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Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 12-15-2017 06:07 AM

I wanted to document my first serious foray into lifting having only messed about on and off for a few years. This thread will serve as motivation and hope to get advice when I move into more challenging weights in the next few weeks/months.

So a little about me. Age 41. 6ft. 158 lbs. Already in good physical health as I do a lot of running. So no gut to shift. If anything it is the reverse in that I need to bulk up more.

The running to date has served two main purposes. Firstly I use it for meditation. I run a small business which can get stressy at times. Running gets rid of that and allows me to sleep somewhat normally. Secondly, it is social as I use a local club. Also, I'm quite good at it and I love getting out on the trails.

I know that running and lifting aren't typically compatible but I like a challenge. I have seen plenty of lean runners but there is also a class of runner normally doing ultras like me who have a bit of mass and are essentially by default shredded. That's my long-term aim. So I am hoping the lifting will benefit my running in the long run too.

My first aim is to get to around 180 lbs and then reassess.

With running a business and running 3 to 4 times a week time away from home is difficult, so joining a gym isn't going to work. So I have bought a power cage and free weights and set up in the garage. I now have great flexibility in that I can either get up an hour early / nip out an hour before bed and get a session in.

I've also looked at my diet and started tracking calories via myfitnesspal. Essentially I haven't been eating anything like enough. I have added in a high-calorie shake into my morning breakfast so I start the day with at least 1000 in the bank. Looking to get some homemade premade snack packs together at the weekend to optimise a morning and afternoon snack for next week going forward.

As I am new to proper lifting I have decided on the 5x5 stronglifts routine for the first 6 months before I reassess. I am sticking to the book on this as much as possible. I am not skipping to heavier weights, doing more session or doing extra weights. The only complication I have is that I am also running 3 times a week.

First 2 sessions done all very easy but I am currently concentrating on form and technique for now.

Session 1

Squat 5x5 @ 44
BP 5x5 @ 44
Row 5x5 @ 66

Session 2

Squat 5x5 @ 50
OH Press 5x5 @ 44
DL 1x5 @ 88

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Plus Oultre - 12-15-2017 12:34 PM

Great post with a lot of information. I have some advise for you; very valuable I think because I am your same age; and, just like you, got into strength training late in life. Also, I work out at home with a power rack just like you; and also run my own businesses, so I understand that time is limited. It is very important to do strength training at our age, I believe it should be a priority for all men over 40.

First of all, I would read the Nautilus Bulletin No 1. Lots of useful information about basic basic strength training. It is not about a system, it is just useful information from the first person in modern times to think about strength training in a scientific way (or close to it.)

Second of all, I would take the first six months to learn proper technique which is only achievable through thousands of repetitions. Thousands.

The simple routine you picked is excellent for learning technique.

Do not skip a session. Unless obviously for personal reasons or emergencies. Sometimes, you will experience that you hit a PR or have an awesome session, on a day that you starting feeling like crap. Also, adding weight, or reps in every new session. However, sometimes you will need to scale back a little, make one step backwards to later be able to make two steps forward.

Think of long term goals; think of 3 years from now. This has a very powerful psychological impact, takes pressure off the moment, and puts your overall routine into perspective.

Quit running. Not only you will no longer need it, but also at a certain point is not good for your knees. When they ask you "what do you do for cardio", you should be able to reply "I pick up weights faster". I tell you this as a former competitive runner. It is a waste of your time, specially if you are as busy as you say, and once you get into weight lifting, you will experience that it is the best stress reducer it is out there.

In regards to nutrition, I am an expert so I have no advise, except from my own experience. Each body is different and you will have to play around with your food and macros to see what works for you. In my particular case, when do intermittent fasting to gain weight, cycling carbs and fats while keeping proteins high every day. Your body learns and adjusts. When I work out I just drink half gallon of milk at night. I like things simple and effective.

Those are my first thoughts. Feel free to PM me any questions, or post them here. Congratulations on your decision, and welcome to a new high life!

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 12-17-2017 06:41 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Good to hear from someone else in a similar position. Thanks for the extra info. Started to read through it already.

I agree that I should be thinking long term i.e. 3 years. I am keen not to tinker and change too quickly hence a timeline of 6 months before I reassess.

Appreciate the comment regarding the running. I am not 100% against the idea but won't be giving up for a while as I have a few races booked this year in different countries that I will want to complete first.

Session 3 done and first week done.

