or bar pushdowns, tricep kickbacks, skullcrushers, 3-way dumbbell raises. You could also do bench/chair dips if you can't do full dips. And inverted rows or band assisted chin ups to replace regular chin ups. Lots of options :)

Current Challenge

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Challenge goal #1: get a picture for your avatar

Additional accessory work for OHP could also be just tricep or shoulder work instead of more presses. i.e. tricep rope or bar pushdowns, tricep kickbacks, skullcrushers, 3-way dumbbell raises. You could also do bench/chair dips if you can't do full dips. And inverted rows or band assisted chin ups to replace regular chin ups. Lots of options :)

You may live to regret suggesting a picture.

For the rest I'm not sure isolation exercises are a good idea at this point. I may be wrong about that and am willing to learn, but as a beginner it seems I'm better off strengthening everything.

And yes I could do assisted dips or pull ups, but that would still mean waiting until the station is free. Or having someone complain about me doing inverted rows in the Smith machine like I complain. About people curling in the power rack.

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OK, here are the details I've come up with for my challenge:

 

1) Continue Stronglifts three times per week, and stick with the program as designed.  Failed reps are failed reps, do what the program says.

 

2)  Add accessory work after the main Stronglifts workout at least twice a week, hammer curls and dumb bell presses as above

 

3) Continue eating right, stick with low carb, keep off the sugar.

 

4) Keep tracking my blood pressure.  I'm trying to convince my doctor that I don't need BP meds, so I need to show him a history of good numbers.  I've been tracking daily for the last week and the numbers have been good.  Next Saturday I have an appointment and he wants me to bring my BP tester to see how my numbers compare to what he gets in his office, to see if it's white-coat hypertension.

 

5) Try any warrior mini-challenges that seem to be within my capabilities, that I can do without hurting myself.

 

6) Make and post here on the forum form-check videos for all Stronglifts lifts to see if I have any form issues I need to address.

 

If my I keep progressing at Stronglifts as I've done I'll be over bodyweight on deadlift and near body weight on squats by the end of this challenge, but I won't make that part of the challenge because if I stall I don't want to call that a failure, it's part of the process.  Worse, I don't want to hurt myself trying to achieve that.

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Well, screw up on the first day of the challenge, get it over with.

 

Details can be found in my battle log, but basically I got the wrong plates on the bar for squats.  I was scheduled to be squatting 140 lb, so a 45 and 2.5 on each end of the bar.  I actually HAD a 35 on one side and a 45 on the other, so the bar was not only uneven (and I didn't notice) it was lighter than it was supposed to be (although I felt REALLY good, didn't seem like a struggle at all).  I didn't notice until I was putting the plates away and had the two plates on the tree, I had neither time nor energy to redo my squats this morning.

 

One complaint I have about my gym is people don't care WHERE they put plates when they're done.  I've had to move a couple 45 pound plates to get at the 2.5's under them on the same post.  I've seen plates overlapping on the tree because someone put a 45 where a ten belongs, then a 45 on the pin below.  I try to keep things organized, but I seem to be the minority.

 

Oh yeah, and that I can never find 2.5 or 5 lb plates because someone is squatting with 145 pounds made up of a ten pound plate, seven 5 lb and two 2.5 plates on each end of the bar, dude  what's up with that?

 

I put it down as a failure and I'll do 140 next work-out, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Here, here!!  I lose a lot of time wandering around looking for equipment that isn't racked correctly --- if at all. 

 

But, pick yourself up and rock it for day 2!!

Some sort of Jedi .....

We are better than we know, if we can be made to see it, [then] for the rest of our lives, we'll be unwilling to settle for less.  

Current Challenge: Return of the Persistent Priestess

Past Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

"No, I'm from Iowa.  I only work in outer space." -- James T. Kirk

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Here, here!!  I lose a lot of time wandering around looking for equipment that isn't racked correctly --- if at all. 

 

But, pick yourself up and rock it for day 2!!

 

This morning there was a 100 lb plate leaning against the plate tree.  100 lb plates have somewhat limited utility (they're mostly for the leg press machines and they pretty much live there), and if you're strong enough to use it you're strong enough to put the bloody thing back.

 

I'd ask where the other one went, but I'm pretty sure we have an odd number of 2.5 lb plates, I keep finding one of the little buggers.

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Sounds like you have strong ADHD lifters at your gym!!

 

21c46e72694031201c94b4bb3ec9c26b.jpg

Some sort of Jedi .....

We are better than we know, if we can be made to see it, [then] for the rest of our lives, we'll be unwilling to settle for less.  

Current Challenge: Return of the Persistent Priestess

Past Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

"No, I'm from Iowa.  I only work in outer space." -- James T. Kirk

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Well, this challenge hasn't gone well for me.

 

A few weeks ago I developed a problem, without going into too many specifics I needed neither preparations G nor I.  Lifting heavy stuff with that issue is ill advised, so I've not been under a barbell in a while, about four weeks as I write this.  BTW, this is not a new problem for me, it flares up every year or two, so lifting didn't cause it but may have exacerbated it.

 

I'm surprised at how much I missed it.  While I was working out I felt better, younger, more in control.  I was expecting physical changes, but I never expected the emotional changes.  Endorphins maybe?  

 

Online research suggests that a belt can help prevent hemorrhoids while lifting, so I have one on the way, as well as a pair of knee sleeves (which have nothing to do with piles, but my knees feel better when I keep them warm and it's too bloody hot for sweatpants in the gym).  

 

Oh, for those who say "Damn the hemorrhoids, lift away!" I'm a computer programmer by profession, so I sit on my butt all day long.  This is a problem I most certainly don't need, and I'll do what I can to avoid it.

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