Cobra's fitness and lifting journey

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I recently hijacked Rawmeo's Stronglifts 5x5 thread here because I'm also doing Stronglifts 5x5. Here: https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-62725-post-1580845.html#pid1580845

I should have made this thread years ago but instead went crazy with cold approaches, day game and a bunch of related but useless shit. Even though I was working out, it was not by any means serious and consistent. I think at this point, to me, the pursuit of better fitness is one of my highest priorities right there with family and kids. So here it is.

I've started the Stronglifts 5x5 program and have been having energy issues as well as specific issues not able to lift over a certain weight to start. For some additional energy boost, I got L-Theanine.

My routine (M,W,F):
-6 minute warmup: 30s run in place, 30s leg lift (foot to back), 30s knee lift to elbow, 30s flutter kicks; Repeat 3 times
-Lifting (w/ current weight numbers): I do the 5x5 between Squats (100lbs), Bench (70lbs)/OH press (65lbs barely), Barbell rows (90lbs)/DLs (haven't done them yet but I remember 150lbs previously).
-Planks: Then I do 3 sets of planks, at least 30s each but usually more.
-Cardio: I also then sprint on the tread mill, 3 sets of 30s which I'm comfortable doing it at 10mph as of Monday
***Suggestions to adjust this appreciated***


I painstakingly took the posts and quotes specific to me and started this thread out of respect to Rawmeo. I'll post my OP first below and then responses to which I'll provide comments so we can continue the conversation. I appreciate everyone's help.

Cobra said:
I hate to high jack Rawmeo's thread but may be helpful to him as well. My overhead press is going static, meaning with the bar, I'm barely doing 5x5 on 70 lbs. I never did these before until about 3 weeks ago and want to get them right.

As a matter of fact, this time I only got to 24 reps. It's hurt my arm before so I stopped.

My eating and sleeping habits also suck.

Any suggestions on weight and volume mix appreciated.

Side question on Deadlifts: will doing this also help on other lifts? Answer seems obvious but I'm not entirely experienced at lifting like some members here.


General Stalin said:
@cobra

The best way to get better at a lift you haven't done much of before is to keep doing it more often. Seems elementary but it holds true. I actually dedicate and entire day of my workout week to OHP.

My current overhead press workouts look like this:
warm up to a 5 x 3 rep scheme. Superset with pullups. Then an accessory compound lift like incline bench press, or DB press superset with bent over rows. Then do some isolation work with shoulder and triceps (lateral raises, dips, pullover complexes, etc)

As for DL. Deadlift has just about the highest carry over to all lifts besides maybe squat. It's a total body movement that will train your legs, hips, back, posterior chain, and even grip/forearms

Edit: also address sleeping and eating first as progress in the gym will translate to bupkiss if you aren't feeding your body and resting properly. You'll just be getting tired at the gym with no gains to show. That could be another reason for your stalling lifts - lack of proper nutrition and rest.

I generally don't get more than 5 hours of sleep per night until maybe the weekend where I catch up a little. I know that's bad but I have 3 young kids who I help with and by the time they're in bed and we eat and get to bed it's about 11 pm and I have to wake up at about 4:30am just to work out.

Corollary said:
Cobra said:
I hate to high jack Rawmeo's thread but may be helpful to him as well. My overhead press is going static, meaning with the bar, I'm barely doing 5x5 on 70 lbs. I never did these before until about 3 weeks ago and want to get them right.

As a matter of fact, this time I only got to 24 reps. It's hurt my arm before so I stopped.

My eating and sleeping habits also suck.

Any suggestions on weight and volume mix appreciated.

How much can you squat? I suspect an overall lack of strength instead of anything specific to the overhead press.

With your overhead press numbers, it's too early to be concerned about a routine or recovery.

Yes, overall lack of strength is a problem I acknowledge. My last squat was 100lbs. My max at this point may be 150lbs. I raise 5 lbs every work out and don't generally feel too much soreness.

As far as "what is the weight level to get at before having true concern," I was hoping for some perspective because I have none.

Hannibal said:
Upper body presses are what I'd call "maturity lifts". You have to do them consistently for years before you hit decent numbers for most folks. Some folks are built for pressing, many are not.

I wouldn't worry about your overhead press numbers, just keep plugging away man. What are your stats (height, weight, age etc)?

How and where did it hurt your arm?

Deadlifts create full body tension, which carries over to other lifts. The deadlift hits the traps and glutes as well, which builds a good base for a strong military press. Squats do this too to some extent.

