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Starting Strength

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I am Adam, greetings form Poland :) I am 23, 173 cm and 78 kg. I've been training regulary since 2010, when I took up kickboxing. Since then I haven't had any breaks from sport other than caused by health issues. In 2012/2013 I got interested myself into bodywheight training and started. About 2014/2015 I left martial arts and turned to gymnastics. I went through diffrent routines, most of inspired by others but made by myself. I got used to changing routines, because hardly ever I had someone competent I could ask for advice. Always looking for "mah way" and doing many things by how I feel.

And that somewhat hurt me when fooling with SS at first.

Tried before PTTP for few cycles, but ofcourse I always had to change few things. Nevertheless, it gave me fun, results and got me into barbells even if I messed up with that. Just before SS I stared doing squats and in 3 months got smootly to 115kg.

On Starting Strength I by a strike of luck, when looking for deadlift program. My primary goal is to become stronger. Not strong in particular, but for now "not weak" will be satisfying. I just want to learn to utilise that bit of strength I got in bw and use it for objects. So yeah, that's for now.

In my dreams I would like to enter the kettelbells, try olympic lifting and bend some goddamn horseshoe (got carried away here).

My lifts 1mr just before SS was:

DL 130 kg
Backsquat 115 kg
Bench press 110 kg
Military press: a little over 50 kg, I could press double 24 kb for at least 5 reps.
Dips: +60 kg added Pulls-ups: +50 kg added

I wold like to make it more like:
DL ~160 kg
Backsquat 140 kg
Bench press 130 kg
Military press 80 kg
Dips + 80 kg

That would be SO cool.
Okey, what I changed in SS?

1) change sets 3x5 -> 5x5

WHY: Hard to base it on facts, just my experience. When doing triples in one cycle I got to the moment, where I just felt I had to do MORE REPS, especially for upper body. It was feeling "to keep moving on, I have to work more on less wheight for now". Like I have to work with lower wheigth to get used to that wheight. Then more wheight with less reps will be eaiser.

And I think it worked out pretty good. So then I thought "if I START with 5x5 I will have better base and could make more porgress". I knew I will move on slower, but I planned to miss reps and sets until only 3 sets of 5 remain.

WHY it didn't worked out:

I don't know. Probably health issues. I have problem with my right shoulder and I statred to feel it again at some point. At first it was okay, but bench press 5x5 + dips 5x5 could stress my sissy shoulder too much. So now I had to stop doing BP and Dips. I stopped doing squats 5x5, because I had issue with my left knee. On the other hand 5x5 squat was going okay until then.

I didn't see any benefits of 5x5 on bench press. I hoped to step by step decrese amount of work. Instead, at one session I had cold and did 3x5, because I wasn't feeling particulary strong that day and just wanted to do obligatory work. And on the next workout I did 3 sets and missed reps IN THEM. So my ingenious plan, well... sucked.

2) do DD DL instead linear progression for deadlift

WHY: I didn't get why I will have to move to olympic clean at some point. I am for God's sake beginner AND I don't have coach, who could teach me proper technique. And I thought it's especially important in complex and advanced move such as olympic clean.

Why didn’t worked out:

Actually it’s problem with training pogramming. There are points in SS, when you have to change something depending on your result in chosen exercise (mostly when you fail and have to deload). And this moment won’t come if you’re doing this exercise in diffrent manner than SS.

And I think with olympic clean is sexy and worth trying anyway. Just wasn’t sure that it is right time and place. But hey, you only live once.

3) throw away military press
Just didn’t like barbell military press. Heard bad things about it. Soo, I always prefered doing it with KB. And HeSPU is my favorite in terms of shoulder training. And military press won’t affect my HeSPU. BUT!
Only with this exercise I can do small increments. I’ve issues with my right shoulders, so I also considered dumbell presses as they allow more natural movement. BUT!
It was stated >somewhere< that barbell press is better in terms of preparing for oly lifting. And although I heard it >somewhere<, it sounds reasonable.

4) added L-sit routine at the end of a session

That’s actually first good decision I made and first which doesn’t oppose directly official programming.

L-sit routine in manner of steady cycle from Gymnastic Bodies. 10 sets of 6 seconds each. 1-1,5 min. break between sets. I do this at the end of workout or on free day. It is tiring exercise, but I see progress I made in 5 months and I don’t recall having so strong core EVER.

5) added dips with added weight

Love dips. But again, shoulder issue.

I did wheighted dips few times before and I think they’re what SS miss. At least I thought so. We have horizontal push, and vertical upward push, but there is no downward push. I always thought they are good assisting exercise for bench press.

I have never had issues with shoulders when doing normal or weighted dips. I have good mobility and dips always seemed worth doing. I’m not 100% sure whether adding dips is good choice or bad.

So what I can learn from this: changing programs isn't necceserily a good idea.
First absence is due to illnes. I got cold since then up untill 26. workout. I didn't feel great during that time, but it wasn't terrible either. First week was the worst and I was additionally angry that it had to happan at the beginning... Rest of the absences is my lack of time or bad time scheduling. Probably my bad.

After the 17th workout I had left knee pain and had to stop doing the squat. And here is interesting stuff.
I didn't have knee pain. It was more tibia pain just under the knee. My fellow physician and doctor suspeced patellar tendon overload. And they were probably right. They told me it's because my quadriceps pulled stronger then my tendon can stand and that is what caused pain. For me it was one month out of squats. I didn't go for physioteraphy, because it's hellish expensive. I just did foam rolling (with barbell actually) and a lot of stretching. Pain was gone within one weeks, and didn't appeared anymore after two. But I am conservative and don't want to take chances with my knees...

Now, there was still question why that happened and what to do it to ensure it won't happen again.

It happened (probably) because:

1) I had narrow stance feet was little closer than my shoulder and with feet pointing directly forward. If I am correct this stance has it own name and I found in SS guide that it put more stress on quadriceps.

2) I was often unstable during squat. I looked like hit messerschmitt, when coming up. I was transferring more weight on one leg. Since it happened often and I managed to finish all my reps I thought it's just natural that I am not proficient with exercise yet, but have enough strength to train with this weight. (Yeah...) And in narrow stance it's harder to maintain balance.

So I find some exercises to help me with stability and I am doing them on my off days.

But lately came up something new. When preparing for deadlifting I had impression that my right thigh is more forward then right. When I start to investigate this discovery I come to this, that my whole right hip is little lean forward. And that was ***** strange and scary, because I've observed this before.

It's not confirmed by physian yet, but it would to some degree additionaly explain lack of stability.
And I have nowhere found anything about it. I was only finding "pelvic tilt" and other common things. Here is only article in internet covering that interesting topic - issue called "rotated pelvic":

How to fix a Rotated pelvis - Posture Direct
As for messed shoulder it's something I got previous year when barbell training. I had no idea what it is, I trained few months trying my own methods to deal with this, it messed my workouts. After 5 months I gave up and went on physioteraphy which I had impression didn't help in slightest. What is more important I stopped doing any upperbody training for over 2 months. Meanwhile I started KB miliary press with my health arm. Later I incorporated second arm two and without any pain I was slowly progressing. Nevertheless, up until december I still had little pain there, which remainded me that I am not completle fine. It was one of the longest injuiry I ever had. Thing which helped me most, was chest stretch againt a wall. After this, I felt really better.

And so I was pain free for about month, than started BB training again and after month or so come back to where I was. Funny thing is, I decided to take a break from bench about training 26. But I was enough hot-headed to ignore any resonable thinking and I insist on myself on trying 100 kg. Because it's 100 kg. I knew it's unneccesary risk, which I was willing to take just "to see if I can". I just prayed to not to injure myself. Good thing is, nothing happend. I just missed reps. So, since training 30. I have break from bench press. Since dips are putting a lot of stress on shoulders they are gone for now too. (I'll see if they are gone for good.)

Instead, I do Press 3 times a week, but I only progress as planned. So extra sessions are with lower tonage. It's good because I feel better after presses.

Ah, and up until now I was doing everything in this order:


Lately I consider that order can actually have some meaning, so I changed to more traditional:


Minus is, now elbows hurt me during squats. And I think it's probably because Presses/BPs provided more warm-up for them before. Deadlift however is much better placed at the end of the workout than at the beginning.
One workout missed because of relationship issues. Missing workouts is definitely one of this issues...


Military press 42,5 kg 3x5
Back squat 87,5 kg 3x5
Deadlift 105 kg 1x5
L-sit hold 10x6 sec.

I tried to put military press on the beginning, because lately I had problems with my elbows during squat. I thought pain was caused because of not good enough warm-up. Before break in squats , millitary press was always before them. But as pain occured nevertheless, I can say that's not the case.
I also figured out that I should do LOW BAR not high bar. I started with high bar squat, because it was easier to hold arms in that position. But... I tried today low bar and that was one way for me. Never before squating was that comfortable for me, even despite strange and not comfortable bar position.


Back squat low-bar : 60 kg 4x5
Military press 32,5 kg 3x5
Deadlift 107,5 kg 1x5
L-sit 10 x 6 sec.

As I wasn't very tired I could focus more on l-sit. It was my last training with it. It's end of the steady cycle and next workout I'm going to check my progress :) And hopefully move on to straddle l, which is quite sexy for me.

Back squat low-bar : 65 kg 3x5
Military press 45 kg 3x5
Deadlift 110 kg 1x5

Checking l-sit max:
Advanced l-sit: 20 sec.
L-sit on the gymnastic rings: 17 sec.
Easiest version of straddle l-sit: 12 sec.

I would like to move on to straddle l-sit and l-sit on the rings, but this training hurt my right shoulder. Press became heavy for me and I actually felt little pain in my shoulder during exercise. After this, straddle l-sit put additional stress and I felt pain during exercise which is bad news (after good warm-up I usually don't feel any pain. Only sometimes when pressing, but it's little pain).
I tried to put military press on the beginning, because lately I had problems with my elbows during squat. I thought pain was caused because of not good enough warm-up. Before break in squats , millitary press was always before them. But as pain occured nevertheless, I can say that's not the case.

Hi Adam, I started having this as well. I widened my grip just a bit for the low-bar squat, and made sure to feel the weight on my back, not on my hands. This seemed to take care of it. One day last week I had it again and it lasted through my bench press session but didn't affect my strength and went away soon after.
Hi Anna, I did the same - widened grip - and it helped a little. The problem is, that sometimes I feel more comffortable with closer grip and sometimes with wider. However I didn't have this issue in the slightest when doing high bar, so I guess it can be a mobility problem as well. I have found somewhere video with advice to take care ofsupporting weight with your back and not with arms and it helped much, but regretably it didn't solve the case. Still working on it :)
Next free weeks was as below:

I started to rotate deadlift with pull-ups lately.

115 (I made mistake and count jump wrong)
115 (I wanted to slow down and go with plan. session with issues- I trained with wider bar and I barely could finish set)
100 (first session with pull-ups. I didn't want to let go deadlift so I did it with lower weigth. I believed it brilliant idea. Well, at least I learned WHY deadlift and pull-ups aren't planned for one session)
x - no deadlift on training. I had some reason, but forget what was that.
117,5 (back on right track)
x - pull-ups
120 (now I was happy. Tough session with slim bar. I'll have to go on with thin bar as fat one falls out of my hands with this weigth. And I had to start doing each rep separetly and take position each time. But on SS forum and in PTTP it wasn't stated as a bad thing)
x - pull - ups


70 - 75 - 77,5
80 - 82,5 - 85
87,5 - 90 - 92,5
x - x - ? (this week I made a break. I had problem with hip flexors. (The constant pain is a problem) It can be caused by stretching on the off days OR kettlebell warm-up before stretching on off-days OR both of these things. Whatever it is it just doesn't want to go away. It started two weeks ago and at first I just grinned my teeth, but I don't want to be in pain for the rest of the cycle, since it will stop my progress somewhere anyway. )

Military press:
35 - 47,5 - 37,5
50 - 45 - 50
42,5 - 50 (reps 5,5,4,1) - 42,5
45 (I just forgot myself and did light session. Shame on me.)

L-sit on rigs go just perfect. It feel a little easier then advanced L-sit on parrel bars, but it roast my abs anyway. I don't think I have had that strong middle section in my life before. And it is just half of the year with L-sit. Powerful exercise it is :)
Today I will have to skip deadlift and squat again. Have to do something with this quacking hip flexors. I did a lot of stretching and foam rolling, it's getting better. Not going to touch kettlebell anytime soon. Devil's tool.
Ahh and for the diet I try to eat more. I feel like I eat a lot: 2-3 breakfests, 1-2 dinners, hopefully warm evening diner (supper?). And bananas, jellies, choclate and of course milk between. Man, milk thing is creazy. I like milk and barely can drink 1L daily. When Riptoe came up with 3 L he had to (with all respect) lost his mind. I was pouring milk into myself yesterday evening until I felt little sick. And it wasn't even my damn one liter.

Whatever, I gained about 4 kg's in mass, thing that is rarely seen. Now it's about 82 kg. I can forget about One Arm Pull-Ups for now, as I did it 2 years ago with 10 kg less :)
Rippetoe’s recommendations for milk are for underweight males who have trouble eating adequate calories to sustain progress and grow while doing the Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression (NLP, also known as “The Program”). Since, you are not following that program, there’s no reason for you to follow the milk recommendations either.
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