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i think i have reached my first stalling point..need advice

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:36 am
by uvhst3p
you can read my journal but here's what's up:

i started lifting weights June 23, 2008 with the following as my load:
35# bench press
35# bent over row
25# standing overhead press
45# wide grip front lat pulldown
50# bb squat
37.5# rdl

my current load now:
60# bench press
65# bent over row
50# standing overhead press
70#? wide grip front lat pulldown
75# bb squat
57.5# rdl

i am doing the 3x5 program by mike mahler. it's posted in the stickies although it ain't named that way.

see the question mark on my current load for the lat pulldown? well, i am now having a hard time with that and i have poor form in doing that now. i am currently doing the exercise 3x5. so on my most recent workout, i only did 2x5x70# for the wide grip front lat pulldown seeing that i wasn't performing well. i did the last set 1x5x70# using the narrow grip (palms facing me) lat pulldown and the exercise became much easier.

so my question is how do i proceed with this? thanks guys

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:32 am
by Rik-Blades
If you continue to have bad form, then in my opinion you are probably going too heavy.

Drop the weight slightly and increase the reps from 5 to 10 or even 12. Do this for a couple of weeks and then try the weight you had bad form with at 5 reps.

From my understanding, the narrow grip will involve the biceps more than the wide grip, this is why it is easier.

I prefer the wide grip, as I find it targets the lats more (after all, thats why you are doing this exercise right?).

The way you 'grip' the bar makes a difference too.
Try to grip with a 'hook' type grip with the fingers and little or no thumb, instead of wrapping your fingers right around the bar. Then when you pull the bar down, try and pull from the 'elbows' towards your back in an arc, not straight down. It will take a bit of practice, but you will feel the difference.

As you progress the weight, you may need to invest in some wrist straps as your grip will probably fail.

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:57 pm
by pdellorto
Switching the grip to underhanded on the pulldown involves the biceps more, so you're naturally going to get a few more reps. If you have a place to do pullups, why not try and see if you can get one with the shoulder-width, palms-facing-you grip. Aka a chinup. If not, no worries, just go back to the grip you started with at a lower weight and go.

For the rest, I'd just say back down to a weight you know you can do without technique problems, and work back up from there. If the technique problems are really minor, it's probably because you have reached your real 5RM. If it wasn't a maximum pull, you wouldn't have form breakdowns...you're right on the edge of your ability to execute the rep. In my opinion that's not a big worry. Especially if you can do more weight the next workout and the previous weight is doable with good form. But just to be safe, if the form starts to go, you can drop the weight back down and work back up. I'd stick with the rep progression you've got now, though.

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:55 pm
by Jungledoc
Anshan--I just wanted to make the point of the progress you've made. You've doubled the weight on some lifts, and nearly doubled on the rest. Good job!

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:12 pm
by uvhst3p
@rik-blades: yup! i am doing that exercise for the lats. i will try that hook grip and arc pull.

should i let the bar touch my chest first before moving it back to its starting position?

@pdellorto: i haven't found a place to hang from here at our house at manila so i can't do any pull-ups, chin-ups, or hanging leg raises which i really want to do. good thing the exercise equipment i bought had something for lat pulldowns

about the technique problems, now that i am at 50# for the standing press, when i lift the bar over my head, i wobble a bit but i don't have any problem lifting the weight. i think it's just balance issues. is that considered a technique problem?

@jungledoc: thanks doc for the "pat" or "tap" on the back!

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:12 pm
by pdellorto
uvhst3p wrote:@pdellorto: i haven't found a place to hang from here at our house at manila so i can't do any pull-ups, chin-ups, or hanging leg raises which i really want to do. good thing the exercise equipment i bought had something for lat pulldowns
No worries, you do what you can with what you've got. And like Andy (Jungledoc) said, you've dramatically increased the weights you've been using.

uvhst3p wrote:about the technique problems, now that i am at 50# for the standing press, when i lift the bar over my head, i wobble a bit but i don't have any problem lifting the weight. i think it's just balance issues. is that considered a technique problem?
No, I don't think so. If you are pushing the bar in a straight line, moving the head out of the way and then locking it out straight overhead (not in front like you'll see sometimes with low weights), then you're fine. If it's wobbling a little at the top, it's because the weight is heavy for you! I bet when you started a lower weight would have had the same result. Next time you press overhead I bet you'll be able to get more weight and wobble a little, but if you stuck at this weight you'd get it without the wobble....because you're really ready for that higher weight.

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:35 am
by stuward
The wobble means that your core is working. You're getting stronger all over.

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:04 am
by Rik-Blades
uvhst3p wrote:should i let the bar touch my chest first before moving it back to its starting position?
Yes, you should try and let the bar touch the chest.
You will find as you get bigger that the bar is harder to pull and touch the chest as the ROM tends to get much harder as you get bigger. As a rule, I say try and bring the bar within an inch or two (2-4 cm) of the chest.

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:21 pm
by stuward
here's a good article on range of motion for bench press: http://www.davedraper.com/blog/2006/09/ ... h-presses/

"full range of motion ... is not necessarily going as far as you can go; it’s as far as you can go in good form, with adequate strength and stability in the joints."

