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Thoughts on Starting Strength? Watch

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    Wow no-one managed to get jacked using a beginner's routine designed for the first few months of someone's lifting career?

    What is happening to the intelligence of this section?
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Wow no-one managed to get jacked using a beginner's routine designed for the first few months of someone's lifting career?

    What is happening to the intelligence of this section?
    Tbh I think the collective IQ of TSR fitness is probably about the same as their combined squat totals

    OP:.

    Starting strength is great routine for the first 2-3 months of your lifting life. It's function is to allow you to practice and learn the main lifts whilst building a foundation of strength that will serve you well whatever your end goal.

    It will also teach you commitment and consistancy. Which are the overriding factors when it comes to reaching your lifting goals.

    If you run SS for 2 years and expect to get jacked off of it then you are stupid. If you runn SS for 3-6 months and expect to get stronger and learn to lift better, consistantly then you are not stupid and you have followed the program as intended.
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    I squat 3x a week and I still have Johnny Brave syndrome...I suck off SS. my upper body is kind of muscular but weak...my lower body lacks muscle but is strong.
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    Given the same time frame Jason Blaha's routine will always give better hypertrophy which is what the OP and most of the people on this forum are after. You don't need to do SS to learn the lifts. Learning the lifts is done by researching what good forms is, videoing yourself and correcting mistakes and avoiding failure. Jason himself has bench pressed 475 pounds for a double and is studying exercise science so he knows wtf he is talking about.
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    Old schools post is probably the only one worth reading here.

    Too many young guys think they know everything about weight training. In my experience, very few know anything at all and a great number are just ruining their bodies.

    The beginner absolutely does not need to do any arm isolation whatsoever. In fact most people I have seen fail because they 'want bigger traps' so they start a workout with shrugs rather than developing a good Deadlift!

    A lot will also depend on whether the OP wants any real strength useful in real life situations, or if he is just looking to get buff. I have seen so many ********s give it large doing heavy bicep curls- with awful form, yet can barely squat that same weight!

    Having said that, I think SS is over-rated; Squats and milk is a better program. Most guys won't stick to it, as it doesn't involve training the upper part of the outer bicep or suchlike.

    Beware of people purporting to know the science behind any of this - studies contradict themselves all the time, people who study sports science etc. hate to admit it, but it's true.

    Splits are not necessarily the way to go. Some people always respond better to full body - the person who pointed out that there 'isn't enough volume' has overlooked the fact that you can train the same body part more than once in a week.

    this is my opinion, based on 6 years as a PT, training real people as opposed to reading studies and bodybuilding magazines that invent new programmes monthly, to sell copy.
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    A beginner needs isolation work to bring out their arms if they don't want a t rex body which is what 90% of the people who do SS end up with. If you used progressive overload on shrugs you would end up with bigger traps. The deadlift is not the only way to get bigger traps lol. I myself got a 170kg 3x5 squat 71kg 3x5 overhead press 170x5 deadlift and 100kg 3x5 bench press off of SS and my upper body wasn't very impressive compared to my lower body.

    Why is someone a ******** because of the way they do a curl? Is someone a saint because they squat heavy? Unless you are breaking powerlifting records you are just another guy in the gym lifting weights. The amount of superiority that people who strength train feel they have over others just because they squat all the way down a few times a week and deadlift heavy is ridiculous.

    I'm taking into account the total workload put on the upper body throughout the week when looking at SS. Compare it to JasonDB's routine and you will find it is very lacking in terms of volume. 5x5 bench press and overhead press alternating along with rows, trap work, ab work and arm work vs 3x5 bench press and overhead press alternating with some optional chinups. The difference in work done for the upper body over a week is massive. You can train a muscle group multiple times a week with more volume too. Enough volume to maximize hypertrophy.

    The good studies out there will be contradicted by other studies which are pushing a product or an idea. That doesn't mean studies are bad it just means that you have to be prepared to look at them through and through rather than just being some pubmed ninja who just reads the abstract then pastes it into tsr to prove his point which is already wrong. Studies are based on real people so I don't know where this accusation comes from and they often do better in getting rid of other factors that could go into what they're trying to prove.

