For about a year I fumbled around in the gym, aimlessly.
I did lots of machines.
No squats with a barbell.
I didn't press a bar overhead or bench press.
I rarely touched a barbell at all.
Not surprisingly, I didn't make any progress..
Why did I do this?
I had a few lame reasons.
Light weights and high reps for the gainz bro
After lots of hard training with a barbell, including the squat nemesis program, I was feeling "beat-up".
My shoulder was hurting, my low back was always sore. I was reading too much about getting older and not being able to lift anymore.
So instead of reducing the weights and giving my body some time to recover, I decided to totally change my training and do lots of high reps and light weights.
What I found was more soreness, just in different areas.
Shoulder pain never really went away. My low back was sore less often but getting weaker.
This kind of training was not inspiring for me.
I was going through the motions.
It went on longer than I expected.
I lost a bunch of weight also, getting down below 190 lbs.
I felt small and weak, but hey I had great abs!
Like I wrote about here - No one cares about your six pack abs!!
Starting Strength gave my training purpose
I saw an article by Mark Rippetoe (author of Starting Strength) about the press and strong, healthy shoulders.
Then another about shoulder rehab. HERE
It made sense.
It had been a year since I pressed a barbell overhead.
My right shoulder was a mess.
I had tried bands and facepulls and all kinds of pushup variations, scapular retraction, rowing variations etc.
Any article about shoulder pain and rehab, I was on it.
None of it worked.
Something about that Rippetoe article really spoke to me. I knew it would work.
-----If you haven't read the book yet, you should- here's the link STARTING STRENGTH
So I stopped doing everything else for my shoulder and went back to the press.
With just the empty barbell.
Even though I had been working out since I was 20 years old, I was a beginner again.
45 lbs. at the age of 37.
Adding 5 lbs. at a time, I have increased my Press to the point now where it's almost 200 lbs.
Not only that, my shoulder has felt better than it has in years.
Once again, I was able to sleep on my right side, which I couldn't do for over a year prior.
Squat, Press, Deadlift, Bench Press
Not only did I start over with the press, I also did with the squat, deadlift and bench press.
It felt good adding 5 lbs. each session once again.
Simple and effective.
Along with my shoulder feeling much stronger and mostly pain-free, my low back was also healthier.
Training took on meaning and purpose.
Walking into the gym and heading for the squat rack. Where I belonged.
After Starting Strength
When you finish your NLP (novice linear progression) you are ready for intermediate programming.
There are plenty of options and this is when many trainees get confused.
I did a basic four-day upper/lower split. There are a hundred ways to set this up.
The point is to start at the beginning and progress each session until you can't add weight to the bar every workout.
Now you are stronger and better equipped to handle anything life throws your way.
That is the beauty of Starting Strength.
Stress. Recovery. Adaptation.
As Mark Rippetoe says, "it works every time".
Maybe Starting Strength will save your training too?