Messing with my program

Ask or answer questions, discuss and express your views

Moderators: Ironman, Jungledoc, parth, stuward

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:15 am

Since I started the Stronglifts program I've had my doubts about it. I feel that it's not enough, and I feel like I should add some assisting work around the program. Someone here adviced me to modify the SL to make my goals meet. So I came to think about it, and this is the result. I've noticed that I'm quite poor at bench and chin-ups, so my goals are especially to improve on those two moves. I've added few supporting and assisting moves to my program to get my back and arms stronger, mainly to improve the bench and chin-ups. I also thought that the press could use one assisting shoulder pull, and chose the upright row. Anyway, let the program speak for itself:

Day A:
Squat 5x5
Bench Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5
Elbows out Extensions 2x15-20
Face pull? 2x15-20
Ab crunch 2x20

Day B:
Squat 5x5
Military Press 5x5
Deadlift 1x5
Upright Row 2x15-20
Chin-up 7x1

Then some clearifying notes:
- I work out 3 times a week, based on the SL program.
- For triceps I have chosen the Elbows out Extensions, which was recommended by Dave Tate, and I've done it before with good feel at my triceps. I was also thinking about close-grip bench press and still am, so I’m open for suggestions. The upright row is once again a move I’ve had a good feel of. I prefer it as a very good assisting deltoid move
- The same thing goes with face pulls. I feel my upper back and traps pretty well with this move so I’ve tried this out a few times. As a back assistance instead of face pulls I’ve been thinkin about pull downs or maybe good mornings. The latter would be good for hamstrings and glutes also, but I think I get enough by squatting every workout. The chin-up reps are only 1 because when going higher, the amount sets will become far too low. I always try to chin-up as cleanly as possible.
- When the 5x5 becomes harder, I’ve decided to change it to 3x5 so the resting time can be lifted to somewhere around 2 to 5 minutes and the program still remains short enough so I don’t have to train for too much over an hour. Maybe I’ll keep changing the assisting moves occasionally.

Note that this is the first program I have modified myself, usually I’m more strict about given instructions. Any comments and ways to improve the program? Is it all wrong or is there some good ideas behind it?


User avatar
KenDowns
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:48 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: Messing with my program

Post by KenDowns » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:52 am

How long have you been doing SL?

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:08 am

Starting week 4. So I've been still doing the easy part. I know it will be hell soon, but I think I could survive with this kind of method, and also have thought to reduce the amount of sets when the rest and recover gets longer.

User avatar
KenDowns
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:48 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: Messing with my program

Post by KenDowns » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:13 am

Since I started the Stronglifts program I've had my doubts about it. I feel that it's not enough...
That's pretty normal. It gets heavy fast from here.

The only thing I would be suspicious of is dropping to 3x5 early to keep room for your assistance lifts. In a beginner program we give priority to the main lifts.

Doing a beginner program means you are trying to establish a foundation, even if you've been lifting for awhile. Part of that foundation is simple practice doing the big lifts. Figure that 5x5 on squats 3x per week comes to 300 reps in 4 weeks, or about 1200 in 4 months. If you drop to 3x5 early you only rack up 800 reps -- you get less practice.

So with that said, what do you mean when you say "I'm quite poor at bench" Do you mean you can lift the weight but its ugly and bad form, or that you hit a stall earlier than you thought you would? It's hard to answer about the program unless we know more about the problem.

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:28 am

I did some thinking before I started to change program, and understood completely what StrongLifts is doing in the beginning. I know it's about forming the right technique and such. And I was okay with it for a week and the second. But at the same time I'm quite confident my form is pretty good and I survive from bigger lifts. Why I feel like this, is because I've been doing squats, cleans, deadlifts and bench presses for several years now. When I started, I used only a wooden stick, and then some heavier gymsticks and such. I usually try to see and feel my form, as I don't usually have training partners it's usually up to myself. Nowadays I do deeper squats than I did before, hence the few form-checking weeks were okay. And as I've said before, I'm not the type of guy that sticks with one program for half a lifetime. On some programs I do more reps and sets, on some I do less. It takes a lifetime to learn for me.

By saying I'm poor at bench and chin-ups, I'm mainly referring to results. I can't bench much, somewhere over 180 pounds or thereabouts. I train alone so I rarely do real 1RM's. And chin-ups, I'm struggling to get more than 5 reps.
Also I'm very inconsistent around the bench; Sometimes a weight is not that hard to get up, but sometimes it feels like it's 110% .I believe my technique and form are okay, atleast it has been improved over time. I've been getting and reading alot of tips concerning the correct form and movement, and I think I have got the hang of it. Not too long ago my wrist were bent and I wasn't using my back almost at all(lying flat) and I have worked to correct these issues and succeeded in my mind. I just want to get more strength to my upper body, as it seems to be quite weak.


