Author Topic: Intermediate Strength  (Read 28588 times)

Le Barbu

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Intermediate Strength
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:55:33 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years
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eyePod

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2015, 06:17:39 AM »
I've had a goal to DL 500. My PR was 435. Squat is nowhere near those numbers. The thing is though that I don't know why I want that goal other than to say that I did it.

I play a lot of volleyball (or at least want to play more) and feel like that kind of fitness is more appealing to me. So I'm still squatting (following strong lifts - the app is nice). 5x5 at the same weight is rough though. Don't know how it would impact my 1 rep. I should check soon as my wife's having a baby and I know I won't have the time for lifting as much!
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Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2015, 07:13:37 AM »
eyePod, as a beginer, I am still amazed to see numbers like 435!! 5 weeks ago, 200 feels heavy to me and couldnt believe I would lift over 300 someday.

My 2 cents, If your goal is to increase your 1 rep max, why not try the SS method with only 1 sets of 5 rep for DL? If you increase you squat (3 sets of 5 every 48-72 hours), your DL will increase big time. Every time I DL wich is about 2x/week, I increase the load by 10-20 pounds and it feel easier than the previous attempt, unbelievable!

Setting a big goal is nice! I wish you break that 500 mark anytime soon!
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MontaniTrout

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 07:54:07 AM »
Le Barbu, for only being 4 weeks in you base numbers look good. Your goals for reaching intermediate level are very achievable. As long as you stay consistent and follow a proven program the sky's the limit for you over the next year because you are still in the "newbie" stage.
When I want to improve my numbers on the big 3, squat/DL/bench, I like to follow Wendler's 5/3/1. It's easy to follow and proven. Just be warned, weight lifting is addicting.
FWIW, my best total on the big 3 is just over 1200. I'm 32, been lifting for 12 years, and recently cut from 187# to 165#. Despite the 22# cut my strength hasn't suffered much.
Weight training is a hobby for me. If you have any questions let me know.

GuitarStv

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 08:12:19 AM »
My experience has been that eating a lot helps all my lifts go up.  I tend to plateau in lifting if I'm maintaining my weight . . . but I also like to do long bike rides a few times a week, so carrying more weight is more difficult (and you need to eat like crazy to avoid losing lbs from the bike rides).  It's kinda a trade-off.  Those numbers should all be easily achievable for you, if you're eating properly.

Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 08:16:44 AM »
thank you MontaniTrout for stopping by! 1200 for a 165# men mean you are in the elite category!

I am currently following the Starting Strength program. You are right, weight lifting is truelly addictive. Only 5 weeks into that, I feel better and sleep better etc. I am just wondering if I keep training, my bench press will follow the other lifts progress. I will keep adding weight to failure and see...

I bought a beginner's kit (used) but my bar is the weakest link, I dont feel safe anymore when I squat (bouncing way to much). I got to buy a better one but nothing in the used market in my area...It seems like good bars are 300$+ (same price I paid for the entire set)
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eyePod

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 08:57:02 AM »
thank you MontaniTrout for stopping by! 1200 for a 165# men mean you are in the elite category!

I am currently following the Starting Strength program. You are right, weight lifting is truelly addictive. Only 5 weeks into that, I feel better and sleep better etc. I am just wondering if I keep training, my bench press will follow the other lifts progress. I will keep adding weight to failure and see...

I bought a beginner's kit (used) but my bar is the weakest link, I dont feel safe anymore when I squat (bouncing way to much). I got to buy a better one but nothing in the used market in my area...It seems like good bars are 300$+ (same price I paid for the entire set)

A good bar is worth it. I'm not regretting my bar but it just has a rougher knurling than what I'm used to. Some of the rogue bars are really awesome and not super expensive. They're not in the crap category anymore, and if you ever transition to Oly lifting, you'll be glad you have one of their bars.
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MontaniTrout

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 09:04:52 AM »
Le Barbu, your bench won't increase as much or as fast as squat/deadlift. That's just the nature of the game so don't get discouraged. Your legs are obviously bigger muscles than your upper body muscles.
When I built my home gym I called around to the local gyms to see if they were willing to sell any of their old equipment. One particular gym hooked me up nice. The owner was happy someone was willing to move and pay for equipment that was collecting dust.
For clarification, my 1225 total was when I was at my heaviest of 195#. 

Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 09:24:06 AM »
thank you MontaniTrout for stopping by! 1200 for a 165# men mean you are in the elite category!

I am currently following the Starting Strength program. You are right, weight lifting is truelly addictive. Only 5 weeks into that, I feel better and sleep better etc. I am just wondering if I keep training, my bench press will follow the other lifts progress. I will keep adding weight to failure and see...

I bought a beginner's kit (used) but my bar is the weakest link, I dont feel safe anymore when I squat (bouncing way to much). I got to buy a better one but nothing in the used market in my area...It seems like good bars are 300$+ (same price I paid for the entire set)

A good bar is worth it. I'm not regretting my bar but it just has a rougher knurling than what I'm used to. Some of the rogue bars are really awesome and not super expensive. They're not in the crap category anymore, and if you ever transition to Oly lifting, you'll be glad you have one of their bars.

A gym supplier in my area sell 3 different olympic bar. All of them are 7', 45# and 28.5mm. The entry bar is 99$ and rated 300#, the second is 160$ and rated 600# and the third one is 235$ and rated 1200# (this one is called the power lifting bar). Do you think it worth between the second and the third one? My rational is being a Mustachian, I want the most for my buck, bar #2 is rated high enough for me being in the elite category for my BW and I can alway keep it as a warm-up bar later if I upgrade. Bar #3 is appealing doh...

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Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 09:35:48 AM »
Le Barbu, your bench won't increase as much or as fast as squat/deadlift. That's just the nature of the game so don't get discouraged. Your legs are obviously bigger muscles than your upper body muscles.
When I built my home gym I called around to the local gyms to see if they were willing to sell any of their old equipment. One particular gym hooked me up nice. The owner was happy someone was willing to move and pay for equipment that was collecting dust.
For clarification, my 1225 total was when I was at my heaviest of 195#.


Good idea, I'll have a look at this old gym equipment option but look at my previous post about new bars.

I know the bench press cannot increase as fast (#/week) but in the long run, I should stand in the same level (category) for each lift? Maybe I juste started ahead with the squat being a cyclist...

1225# for a 195# is still a lot dude!
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Hall11235

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2015, 09:46:47 AM »
Bars are one of those things (like shoes) where you get what you pay for. Power lifting bars are great, but really stiff. Try lifting with an Eleiko bar and have every other type of bar ruined for you...

I would follow a fellow poster's suggestion and get a rogue bar:
http://www.roguefitness.com/the-ohio-bar

This bar will literally last you your entire strength career.
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jba302

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2015, 10:21:14 AM »
Le Barbu, your bench won't increase as much or as fast as squat/deadlift. That's just the nature of the game so don't get discouraged. Your legs are obviously bigger muscles than your upper body muscles.

I'm going to be shitty and nitpick this point, so I apologize in advance because you are generally right. Your progression between the 3 will be greatly affected by your anthropometry assuming you are programming correctly. I have longer limbs, short torso, so my bench is awful to watch but I can deadlift sumo and conventional very well. My best lifts were 365/285/515 @ 181 while on sheiko. I have a buddy who goes 405/365/385. Watching him deadlifting is painful but his squat ROM is like 3" (short femurs, long torso).

So if you are getting stuck on a specific lift it could be a body design issue. Plus as Guitar said, you just gotta eat a lot. I have not gone over 315/275/385 since I stopped shoveling food like it was a 2nd job :(.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2015, 11:11:52 AM »
I can confirm the 'certain bodies do lifts better than others' thing, as another guy with long arms and short torso.  The bench press doesn't want to go up quickly, but my deadlift progresses great.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2015, 11:31:54 AM »
What is the plan when I hit a plateau? If I intend to do 3 sets of 5 and fail the 5th rep of the last set (barely achieving the 4th), should I stay at the same weight next time or put few # more and fail at the same rep (or earlier)? What works best to keep increasing strenght?
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2015, 11:46:33 AM »
Plateau busting can come in many forms.  For me, things that have worked:

- eat more
- change up reps for a couple weeks (if you normally do in the 1-5 range for sets of three, go to the 8 - 10 range for sets of three with reduced weight for example)
- add in supplementary exercises to strengthen your weaker areas (for a weak bench, heavy weighted dips, military press, dumbbell bench presses, rows, and pull-ups all seemed to help.)

Weight lifting will slow down and become two steps forward, one step back.  It's a marathon, not a sprint though . . . so don't get discouraged.

Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2015, 11:49:44 AM »
Bars are one of those things (like shoes) where you get what you pay for. Power lifting bars are great, but really stiff. Try lifting with an Eleiko bar and have every other type of bar ruined for you...

I would follow a fellow poster's suggestion and get a rogue bar:
http://www.roguefitness.com/the-ohio-bar

This bar will literally last you your entire strength career.

Do you mean about stiffness? Good, not good (or it depends)? I train for fun, general health and strengh. Realistically, I dont think lifting more than 400# in any lift. As some other sports, the top of the line equipment is not always suited for beginers or intermediates. It's nice to have something that match your level or just a bit ahead.
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Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2015, 12:02:23 PM »
Plateau busting can come in many forms.  For me, things that have worked:

- eat more
- change up reps for a couple weeks (if you normally do in the 1-5 range for sets of three, go to the 8 - 10 range for sets of three with reduced weight for example)
- add in supplementary exercises to strengthen your weaker areas (for a weak bench, heavy weighted dips, military press, dumbbell bench presses, rows, and pull-ups all seemed to help.)

Weight lifting will slow down and become two steps forward, one step back.  It's a marathon, not a sprint though . . . so don't get discouraged.

thank you for these advices! I am quite aggressive on adding weight since I began so I already know the plateau phase is coming sooner or later. I did a lot of different sports and the beginner's period is the most exciting because you are improving so fast, it's almost unbelievable. Actually, I dont think I am getting 10% stronger every week but I am becoming better at lifting weights for sure.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2015, 12:07:15 PM »
Plateau busting can come in many forms.  For me, things that have worked:

- eat more
- change up reps for a couple weeks (if you normally do in the 1-5 range for sets of three, go to the 8 - 10 range for sets of three with reduced weight for example)
- add in supplementary exercises to strengthen your weaker areas (for a weak bench, heavy weighted dips, military press, dumbbell bench presses, rows, and pull-ups all seemed to help.)

Weight lifting will slow down and become two steps forward, one step back.  It's a marathon, not a sprint though . . . so don't get discouraged.

thank you for these advices! I am quite aggressive on adding weight since I began so I already know the plateau phase is coming sooner or later. I did a lot of different sports and the beginner's period is the most exciting because you are improving so fast, it's almost unbelievable. Actually, I dont think I am getting 10% stronger every week but I am becoming better at lifting weights for sure.


I also forgot the most basic one:

- Deload 5-10% and then keep adding weight again.

Hall11235

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2015, 12:11:42 PM »
I can confirm the 'certain bodies do lifts better than others' thing, as another guy with long arms and short torso.  The bench press doesn't want to go up quickly, but my deadlift progresses great.

I have the opposite problem... REALLY long torso (like Michael Phelps long). My deadlift blows so much ass it's embarrasing, lol. I also have long arms, so benching isn't great for me either, but damn, my C&J is pretty good.

Bars are one of those things (like shoes) where you get what you pay for. Power lifting bars are great, but really stiff. Try lifting with an Eleiko bar and have every other type of bar ruined for you...

I would follow a fellow poster's suggestion and get a rogue bar:
http://www.roguefitness.com/the-ohio-bar

This bar will literally last you your entire strength career.

Do you mean about stiffness? Good, not good (or it depends)? I train for fun, general health and strengh. Realistically, I dont think lifting more than 400# in any lift. As some other sports, the top of the line equipment is not always suited for beginers or intermediates. It's nice to have something that match your level or just a bit ahead.

Then maybe that works for you. I don't like stiff bars. They have a weird feeling on my back. If you ever get into OLY lifting, a power lifting bar is not a good idea. Whether or not that's "good" depends on who you are. If you tend to lift exsplosively and fast, the less stiff the bar is, the more weight you can move. Stiff power bars are meant for guys with a 1,000 pounds on their backs, who would snap the bar in half if it had ANY give whatsoever. Plus, there is something really cool about seeing the bar bend under the weight you are about to lift.

Rogue makes a whole suite of bars. The Rippetoe/Burgener bar is also a great choice. 
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Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2015, 12:17:26 PM »
Plateau busting can come in many forms.  For me, things that have worked:

- eat more
- change up reps for a couple weeks (if you normally do in the 1-5 range for sets of three, go to the 8 - 10 range for sets of three with reduced weight for example)
- add in supplementary exercises to strengthen your weaker areas (for a weak bench, heavy weighted dips, military press, dumbbell bench presses, rows, and pull-ups all seemed to help.)

Weight lifting will slow down and become two steps forward, one step back.  It's a marathon, not a sprint though . . . so don't get discouraged.

thank you for these advices! I am quite aggressive on adding weight since I began so I already know the plateau phase is coming sooner or later. I did a lot of different sports and the beginner's period is the most exciting because you are improving so fast, it's almost unbelievable. Actually, I dont think I am getting 10% stronger every week but I am becoming better at lifting weights for sure.


I also forgot the most basic one:

- Deload 5-10% and then keep adding weight again.

so, keeping to attempt the same # and missing the last reps is not the way to go?
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Le Barbu

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2015, 12:26:58 PM »
I can confirm the 'certain bodies do lifts better than others' thing, as another guy with long arms and short torso.  The bench press doesn't want to go up quickly, but my deadlift progresses great.

I have the opposite problem... REALLY long torso (like Michael Phelps long). My deadlift blows so much ass it's embarrasing, lol. I also have long arms, so benching isn't great for me either, but damn, my C&J is pretty good.

Bars are one of those things (like shoes) where you get what you pay for. Power lifting bars are great, but really stiff. Try lifting with an Eleiko bar and have every other type of bar ruined for you...

I would follow a fellow poster's suggestion and get a rogue bar:
http://www.roguefitness.com/the-ohio-bar

This bar will literally last you your entire strength career.

Do you mean about stiffness? Good, not good (or it depends)? I train for fun, general health and strengh. Realistically, I dont think lifting more than 400# in any lift. As some other sports, the top of the line equipment is not always suited for beginers or intermediates. It's nice to have something that match your level or just a bit ahead.

Then maybe that works for you. I don't like stiff bars. They have a weird feeling on my back. If you ever get into OLY lifting, a power lifting bar is not a good idea. Whether or not that's "good" depends on who you are. If you tend to lift exsplosively and fast, the less stiff the bar is, the more weight you can move. Stiff power bars are meant for guys with a 1,000 pounds on their backs, who would snap the bar in half if it had ANY give whatsoever. Plus, there is something really cool about seeing the bar bend under the weight you are about to lift.

Rogue makes a whole suite of bars. The Rippetoe/Burgener bar is also a great choice.

I dont want the bar being to stiff, I want it to be safe, comfortable* and not get bent after squating 305#

*I know for sure I'm not in the "explosive" category! You can get stronger but explosiveness is more about genetics
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eyePod

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2015, 12:32:17 PM »
I want to get the rogue 2.0 bar at some point. It's 269 shipped and rated to 190,000 PSI. That's right in line with any of the top of the line lifting bars and it's not too expensive. Plus it's american made. I liked the knurling on the rogue bars (wasn't as rough as my current one). At some point I'll upgrade but I'm not there now.
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2015, 12:42:19 PM »
Plateau busting can come in many forms.  For me, things that have worked:

- eat more
- change up reps for a couple weeks (if you normally do in the 1-5 range for sets of three, go to the 8 - 10 range for sets of three with reduced weight for example)
- add in supplementary exercises to strengthen your weaker areas (for a weak bench, heavy weighted dips, military press, dumbbell bench presses, rows, and pull-ups all seemed to help.)

Weight lifting will slow down and become two steps forward, one step back.  It's a marathon, not a sprint though . . . so don't get discouraged.

thank you for these advices! I am quite aggressive on adding weight since I began so I already know the plateau phase is coming sooner or later. I did a lot of different sports and the beginner's period is the most exciting because you are improving so fast, it's almost unbelievable. Actually, I dont think I am getting 10% stronger every week but I am becoming better at lifting weights for sure.


I also forgot the most basic one:

- Deload 5-10% and then keep adding weight again.

so, keeping to attempt the same # and missing the last reps is not the way to go?
]

In my experience, no.  It's much harder to add reps than to add weight to the bar.  You keep adding weight and you'll never hit those reps again.  You need to lighten up a bit until you can make your reps, then begin your progression.  (Personally, I'll usually try the same weight the next week just in case I was having a bad day, but missing reps two weeks in a row is good reason for a deload.)

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2015, 12:47:23 PM »
I want to get the rogue 2.0 bar at some point. It's 269 shipped and rated to 190,000 PSI. That's right in line with any of the top of the line lifting bars and it's not too expensive. Plus it's american made. I liked the knurling on the rogue bars (wasn't as rough as my current one). At some point I'll upgrade but I'm not there now.

why does this bar has no center knurl?
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2015, 12:48:37 PM »
You don't need a center knurl on a bar.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2015, 01:44:54 PM »
I don't have a center knurl on my bar either. Most people think it doesn't matter, but if you've used it for your whole life, then it's hard to say that you don't need it.

And it doesn't have one becaueys it's for Oly's. I wouldn't want to be cleaning with extra knurling.
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2015, 05:24:12 PM »
The center knurl doesn't really serve any purpose.  Your squat should be suspended on the shelf that your shoulders make.  If you're depending on the middle knurling to keep your front squat there, you're using poor technique.  It cuts your neck/chin for front squats and cleans.  It can scrape your shins and knees for conventional deadlifts.  It will probably scrape your collar when you're doing overhead presses or push presses.  No advantage to having it.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2015, 05:47:38 PM »
As other posters have said, a surplus is key for novices to get those huge gains, something like a 300-500/day calorie surplus will help your gains skyrocket. If you can't find a used bar, go for the one rated for 600lbs, and if you ever outgrow it, buy a new bar, maybe when you get close you can start looking for a used one. Starting Strength is an amazing program for beginners, it's what I started on as well. Currently this is the program I'm doing.
A day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Chinups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly Plank as long as possible
B day
Squat 3 sets with a rep goal of 23
Overhead Press 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Row 4 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Press and Row sets)
Skull Crushers 3 sets with a rep goal of 30
Barbell Curls 3 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Skull Crusher and Curl sets)
Good Mornings 2 sets by 10 reps
Weighted situps 2 sets by 10 reps (I alternate Good Morning and Situp sets)
C day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Pullups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly do Ab Wheel Rollouts until I'm worn out

For warm up and cool down each day I ride my bike to/from the gym(that my work pays for).
The rep goal system is a system from the book Massive Iron by Steve Shaw, how it works, you maximize each set by doing as many reps as you can, if you hit your rep goal then you can increase weight next time, otherwise you deload next time.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2015, 03:02:13 AM »
When I want to improve my numbers on the big 3, squat/DL/bench, I like to follow Wendler's 5/3/1. It's easy to follow and proven.

Wendler for the win! I love the 5/3/1 program and used it to break my DL PR this year.

If you're looking for bars also check out http://www.elitefts.com/ in addition to Rogue. EliteFTS has frequent sales and I've been happy with my purchases from them. IMO I wouldn't skimp on the bar. Make sure you take a look at what you plan to do and purchase an appropriate bar that can take a beating. Training is my main hobby but I have to do it in a commercial gym. If I was setting up a home gym I wouldn't bat an eye at purchasing 3-4 bars: SS Yoke, Texas PL Bar, Log Trainer, Trap Bar, Oly bar...now I'm day dreaming!

I think you're going to have a ton of fun! :-)

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2015, 01:34:59 PM »
As other posters have said, a surplus is key for novices to get those huge gains, something like a 300-500/day calorie surplus will help your gains skyrocket. If you can't find a used bar, go for the one rated for 600lbs, and if you ever outgrow it, buy a new bar, maybe when you get close you can start looking for a used one. Starting Strength is an amazing program for beginners, it's what I started on as well. Currently this is the program I'm doing.
A day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Chinups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly Plank as long as possible
B day
Squat 3 sets with a rep goal of 23
Overhead Press 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Row 4 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Press and Row sets)
Skull Crushers 3 sets with a rep goal of 30
Barbell Curls 3 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Skull Crusher and Curl sets)
Good Mornings 2 sets by 10 reps
Weighted situps 2 sets by 10 reps (I alternate Good Morning and Situp sets)
C day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Pullups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly do Ab Wheel Rollouts until I'm worn out

For warm up and cool down each day I ride my bike to/from the gym(that my work pays for).
The rep goal system is a system from the book Massive Iron by Steve Shaw, how it works, you maximize each set by doing as many reps as you can, if you hit your rep goal then you can increase weight next time, otherwise you deload next time.

This isn't really a program, it's just a set of things that might be indicative of an end set (I assume? Or do you do 2 sets of 8/7 cold?). It's not showing any progression scheme either.

I liked 5/3/1 but the volume is horrendously low,  so I found it hard to get beyond a 3 month block - especially in bench. I found a LOT of benefit running Sheiko 29-30-31-32 in that order. It's a good solid 4 month block but required a lot of time in the gym.

I have a lot of positive things to say about my bar, the burgener and rippetoe bar from rogue. The knurling is not super sharp but very grippy (more sandpaper like), no center knurl, and it has sintered bushings instead of needle bearings so the plates don't spin like hell benching. Don't overshoot your bar, buy good but you generally don't need specialist bars if you aren't competing unless you need a special accommodation, like a thick bench bar for people with big hands.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2015, 01:41:59 PM »
As other posters have said, a surplus is key for novices to get those huge gains, something like a 300-500/day calorie surplus will help your gains skyrocket. If you can't find a used bar, go for the one rated for 600lbs, and if you ever outgrow it, buy a new bar, maybe when you get close you can start looking for a used one. Starting Strength is an amazing program for beginners, it's what I started on as well. Currently this is the program I'm doing.
A day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Chinups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly Plank as long as possible
B day
Squat 3 sets with a rep goal of 23
Overhead Press 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Row 4 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Press and Row sets)
Skull Crushers 3 sets with a rep goal of 30
Barbell Curls 3 sets with a rep goal of 30 (I alternate Skull Crusher and Curl sets)
Good Mornings 2 sets by 10 reps
Weighted situps 2 sets by 10 reps (I alternate Good Morning and Situp sets)
C day
Squat 2 sets with a rep goal of 15
Deadlift 1x5
Bench 4 sets with a rep goal of 30
Pullups As many as possible between bench sets
Lastly do Ab Wheel Rollouts until I'm worn out

For warm up and cool down each day I ride my bike to/from the gym(that my work pays for).
The rep goal system is a system from the book Massive Iron by Steve Shaw, how it works, you maximize each set by doing as many reps as you can, if you hit your rep goal then you can increase weight next time, otherwise you deload next time.

This isn't really a program, it's just a set of things that might be indicative of an end set (I assume? Or do you do 2 sets of 8/7 cold?). It's not showing any progression scheme either.
See bolded part above

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2015, 08:14:58 AM »
Bars in the 250-400$ range are very appealing (Rogue 2.0, B&R etc) but...I got hit by the analisis paralisis

I bought an entry level bar for 100$ yesterday. It feels 500% better than my previous one and A LOT SAFER. The former was a 3 PIECES SHAFT that was not nearly round!! The knurling was not grippy at all and I was worry every time I loaded more than 175#. Anyway, that was the one in the second hand kit I bought for 200$ (including a bench, a rack, 300# of iron and a 75# boxing bag).

With only few weeks experience, I am not ready to spend that much now. My experience in other sports or activities is that I like to outdo my equipment, that's the way I am! I beat the shit out of it and move on. So, my plan is to get under the bar every 2 days 'till I hit my goal (260/195/305) and see! For sure, I will probably know better what I want for the next bar purchase.

Yesterday, I did 3x5 squat @ 240#, 3x5 bench @ 155# and 1x5 Deadlift @ 250# with the new bar (+16# total). Now that the bar issue is handled, I got to sleep and eat more if I dont want to stall.

My next project is to build or buy a nice, safe, multi-purpose, squat rack. I will then get a place to store the weights, do some chin-up and dips and improve the safety when benching and squating.

Thank you for tips and support!
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2015, 08:36:35 AM »
Bars in the 250-400$ range are very appealing (Rogue 2.0, B&R etc) but...I got hit by the analisis paralisis

I bought an entry level bar for 100$ yesterday. It feels 500% better than my previous one and A LOT SAFER. The former was a 3 PIECES SHAFT that was not nearly round!! The knurling was not grippy at all and I was worry every time I loaded more than 175#. Anyway, that was the one in the second hand kit I bought for 200$ (including a bench, a rack, 300# of iron and a 75# boxing bag).

With only few weeks experience, I am not ready to spend that much now. My experience in other sports or activities is that I like to outdo my equipment, that's the way I am! I beat the shit out of it and move on. So, my plan is to get under the bar every 2 days 'till I hit my goal (260/195/305) and see! For sure, I will probably know better what I want for the next bar purchase.

Yesterday, I did 3x5 squat @ 240#, 3x5 bench @ 155# and 1x5 Deadlift @ 250# with the new bar (+16# total). Now that the bar issue is handled, I got to sleep and eat more if I dont want to stall.

My next project is to build or buy a nice, safe, multi-purpose, squat rack. I will then get a place to store the weights, do some chin-up and dips and improve the safety when benching and squating.

Thank you for tips and support!

I bought a squat rack from Valor Fitness. It goes up to something like 6 feet tall so you could do chip ups if you wanted to. I got a rogue bench and didn't get teh bar i really wanted to, but I'll get that at some point in the future if I move back into Oly lifting.

The squat rack I got is two individual stands and lets me put it away to give me floor space in my garage. It's been fantastic. It also has 2 middle spots for bench and a safety catch (which I haven't had to use yet but would be able to wriggle the bar onto if needed). It's been fantastic so far. http://amzn.to/1N7oe5K
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2015, 08:51:20 AM »
Stupid thing that nobody has mentioned yet, but make sure you're using chalk when you feel like your hands are slipping on the bar because of sweat.  Particularly for deadlifting, chalk can mean the difference between pulling 400 lbs for reps and pulling 350 once.


You can build a squat rack very cheaply with a few 2x4s, saw horses, and some buckets of concrete.  It's also pretty easy to build a weight bench.  I did, and I'm not much of a carpenter.



I've put more than four hundred lbs on the rack with no problems, and the saw horses are rated for 1500 lbs each.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 08:55:32 AM by GuitarStv »

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2015, 08:59:26 AM »
My actual rack is pretty basic but with adjustable height for bench, squat and shoulder press. No safety catch so I bench with a spotter all the time.


This is the kind of rack I would like to build

http://www.home-gym-bodybuilding.com/homemade-power-rack.html
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2015, 09:03:35 AM »
Stupid thing that nobody has mentioned yet, but make sure you're using chalk when you feel like your hands are slipping on the bar because of sweat.  Particularly for deadlifting, chalk can mean the difference between pulling 400 lbs for reps and pulling 350 once.

What kind of chalk? Is it a specialized thing or about the same as blackboard chalk or baby powder?
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2015, 09:09:43 AM »
Climbing chalk.  Pick up a ball of it from MEC or any climbing gym . . . it should only cost you 3-4$ and will last you ages.  It's usually made of magnesium carbonate (same stuff that gymnasts use), and will really help your grip stay firm.  I wouldn't use baby powder, it might be more slippery.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 09:11:32 AM by GuitarStv »

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2015, 09:25:18 AM »
Climbing chalk.  Pick up a ball of it from MEC or any climbing gym . . . it should only cost you 3-4$ and will last you ages.  It's usually made of magnesium carbonate (same stuff that gymnasts use), and will really help your grip stay firm.  I wouldn't use baby powder, it might be more slippery.

To add - Also grab a climbing chalk bag if you go to one of those normal box type gyms. When I used to deadlift at Lifetime, the trainers would give me a pass on bringing chalk because I kept it in a climbing bag since it wasn't getting all over the place (subpoint - don't chalk up like an asshole in box gyms). Also telling them they could use my chalk helped I think.


See bolded part above

Right but that's still not really a program. AMRAP programs are capable of working in a general sense, but they aren't really a great way to handle progression if you have a goal in mind. Although retrospectively, I probably need more direction and strict programming in order to progress than others may, so n=1 advice I suppose :).

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2015, 10:26:02 AM »

See bolded part above

Right but that's still not really a program. AMRAP programs are capable of working in a general sense, but they aren't really a great way to handle progression if you have a goal in mind. Although retrospectively, I probably need more direction and strict programming in order to progress than others may, so n=1 advice I suppose :).
I'm sure the writer of the book Massive Iron, Steve Shaw, would disagree with you. The Rep Goal System works great, please read the book or know something about it before you say things like "that's not a program" and "not a great way to handle progress if you have a goal in mind". I went from doing 225x5 squat, to now being able to do 365x8, in less than a year. I set goals and I crushed them with the rep goal system.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2015, 11:30:17 AM »
I went from doing 225x5 squat, to now being able to do 365x8, in less than a year.

I really want to request a video of this before continuing. Not to specifically be a dick about it either, because if this system worked for you to this extent then I really would have no reason to discuss and debate the details of this vs. that strength program.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2015, 11:44:54 AM »
I went from doing 225x5 squat, to now being able to do 365x8, in less than a year.

I really want to request a video of this before continuing. Not to specifically be a dick about it either, because if this system worked for you to this extent then I really would have no reason to discuss and debate the details of this vs. that strength program.
I go to a gym that my work provides, they don't allow cameras in there for some reason, but I have my first powerlifting meet in october and can post vids. I should mention that I also went from weighing 160 to weighing 205, I've gained about 28lb of Lean Body Mass and 17lbs of fat.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2015, 12:41:43 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2015, 01:03:46 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
Make sure you pause for 1 second on your chest, bouncing the bar off your chest isn't as effective for your muscles. I think the best ways to increase your bench is with 3 count pause bench, incline bench, and of course, BENCH. I have no idea how power cleaning helped your bench unless you are doing a clean n press. Pressing doesn't help your bench very much compared to incline or benching.

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2015, 01:25:54 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
Make sure you pause for 1 second on your chest, bouncing the bar off your chest isn't as effective for your muscles. I think the best ways to increase your bench is with 3 count pause bench, incline bench, and of course, BENCH. I have no idea how power cleaning helped your bench unless you are doing a clean n press. Pressing doesn't help your bench very much compared to incline or benching.

I never tried to pause for 3 seconds but always for 1 (no bounce). The reason I believe the press and PC helped me is because they work the upper body but in a different way than the bench itself. So I squat-bench-deadlift on the same workout (A) and squat-press-PC on another (B). Press and power clean works almost the entire body and they mimics real life tasks. I keep your advices in mind and give a try when needed. thanks!
"The real reason this blog exists, is simply to save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its own habitat"

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2015, 01:44:26 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
Make sure you pause for 1 second on your chest, bouncing the bar off your chest isn't as effective for your muscles. I think the best ways to increase your bench is with 3 count pause bench, incline bench, and of course, BENCH. I have no idea how power cleaning helped your bench unless you are doing a clean n press. Pressing doesn't help your bench very much compared to incline or benching.

I never tried to pause for 3 seconds but always for 1 (no bounce). The reason I believe the press and PC helped me is because they work the upper body but in a different way than the bench itself. So I squat-bench-deadlift on the same workout (A) and squat-press-PC on another (B). Press and power clean works almost the entire body and they mimics real life tasks. I keep your advices in mind and give a try when needed. thanks!
If you are aiming to be healthier and more fit, then press is great for shoulders, Power Clean is great for a lot of things. If you are going for optimizing your bench, say for a Powerlifting Meet, then it's not the "best" path to take. Mark Rippetoe is the man, doing what he says will get you strong and it's great that you are following starting strength, but if you're aiming for powerlifting, or merely increasing squat/bench/deadlift, their are better programs. I'd say the best novice program for powerlifting would be the programs detailed in Izzy Narvaez's Programming to Win book.


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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2015, 02:08:26 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
Make sure you pause for 1 second on your chest, bouncing the bar off your chest isn't as effective for your muscles. I think the best ways to increase your bench is with 3 count pause bench, incline bench, and of course, BENCH. I have no idea how power cleaning helped your bench unless you are doing a clean n press. Pressing doesn't help your bench very much compared to incline or benching.

I never tried to pause for 3 seconds but always for 1 (no bounce). The reason I believe the press and PC helped me is because they work the upper body but in a different way than the bench itself. So I squat-bench-deadlift on the same workout (A) and squat-press-PC on another (B). Press and power clean works almost the entire body and they mimics real life tasks. I keep your advices in mind and give a try when needed. thanks!
If you are aiming to be healthier and more fit, then press is great for shoulders, Power Clean is great for a lot of things. If you are going for optimizing your bench, say for a Powerlifting Meet, then it's not the "best" path to take. Mark Rippetoe is the man, doing what he says will get you strong and it's great that you are following starting strength, but if you're aiming for powerlifting, or merely increasing squat/bench/deadlift, their are better programs. I'd say the best novice program for powerlifting would be the programs detailed in Izzy Narvaez's Programming to Win book.

Main goal is definetly to get stronger, healthy and fit. The squat-bench-deadlift # are practical to track my progress. At 43 with an office job and approaching FI, it's easy to become (stay) a wimp! My goal is to get as strong as I can before 50 to enjoy life and activities after I retire.
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2015, 02:53:10 PM »
Inspired by MMM article series (back to 2012-2013) about strength, I began lifting weigth this summer. My bodyweight is 175 and I'm 43. My actual lifts after 4 weeks are: Bench 155x5, Squat 215x5 and Deadlift 235x5. This make me a kind of Novice lifter. My goal is to reach the Intermediate level ASAP (before the end of 2015) this mean Bench 195x5, Squat 260x5 and Deadlift 305x5. I am pretty much confident about Squat and Deadlift but it may take longer for the Bench...

I tried to get a friend to join the challenge with me but it seems to turn everyone off in the same maner as saving money and biking!

My long term goal is to someday reach the advanced level in about 3 years

Update; BW 178, bench 157.5x5, squat 250x5, deadlift 260x5
I eat a lot but still need to sleep more. The press and the power clean helped me to improve my bench.
Make sure you pause for 1 second on your chest, bouncing the bar off your chest isn't as effective for your muscles. I think the best ways to increase your bench is with 3 count pause bench, incline bench, and of course, BENCH. I have no idea how power cleaning helped your bench unless you are doing a clean n press. Pressing doesn't help your bench very much compared to incline or benching.

I never tried to pause for 3 seconds but always for 1 (no bounce). The reason I believe the press and PC helped me is because they work the upper body but in a different way than the bench itself. So I squat-bench-deadlift on the same workout (A) and squat-press-PC on another (B). Press and power clean works almost the entire body and they mimics real life tasks. I keep your advices in mind and give a try when needed. thanks!
If you are aiming to be healthier and more fit, then press is great for shoulders, Power Clean is great for a lot of things. If you are going for optimizing your bench, say for a Powerlifting Meet, then it's not the "best" path to take. Mark Rippetoe is the man, doing what he says will get you strong and it's great that you are following starting strength, but if you're aiming for powerlifting, or merely increasing squat/bench/deadlift, their are better programs. I'd say the best novice program for powerlifting would be the programs detailed in Izzy Narvaez's Programming to Win book.

Main goal is definetly to get stronger, healthy and fit. The squat-bench-deadlift # are practical to track my progress. At 43 with an office job and approaching FI, it's easy to become (stay) a wimp! My goal is to get as strong as I can before 50 to enjoy life and activities after I retire.
Definitely stick with starting strength then, get as much linear progression as you can out of it! Good Luck!

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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2015, 06:22:40 PM »
Did stronglifts for about 30 lift days. Not very consistent with the 3x per week and twice didn't do it for over a week. In 2011 I squatted 245. On Sunday I was able to do 290! I think the more consistent squatting was the most important part.

III had only hit 210 on a strong lift day (5x5 at that weight) and really struggled. 290 felt pretty good, just a little bit of forward inclination on the way up. Just wanted to say the app is great for giving you a good consistent squat routine.
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Re: Intermediate Strength
« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2015, 06:27:00 AM »
Did stronglifts for about 30 lift days. Not very consistent with the 3x per week and twice didn't do it for over a week. In 2011 I squatted 245. On Sunday I was able to do 290! I think the more consistent squatting was the most important part.

III had only hit 210 on a strong lift day (5x5 at that weight) and really struggled. 290 felt pretty good, just a little bit of forward inclination on the way up. Just wanted to say the app is great for giving you a good consistent squat routine.

Big difference between 1RM and routine weight! I never tried my 1RM at any lift yet, the weight I talk about are always my 3x5 for squat and bench and 1x5 for deadlift. I use the Strenth Level app that works pretty well also.
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