Just keep plugging away and give it time man. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and if you can't, lift twice a week.

I turn 39 in a few weeks, I'm 5ft 8in, weigh about 168lbs. I have some belly fat but generally don't look as skinny as I used to since I started lifting a few years ago.

I believe I hurt my rotator cuff on my right arm from my OH fuckup trying to finish the set. I was in pain for the whole day and things started going back to normal the next day. I went back a week later and did the same amount of weight and was okay.

The 8 hours a night thing is really hard and my problem is that if I don't wake up at least 3 times a week to work out these days, I feel shitty about it because I think I'm copping out.

Bland said:
Cobra said:
As a matter of fact, this time I only got to 24 reps. It's hurt my arm before so I stopped.

My eating and sleeping habits also suck.

Definitely have someone check your form.

I think your problem is likely what you mention here: rest and nutrition.

It's basically impossible to get stronger if you aren't eating enough protein or overall Calories.

Yes, nutrition. I think this is the key to the puzzle. When I started back on the Stronglifts 5x5 program 3 weeks ago, I was drinking a protein shake with milk in the morning (Gold Standard Whey), then a lunch with either a fish or meat and then dinner with maybe a little rice or meat. I'm still doing that and this is a problem. I'm not eating in between and neither am I drinking water. Obviously I need to improve this.
 

Corollary

Robin
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Cobra said:
Yes, overall lack of strength is a problem I acknowledge. My last squat was 100lbs. My max at this point may be 150lbs. I raise 5 lbs every work out and don't generally feel too much soreness.

As far as "what is the weight level to get at before having true concern," I was hoping for some perspective because I have none.

To clarify, you can always focus on maximizing recovery or switch up your routine. But when you're pressing 70 pounds, you could get away with no sleep and no food and still make progress, because you're far from running out of newbie gains.

When it comes to strength training, the movements that use smaller muscles, like the press, tend to increase as the squat increase. Since you squat 100 lbs, it's not surprising you press 70 lbs.

I bet if you only trained the squat for the next eleven months and added in presses in the twelfth month, your squat and press would be greater than if you continued with your current program for the next year. Obviously you shouldn't do that because you probably want to keep your body balanced, but when looking at it from a pure strength perspective, squats will get you a long way.

As for the arm pain, it's unlikely any kind of technique could cause pain when lifting with less than half your body weight. I'd look at your shoulder and upper back mobility instead. If you can't get into the right position because of mobility restrictions, you'll experience pain with light weights.
 

realologist

Ostrich
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Sleep is a big problem that you need to address. I understand the kid issue as I have two boys myself but I usually take them to bed around 8. Sometimes they go to sleep in 5 minutes, sometimes in an hour. Either way they go to sleep by 9. Better believe I'm asleep soon after 9 everyday. That will help with your gains tremendously.

If you have to lift/work out on the weekends. I do both weekend days with one being a heavy day and the other one being a light/medium day. I usually do it in the morning. Gyms are dead so you have a lot of time and space to operate.

Another area of recovery is making sure you get enough protein. That will help create more muscle as opposed to fat.

Other than that just keep on lifting. You'll see your strength go up a lot at this point if you keep going. You are still at the start of newbie gains. With those newbie gains you will gain a little fat as well so don't be scared of it.

Did you have any prior injuries with your shoulder/rotator cuff or is it just from the recent pressing?
 

Bland

Sparrow
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Cobra said:
Yes, nutrition. I think this is the key to the puzzle. When I started back on the Stronglifts 5x5 program 3 weeks ago, I was drinking a protein shake with milk in the morning (Gold Standard Whey), then a lunch with either a fish or meat and then dinner with maybe a little rice or meat. I'm still doing that and this is a problem. I'm not eating in between and neither am I drinking water. Obviously I need to improve this.
Here's my advice:

Try to eat smaller meals every two hours. That's what professional body builders tend to do.

Track your Calories on an app like Lose It to make sure you get enough. When you get used to it, it takes about 5 minutes per day.

Protein at every meal. You should be getting at least 1g per pound of body weight.
 

Agastya

Kingfisher
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Make sure you get a physical therapist to get your joints, back, and hips properly stretched out and loosened up. You might have incredibly tight ligaments as a result of sitting all day (and being 39), which will make it impossible to progress on your squat or dead. I'm only 21 but I had the same problem. I would recommend that you first build up your flexibility and learn how to sit with perfect posture (which most people don't know how to do -- physical therapists are very helpful in this regard). Then get a trainer to teach you the lifts with perfect form and help you out with your diet.