User avatar
digger
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:03 pm

Re: Messing with my program

Post by digger » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:07 am

I did well with strong lifts as written, I tried some assistance work and found the additional work to be to much.
Based on my experience only, my back is a hell of a lot stronger as are my arms ( rows ). My arms have also gained quite a bit of size.

As Ken has mentioned before and that I can personally attest to this program gets Brutal as you approach your body weight on the squats.

Keep it simple is my advice.

User avatar
KenDowns
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:48 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: Messing with my program

Post by KenDowns » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:56 am

This does not add up:
Dub wrote:But at the same time I'm quite confident my form is pretty good and I survive from bigger lifts. Why I feel like this, is because I've been doing squats, cleans, deadlifts and bench presses for several years now.
Ok.... But then we have:
Dub wrote:Not too long ago my wrist were bent and I wasn't using my back almost at all(lying flat) and I have worked to correct these issues and succeeded in my mind.
It might be wise to stop thinking about how many years you've been doing a lift, and instead think about how many times you've done it with perfect form. Being a beginner is not about how many months/years you've lifted or how much weight you can push, it's about still learning form. If you are still learning form you do better to stick with a beginner program, 5x5, and gain many hundreds of practice reps with the best form you can manage.

But still, if the weights are just too light, consider a "Fast forward." Pretend you've been doing it six weeks instead of 4 and move all the weights forward by 2 weeks. That's 30#/15kg for dead and squat, and 15#/7.5kg for the others. That's what I did when I couldn't bear to push those light weights in the beginning.

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:00 pm

I think we derailed a bit from the original idea. I was not going to go straightforward superheavy with this program. I simply mentioned I might change the 5x5 to 3x5 when the weights get to maximal strenght training. That'll be weeks ahead. Looking at this planning, it will get there at week 7 or 8, depends on the move of course. I know I still have a lot to learn and to work on, I always will have. But from a different angle, I also see myself ready for heavier weights. Still, I'm not going to rush on things, I'm simply adding assisting moves to help me build muscle and strength for what is to come later on the stronglifts. And also a good sidenote is the fact I use many sets to warm-up before the actual move, which helps me to check my form and motivation before the actual lift.

Oscar_Actuary
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2406
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:12 pm

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:12 pm

imo, you've added a good compliment of lifts. They are lighter intensity, higher volume; therefore, maybe not impact your recovery negatively at all. I like the balance and hitting the delts more. I guess I'd think you were getting enough tricep work, with the pressing, but maybe you feel you stick at the top part. Or you want bigger arms. I won't repaest to keep the emphasi on the main lifts, because I hae no reason to think you won't.

How did you fix your bent wrist on Bench Press? I struggle with that at my top set. I've had advice here and it's helping but could always use more.

Ken, with warm ups and 15 reps, I think it's getting riduculously picky to drill on the reps for form argument vs 5x5, especially if he is wating for it to get heavy. SS is 3x5, I'd use that as a counter argument.

nygmen
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 1802
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:51 pm
Location: Mass, USA

Re: Messing with my program

Post by nygmen » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:36 pm

Dub wrote:. I was also thinking about close-grip bench press and still am, so I’m open for suggestions.
I would wait until you are more comfortable with your flat benching. Particularly given it is typically a tricep movement...
The chin-up reps are only 1 because when going higher, the amount sets will become far too low. I always try to chin-up as cleanly as possible.
Well 5x3 is more total reps and better TUT so it will be progress. Keep that in mind.

When the 5x5 becomes harder, I’ve decided to change it to 3x5
Fine. Ramping up to a true 5RM is much much different than leaving enough in the tank for 17,900 straights sets of 5.

You don't need that much damn volume in the beginning IMO, and ramping (like everyone lifted weights before the internet) makes you stronger faster.
Maybe I’ll keep changing the assisting moves occasionally.
Good idea, just be sure to understand why you are changing, and if the lift you are swapping out helped you reach your goal before swapping.

I would say, 3-12 weeks will not be long enough to figure out if it is working or not. Maybe, if you are eating to gain, but I don't know for sure. Rough guess is I doubt it, but everyone and every muscle is different, so it is hard to say.


Is it all wrong or is there some good ideas behind it?
I'm a big fan of seeing you follow your gut a little bit. You are taking the cord principles from teh program and applying them how YOU feel they will best help YOU. You are going to learn how you respond pretty quickly.

