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Thread: A Semi-Newbie's Training Log - HST/Stronglifts Hybrid

  1. #1
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    Default A Semi-Newbie's Training Log - HST/Stronglifts Hybrid

    I'd been training for years in the completely wrong fashion. Managed to gain some minimal strength and size but that quickly stopped. Then I enlisted in the Marine Corps and trained specifically for that, dropping weight lifting in favor of pushups, pullups, crunches, and running. Fast forward to last summer and I was admin separated from training due to illness (uncharacterized, convenience of government discharge - unlike some of the kids I had to stay with that were being ELS'd for quitting or fraud). Came back basically recovered but weak as **** and a shoulder injury that I claimed was better to not have to stay in separation platoon for a billion years.

    Decided to change that.

    In October I purchased an adjustable dumbbell from Ebay, started HST, and increased all my lifts about 15lb per arm (so around 30lb increase per lift), far surpassing where I was before terms of strength and and definitely adding some size.

    I'm 19 years old, currently 5'8, 150-155lb - probably around 14-15% body fat, and increased my caloric intake to 3,000 a day (thanks to member suggestions from a previous thread I posted) and am not as interested in aesthetics as I am in strength, at the moment. Luckily HST, at least for myself, finds a balance between the two, as I'm still making gains measurable strength despite being about 6 months since I started. Yeah, I'm not BIG, and I'm not STRONG AS ***, but I'm pushing myself hard and seeing results, and that's all that matters to me.

    A problem though is with the adjustable dumbbell, I haven't been able to squat or deadlift. I hope to change this by joining the gym come this upcoming cycle. Yet due to a Grade III Ankle sprain, I'm probably going to be even weaker and less coordinated going into the next cycle. So I don't expect to be putting up even decent numbers on the two lifts - especially squat. If I don't need surgery, which I will be finding out about in the next couple of weeks, I'll also be rehabbing my ankle as well.

    Going to be doing Stronglifts for my squats and deadlifts. Rest of my lifts will be in HST fashion.

    I'm going to continue with the calorie surplus until I don't like what I see in the mirror, and then I'll start a cut.

    Below is my plan for the upcoming cycle, which I will be documenting in this thread, assuming everything goes as planned. A few exercises that I've been doing have been dropped or changed in favor of simplicity - Bicep Curl, Tricep Overhead Extension, Lateral Raise, Dumbbell Row, DB Shrugs.

    5th HST/Stronglifts Hybrid Cycle:

    Lift - Current 5 Rep Max - 5 rep max I'll be shooting for by the end of the cycle

    Deadhang Pullups (New) - Current: 15 reps - End: 20 reps

    Dumbbell Overhead Press - Current: 55lb (110lb) - End: 60lb (120lb)

    Dumbbell Bench Press - Current: 65lb (130lb) - End: 70lb (140lb)
    _____________________
    Hammer Curl (New) - Current: Haven't tested max but I'm guessing around 50-55lb - End: Anywhere from 52.5 - 60lb...depends on what my current max is.

    OR

    EZ Bar Curl (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???
    _____________________

    MAYBE Tricep Pushdown (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    Squat (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    Deadlift (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    ____________________________

    Thread will be updated when my 4th HST cycle is finished (Soon) and I join the gym and test my maxes for the exercises I haven't done.

    Thanks for the read .
    Last edited by TangoDown; 04-28-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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    Doc says my ankle is on it's way to mending. I can't squat because full doriflexion hasn't been achieved yet so I can't go parallel without my torso basically going to 180 degrees. I can get into deadlift position though. I've got a specialty brace which feels like a better fitting ace bandage, so I think my ankle should be stable enough for DL. Also going to Leg Press until I am able to squat with good form, so if DL causes me trouble, I'll just leg press. Might do quad extension too despite it being bad for ACL because my anterior chain is weak as **** compared to my posterior chain, which is naturally strong, but I'll probably keep it to high reps. If I do HST with QE, I might just start with 20 reps and work down to 10. I'll probably get a nice pump. At this point my lower body is untrained so as long as I can build a good base, I'll be quite happy.

    Right now I'm weening out of this orthopedic boot, one hour at a time. Joining the gym soon so I'm going to have to do some fascia release to get limber and then test my maxes for leg press/dl/etc. I'll use light warm up sets to see if I have any cuteness on the movement patterns, because if I do, I'm not going to bother with them until my ankle is healed up. But I'm going to be starting the new cycle late next week.

    Going to start PT soon too. Might buy me one of those balance board things as I hear uneven surface exercise is great for ankle rehab. But I'll be talking to my PT about that, first.
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    wthhhh Kaiser. Earliest appointment for PT is early June.

    Time to break out some resistance bands and do some in-home PT in the mean time .

