So my gym buddy and I have been doing Stronglifts 5x5 for 2 weeks now, and I've got to say I'm shocked. We were busting our asses for about an hour a day doing a mix of cardio and strength, and losing weight at a decent rate (1.5-2 lbs each a week) but it was kind of rough getting in there so much. Well, he had mentioned this program, and all of it's supposed benefits and gains and my first thought, (being the skeptic that I am) was "Yeah, pull the other and it plays Jethro Tull." But, after looking into it, I decided to give it a shot for the recommended 12 weeks. While too early to sing its praises, I have to say that thus far, I am IMPRESSED. We're in and out of the gym in about 30 minutes, and it's only three times a week. We're both still losing weight at the same rate we were when we had cardio, and we've actually seen genuine physiology changes. (Nothing huge, but little stuff like an extra tone mark on an arm, or a little roll disappearing.)
Now then, I've struggled with weight for quite awhile, and while this certainly seems promising, I'm still wary and a bit of a disbeliever. So I'm going to throw my stats out for now, and I'll give this a little update every 2 weeks or so, and we'll see where I am after the three months. In the interest of keeping as few variables as possible, I'll be keeping to the same diet I've had for some time. (The only change then will be adding this exercise program.)
Truthfully, I'm quite hopeful. I've seen more results from this in two weeks than I did doing isolated and split sets for months at a time, and it's so simple it makes sense for it to work: but I never take anything at face value, so here's to a bit of optimism!
Starting Weight: 275 lbs
Current Weight: 265 lbs
Starting Jean Size: 42x30
Most recent 1RM: 200 lbs
Yes. We decided if we were going to do it, we should do it right, even if it made us feel silly (and boy did benching an empty bar make me feel silly)
You are correct sir: it is early enough that none of the weight is a challenge yet, but the exercises (particularly squats) escalate rather quickly, and we will probably begin adding in the warm ups by the end of the month.
I'm quite glad we started with the bars though, because while we had no major issues with form, we did catch and correct several small mistakes that would have become troublesome or dangerous once sufficient weight was used. So if I take away nothing else from this program, it has given me proper form for my strength training.
Very happy for you guys, and look forward to updates.
As someone who's transformed from the other direction (too thin), I will say it is a huge boost to know you can re-shape your own form, and that there is no magic trick to it. Just a good program, a little knowledge, diet, rest and of course persistence.
But then, one day you realize you can't picture yourself not doing it, and persistence transforms into passion. You are hooked.
Thanks for the encouragement mate!
It is great to read this post because in a year or two, once I've seen the improvements I want to in body weight training, I'm planning to try the StrongLifts program. So I'm interested to see your updates on here about how it's going and the insights of the others.
Well, it's been about two weeks since posting this, so it's time for an update! We've been doing quite well with Stronglifts, and it continues to impress me with its efficiency.
I'm down about 5 pounds, which is nice progress while still being in the healthy/controlled weight loss amount. I'm down a jean size from a month ago (quite pleased about that) and my sleep schedule has noticeably improved (longer and deeper slumber, insomnia is way down.)
I also attempted my prior one rep max from a month ago. (Just to keep it a little more controlled, I did the 200 lbs again to see if there was a difference.) The previous 1 rep max was done prior to any lifting (aside from warm-ups), in a state of high energy and a general manly feeling. I managed it, but it was a fair bit of struggle, and it completely sapped my energy. The second attempt was done AFTER my lifting for the day, and quite frankly I wasn't feeling my best. Last nights 1RM was difficult, but I had far greater control, ease and speed in the rep than I had previously. I also was only slightly drained rather than fully depleted of power, and a 30 second rest and I was back to normal. I'm fully convinced that I could add another 10 lbs to my 1RM, but I have decided to use the 200 as a testing benchmark for now.
Overall, these strike me as significant improvements over the course of a single month, and I am very pleased with it thus far.
