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MrHyde

Just came back from my first Starting Strength workout: got some questions

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As the title says, I just got back from my first Starting Strength workout and I've got a few questions:

1) My arms started shaking quite a bit while bench pressing, even though the weight certainly didn't feel all that heavy and form hadn't deteriorated. Why could this be happening?

2) The brilliantly named gym ("El Gimnasio", literally "The Gym") has cheap ass weights and bars (not that I'm complaining, considering I'm paying 15 USD/mo, no contract). They do, however, have a 20 Kg olympic bar available (which evidently nobody ever uses, since it had spider nets and a lot of dust...). What exercises am I supposed to do with the olympic bar from the Starting Strength's 6 (squat, overhead press, power clean, deadlift, bench press)? Just the power clean?

3) I used an olympic-bar-lookalike bar (12 Kg) for the deadlift. Is this the correct bar for the exercise?

4) In all exercises I had the problem that even though my muscles were worked 1-2 reps short of failure, I wasn't experiencing much discomfort performing the actual lifts. And even now, I can tell I had a workout, but I'm fine for the most part. Why could this be happening?

Thanks.

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Use the Olympic bar for everything. Plates can be loaded on it just like the other bar. The other bar is fine as well, just as long as you don't mix up the weights (heh did this one time at the gym, my deadlifts were way easier with a lighter bar, go figure)

As for discomfort, trust me it will come. Starting strength starts out with low weights but soon you'll be hitting your limit. The linear progression gets tougher as time goes on.

As for the arms shaking, they probably aren't used to the weight and just got tired. There are some stabilizer muscles and tendons that also may be working for the first time which could cause you to shake.

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As the title says, I just got back from my first Starting Strength workout and I've got a few questions:

1) My arms started shaking quite a bit while bench pressing, even though the weight certainly didn't feel all that heavy and form hadn't deteriorated. Why could this be happening?

2) The brilliantly named gym ("El Gimnasio", literally "The Gym") has cheap ass weights and bars (not that I'm complaining, considering I'm paying 15 USD/mo, no contract). They do, however, have a 20 Kg olympic bar available (which evidently nobody ever uses, since it had spider nets and a lot of dust...). What exercises am I supposed to do with the olympic bar from the Starting Strength's 6 (squat, overhead press, power clean, deadlift, bench press)? Just the power clean?

3) I used an olympic-bar-lookalike bar (12 Kg) for the deadlift. Is this the correct bar for the exercise?

4) In all exercises I had the problem that even though my muscles were worked 1-2 reps short of failure, I wasn't experiencing much discomfort performing the actual lifts. And even now, I can tell I had a workout, but I'm fine for the most part. Why could this be happening?

Thanks.

1) Because your muscles actually were tired.

2/3) Do all of the exercises with the 20kg bar.

4) You're not supposed to be experiencing discomfort? Also, you just got back. Wait until tomorrow. DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness. :)

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As the title says, I just got back from my first Starting Strength workout and I've got a few questions:

1) My arms started shaking quite a bit while bench pressing, even though the weight certainly didn't feel all that heavy and form hadn't deteriorated. Why could this be happening?

2) The brilliantly named gym ("El Gimnasio", literally "The Gym") has cheap ass weights and bars (not that I'm complaining, considering I'm paying 15 USD/mo, no contract). They do, however, have a 20 Kg olympic bar available (which evidently nobody ever uses, since it had spider nets and a lot of dust...). What exercises am I supposed to do with the olympic bar from the Starting Strength's 6 (squat, overhead press, power clean, deadlift, bench press)? Just the power clean?

3) I used an olympic-bar-lookalike bar (12 Kg) for the deadlift. Is this the correct bar for the exercise?

4) In all exercises I had the problem that even though my muscles were worked 1-2 reps short of failure, I wasn't experiencing much discomfort performing the actual lifts. And even now, I can tell I had a workout, but I'm fine for the most part. Why could this be happening?

Thanks.

1)The muscles are tired. The form probably didn't slip because most people don't have to concentrate too much to control it in the first place like they do with squats, its just that simple of a form.

2)Yes to all of them. The 20kg bar is the standard for all those lifts.

3)Use the 20kg and make sure you use at least 1 set of plates the size of standard 45 lb plates to make sure the bar is at the correct starting height.

4)With lower reps, you won't feel the burn you typically do with higher reps, if that's the discomfort you're talking about. If you are looking for having to put in loads of effort to move the weight, if you're going to be adding weight as you get stronger, the large effort will come eventually. Also, don't expect to be sore the next day. I do 5 sets of 5 for everything and though I feel exhausted after working out, I feel no discomfort the next day except for a little in my upper back. My legs feel fatigued and a bit weak, but not sore.

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1. This will be less of an issue as your stabilizer muscles get stronger.

4. Generally that "burn" feel comes from higher reps and/or higher weights. Higher reps aren't necessarily better for you. A lot of trainers probably do their clients a disservice by starting them out on programs that make working out more unfun and painful than it needs to be to be productive for a rank newbie. Also, as the weight gets up there your body will respond more. Finally, you still may end up feeling it in a day or two.

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@spezzy: I don't know about you, but I derive a rather sick sense of pleasure from DOMS.

@CoreyD: 3) 2x20 Kg weights + 1x20 Kg olympic bar = 60 Kg deadlift. Yes, dead is what I would be if I tried that at the moment. Today I did the 12 Kg bar + 2x10 Kg weights. And yes, the bar was too low so I had to put some props below the weights to lift it up a notch or two. 4) Yeah, I was mostly comparing to Convict Conditioning workouts.

One for you all: The trainer at the gym (the same one who wanted me to do machine squats) suggested I use a weird, really wide belt for the squats. What's the deal with that?

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One of these? Posted Image

Yeah, no reason to use one of these. When done with proper form squats and deadlifts don't injure your back, but using one these can reinforce bad form which leads to injury. A lot of trainers will suggest using one because they don't know any better.

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One of these? Posted Image

Yeah, no reason to use one of these. When done with proper form squats and deadlifts don't injure your back, but using one these can reinforce bad form which leads to injury. A lot of trainers will suggest using one because they don't know any better.

Wrong. See above link.

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Wrong. See above link.

I read the link. Belts have their appropriate place, but when starting out (such as MrHyde's case) they can hinder more than they can help. If you can't hold good form without a belt on heavier weights then the potential for injury increases when you use a belt because it can mask some of your lifting issues. He's not squatting 400lbs, probably doesn't know about the Vasalva Maneuver so wearing one at this stage doesn't make sense.

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@CoreyD: 3) 2x20 Kg weights + 1x20 Kg olympic bar = 60 Kg deadlift. Yes, dead is what I would be if I tried that at the moment. Today I did the 12 Kg bar + 2x10 Kg weights. And yes, the bar was too low so I had to put some props below the weights to lift it up a notch or two. 4) Yeah, I was mostly comparing to Convict Conditioning workouts.

Most places where deadlifting and overhead pressing are common will have bumper plates made of rubber that are the same size as the steel ones, but much lighter. We have bumper plates as light as 45 lbs a piece. (Edit: 15 lbs a piece, not 45!)

The belt forces you to get a tighter ab contraction during the squat, which will stabilize you more and prevent injury. Edit; Don't use it until you are lfiting heavier. Try to learn proper form and use it as long as possible without the belt. Please do not do machine squats.

Edited by CoreyD

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I read the link. Belts have their appropriate place, but when starting out (such as MrHyde's case) they can hinder more than they can help. If you can't hold good form without a belt on heavier weights then the potential for injury increases when you use a belt because it can mask some of your lifting issues. He's not squatting 400lbs, probably doesn't know about the Vasalva Maneuver so wearing one at this stage doesn't make sense.

He's doing Starting Strenght so he should know what the Vasalva Maneuver is and be utilizing it. There's nothing wrong with him belting up in the begining and nailing down his form, since mostly likely he'll be using it later on when the weights get heavy.

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@CoreyD: Well, The Gym doesn't have rubber plates so I guess I'll pile up a few weights under the loaded bar until I can lift those 60 Kg.

@bigm141414,chairohkey: The link says the belt should be the same width in the front and back. The Gym has ones like in the picture above, wide on the back, not so wide on the front. I guess I won't be using a belt for now. I do know about the Valsalva Maneuver.

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I just started with the strength guide, too, so I just want to say Form Form Form! The first couple workouts is just seeing what weights are your limit and figuring out what the proper form is. Wherever you're starting, I'm sure you don't need any periphanalia yet. Think of your "belt" as your core! Strap it on, make it nice and tight, and just lift some heavy stuff safely, man. You'll be sore tomorrow or the next day.

Cavemen didn't wear weight belts when they moved boulders around to make a comfy cave.

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Cavemen didn't wear weight belts when they moved boulders around to make a comfy cave.

Great quote! One of my reasons for not using a belt, or gloves or braces is that if I need to lift a person, or an object in an emergency, I'm not going to have those available. I need to have confidence in the body that God gave me, that I've been faithful to train. No time to strap on the belt when the house is on fire.

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Cavemen didn't wear weight belts when they moved boulders around to make a comfy cave.

But we're not cavemen. We're just average dudes and chicks lifting weights to accomplish various goals. If that goal is to get strong, then you'll get stronger lifting with a belt. If you're happy lifting lower weight for the sake of being "functional" then so be it.

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Pshh.. who are you calling "average".

And where's the dude who started this thread? I wants to hear about his doms. I took a week off and finally hit the gym yesterday and I have muscle fatigue today... so I want to hear about other people's pain.

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Pshh.. who are you calling "average".

And where's the dude who started this thread? I wants to hear about his doms. I took a week off and finally hit the gym yesterday and I have muscle fatigue today... so I want to hear about other people's pain.

Missery loves company, huh? I'm experiencing DOMS in the pecs, traps (oh the traps...), and pretty much every muscle I can think of between my hips and knees. Everything else is pain free, though evidently not recovered (arms...).

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One of my reasons for not using a belt, or gloves or braces is that if I need to lift a person, or an object in an emergency, I'm not going to have those available.

Kind of non sequitur, but my boyfriend said if he ever decided to join my gym to lift with me, he'd have to get gloves so that he wouldn't have direct contact with the bar that he's just sure some dude has sweated all over. :) (He's kind of a germaphobe somtimes.... hehehe.)

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Kind of non sequitur, but my boyfriend said if he ever decided to join my gym to lift with me, he'd have to get gloves so that he wouldn't have direct contact with the bar that he's just sure some dude has sweated all over. :) (He's kind of a germaphobe somtimes.... hehehe.)

+1 for cleanliness. At least you know he won't be pawing at you with gross hands :D

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I use gloves, but that's mainly because my petite soft skinned hands were falling apart when I started approaching 300lbs on dead lift. I loves my gloves now and wear them for pretty much everything except core workouts.

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OP: To your first question, still happens to me. Not a big issue I've found at all.

Re: Belt - True beginners really have no need for one IMO. As already said, can reinforce bad form. I didn't touch one until I was in the mid 200s for Squat, 300 for deadlift.

Re: Gloves - No. Germ problem? Good gym should have disinfectant, or at the least you can bring your own. Soft hands/calluses? Buy chalk. (Though calluses are sexy). Gloves hurt your grip strength and displace the weight.

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