    Plan to join the gym either Friday or Saturday in time to start the new cycle. Going to be testing my deadlift and leg press as I've lost the coordination to go parallel without falling over. Luckily with SS you just add weight until the bar slows down and then you start from there, so I won't be needing to deload on those lifts.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-15-2012 at 01:31 AM.
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    First day at the gym and first day of new cycle. SD was 12 days.

    Pullups: 2x7

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 2x15 35lb dumbbells

    Bench: 2x15 45lb dumbbells

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 210lb

    Deadlift: 1x5 155lb

    ______________________________________

    OHP was on point.

    Bench...not so much. I freakin' went to failure on the 13th rep. WHAT THE ****. But I think I know why:

    Did it 1 Arm off a short ass laptop stand (like 4 inches off the floor) when I did it at home. That = different movement pattern = I need CNS adaptation for the regular dumbbell bench I did today which means my numbers should shoot up to where they were at before if not more by mid-cycle...HOPEFULLY.

    Also I did OHP right beforehand without too much rest...I guess I was nervous lol.

    And finally, first time I warmed up for bench so I did a set of 10 with 40s...maybe I didn't have sufficient rest from that either...

    Also, if it helps, it felt like the bench failed on the upper portion, like my chest could still go but not my triceps/whatever else.

    Hopefully the failure doesn't effect CNS adaptation. Any vets wanna chime in?

    Pullups were self explanatory. I was nervous so forgot to do them until after bench, so I felt a bit weak on them. Next time will do them first.

    Leg Press and Deadlift are Starting Strength because of untrained legs. Leg Press I chose to do narrow stance because I know my posterior chain is much stronger than my anterior chain.

    Deadlift...my first time BASICALLY ever. Pulled 155lb. Chose this weight because SS dictates to start with the weight where your bar slows down, and this was the weight where the bar slowed down. Felt a bit uncoordinated, though I think my form was fine. Next time I'll bring a friend to record me so I can see if my back's rounding.

    Hopefully I have a better session on Sunday.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-18-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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    Training to failure once isn’t going to ruin your cycle it takes longer than that especially at the 13 rep range for Repeated Bout Effect to be a problem. Many people train to failure on the last day of each micro cycle. I would just recalculate the weight to get back in line with where you should be.

    I like the simplicity of your routine however if the order you listed the exercises is how you are doing them I personally would change them around to this:

    Deadlift
    Bench
    Pullups
    Leg Press
    Overhead Press

    The reason is you generally (if not addressing a particular weakness) want to put the most involved exercises before the simpler ones. One common exception is some people always Deadlift last because it takes so much out of them the rest of their workout suffers. Also by alternating Legs/Push/Pull each muscle group gets the most possible recovery time between loadings.

    I’m curious why you thing our posterior chain is stronger than your anterior? For almost everyone including seasoned lifters it’s totally the opposite.
    Male: 51 years old
    PRs
    Bench Press 240 lbs. @ 178 lbs. (12 July 2012)
    Power Squat 390 lbs. @ 180 lbs. (10 November 2012)
    Deadlift 390 lbs. @ 180 lbs. (27 November 2012)
    Total 1020 lbs. (finally made it 16 July 2012)
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    **** if I know. I know I had major coordination issues when I was a youngin due to a very premature birth (3 months premature), and the way I walked could have lead to it. I have genetically large calves and glutes but my quads are not very muscular. Plus I'm a bit duckfooted (feet don't align with knees). Back when I had a torn meniscus (small so didn't opt for surgery), I went to a sports injury specialized PT and he tested me out on quad extension and leg press to check for imbalance (though he made a point that he much prefers functional exercise) and I pushed decent weight on leg press and absolute weak sauce on quad extension.

    I was always under the impression that one should overhead press before they bench because anterior delts become somewhat exhausted and then more work is placed on the chest. And that's what I've been doing. But I'm willing to change if that's going to benefit me (and preexhausting is broscience, which it probably is lol).

    But to my main concern, do you think the bench failure had to do with the fact that the movement I was doing (1 arm bench with a bit shorter rom with a massive Chinese-made dumbbell) was a different protocol so CNS has to adapt? Cuz if I'm failing at this weight and it's not due to CNS needing to adapt then that sets me back like 4 months on my dumbbell bench.

    Thanks for the prompt reply.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-18-2012 at 11:22 PM.
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    If you have done much Squatting before have you tested whether you can squat more with very wide or narrow stance? Also when you take a wider stance do you keep your feet pointed straight ahead or do they naturally tent to point out in line with the direction your knees are bending? If you Squat more with a narrow stance or your feet pointed in line with your knees with a wide stance then you are Quad and not Hip dominant and would likely benefit from working your posterior chain more.

    Actually Bench Press is more a Triceps exercise than anything else, and for most people who don’t train it correctly it’s also more an Anterior Deltoid than Pectoral exercise. The reasoning behind doing the Bench before the Press is that you can usually handle more weight with the Bench thus all the muscles involved get more stimulus from using the most weight possible with the combined exercises. Now if you want to emphasize your Anterior Deltoids over your Pecs than training them first would be the way to go.

