[WotD] Friday, July 24

So, today was my first session as an unofficial practitioner of Starting Strength.  Conveniently enough, I’m roughly as strong as Rippetoe’s hypothetical student, so the baseline figures he uses as illustrative examples actually work pretty well for me.  I hope I’m able to see the sorts of gains in terms of strength that he suggests that relative novice lifters will enjoy for a while, though if I’m a little slower — due to age, and the fact that I’ve been training for the best part of a year — I won’t be horribly disappointed.

Any progress is better than none.

Back Squat: 85# 3×5 / 105# 2×5 / 125# 1×5 / 145# 1×5 / 165# 3×5 (*)
Bench Press: 45# 2×5 / 85# 1×5 / 115# 1×5 / 135# 1×5 / 145# 3×5
Deadlift: 135# 2×5 / 205# 1×5 / 225# 1×5 / 275# 1×5 / 315# 1×5 (PR)

* – As noted elsewhere, something is obviously very fucking wrong with my squat. Mostly, it’s “fuck, my shoulders suck,” so I’m going to end up doing this move every day until that shit gets stretched out, and also some empty-bar overhead squats.

Getting my hands anywhere close to the right place hurts when I’m under the bar. My shoulder mobility sucks, so to get the bar down near the scapular ridge, my hands are way out, almost to where I rack the bar (thumb is on the groove, give or take half an inch; I’m not a tall or wide guy (five eight on a good day)). Racking the bar onto my fingers at the end of a set has proven to be painful. I’ve occasionally taken to bracing the bar against my back with the underside of my wrists/forearm, rather than holding it properly.

I’m trying to keep the bar further down my shoulders/scapula, a’la Rippetoe, in the interest of reducing torque along my back, and pressure on my lower cervical vertebrae – there is meat down there, and it’s gotta be better than putting it on that bony ridge at the C7/T1 junction, right? If I have to raise the bar up higher on my back/traps and do them more Olympic style, I will, but I would prefer not to if possible.

I can’t blame all of it on the collarbone I busted in college, because both arms have the same complaint. It’s probably a flexibility thing, it might, to a lesser extent, be a posture thing.

At the bottom, I’m weak as shit (which is, of course, the weak point of the move), but I’m fairly confident my quads, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors can (or at least should) out-lift my pecs, delts, and triceps. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ballpark a squat at 75% of deadlift, give or take. It feels like the only thing working hard out of the hole is the outer half of my quads; maybe they’re just that much weaker than everything else, and need/feel the work, or maybe they’re overcompensating for something else that’s wrong; I’m too new to be sure.

It’s going to be a slow boat to get that flexibility; I’m hoping the clue light goes on as far as how to engage the leg muscles properly.

On the upside, at least my back’s straight and tight; the only thing that kicked its ass was the last two sets of deads.


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