Trail and error is a good teacher, and you will learn quick from your mistakes.

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:52 pm

Thanks to everyone about sharing their word. Every comment makes me think a bit further and improve this program until it fully works, and beyond also. Take note that this is the first program I've even tried to make, even it's just a modification. I'm heading to become a personal trainer, so the sooner I start, the better I'll be when I finish my studies. I was thinking of publishing a journal about my road and studies to personal training, as the school lasts for 3.5 to 4 years, and after that I can educate myself even further to Master degree. Gathering information and experience everywhere is on of my own foundations to success.
Well 5x3 is more total reps and better TUT so it will be progress. Keep that in mind.
Yeah, that might be the truth. But in my case and with my strength, 5x3 is not yet there to do. You see, I rest for only half a minute to one minute between sets, and 5x3 is something I can't yet do without bad form and this struggling motion like I'd be a fish dangling in the air. But I was wrong also. I can do better. Today, trying out this program, I did chin-ups 5x2 plus one rep. I was glad I could pull off that amount of reps, and am motivated and glad about the progress. Next, I try to reach 7x2 or 8x2. After that I'll probably start bringing triplets to sets. I should get to 5x3 eventually, it might not even take so much time.
How did you fix your bent wrist on Bench Press? I struggle with that at my top set. I've had advice here and it's helping but could always use more.
I'm sorry, but I have no straight answer. Since I'm doing the SL program, I use very light weights. That helps me very much, as I can modify and check my form allover the move. For bench press, I recently noticed the bent wrists as I did with the flat back. With light weights the position of my wrists is easy to change, and I quess it just takes reps to make it stay. I can't yet say what will happen with heavier weights.
Another thing that could have helped, was my own position. I used to lie on the bench with my eyes straight under the bar. And I always pressed the bar from the rack. So the wrists were bent from the beginning, since pressing the bar from the level of my eyes would be anatomically very hard with straight wrists. What I did was that I moved myself higher up the bench. Now I have the bar somewhere over my nose and chin. Also I try to press as little as possible, and pull and horisontally get the bar from the rack. I have this feeling it could have helped the process.

User avatar
Jungledoc
moderator
moderator
Posts: 7578
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:11 am
Location: Kudjip, Papua New Guinea

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:22 pm

The wrist position is mostly a habit issue. You can hold more weight in your hands with straight wrists than with cocked wrists. You just have to pay attention until the new position is automatic.

User avatar
Dub
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 pm
Location: Lapland, Finland

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Dub » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:39 pm

Now after I've been trying this modified program for a week, I was thinking about some changes. I've come to feel that especially the Press/Upright Row/Chin-ups combination is a bit too heavy, even with quite the small weights on the row. As I'm not that good in chin-ups, it tends to get too hard after those moves and deadlifts, especially on my biceps. I thought I could fix it by altering upright rows and chin-ups every other B -workouts. Like the next time when I'm doing the B workout, I would only do chin-ups, and the next B -workout I would do upright rows. Since those are only assisting moves, I think it could be a good solution and should not work negatively on the results.
Another thing that I've changed is the ab set. Since the B-day has lesser sets, I've put the ab moves to that day, and keep changing the move, but always targeting the abs.

And yet again, I've come more aware about the fact that my hamstrings ain't in a good strength. That's why I've replaced the face-pulls to Good mornings, as it is a good back-move with hamstrings active also. And I've added a few (5x5 or thereabouts) Self-assisted Hamstrings raises to both workouts. I might put it in only every other workout tho, not too sure about it yet.

Then to completely another things. I was thinking about writing a journal. Not only about my workout and sets, but also about my studies and and other exercises I do every single week. I thought I would share something I've learned or done at the school, since probably not too many people exactly know how the education works here in Finland, especially the education of personal trainers and other staff around sports. Is it possible to do to the journal section, or is it just for the workout sets and results?

User avatar
KenDowns
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:48 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: Messing with my program

Post by KenDowns » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:44 pm

You can put a journal here on this site: http://exrx.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Of course you should always have a written log of workouts...

Oscar_Actuary
Veteren Member
Veteren Member
Posts: 2406
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:12 pm

Re: Messing with my program

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:32 pm

Dub wrote:I would only do chin-ups, and the next B -workout I would do upright rows. Since those are only assisting moves, I think it could be a good solution and should not work negatively on the results.
Results for what?
Nevermind, I realized now that you are on SL and "results" probably means progression on those lifts. I was going to go into how progressing on Chin Ups and Rows is pretty important too.
But, nevermind. Makes me thinkg of a new post topic though


Post Reply