    Remember that with HST you are using submaximal weights and not training to failure on most sets so pre-exhausting a particular muscle isn’t going to be that effective, it’s the progressive load that’s going to make them grow. Also to pre-exhaust you normally do an isolation exercise for the target muscle and then do a compound exercise that includes it with the effect being that of doing forced reps (at least for the target muscle) with the synergistic muscles acting in effect as the training partner helping you do the forced reps. There is a form of “pre-exhaust” that’s effective with HST called Myo-reps but for now keep it simple.

    I had to read back to the beginning to figure out what you were saying about the bench (I hope I’m getting it right). First, Profs to you for even finding a way to workout with such limited resources before joining a gym. Second, you haven’t lost anything off your previous DB press since it sounds like what you were doing (different ROM, only one arm at a time) is a completely different exercise. So that progress you made is still with you but now your whole body and not just your CNS has to adapt to the new one. I would just re-calculate a new weight to be using now and progress normally. You may gain more quickly than you expect and need to adjust the weights up accordingly but you have 6-8 weeks to get it dialed in as you progress. Also if you find toward the end that you run out of progression on the DB Bench you can switch over to Barbell and keep adding more weight. I found that very productive on an earlier cycle I did.
    Male: 51 years old
    PRs
    Bench Press 240 lbs. @ 178 lbs. (12 July 2012)
    Power Squat 390 lbs. @ 180 lbs. (10 November 2012)
    Deadlift 390 lbs. @ 180 lbs. (27 November 2012)
    Total 1020 lbs. (finally made it 16 July 2012)
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    Appreciate the help.

    Opposite with me on squats. I have squatted before. I'm much more stable on a wide stance and my feet point outward as a mofo. Narrow stance I can barely keep my balance when I hit parallel, and if I put my feet straight head, my knees point somewhat inward.

    The press I did was for all intensive purposes, a one arm DB floor press (elbow flared more so it wasn't solely triceps), except instead of the floor, I laid on a 4 inch platform which gave me a bit more range of motion on the bottom of the movement so that, imagining I had a barbell instead of a dumbbell, the bar would be maybe 3-4 inches from hitting my chest. Plus the surface itself wasn't completely flat on vertical side so I think that combined with the 1 arm worked my stabilizers a lot.

    One thing I can say is that I felt that my chest was hit a lot more during today's regular dumbbell bench session, than it has ever been while working the movement I was working.

    I'll drop the weight and see where I get. Hopefully I can hit AROUND what I was hitting on the 1 arm dumbbell **** I was doing by the end of the cycle, if not more. Like I said, I'm starting to become more focused on strength than anything else.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-19-2012 at 12:36 AM.
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    Oh my God am I sore this morning. My chest and shoulders feel like they've been hit by a truck. Even my bad ankle has some minor DOMS too. This is probably the sorest I've been since I started HST back in October.

    Got some inner thigh soreness, faint hamstring soreness and some faint glute soreness...and just a wee bit of soreness right at the insertion point between quads and knee capsule. Weird. Arms aren't sore at all, but they rarely get sore for me...plus I'm not doing any isolation so that's to be expected. Don't feel too much in my lats, though I only did 2 sets of 7 BW pullups. My backs probably gotten the strongest out of all my muscles as my pullups stayed about the same despite gaining some 15-20lb since last summer and then not doing them until the end of the last cycle. **** I remember when I weighed in at my first visit to MEPS at freakin' 124lb and was proud of the fact that I could do 15 chins. If I weighed that much now I could probably do 30+ lol.

    Guess I can chock it up to the new exercises coupled with the smaller dumbbells they have when compared to my giant Chinese adjustable ****.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-19-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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    Workout today was a lot better than Friday's. For the HST portion, I repeat the load 2 consecutive days which allows me to start from a higher % of my rep max.

    Bench: 2x15 45lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 215lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 2x15 35lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 2x15 20lb

    ______________

    You'll notice that I did not do deadlift. That is because Stronglifts calls for deadlift 2 times a week rather than 3, so I'll be doing deadlift next session.

    Bench, I decided to rep 45s again and hit 15 with reps left in the tank, which means the CNS is already catching up after 1 session. Feels good being young and healthy . Though I have to admit, on the second set, by 10 reps I started to feel my triceps would shut down in the next couple reps so I was like "**** it" and stopped there. Should catch up soon though.

    Everything else went fine. Decided at the end to throw in dumbbell curls, because in all honesty, I want to grow the biceps, so why the hell not, right? It's my only isolation so it won't hurt.

    On a funny note, during leg press, I look down and notice that I have a 3 inch tear in my sweats, right where my balls are. But I was like "**** it" and pushed through the sets lol.

    Also lol'd in my head at the only guy at the squat rack today, because he was doing like 1/8th squats.
    Last edited by TangoDown; 05-20-2012 at 08:21 PM.
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