    I don't want to get into this self appeal to authority argument because facts are facts regardless of my performance but everyone seems to lean towards it so here it goes. I've got myself a 195kgx5 squat 180kgx5 deadlift 70kgx9 overhead press and a 90kg 5x5 incline bench press. I'm 5"9 and 202 pounds and have trained for quite a few years. I've been through both ends of the spectrum where I once did a full on bro split training each muscle once a week and blasting them completely and going till failure then went to SS and milked it out for the most part (never deadlifted consistently hence why it is garbage). OFC this all means nothing as it doesn't prove that what I've said is right or wrong at all. There is a middle ground between the two when it comes to hypertrophy and that is that most of your work should come from heavy compounds but you should never outright neglect isolation work as it is needed to bring out some muscle groups (arms calves shoulders abs).
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    SS is designed to be run for approximately a year, correct me if I'm wrong. It's designed to be ran until you hit the grey area of 'intermediate.'
    No arm or ab isolation work in all that time is pretty laughable, especially from an aesthetic point of view. Prepare yourself for ****ty underdeveloped arms. Really don't get how the compounds stimulate hypertrophy in the arms to any great extent. I can bench, press then hit near my maximum on triceps -- clearly if they'd been hit by the compounds my arms would be tired? I can't say my abs have been particularly sore or fatigued by doing back squats and OHP either.

    SS is essentially a newb's intro to power lifting. I guess all these arguments stem from square pegs in round holes-- not identifying what you want. It's no different to the bros at the gym lifting, lifting and lifting some more, then expecting to look a certain way for which they haven't trained. SS is just a routine; it's neither good nor bad it just depends if it's aims are the same as yours.
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    (Original post by silent ninja)
    SS is designed to be run for approximately a year, correct me if I'm wrong. It's designed to be ran until you hit the grey area of 'intermediate.'
    No arm or ab isolation work in all that time is pretty laughable, especially from an aesthetic point of view. Prepare yourself for ****ty underdeveloped arms. Really don't get how the compounds stimulate hypertrophy in the arms to any great extent. I can bench, press then hit near my maximum on triceps -- clearly if they'd been hit by the compounds my arms would be tired? I can't say my abs have been particularly sore or fatigued by doing back squats and OHP either.

    SS is essentially a newb's intro to power lifting. I guess all these arguments stem from square pegs in round holes-- not identifying what you want. It's no different to the bros at the gym lifting, lifting and lifting some more, then expecting to look a certain way for which they haven't trained. SS is just a routine; it's neither good nor bad it just depends if it's aims are the same as yours.
    I don't train arms with any regularity or intensity yet have 16.5"ers on my tiny 5'7" frame. Compunds are sufficient given enough consistancy and time.

    Tbh, I think this is where everyone gets it wrong when they bash beginners routines. Physique changes take years. Especially if you're starting from scratch- i.e. been sedentary for the last few years or so. Strength increases happen quicker, hence why people cry 'SS sux ballz' because they didn't gain much beach mass. Well duh. Squatting is the focus. However the foundation of strength, mental fortitude and ability to follow a structured gym program for more than 5 minutes that all that squatting will have produced will be invaluable to your future efforts in the gym.

    People want it all 5 minutes ago and are unable to see the big picture. This is the problem. SS is not magic and unless you apply it intelligently (i.e. do it for the purpose it was designed for) it won't work as part of your bigger picture.
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    (Original post by Old School)
    I don't train arms with any regularity or intensity yet have 16.5"ers on my tiny 5'7" frame. Compunds are sufficient given enough consistancy and time.

    Tbh, I think this is where everyone gets it wrong when they bash beginners routines. Physique changes take years. Especially if you're starting from scratch- i.e. been sedentary for the last few years or so. Strength increases happen quicker, hence why people cry 'SS sux ballz' because they didn't gain much beach mass. Well duh. Squatting is the focus. However the foundation of strength, mental fortitude and ability to follow a structured gym program for more than 5 minutes that all that squatting will have produced will be invaluable to your future efforts in the gym.

    People want it all 5 minutes ago and are unable to see the big picture. This is the problem. SS is not magic and unless you apply it intelligently (i.e. do it for the purpose it was designed for) it won't work as part of your bigger picture.
    Well that's true but on the flipside a Daniel Craig Bond physique surely should be obtainable within a year? Lost count how many times I've heard that. That's not 'jacked' but I'm guessing that's sufficient for most folks (his legs look crap IMO). The vast majority of gym goers are there for aesthetics which I'm not sure SS is best for-- i won't say definitively cos I only know what's worked for me and I've gone from a 2-3 stone overweight fatty to quite a lean and decently muscular physique within 9 months. I'll leave the rest to other more experienced people to argue about.
    You got people doing SS who want a Brad Pitt figure for gods sakes. This is what I mean about identifying your aims.

    I think the big jacked physique you're probably referring to is a much longer project and will involve a variety of routines over time. True dat
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    No one expects a jacked physique within a year. We're referring to a more balanced physique that would fair better from an aesthetic perspective which is definitely achievable . T-rex mode looks just as stupid if not even more stupid than johnny bravo mode.
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    I agree with you to an extent Alex. Without going into a boring lecture on my background, you must understand that over the years I have seen so many degree students come and go - all have told me that they know the best way of training etc. and all have failed to train both themselves or their clients to an adequate level.