Squat 5x5 @ 55
Bench 5x5 @ 50
Row 5x5 @ 72

Already starting to feel some muscles getting tighter. Also gained a few pounds in weight as up to 160 now. I have a slight bulge on my stomach for the first time in a few years. Pretty sure that's the high-calorie shakes I am having for breakfast. Not worried about it at the moment as I will hopefully turn some of it into muscle.

I couldn't work out how the 5x5 program would work as you don't seem to do anything. I have always thought that lifting weights involved long hours in the gym and workouts every day not 30 mins 3 times a week. But I can now see this making sense. Looking forward to the next few months now and excited to see where this will lead.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 12-18-2017 05:28 AM

First session into triple figure weight thanks to the DL.

Session 4 done.

Squat 5x5 @ 60
OH Press 5x5 @ 50
DL 1x5 @ 100

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - ksbms - 12-19-2017 07:35 AM

(12-18-2017 05:28 AM)MrTickle Wrote:  First session into triple figure weight thanks to the DL.

Session 4 done.

Squat 5x5 @ 60
OH Press 5x5 @ 50
DL 1x5 @ 100

Initial neuromuscular adaptation is very fast and gains can be quite mad for the first few months, if everything done right. Starting strength is a good program, I think, for exercising quads a lot will make high T production. Good choice.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 12-20-2017 03:32 PM

The flexibility of the home gym has really come in today. Scheduled to do an early morning session but this was trashed from a late night at work beforehand and the need to get to an early meeting. No worries, picked it up this evening and got the session in. Total time out from normal schedule was 40 mins where a gym visit would have been nearer 90 mins.

Also made a mistake with the barbell row in that I put the wrong plates on and lifted a heavier weight than scheduled. Noticed some pain in lower back and then realised form was way off. Stopped check videos on app for correct form, practiced with a lower weight and then tried again. Much easier second time around, although I think I will struggle with barbell row the most in the long run.

Session 5

Squat 5x5 @ 66
Bench 5x5 @ 55
Barbell Row 5x5 @ 99 (should have been 77)

Stomach noticeable now having done around 10 days of high calorie shakes in a row making my fitted shirts not quite the good look they used to be.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 12-23-2017 11:43 AM

Session 6

Squat 5x5 @ 72
OH Press 5x5 @ 55
DL 5x5 @ 110

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-01-2018 11:47 AM

Session 7 - Christmas day - why not!

Squat 5x5 @ 77
Bench 5x5 @ 60
Row 5x5 @ 82

Session 8

Squat 5x5 @ 82
OH Press 5x5 @ 60
DL 5x5 @ 121

Session 9

Squat 5x5 @ 88
Bench 5x5 @ 66
Row 5x5 @ 88

Session 10

Squat 5x5 @ 93
OH Press 5x5 @ 66
DL 1x5 @ 132
Pull Ups *

Still reading a lot about lifting. Have taken the time to video myself doing the lifts over the last few weeks to check form as I don't have a mirror to look at (yet). All looking ok but will repeat this again in next few weeks to check. One thing I did notice in a lot of reviews about strong lifts 5x5 is that the biceps are ignored somewhat. I was determined to keep my training pure and follow the program exactly for first 6 months but came across some info on the stronglifts site about putting in pullups to routine b (the one with DL in) so i have done this.

Turns outs I am completely shite at pullups can hardly do 1. So for now I am doing a jumping chinups and resisting on way down. Once I have some basic strength and can do a couple of pullups I'll go back to those and try to increase the number of reps until I can get 3x10.

Thinking I am getting close to my first failure with OH Press but looking at other peoples results for my build type this looks normal.

Other than that all is going well. Muscles are starting to feel sore next day and they are tightening up. Already in the best shape that I have ever been and feeling a little more confident with myself too.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-06-2018 07:25 AM

Session 11

Squat 5x5 @ 100
Bench 5x5 @ 70
Row 5x5 @ 95

Session 12

Squat 5x5 @ 105
OH Press 5x3 + 1x2 + 1x4 @ 70
DL 1x5 @ 145
Pullups - 3x5 jumping chinups

So my first failure with the OH press. I can make lots of excuses. Ran the day before, didn't sleep well, thought I might fail before I even started but the simple reason is that I don't have good enough shoulder muscles. It will be 5 days before I try it again, will look to improve and get more of the reps done/complete it.

I can see why this is going to take a year or 2 to crack now.

I've got lots of mini targets now that I am getting into this more seriously.

