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  1. #1
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Starting Strength Reviews

    With all of the e-arguing that occurs in this forum over Starting Strength, I thought it appropriate that one thread be devoted to reviews of the program. This will allow novice lifters and newbies to this forum to look at multiple reviews before making the decision to follow SS or not.

    Your review should include:
    (1)Dates that you ran SS,
    (2)Beginning 3x5 and ending 3x5 stats,
    (3)Pros in your opinion,
    (4)Cons in your opinion.

    My next post could act as a nice template for someone wishing to post.

    For newbies wondering what this is about.......Mark Rippetoe is the owner of the Wichita Falls Athletic Club (Texas) and the author of numerous books on strength training. His program, Starting Strength, has been used my thousands of his athletes and trainees. On these boards, the program seems to be a lightning rod for discussion, some good and some bad. The program revolves around an "A" workout and a "B" workout. These workouts consist of core lifts: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Power Clean, and Overhead Press.
    Last edited by FastCatChamp; 08-20-2010 at 06:56 PM.
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  2. #2
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    (1)Dates - December '09 to April ' 10

    (2)Beginning 3x5 Weights/Ending 3x5 Weights:
    Squat - 125/250
    Bench - 160/220
    Dead - 115/320 (1x5)
    OHP - 75/127.5
    Cleans - 45/140 (5x3)

    (3) Pros: Great book to teach core lifts, easy to understand "A" and B" workouts, obvious strength gains and an impressive workout-to-workout progression, videos of the program's creator easy to find on Youtube so that you may work with your form.

    (4) Cons: At 36 years old, I tortured my hip and knee joints with the progression, the book and program provides little in the way of nutritional advice, upon ending the program I was stronger but not in better shape as far as running or being active.

    I would recommend SS to a novice lifter or to someone that is healthy after a recent injury.
    Last edited by FastCatChamp; 08-20-2010 at 12:33 PM.
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  3. #3
    Registered User brudman's Avatar
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    Great progress man. I see what you are trying to do. I can tell you that this thread will not solve controversy. You will either see people who got stronger, people who used it improperly and did not, and people who didn't make the size gains they wanted or got fat because it's not the bodybuilding program they were looking for.
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  4. #4
    ......meh USMARINE8152's Avatar
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    I have no problem with SS. I usually tend to push volume style of training to folks but I sometimes forget that the 1st 4 years of weight lifting for me was football which was a upper/lower split and did powerlifting in the offseason so I never started using BB splits till I turned 22. good results and good numbers. and I feel ya on the joint issue. Im 27 but with all the heavy lifting I did the first 7 years of training I now use machines here and there to save whats left of my joints.
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  5. #5
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Your review should include:

    (1)Dates that you ran SS,
    June-(early) September 2009 (3 full months)

    (2)Beginning 3x5 and ending 3x5 stats,
    Squat: 45lbs/125lbs, Bench: 30lbs/65lbs, Deadlift: 120lbs/195lbs, Press: 25lbs/55lbs, Power Clean: /75lbs {started one month into it, subbed rows, finished with 75)

    (3)Pros in your opinion
    If you use the proper book and DVD, you can't go wrong. A great way to learn the lifts. Perfect for beginners to build a foundation.

    (4)Cons in your opinion.
    None really! I only stopped because I got pregnant. Yes, my lifts started and finished fairly low, but they were not bad at all for 3 months for a 120lb female.
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  6. #6
    Registered User SeanWoodall's Avatar
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    I havnt tried the program but it seems like its a great program to follow. My only qualms with it is that it doesnt seem to place much emphasis on the back. Add Bentover rows or pullups every workout from the beginning and its the perfect thing for a novice lifter looking for strength.

    Just remember that there are other beginners workout programs that work just as well. Ripptoes is not the end all be all of beginner training even if it is an excellent program.
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  7. #7
    Ace Orlando1234977's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FastCatChamp View Post
    With all of the e-arguing that occurs in this forum over Starting Strength, I thought it appropriate that one thread be devoted to reviews of the program. This will allow novice lifters and newbies to this forum to look at multiple reviews before making the decision to follow SS or not.

    Your review should include:
    (1)Dates that you ran SS,
    (2)Beginning 3x5 and ending 3x5 stats,
    (3)Pros in your opinion,
    (4)Cons in your opinion.
    The arguing is almost never about the effectiveness of the program based on what the program is designed to do, which is driving up your strength numbers, in a low rep range, on a limited number of powerlifting lifts. So this really means nothing.

    If you want to compare this to a typical beginning bodybuilding program then we'd have to compare
    A. before and after pics
    B. stats on ALL bodybuilding basics movements (Approx. 12)
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  8. #8
    Equipment Geek Mod Wildtim's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    The arguing is almost never about the effectiveness of the program based on what the program is designed to do, which is driving up your strength numbers, in a low rep range, on a limited number of powerlifting lifts. So this really means nothing.