    As old school has said, isolation is not necessarily required - given that the necessary movements are done in compound lifts anyway. A lot of people miss the progression of full body to split because they think they need to be doing a traps day! A shrug can easily be combined with a Deadlift.

    From my experience I believe that people need to be adaptive to training- ie If its not working then change it. Again, my opinion but ectomorphs almost always respond better to full body, whereas larger guys get better results from splits.

    My point is that a lot of young guys will sacrifice gains in favour of giving the illusion they know what they are doing. In my opinion, serious bodybuilding and the training routines involved is a lot different to your average guy trying to get some mirror muscles.
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    Also, without meaning to sound patronising or like I think I know it all, in my years as a PT and 10 plus years training myself, I know that isolation and splits simply do not work whatsoever for some people - the same cannot be said for a good full body programme.

    I also know that the timeframe of a programme isn't the be all and end all - if it is working, use it until it stops working, regardless of what some study has told you.

    Alex - from a strength perspective, having a good bench or bicep curl means sweet FA if you haven't got a strong lower body. Whether MMA, Rugby or working on a site/farm - weak legs = a weak man.
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    ^ don't think anyone has mentioned splits in this thread.

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    (Original post by silent ninja)
    ^ don't think anyone has mentioned splits in this thread.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Yes, they have.
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    It depends on the body type. I've trained compounds solely for years and my long arms still look crap. I should have done direct arm work.
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    (Original post by commandant)
    It depends on the body type. I've trained compounds solely for years and my long arms still look crap. I should have done direct arm work.

    Pretty much spot on mate - my personal belief is that some people respond much better to lower rep ranges and some higher.

    Someone who responds to lower rep ranges is better off training full body, whereas a split is often more effective for the other.

    The problem I have observed is people never commit to a programme like SS - they always think they need to do direct work for biceps/triceps. Ultimately only you can figure out what works best for you, but this won't happen if you **** around without putting a bit of dedication to any programme you try.

    Full body should always be the starting point - basic compound moves.

    However, to contradict myself slightly - weight training isn't rocket science; as someone above has mentioned, you can always add some exercises to SS pull-ups, dips, pull-overs etc.

    The problem I have with SS is it should be named 'starting powerlifting strength'!
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    (Original post by Jd1982)
    Pretty much spot on mate - my personal belief is that some people respond much better to lower rep ranges and some higher.

    Someone who responds to lower rep ranges is better off training full body, whereas a split is often more effective for the other.

    The problem I have observed is people never commit to a programme like SS - they always think they need to do direct work for biceps/triceps. Ultimately only you can figure out what works best for you, but this won't happen if you **** around without putting a bit of dedication to any programme you try.

    Full body should always be the starting point - basic compound moves.

    However, to contradict myself slightly - weight training isn't rocket science; as someone above has mentioned, you can always add some exercises to SS pull-ups, dips, pull-overs etc.

    The problem I have with SS is it should be named 'starting powerlifting strength'!
    Exactly. Give something at least 12 weeks and record the results, that way you can see how things work and what you respond too. The majority of people as you say **** around and don't dedicate themselves.
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    The very routine that I linked is a full body routine. Perhaps you should watch the video I linked again if you haven't watched it already. I have never recommended a one bodypart a week split because for a natural it is the least optimal route you can go. Yes people get results off of it but much slower than what they are truly capable of getting on a full body/upper lower split. SS is not the only routine out there written by someone who knows what they are doing. However it is written for the purpose of showing beginners how to get into STRENGTH training not how to put on as much muscle as they can.

    Nobody has ever argued that you should do SS within a set time frame. They're just giving rough estimates as to how long people can do the program before they stall out completely. When we know how long it takes to do SS along with the advanced novice variation then we can use that information to compare the progress you would have on other routines with the same time frame. SS + advanced novice variation will take most of the year to complete which is enough time to see the difference on a bodybuilding focused full body routine(which is what I have linked).

    Most people do need isolation work to maximize the size of their arms. Most top natural bodybuilders weren't able to get their arms fully developed from just compounds alone. If the genetic elite can't get their arms fully developed then how on Earth is someone with mediocre/average genetics going to maximize the size of their arms without any isolation work? If you want "real life results on real people" then you have all the results of people on various bodybuilding forums that did SS and ended up with crappy development in their upper body compared to their lower body. If compounds were truly enough for the majority of people to bring out their arms then you wouldn't see such results. You can't say they didn't put enough work into the program because you can see the difference in their lifts and how much their lower body has grown. Just because you aren't doing SS doesn't mean you are "dicking around".