To be honest, at your age you are just going to get stiffer and stiffer and this will probably be your greatest impediment towards gaining strength. Make sure that your body is completely loosened up and healthy before you get into any serious weightlifting.
 

vinman

Hummingbird
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Supplement with some heavy singles with the push press. A single is 1 rep, and that is considered a set. So 5 heavy singles is 5 sets.

The barbell push press is a dynamic compound exercise that increases strength and power in both the upper and lower body. The main focus of this exercise are the shoulders, hips, and core. Keep your elbows tucked in and close to your shoulder to maintain tension on your shoulders while pressing the bar overhead.



 

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Corollary said:
To clarify, you can always focus on maximizing recovery or switch up your routine. But when you're pressing 70 pounds, you could get away with no sleep and no food and still make progress, because you're far from running out of newbie gains.

When it comes to strength training, the movements that use smaller muscles, like the press, tend to increase as the squat increase. Since you squat 100 lbs, it's not surprising you press 70 lbs.

I bet if you only trained the squat for the next eleven months and added in presses in the twelfth month, your squat and press would be greater than if you continued with your current program for the next year. Obviously you shouldn't do that because you probably want to keep your body balanced, but when looking at it from a pure strength perspective, squats will get you a long way.

As for the arm pain, it's unlikely any kind of technique could cause pain when lifting with less than half your body weight. I'd look at your shoulder and upper back mobility instead. If you can't get into the right position because of mobility restrictions, you'll experience pain with light weights.

I really appreciate the insight. This is one of the things I somewhat knew (overall strength) but didn't really have credibility in that thought until you explained it clearly.

realologist said:
Sleep is a big problem that you need to address. I understand the kid issue as I have two boys myself but I usually take them to bed around 8. Sometimes they go to sleep in 5 minutes, sometimes in an hour. Either way they go to sleep by 9. Better believe I'm asleep soon after 9 everyday. That will help with your gains tremendously.

If you have to lift/work out on the weekends. I do both weekend days with one being a heavy day and the other one being a light/medium day. I usually do it in the morning. Gyms are dead so you have a lot of time and space to operate.

Another area of recovery is making sure you get enough protein. That will help create more muscle as opposed to fat.

Other than that just keep on lifting. You'll see your strength go up a lot at this point if you keep going. You are still at the start of newbie gains. With those newbie gains you will gain a little fat as well so don't be scared of it.

Did you have any prior injuries with your shoulder/rotator cuff or is it just from the recent pressing?

It's tough to say I had prior injuries. What ended up happening was that over a year ago when I was lifting a little less than I do now, I used to use dumbells for presses. As I was on the bench doing probably the 5th set of 5, at about the 3rd one, I felt exhausted as the weight was going up and I dropped it to the side. However, on the right side, the way I dropped it was really awkward and that kept me from the gym for quite a while after that. In a few weeks, I believe I was fine though anyways. Didn't go to the doctor or anything and didn't think it was a huge issue. Even this time, I'm telling myself that this kind of stuff happens. Plus, given the quick recovery this time, I'm guessing this kind of thing is normal and likely result of bad form.

Bland said:
Here's my advice:

Try to eat smaller meals every two hours. That's what professional body builders tend to do.

Track your Calories on an app like Lose It to make sure you get enough. When you get used to it, it takes about 5 minutes per day.

Protein at every meal. You should be getting at least 1g per pound of body weight.

Thank you. I will start using myfitnesspal again. The 2 hour thing also is a great idea.

That said, I'll be honest. The last few days, it was like I was on a hunt for protein. Stopping at the convenience store, a bar here, a shake there. Getting an extra sandwich for the meat... it was exhausting. Of course, the answer is meal preparation. I know I should make time for that but it will be difficult. I started by buying such essentials as flax seed, almonds etc.

The 1g of protein per pound per day. Man... that's crazy to me and requires some significant discipline. Are all of you guys that are disciplined and gaining doing this? I always thought of this as broscience at some level but again, what do I know.

Agastya said:
Make sure you get a physical therapist to get your joints, back, and hips properly stretched out and loosened up. You might have incredibly tight ligaments as a result of sitting all day (and being 39), which will make it impossible to progress on your squat or dead. I'm only 21 but I had the same problem. I would recommend that you first build up your flexibility and learn how to sit with perfect posture (which most people don't know how to do -- physical therapists are very helpful in this regard). Then get a trainer to teach you the lifts with perfect form and help you out with your diet.

To be honest, at your age you are just going to get stiffer and stiffer and this will probably be your greatest impediment towards gaining strength. Make sure that your body is completely loosened up and healthy before you get into any serious weightlifting.

This is a great idea Agastya. I will be looking to do this. I appreciate the suggestion.

vinman said:
Supplement with some heavy singles with the push press. A single is 1 rep, and that is considered a set. So 5 heavy singles is 5 sets.

The barbell push press is a dynamic compound exercise that increases strength and power in both the upper and lower body. The main focus of this exercise are the shoulders, hips, and core. Keep your elbows tucked in and close to your shoulder to maintain tension on your shoulders while pressing the bar overhead.




I'm assuming you start off with the bar in a squat rack or power cage? Seems like a great idea. I just get worried I will overdo the weight limit.
 

Investment Bro

Woodpecker
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

It can be very tempting to overdo the weight on singles, but as a new lifter, the fun thing is you don't even need to approach anywhere close to your one rep max in order to reap the CNS (central nervous system) gains that'll come from it. If you're attempting singles for the first time on the push press (which should be done out of a power rack) just pick the weight you're doing for the 5x5 and add 10-15%. It should feel ludicrously easy, but the point is focusing on your speed and technique. It'll teach you to push heavy weights fast, and with good form. It's a huge morale booster, and my clients love it.

As your firm up your technique, and your CNS adapts to pushing heavy weights with technique, you can begin to scale up the weight in a similar progression to your 5x5. That said, as a new lifter singles shouldn't make up too much of your diet. They are great barometers of progress, and you won't get very fatigued from them because they aren't true maxes, but they simply aren't as useful as increasing volume over time to build muscle mass. When your newbie gains slow down, and improving CNS efficiency becomes more important to gain strength, then singles become more important.
 

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Investment Bro said:
It can be very tempting to overdo the weight on singles, but as a new lifter, the fun thing is you don't even need to approach anywhere close to your one rep max in order to reap the CNS (central nervous system) gains that'll come from it. If you're attempting singles for the first time on the push press (which should be done out of a power rack) just pick the weight you're doing for the 5x5 and add 10-15%. It should feel ludicrously easy, but the point is focusing on your speed and technique. It'll teach you to push heavy weights fast, and with good form. It's a huge morale booster, and my clients love it.

As your firm up your technique, and your CNS adapts to pushing heavy weights with technique, you can begin to scale up the weight in a similar progression to your 5x5. That said, as a new lifter singles shouldn't make up too much of your diet. They are great barometers of progress, and you won't get very fatigued from them because they aren't true maxes, but they simply aren't as useful as increasing volume over time to build muscle mass. When your newbie gains slow down, and improving CNS efficiency becomes more important to gain strength, then singles become more important.

When you're exhausting your upper body so much, when would you do single sets? Before or after your regular sets? Or, over the weekend?

In one sense, it makes sense to do it before but doing it on the weekend may kill recovery time.

Just wondering if there are thoughts on timing.
 

Investment Bro

Woodpecker
Gold Member
RE: Cobra' fitness and lifting journey

Any time you do singles they should always be first. Putting yourself under a heavy weight while fatigued can lead to form breakdown, which is dangerous. Think of occasional singles as a CNS primer. The idea is doing a few singles beforehand, then backing off to do your working weights will help you to fire more efficiently, not to mention the mental edge. The working weight will feel considerably lighter. This school of thought actually underpins the Bulgarian method that the Bulgarian weightlifting team used to dominate Olympic weightlifting during the Soviet era. Strongman Doug Hepburn and his Hepburn periodization also use a similar methodology, with increasing sets of singles first, followed by back off sets of lighter weight.

For your purposes, occasionally hitting a couple easy singles ahead of your working sets is fine. It'll keep the bar feeling light, and give you confidence pressing weight overhead. You can use them as part of your warm up. Work up to a conservative single (it should feel smooth, and fairly fast. RPE 8), then when you feel satisfied, hit your working sets. Over time, your warm-up single will increase in weight, which is a great barometer of progress.
 

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
My numbers as of this week

Squat: 120lbs
Bench: 80lbs
OH Press: 70lbs still
Barbell Rows: 95lbs
Deadlifts: I haven't done these in a while but will on Saturday

Based on Mehdi's Stronglifts site, cardio is low priority. I've been focused on cardio a lot but may not be any more. Maybe I'll do it twice a week through HIIT.

Also, warming up with lighter weights will help me.

Regarding the OH press, on the site, the max OH press number for beginner gains is 100lbs. That's much lower than I thought the max would be but also reiterates how hard they are for beginners.

I'm going to see a physical therapist soon as well regarding my rotator cuff and shoulder issue.

I've gotten better at eating but 160+ grams of protein is still pretty tough. I've been trying to eat every 2 hours to make this easier. Lot of times I get one of those 30g protein shakes from 711 or jerky. Sounds bad but days where I haven't eaten much I feel I have to go this route.

Also, this was sheer stupidity on my part but the lowest increment weight I have is 2.5 lbs. 5x5 works best when you're adding 2 lbs each time not an entire 5 lbs (which can make you plateau soon). So I need to stop by a fitness shop and get 1 - 2 lb weights to add increments more effectively.
 

Steelex

Kingfisher
Cobra,

I know it seems crazy right now, but 160 grams of protein a day is doable. I stay between 300 and 400 grams a day.

The secret is lots of protein powder and lots of grilled chicken ( marinate it in some stuff for a few hours before you grill it).

I mix my protein with milk and coconut milk to slow the digestion, and drink it (50g) when I eat my meals.

All you gotta do is this...

Breakfast 4 eggs 1scoop whey in milk

Lunch 4 ounces of chicken, 1 scoop in milk

Dinner 4 ounces chicken, 1 scoop in milk.

Thats all you gotta do for your protein. Add in your carbs and fats.

You've got it easy man...
 

Agastya

Kingfisher
One more thing; I know you're Indian and based on your lifts/being South Indian, I would imagine that you have a pretty slender frame. This is a pretty generic piece of advice, but don't just listen to guys yelling at you to eat more or lift the heaviest thing you can.

Guys with our body types are not innately built for lifting. We can still get plenty strong and get into great shape, but it definitely requires a different set of tactics than a guy with a more lifting-friendly body type. Some 180 lb 5'10 mesomorph can follow some bodybuilding.com routines and make great gains. You and I can also make those great gains, but it will take a more specialized approach.

After getting that physical therapist and ironing out your various kinks, restrictions, and tight areas, get a personal trainer. Like get an experienced professional to coach you, hopefully someone who started out with the same body type as you. I've tried learning how to lift from 200 pound gorillas who can barely run in a straight line. For a skinny Indian dude, this is a TERRIBLE move. If you try to squat/deadlift/whatever at your age with anything less than very good form, you will fuck yourself up and you will take a longer time to get through it. Also, chugging chicken breasts might not work if you're a high-metabolism ectomorph like me. I was devouring heavy ass protein shakes and got my deadlift from 245 to 375...and still weighed 165 pounds the entire time.

Basically, don't think that you know what do by yourself. If you really want to maximize your gains at your age, you need to see professionals. I know you're a successful salesman so try finding the best physical therapists and trainers Chicago has to offer.
 

Steelex

Kingfisher
There is no such thing as a 200lb gorilla.

Just because you have a small frame doesn't mean that the stress-adaptation-recovery principle doesn't apply to you. You just start at a lighter weight than a bigger dude, and that's ok.
 

Agastya

Kingfisher
Steelex said:
There is no such thing as a 200lb gorilla.

Just because you have a small frame doesn't mean that the stress-adaptation-recovery principle doesn't apply to you. You just start at a lighter weight than a bigger dude, and that's ok.

Not taking issue with your nutrition advice. Guess I should have clarified that. Just saying that Cobra should get a bunch of second opinions on other aspects of his fitness.
 

doc holliday

Pelican
Gold Member
Cobra, what are your goals? Is it to just get stronger and bigger? Or to lean out? Or both at the same time (the holy grail of course)?
 

redonion

Woodpecker
Cobra said:
Based on Mehdi's Stronglifts site, cardio is low priority. I've been focused on cardio a lot but may not be any more. Maybe I'll do it twice a week through HIIT.

If you can handle the cardio (likely), keep it in your programming. A lot of novice strength programs omit cardio because it's not necessarily going to get you stronger. However a stronger cardio vascular system will improve performance overall and simply makes you more fit.
 

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I wanted to update this thread on my lifts. Before I start, RIP Rawmeo. He's one of the reasons I started this thread. Too bad he's gone. I was progressing along with him and then I took a week off and he had gotten ahead before his unfortunate passing.

Also from an accountability standpoint, I want to post here more because it's motivating to get feedback. I just wish I was progressing faster. With things that get in between, it's just challenging but not so much that I have given up. I had taken a week off in between and have many social events for work to attend. This has made 1.5 week of no lifting and couple weeks with only working out twice. One of those weeks, I was gorging on some delicious home made Indian food from visiting my parents. I know I shouldn't have but I get that food like twice a year. That said, you will see how my numbers painfully reflect the complacency. I'll also place some concerns/questions in bold if you gentlemen can provide your thoughts.

doc holliday said:
Cobra, what are your goals? Is it to just get stronger and bigger? Or to lean out? Or both at the same time (the holy grail of course)?

Goal is to get stronger but mostly to get bigger and then to eventually lean out once I get to a point where I am maxing out on at least beginner gains. I think I'm about 40 - 50% there, maybe just based on numbers. I'm not so worried about the leaning out yet but try to get some cardio in so I don't accumulate too much belly fat (still very hard to do).

So here it goes (in memory of Rawmeo, will keep similar format):

Weight: 175 lbs (I gained 5 - 10 lbs since starting to lift and eat more)
Cardio: I do the 6 minute cardio warmup I mentioned in my OP, but I don't do any more cardio beyond this.

-Squat: 5x5 - 150 lbs - easy but starting to feel some weight
-Bench press: 5x5 - 90 lbs (hard to finish last set even with a 6+ minute rest since previous set. I don't put the pins on and had to tilt the weights off of me because it was crushing me. Good thing is that I finished the set. I made the stupid mistake of having the downward movement as the last movement rather than the first in the rep ending on my chest. Stupid). Here is the question: Should I move to 92lbs or do a full 95lbs next time?
-Barbell row: 5x5 - 105 lbs - I really need to review my form because at the last rep, I feel like I'm bouncing the weight to get it up to my chest. Is it wrong if it's not a smooth movement?
-Overhead press: 5x5 - 72 lbs - Last set was pretty hard. I totally utterly fucked up my form which is why I had shoulder issues described previously. Instead of pushing the barbell directly above me, I was pushing it slightly in front up me as I was tilting my head up and watching it. Really dumb. Once I fixed this, no more rotator cuff issues. The bad form could have really messed me up. Glad I caught it.
-Deadlift: 1x5 - 155.25lbs (I have some 2.75lb weights; need to buy more plates).

Nutrition: I have not been getting enough protein so to some extent I don't even know how I came this far. I just don't know about eating like crazy on rest days when it could make me fat if I miss a work out. Psychologically, I'm running around in circles with this. I did cut down on the amount of coffee with cream and sugar I'm drinking. I used to get a large coffee with cream and sugar every day, sometimes twice a day. I cut that down to twice or three times per week. Will this help? I'm wary of sugary protein bars or drinks. How bad are these and how do you judge them? Instead of shaking my protein shake, I blend it in a blender and started adding a table spoon of flax seed. I'm still not sure what the fiber will do directly for my lifting. I'm also thinking of buying fish oil capsules. Again, not sure how much it helps. My water in take needs to improve to 8 glasses a day.

My challenge is going to be improving nutrition. I think that will affect my lifts at this point.

One other question: My arms are seeing some incremental development but that's it. Does it help for me to do bicep curls etc, at this point? I'm afraid if I do them on off or rest days that the soreness could screw up my other lifts.

Comments very much appreciated.
 

rudebwoy

Peacock
Gold Member
@Cobra - just some casual observations.

Bench - 90llbs is pretty low and you need some work in that department. Your goal should be to bench close to your body weight.
Do you do any push-ups?
I do 4 to 5 sets. The first set is just the bar to do a warm-up, the second will be some light weight and the third/fourth will be the heaviest weights. I increase the weight each time and depending how I feel on my fourth set, I will go heavier for the fifth.
My favourite chest exercise, is the incline bench. This helped me build an impressive chest by going heavy, I can do 225llbs for a few reps at my max.
I don't do flat bench.

Shoulder overhead press - this is not an exercise I like or do too often.
I assume you are talking seated or do you mean standing?
Seated shoulder press is what ruined my shoulder, that injury never really seems to heal.
I now do 25llbs aside with a 45llb barbell. I do high reps, as in 4 x 15.

Diet - protein bars and powders are the biggest scam going. You don't need them to get big, just eat a lot and eat the right foods that are suitable for YOU.

Arms - I would try and do pull-ups to develop your biceps and this will also work your back, plus surrounding muscles.
If you want good arms, you have to really work them. That involves a lot of pain which I don't like myself. I good exercise I do is to grab the barbell, with no weight on it. Then try and do 100 reps, broken down into 4 sets of 25 reps.
Do that one week, then the next time you do arms. Try only to lift heavy, that way your arms don't get use to a specific routine.

Have you thought about doing bodyweight exercises?
 

Cobra

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Thank you rudebwoy. I forgot to put my response in here. I'll comment individually below and appreciate any follow ups.

By the way, my lifts are now (all reps 5x5)
Squat (165lbs)
Bench (95lbs)
Barbell Rows (115lbs)
Overhead press (72lbs) failed at 75lbs unfortunately
Deadlifts (165lbs)--skipped them last week. Next time 175lbs (my bodyweight)

Diet - no junk food or very little. However, my problem really is eating enough protein and I'm trying to resolve this.
Sleep - I still have problems sleeping more than 5 hours a night. I understand this to be one of the major reasons my progress is slow.

rudebwoy said:
@Cobra - just some casual observations.

Bench - 90llbs is pretty low and you need some work in that department. Your goal should be to bench close to your body weight.
Do you do any push-ups?

I haven't done push ups in a while. I should clarify that 90lbs is for reps. My max is likely 120 - 130lbs. I think that when you say bench bodyweight, you mean max. I failed at 5th set on 95 last time but today I fully benched all sets on 95 and still had some steam left over. That felt good. I will go to 100lbs next time. Also felt good that the safety mechanism is much better so I don't kill myself.

I do 4 to 5 sets. The first set is just the bar to do a warm-up, the second will be some light weight and the third/fourth will be the heaviest weights. I increase the weight each time and depending how I feel on my fourth set, I will go heavier for the fifth.
My favourite chest exercise, is the incline bench. This helped me build an impressive chest by going heavy, I can do 225llbs for a few reps at my max.
I don't do flat bench.

I never truly understood the difference between incline and flat. Why don't you do flat? Assuming, you saw better gains from incline at some point? Since I'm trying to focus on the Stronglifts 5x5 program, I'm wary of "mixing" it up until I max out my beginner gains and can't go any more.

Shoulder overhead press - this is not an exercise I like or do too often.
I assume you are talking seated or do you mean standing?
Seated shoulder press is what ruined my shoulder, that injury never really seems to heal.
I now do 25llbs aside with a 45llb barbell. I do high reps, as in 4 x 15.

I meant standing. I hate it. I failed on 75lbs last time. It was like 5,5,5,3,4; so not horrible but I waited like 5 minutes before the last set. So resting as long as possible but didn't help. Again, I hate to "substitute" as people on Stronglifts don't recommend it. It feels shitty but I keep going back to it since it feels good afterwards and it's part of the program.

Diet - protein bars and powders are the biggest scam going. You don't need them to get big, just eat a lot and eat the right foods that are suitable for YOU.

As much as I get frustrated by failing work outs, I hate the "scrambling" to diet even more. I basically make a shake in the morning with unflavored whey, milk, a banana and 2 tbsp of flax seed these days. I'm doing my best to do evening as well but people recommend not doing a shake too late. I'd love to hear some opinions on that. I'm trying to cut down too much food overload too late.

Arms - I would try and do pull-ups to develop your biceps and this will also work your back, plus surrounding muscles.
If you want good arms, you have to really work them. That involves a lot of pain which I don't like myself. I good exercise I do is to grab the barbell, with no weight on it. Then try and do 100 reps, broken down into 4 sets of 25 reps.
Do that one week, then the next time you do arms. Try only to lift heavy, that way your arms don't get use to a specific routine.

This is an excellent suggestion. My arms are skinny compared to other dudes. While I know they're developing, I am going to put chin-ups on my list. I guess I have to do them the same day as my Stronglifts work out to get enough rest. I do need to start with negatives until I can do a few solid ones which I can't now.

Have you thought about doing bodyweight exercises?

I used to but I know that barbell exercises will get me to lift heavier and gain more mass which is what I'm after as an ectomorph. This is why I avoid longer cardio and try HIIT instead.
 
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