    If you want to compare this to a typical beginning bodybuilding program then we'd have to compare
    A. before and after pics
    B. stats on ALL bodybuilding basics movements (Approx. 12)
    If you really want to compare it to what a bodyuilder wants you don't need any kind of stats

    (the dream bodybuilder gets huge while picking up twigs and playing cards)

    You just need to compare pics of the compulsory poses.

    Since no bodybuilder ever got big without also being able to make serious weight move in the big three basic barbell movements this is a completely moot post.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Engineer_Guy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    The arguing is almost never about the effectiveness of the program based on what the program is designed to do, which is driving up your strength numbers, in a low rep range, on a limited number of powerlifting lifts. So this really means nothing.

    If you want to compare this to a typical beginning bodybuilding program then we'd have to compare
    A. before and after pics
    B. stats on ALL bodybuilding basics movements (Approx. 12)
    Fortunately SS isn't a bodybuilding program and nobody is comparing it to a bodybuilding program so your point is not valid.

    SS is a barbell training strength program for novices. That's what it is and nobody is selling it as a bodybuilding program.
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  10. #10
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SeanWoodall View Post
    I havnt tried the program but it seems like its a great program to follow. My only qualms with it is that it doesnt seem to place much emphasis on the back. Add Bentover rows or pullups every workout from the beginning and its the perfect thing for a novice lifter looking for strength.

    Just remember that there are other beginners workout programs that work just as well. Ripptoes is not the end all be all of beginner training even if it is an excellent program.
    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    The arguing is almost never about the effectiveness of the program based on what the program is designed to do, which is driving up your strength numbers, in a low rep range, on a limited number of powerlifting lifts. So this really means nothing.

    If you want to compare this to a typical beginning bodybuilding program then we'd have to compare
    A. before and after pics
    B. stats on ALL bodybuilding basics movements (Approx. 12)
    Good God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The thread is for reviews. Reviews. Reviews. Look at the second post for the template. I am not interested in comparison to ANY other program here. DATES, PROGRESSION, PROS, CONS.

    The title says End of Controversy as a play on just posting reviews without the sideshow.

    SS veterans....DO NOT ARGUE WITH ANYONE HERE. JUST POST YOUR REVIEW. IT WILL SPEAK FOR ITSELF.

    If anyone wants a comparison thread then make one.
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  11. #11
    Ace Orlando1234977's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    If you really want to compare it to what a bodyuilder wants you don't need any kind of stats

    (the dream bodybuilder gets huge while picking up twigs and playing cards)

    You just need to compare pics of the compulsory poses.

    Since no bodybuilder ever got big without also being able to make serious weight move in the big three basic barbell movements this is a completely moot post.
    What are you talking about??? Why would a bodybuilder NOT get strong in the big three lifts? They've been doing that for decades and decades, long before SS. You need a serious history lesson in bodybuilding.

    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    SS is a barbell training strength program for novices. That's what it is and nobody is selling it as a bodybuilding program.
    No but they are selling it to those with bodybuilding goals because they have no clue what a beginner bodybuilding routine looks like.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Engineer_Guy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    No but they are selling it to those with bodybuilding goals because they have no clue what a beginner bodybuilding routine looks like.
    I would advise a complete novice to do a strength program as well. A novice is best off learning the lifts carefully and then taking advantage of linear progression. SS is a good starting point for novices whether they are aspiring to become body builders or not.

    I believe whether you want to become a power lifter, weight lifter, or body builder you need a good foundation strength and more importantly need knowledge of the compound lifts. No one is forcing these novices to do SS. We are merely suggesting it because it worked for us and there are a mixture of lifters on these forums who suggest SS.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by Engineer_Guy View Post
    A novice is best off learning the lifts carefully and then taking advantage of linear progression.
    Well at least this sentence I agree with. Limiting your exercises etc not so much, but that's perfectly fine, as that's your opinion.

    Originally Posted by FastCatChamp View Post
    SS veterans....DO NOT ARGUE WITH ANYONE HERE. JUST POST YOUR REVIEW. IT WILL SPEAK FOR ITSELF.
    Agreed, it'll be interesting. Hopefully you'll get alot of contribution from SS veterans from the last few years that will post before/after pics etc.. Then people will have more info to base decisions on. So on that, since I'm not a SS vet., I'll step out of the thread and come back to view once in a while
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  14. #14
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Alot of yapping Orlando, Engineer Guy, etc.........but no reviews. Post you personal reviews boys!
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    Originally Posted by FastCatChamp View Post
    Alot of yapping Orlando, Engineer Guy, etc.........but no reviews. Post you personal reviews boys!
    1)Dates - June '10 to Present (only about a 2 months now)

    (2)Beginning 3x5 Weights/Ending 3x5 Weights:
    Squat - 120/230
    Bench - 100/155
    Dead - 100/240 (1x5)
    OHP - 45/100
    Cleans - 45/120 (5x3)

    (3) