Strong Lifts 5x5

Started April 28 on Stronglifts 5x5. Old school strength training that gets results.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week 11 W/O 2 Captain Legs?

Second Sessions of week 11. Squats,Deadlifts, Overhead Press.

Squats 265lbs- Warm ups 5x135 5x185 3x225.
Form felt better through out all 5 sets. Going to have to video myself to do a form check. Looking the mirror it looks like I am hitting parallel and with the safety bars set just slightly below parallel for me everything seems fine, but having a video will tell the tale.

Over Head Press 105lbs - Warm Ups 5x45 5x 65 3x 85

Missed on the OHP press today. 5x5x4x4x5 So frustrated by this lift. Seems every weight increase is going to take 2-3 attempts to get it. I took a bit longer break (3mins instead of 2) between the 4th and 5th set and got the 5 reps (really had to push for the 5th) on the last set. Maybe the break is the key. Also like Bench I think I will try doing OHP first before squats.

Deadlifts 275lbs- Warm ups 5x135 5x225 3x250
5x275lbs. Just gonna stop and enjoy that for a second. Hard to believe less than 3 months ago I had never done a dead lift. Heavy, hell yes. Had to psyche myself up for the lift. Little Metallica blasting on the IPOD and really focus on my form. At this weight bad form =injury. I think the hardest part as the set went on was grip. Even with a mixed grip it's a lot of weight to hold and the tennis elbow I have going on doesn't help my grip strength with my right hand.

So, as questioned in the post title, is there such a thing a Captain Lower Body? The polar opposite of most "bros" at the gym that focus most of their time on upper body. Is it a bad thing? I keep progressing at squats and deadlifts but my upper body lifts, Bench, OHP and even rows a bit, I struggle. I don't know if it's a normal thing or not to be able to squat 265 and DL 275 but fail at 105 on OHP? 165lbs on bench seems very light compared to my body weight.

Going forward I'm going to change up the order of my lifts. Start with the upper body stuff, then do squats and see if that makes a difference doing them before gassing myself with heavy squats.
Also think I need to make sure I'm doing the ancillary exercises, chins, dips etc. It's been kinda hit and miss on doing these.


  1. Not sure that the order makes a big difference. If you are doing squats first, that target different muscle groups than benches, OHP, and rows. I could see if you were doing squats then missing on deadlifts, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Also, don't be too hard on yourself for the upper body weights. 5 sets of 5 is quite a bit. Most guys do lesser weights, then do one set of 8-10 at their work weight (Captain Upperbody!). And of course their form is terrible on the last 3-5 reps at work weight.

    I wouldn't change much. I think you are doing great! Very few guys do OHPs at my gym. The ones that do are RARELY over 120 lbs. It is a tough lift.

  2. I think that this program does favor legs/squat. Physiologically, there's no reason why you couldn't do bench 3 times a week and make advances every workout. The only difference is that bench uses a smaller muscle group so the weight would need to be less and the respective gains each workout would be less (fractional plates). And there's good evidence to suggest that no muscle group really needs more than 48 hours rest as long as you use the correct amount of volume and don't do ridiculous things like drop sets.

    Since I don't think that this program uses too much volume for bench (only 25 reps), there's a very good chance that you don't need the full 96-120 hours of recover that StrongLifts gives to bench. You could do bench every workout, but...

    Doing 5 sets of 5 with up to 5 minutes of rest between each set takes a long time. You'd be at the gym for a long time if you did all the workouts each session (although in the ebook, I think someone mentions trying this with great results).

    So I agree that I think that Mehdi does favor squat in that he gives too much rest for upper body exercises, but the appropriate amount of rest for squat.

  3. Even though they are different muscle groups, heavy squats are still a big shock to the nervous system and gas tank.

    I've found that since I passed the 250lb mark on squats, getting all 5s ets + warmups really drains me.

  4. Bill agreed. I think people over warm-up. I have had good success warming up, 5 reps at low weight, then 5 more warm-up reps at a weight almost exactly between the low and work weight.

    For instance, last night my squat work weight was 215. I warmed up at 135 lbs, 5 reps. Then 185 lbs, 5 reps.

    Mehdi gave me the idea on this when he was talking about deadlifts. People would over warm-up and be gassed before their work weight. Something to consider, the warm-ups are not strength building, but simply to warm up the muscles.

  5. True, and I have been thinking of cutting them back. That said, one thing I found as my weights went up doing a "heavy" if you will say 3 reps before the work weight sets seems to help acclimatize my body to prepare for a heavy load.

    It's not so much to warm up my muscles as get everything in the zone to handle the weight. When I was progressing from say 200-240lbs my warm ups were empty bar, 5x135, 5x185 then into work weight. At around 240lbs I was finding that the 1st set was the hardest set for some reason, harder than the 4th or 5th.

    When I made the adjustment to add in 3 reps at 225 (and probably going to move that to 240ish) it seemed to make a world of difference to how I felt on the first set or two at my work weight.