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:54 pm
by Dr. Zoidberg
I don't want to derail from the original poster, but I've run into a similar situation. I started working out almost 2 years ago, at first with the goal to lose my gut, which I did. And my arms went from around 12" to around 13" I'm not sure of the other measurements off the top of my head but my chest has always been around the same measurement maybe gaining 1/4".

So I've been stuck at my current measurements for probably the past year, and I've tried switching up the routines, adding weight etc. Essentially my routine has been 1/2 max weight for 12 reps and then max weight for 12 reps:

12x25#, 12x55# Inclined Dumbbell press
12x70#, 12x130# Pulldowns (or as many unassisted pullups as possible)
2x15 unassisted dips
12x15#, 12x30# dumbbell curls
12x20#, 12x40# shoulder press

I've recently (past two months) started doing this UFC based routine and have noticed more definition in my shoulders but that's about it.

So to sum things up basically what I'm looking for from the community is some thoughts on these routines, as well as people opinions on how long it should take to see gains. I realize everyone is different but should I see 1/4" gain in 3 months? 6 months? Basically how do I gauge my progress?

If it helps I'm a 26 year old male, 5'11" 167lbs

Thanks in advance

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:39 pm
by nygmen
Dr. Zoidberg wrote:So I've been stuck at my current measurements for probably the past year, and I've tried switching up the routines, adding weight etc. Essentially my routine has been 1/2 max weight for 12 reps and then max weight for 12 reps:

12x25#, 12x55# Inclined Dumbbell press
12x70#, 12x130# Pulldowns (or as many unassisted pullups as possible)
2x15 unassisted dips
12x15#, 12x30# dumbbell curls
12x20#, 12x40# shoulder press

Thanks in advance
Personally I would start here:

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Glu ... dlift.html

3x5 as heavy as you can go with good form.
Measure progress by pulling more than your body weight, and realizing you need better posture…

The other days I worked out, if I were you, I would do these:

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Glu ... Squat.html

3x5 as heavy as you can go with good form.
Measure progress by actually being able to walk the two days after you squat.

Less sarcastically, measure your progress by the weigh in your other lifts increasing, considerably, which should help you grow.

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:33 pm
by pdellorto
Check the basic routines sticky, and look at either Starting Strength or the Mahler basic routine. Both of them work basic lifts and low reps, and you'll need to do the same.

The OP is doing the Mahler routine, actually. Do one of those, concentrate on strength, and skip the UFC workout. I've seen that one before, and I'll say as an amateur MMA fighter...I don't see the value in that workout for a beginner getting stronger. The circuits aren't bad, but if you don't have a good base of strength it's wasting valuable time you can spend getting stronger.

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:57 pm
by Jungledoc
Dr. Zoidberg wrote: 12x25#, 12x55# Inclined Dumbbell press
12x70#, 12x130# Pulldowns (or as many unassisted pullups as possible)
2x15 unassisted dips
12x15#, 12x30# dumbbell curls
12x20#, 12x40# shoulder press

I've recently (past two months) started doing this UFC based routine and have noticed more definition in my shoulders but that's about it.
What nygman and Peter are implying is that this is a very unbalanced routine. It is what we jokingly call a "mirror wrokout" that is, it works on what you can see in mirror, and one that allows you to only see your upper body.

Part of the way that weightlifting "works" is through the overload on the specific muscles that are being worked. But the other way is at least as important. Lifting stimulates the production of anabolic hormones, which promote growth of all muscles, not just the ones being exercised at the moment. Working small muscles stimulates production of small amounts of hormones, working large muscles stimulates production of large amounts of the hormones, and you are neglecting the largest muscles in your body. Unless you have some physical condition that precludes them, you need squats and deadlifts. You need big, compound lifts that work several muscles at once, which three of your lifts (incl bench, press, chins/dips). So your upper body routine isn't bad, although you need a horizontal rowing movement.

Also, why re-invent the wheel? Very good routines have been designed by people who know a lot more about it than you or I. The Stronglifts 5x5 is very good, Starting Strength is similar. It's not so much that "one size fits all" but more like we all pretty much need the same thing for the first few years of our lifting careers.

The other factors in progress are sleep and diet. A lot has been written on the forum and elsewhere about these. If you are shorting yourself in either of these areas, changing your lifting won't help much.

Hope we're helping!

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:01 pm
by Jungledoc
By the way, the moves in your UFC routine, if done rapid-fire and with some "boxer's shuffle" for your legs, wouldn't be a bad warm-up routine, or GPP complex. I have usd similar things that way.

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:59 am
by TimD
OK, similar comments to the others. You apparently want size/weight gain Then why are you looking at UFC conditioning routines? They aren't bad for that, conditioning/ strength endurance,, but aren't meant for size and strength gains as a major priority. Check the basic routines under Starr, Starting Strength by Rippetoe, Mahler, or Askem. Even the beggining routines more bodybuilding oriented might be up your alley,
Tim