    Full body refers to training every bodypart in one session. It doesn't mean pure compound. I do feel this is all rather redundant as SS was never intended to put on as much muscle as possible on someone as possible rather it was just there to show people how to perform the lifts properly and get their strength up really fast. The problem arises when a bunch of Mark Rippetoe fans who have read SS and worked out for 1 year and think they know everything about training come onto this board and give the same generic "do SS + GOMAD" advice to everyone regardless of goals. SS+GOMAD is only going to the be the thing to do for a certain group of people and certainly not those who are looking to train for the sheer purpose of improving their aesthetics which is what 90% of the questions on this board are related to.

    "Alex - from a strength perspective, having a good bench or bicep curl means sweet FA if you haven't got a strong lower body. Whether MMA, Rugby or working on a site/farm - weak legs = a weak man."

    I never made such an argument against this. I was referring to a standpoint of aesthetics. Great lower body crap upper body and great upper body crap lower body both LOOK stupid.
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    (Original post by alex_tait)
    The very routine that I linked is a full body routine. Perhaps you should watch the video I linked again if you haven't watched it already. I have never recommended a one bodypart a week split because for a natural it is the least optimal route you can go. Yes people get results off of it but much slower than what they are truly capable of getting on a full body/upper lower split. SS is not the only routine out there written by someone who knows what they are doing. However it is written for the purpose of showing beginners how to get into STRENGTH training not how to put on as much muscle as they can.

    Nobody has ever argued that you should do SS within a set time frame. They're just giving rough estimates as to how long people can do the program before they stall out completely. When we know how long it takes to do SS along with the advanced novice variation then we can use that information to compare the progress you would have on other routines with the same time frame. SS + advanced novice variation will take most of the year to complete which is enough time to see the difference on a bodybuilding focused full body routine(which is what I have linked).

    Most people do need isolation work to maximize the size of their arms. Most top natural bodybuilders weren't able to get their arms fully developed from just compounds alone. If the genetic elite can't get their arms fully developed then how on Earth is someone with mediocre/average genetics going to maximize the size of their arms without any isolation work? If you want "real life results on real people" then you have all the results of people on various bodybuilding forums that did SS and ended up with crappy development in their upper body compared to their lower body. If compounds were truly enough for the majority of people to bring out their arms then you wouldn't see such results. You can't say they didn't put enough work into the program because you can see the difference in their lifts and how much their lower body has grown. Just because you aren't doing SS doesn't mean you are "dicking around".

    Full body refers to training every bodypart in one session. It doesn't mean pure compound. I do feel this is all rather redundant as SS was never intended to put on as much muscle as possible on someone as possible rather it was just there to show people how to perform the lifts properly and get their strength up really fast. The problem arises when a bunch of Mark Rippetoe fans who have read SS and worked out for 1 year and think they know everything about training come onto this board and give the same generic "do SS + GOMAD" advice to everyone regardless of goals. SS+GOMAD is only going to the be the thing to do for a certain group of people and certainly not those who are looking to train for the sheer purpose of improving their aesthetics which is what 90% of the questions on this board are related to.

    "Alex - from a strength perspective, having a good bench or bicep curl means sweet FA if you haven't got a strong lower body. Whether MMA, Rugby or working on a site/farm - weak legs = a weak man."

    I never made such an argument against this. I was referring to a standpoint of aesthetics. Great lower body crap upper body and great upper body crap lower body both LOOK stupid.
    I guarantee you most pro bodybuilders started out full body. Also, don't forget that they have a certain 'advantage' besides genetics.

    I take your point about aesthetics - you are 100% correct that most people are only interested in this. But let's not kid ourselves, aesthetics are mostly something you are born with.

    Don't get me wrong I am not against isolation, it is the nature of bodybuilding to isolate and bring up lagging body parts and something I do myself.

    But heavy dips WILL build triceps, Pull-ups WILL build biceps. For most novices, one exercise per muscle group is usually enough at first - hence full body workouts are perfect. When they no longer hit the spot, then add another exercise in; this is when you split your workout. My point is people skip the first part.

    Again, I admit that I am cynical and I have no idea what your background is, but if you spend years watching people start a workout with preacher curls or do a 'chest' day that contains the same volume and number of exercises as 'back' day you will see what I mean.

    Personally I think SS is over rated. As you say it is aimed at powerlifters and not someone who wants to impress girls in a tight T-shirt. My advice to the OP would be to start with a basic compound full body programme - 4 exercises tops. If he finds at 6 weeks that his arms haven't developed then sure, add in some iso. This is the only way to construct a personal routine from the ground up - and my point is that most people skip this part.

    Don't forget that heavy squats and deads also have other effects on the body!


    I have seen some quality physiques built from solid barbell work, never from too much isolation.
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    I suppose what I am getting at is Johnny Bravo is far, far more common than T-rex
 
 
 
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