* get triple figures for each lift
* lift more than body weight for each lift
* be able to use 45 plates on each end for all lifts (already done for DL)

Should also add using the 5x5 app I am now doing warm ups for most exercises. I am using these to really concentrate on form and get technique sorted.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-12-2018 04:45 AM

Session 13

Squat 5x5 @ 110 + warmup
Bench 5x5 @ 75 + warmup
Row 5x5 @ 100

Session 14

Squat 5x5 @ 115 + warmup
OH Press 5x5 @ 70 + warmup
DL 5x5 @ 155 + warmup
Pull Ups 3x5 with resistance band

Session 15

Squat 5x5 @ 120 + warmup
Bench 5x5 @ 85 + warmup
Row 5x5 @ 105 + warmup

Good week in that I got the OH press done after my first failure the week before. Made a few changes to and set some new targets.

First change is that I have printed all of the tip sheets out and stuck them to the wall in front of my rack. I am using them to check points on form each type I lift as I have time between warmup and sets to check. Noticed that for all the lifts I have been using the same grip position on the bar which is wrong. I have now corrected this. Also noticed on squats that I wasn't breaking parallel again now correct this. And finally also noticed wrist position on bench was also not correct.

I am using a technique I used to use when I did a lot of swimming in my younger years and that is to concentrate on one bit of technique each session so that you slowly build up correct habits. I have also done some more filming on phone to check that all looks ok. Found another issue with head position on rows being up instead of inline with back. Again this is now corrected.

Also set some new targets on progress. I have printed out all the expected strength goals from for my 165 lb weight and stuck this to the wall. I have now surpassed or equaled the untrained level for all lifts except Bench. My next target will be to get to novice level for each lift.

Squat - Untrained +
OH Press - Untrained
Row - Untrained +
DL - Untrained +

Finally, I got a resistance band (medium) and started doing pullups with this. Can currently do 3x5. Will look to build to 3x10. Will get another thinner band and repeat before moving onto pullups for real.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Plus Oultre - 01-16-2018 12:39 PM

Are your plates Kg or Lbs?

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - redonion - 01-16-2018 03:32 PM

My suggestion for getting your pullups up is to "Grease the Groove".

Do many sets of pullups randomly throughout your workout or at home if you have a bar. Always leave multiple reps in the tank to stay fresh. You get in a ton of reps this way without realizing it. Even starting with sets of 1 cheaty pullup (jump/kick) would be acceptable.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-17-2018 03:51 AM

(01-16-2018 12:39 PM)Plus Oultre Wrote:  Are your plates Kg or Lbs?

They are kg but I am converting it to lbs on the forum as this appears to be what most other people say.

I'm a long way off the above figures being in kg!

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-17-2018 03:54 AM

(01-16-2018 03:32 PM)redonion Wrote:  My suggestion for getting your pullups up is to "Grease the Groove".

Do many sets of pullups randomly throughout your workout or at home if you have a bar. Always leave multiple reps in the tank to stay fresh. You get in a ton of reps this way without realizing it. Even starting with sets of 1 cheaty pullup (jump/kick) would be acceptable.

Thanks for the link. Interesting idea and might be a good way to accelerate faster from such a poor starting base.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-19-2018 09:31 AM

Session 16

Squat 5x5 @ 125
OH Press 2/4/3/3/2 @ 75
DL 1x5 @ 165
Pullups 6x3 with medium band

Session 17

Squat 5x5 @ 130
Bench 5x5 @ 90
Row 5x5 @ 110

Session 18

Squat 5x5 @ 140
OH Press 5/3/3/2/2 @ 75
DL 1x5 @ 175
Pullups 7x3 with medium band

Well, it's not too hard to spot the person with a running background. Anything leg based has been progressing just fine. Anything arm based is either rubbish or just plain shit. I thought the app would get me to deload the OH Press after two failures but it just says try it again. I guess it's just not heavy enough to deload. I only have one session of OH Press next week so will try and get a few more sets of 5 done but it might be a few weeks before I crack this weight.

One small issue is that I had slight lower back pain when doing squats today. Will check form next time by filming to make sure all is ok.

There are other signs of progress. Taking advice from Redonion above and dropping in random pullups throughout my routines (but not near OH Press as I need all the help I can get with that one). Good news is that I can do at least 1 pullup now (already better than a few weeks before). So for example when doing squats I'll chuck in a single Pullups in between sets.