We also hit 100 lbs on the squats this week: while this is no tremendous feat of strength, our prior working weight was about 65 lbs, and this gradual incline/increased usage has made every set feel the same. The 100 lbs feels no heavier than the 65 once did, and in fact we manage the 100s with better form and ease than we did the 65s from our old workout. I put a large part of this on the emphasis on good form, but I am still incredibly pleased with the workload difference that we've hit without any lags.
Our injuries are non-existent since we ceased using the Smith/Nautilus machines (knee and shoulder strains were common) and our recovery time in all things physical is vastly improved.
Gentlemen: my skepticism is beginning to fade.
4 Week Mark
Starting Weight: 275 lbs
Current Weight: 260.3 lbs
Starting Jean Size: 42x30
Current Jean Size: 40x30
Most recent 1RM: 200 lbs (far less effort)
Short good sir.
I think the problem with this powerlifting oriented programs is that they don't give that kind of motivation as normal body building when I do 5 x 10 lateral raises e.g. and that sort of stuff and feels good, looks good in the mirror, I feel pumped and so pleasantly sore and proud the next day, all these keeps me going... Doing 5 x 5 would feel like power lifting i.e. a _sport_ i.e. a boring, discipline oriented thing, and I never did those.
Honestly it doesn't feel like a sport: it's just very efficient exercise.
My buddy and I both work a LOT (50+ hours a week) so it's nice to not have to slug out an hour of lifting, hoping to see results. We're seeing them, quicker than anticipated.
Besides, the entire lifting session involves fake German accents and lots of Macho Man Randy Savagery. It's quite entertaining.
I'de like to hear how you are doing now. Any more progress?
I'm also in the middle of my first Stronglifts 5x5 program, and I've also been pleased with the results. You and are are in slightly different places to start with - I have that skinny-fat body type. I'm thin, but I was quite weak. I've been doing stronglifts for almost 2 months, and my strength has gone way up. I'm developing lean muscle in my chest, back, and shoulders where there was pretty much nothing before. To augment my strength gains and help with the weight loss, I've been eating a mostly healthy diet: lots of fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and striving not to overeat.
Sorry for the delay gentlemen! Been a bit wrapped up in work issues lately.
Some good and some bad news concerning the last 3 weeks:
Our workouts have been a little harder to make time for, but we're still managing without any major breaks or misses.
The major bad news is my weight loss has stalled, but I CANNOT even remotely blame it on the program. A combination of stress, work and culinary laziness has me ignoring what I'm putting in my body, and it is only because of this that my weight loss has stopped. (Despite the poor nutritional choices, I have not regained any of my weight, so that's certainly something)
The good news is the strength increase and defined musculature is STILL on the rise, and at a very pleasant rate. We're due to hit 150 lbs on the squat tonight, more than twice our original working weight; and we're just now starting to notice a workload difference. That, more than anything (since it's the only exercise you do every workout) has been fun to see progress. We even added a warm up set at our original weight of 65, and it is so comparably light to us now that it feels as if nothing is there. It was such an odd sensation that we both burst out laughing halfway down the first rep!
We're finally starting to hit working weight with some of the other exercises, and I am VERY pleased to report the biggest gain either of us have made: my buddy had a 1 rep max of 110 lbs when we started (he's a bigger fellow, but he's had a bad shoulder for years) and is now doing 5x5 with 95 pounds! In addition to that, the constant exercise and strengthening has significantly helped his shoulder! While that's still a 15 pound difference between his 1RM and what we're lifting, his old working weight was around 70 pounds just 6 short weeks ago, and that wiped him out after 10 reps.
I also did my 200 lbs again after our last workout, and I'm quite pleased to say I not only managed it even easier than last time...
I did it twice :)
Starting Weight: 275 lbs
Current Weight: 263 lbs
Jean Size: 40x30
Most recent 1RM: 200 lbs (No longer a 1RM)
I'm trying to get back on the wagon with my eating, so hopefully I'll have a lower number for you guys mid October.