Its really tempting to do more as my next session is now not until Monday but I am sticking to the plan and only doing the 3 sessions per week.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Plus Oultre - 01-19-2018 01:51 PM

You just have to keep doing reps, and worry about the technique (and not the weight.) You might not notice it now but you are building the foundation and getting stronger; in a couple of years you will be pressing 155lbs like a king.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-21-2018 08:59 AM

(01-19-2018 01:51 PM)Plus Oultre Wrote:  You just have to keep doing reps, and worry about the technique (and not the weight.) You might not notice it now but you are building the foundation and getting stronger; in a couple of years you will be pressing 155lbs like a king.

That's the plan. I can't judge progress session on session or week by week. I need to consider month on month to judge progress.

I need to channel any frustration for missed reps into the next session.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 01-28-2018 02:48 PM

Session 19

Squat 5x5 @ 145
Bench 5x5 @ 95
Row 5/5/5/4/4 @ 115

Session 20

Squat 5x5 @ 150
OH Press 3/4/3/3 @ 75
DL 1x5 @ 185
Assisted pullups 3x8

Session 21

Squat 5x5 @ 155
Bench 5/5/5/4/5 @ 100
Row 4/5/4/3/5 @ 115

Every lift is done with a warm up for info.

So anything involving my puny arms is still causing me issues. However, my arms are starting to change, a few small bumps here and there so I know it won't always be like this. A few things to note this week.

1. Third OH press fail and the app has told me to deload (thought it was 2 failures for deload). I have also bought some fractional plates as jumping 5lb is too much for me at this time. Next session is back down to 65 lb which I have done before but my technique is improving so hoping to smash it.
2. 2 failures on row this week but I have been filming all of my row sessions (never rowed before so this is my weakest from a technique point of view) and I am being a stickler for good form. If it is not touching the chest or my back is rounding too much I am not counting it. I think I'll end up failing the next one too and be forced to deload but that will give me time to get my technique better. Also made a breakthrough in technique in that I was slowly moving the bar in the row. I am now snatching it off the ground more and really throwing my elbows back and this is helping overall form.
3. Bench and deadlift seem to be getting near limits to expecting some failures on these soon.
4. Started to get a small amount of lower back pain on the squats. Will be checking form on this with video this week and doing some research.

Really enjoying the sessions and strangely looking forward to the next one as it has OH press in. I now have a long-term goal of being able to press my own body weight.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Richard Turpin - 01-31-2018 09:50 AM

I'm interested to see how you get on as the balance of power shifts away from running and more towards lifting weights. I have a similar history in that I've done a lot of running, cycling and football (soccer) for most of my life, while still trying to fit in lifting weights on a regular basis (as I've loved lifting since I saw my first Arnie film in the 80's)

The only time I've made real progress with strength and size was when I purposefully stopped all the cardio for a couple of years and simultaneously ate like a horse! Unfortunately, this definitely came at a high fitness cost which I deemed unacceptable. I've since struggled to combine running and sprinting (which I feel is non-negotiable not just for fitness but for survivability) with lifting weights, which I deem just as essential.

Going back to the efficacy of running, I feel this article says it better than I can;

Sample quote;
'Endurance is key to surviving the apocalypse. Being able to travel far, fast, and on little fuel could be the difference between making it out of a crowded cannibalistic city and watching your stomach skin get turned into a lampshade by a depraved, diseased roommate.'

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Plus Oultre - 01-31-2018 04:52 PM

It is normal to hit plateaus; we all hit them at various times. You are just starting and hitting your first ones. This was expected and expected to be soon because the maxs you hit now are your real beginning limits; now the fun starts. The answer is almost always the same, drop some weight. One step backwards to make two steps forward. Remember you are just working on the technique for now; and, in the meantime, getting stronger. I repeat it again because it is never enough times: this is a long term race; hopefully a lifetime race. Obviously, there are other things that you can play around with; like for example the days of rest between exercising the same muscle group, eating more, etc. Believe me, you will know your body relating to exercise (and all involved like rest and nutrition based on what exercise routine you are doing) anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 02-03-2018 08:03 AM

Session 22

Squat 5x5 @ 160
OH Press 5x5 @ 65
Deadlift 1x5 @ 200
Pullups 9/9/6 assisted

Session 23

Squat 4/4/3/4/4 @ 165
Bench 5/5/4/5/4 @ 100
Row 5x5 @ 115

Session 24

Squat 5x5 @ 130
OH Press 5x5 @ 70
Deadlift 0 @ 210
Pullups 9/9/8 assisted

All of the above included warm up weights but I have omitted to keep brief.

Squats - Was worried something was not right with form as had some lower back pain. So I filmed myself only to discover I wasn't breaking parallel and on full set after warm up and sometimes not even getting close. Not sure why I didn't film myself weeks earlier as I have done that with all the other lifts. Was due to lift 170 on session 24. I did 1 set and saw form was way off. Immediately deloaded back down to 130 and checked form again. All good now so will build back up from there.

Made the decision to film every lift now for the next few months to keep checking form.

OH Press - Going well. Squeezing the glutes hard is giving me a much more solid base to lift from and I have just about eliminated lower back arch.

Bench - Couple of failures on the trot now but have been very close. Will put the max into next session to try and crack the weight.

Row - Going well now. This is actually one of my best lifts now and that correlates with the fact that I have filmed myself on this the most as I was worried at the start about form having not really rowed before.

Deadlift - Just about squeezed 5 reps out on session 22 but was tried by the time I came to the main set on session 24 and I couldn't even move the bar! Was tempting to arch back a little to get leverage but again making sure form is ok so in the end, I just left it. Not sure what the protocol here is as I am sure a failure on deadlift would be to only get 2 or 3 reps rather than 0. Will research that.

Pull ups - Going well. Should get 10x3 sets with the assisted band soon. Will order a thinner band shortly and reset back down and build back up to 10x3 before going onto pullups with no assistance.

Overall body weight hasn't changed in a few weeks (not gone down either) but I haven't been snacking between meals so that will be the focus next week. Still going for a high-calorie shake first thing in the morning so I start the day with 1000 cals in the bank before I do anything else.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 02-03-2018 08:12 AM

I was right not to deload on the deadlift at the time. Will try two more sessions first and then deload by 10%. I can also try a mixed grip on the heaviest set (not warm up).

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - youngblazer - 02-05-2018 04:30 PM

When you squat, make sure you are keeping your abs and core muscles tight. This should help ease the lower-back stress.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - Plus Oultre - 02-06-2018 01:13 PM

(02-05-2018 04:30 PM)youngblazer Wrote:  When you squat, make sure you are keeping your abs and core muscles tight. This should help ease the lower-back stress.

Exactly. It will be something like this:

load the bar
face the bar and get your hands positioned on the bar
get your back under the bar
calibrate your grip distance
lock your shoulder plates
by moving your body, position under the bar in the correct position (where the bar will be during the rep), check your grip again
lift the bar off the rack
go to the space where you will do the rep, position your feet to the desired place, closer or farther away depending on the kind of squat you are doing
Deeply inhale, fill your body with air. Now you feel your abs and core muscles tight, and you are ready to start the squat rep.

Also, concentrate of making your core tight and make sure your arms play no part other than balancing in the exercise; in other words: loose your arms to a degree while keeping your core tight and strong. You shouldn't at any time use your hands to push. It is very important that the bar rests in the right spot to avoid using your arms to contain it. If you do, you will get an arm injury. I know I did.

RE: Tickle's Lifting Thread - MrTickle - 02-11-2018 11:47 PM

Session 25

Squat 5x5 @ 140
Bench 5x5 @ 100
Row 4/5/3/3/3 @ 120

Session 26

Squat 5x5 @ 145
OH Press 5/4/5/5/4 @ 70
DL 1x5 @ 210
Assisted pullups 9x3

Session 27

Squat 5x5 @ 150
Bench 5/5/4/3/3 @ 105
Row 5/5/5/5/4 @ 120

All of the above included warm-up weights but I have omitted to keep brief.

Squat - Coming along nicely. Still checking form to make sure I break parallel. No lower back issues on this one at the moment. Been focusing on keeping core tight and this seems to help.

Bench - Cracked 100 which is good. Next weight of 105 may cause issues, will focus on just getting more reps done.

Row - Being a bit ruthless here and I can see in my films that my legs and knees are moving too much so the back isn't isolated. My research has shown that this is one of the easiest ones to cheat on and that for heavy weights you will have to cheat a little bit. Have been working hard to lean back from the bar with glues to get a solid base to row from. This has helped. I can see next session for this also being a failure and thu I'll deload but this will give me more time to work on form.

OH Press - I need to order some more fractional places as I can't quite make up the exact weight the app suggests to lift so went slightly heavier which is not really what I need to do here. Still, it was quite close so might get it next time.

Deadlift - Wasn't sure what to expect here as I didn't move the bar at all in session 24 after the warm up. However, I got the reps done this time and without changing my grip. Think there is an element here of just getting used to moving heavier weights around. Getting some nice calluses now.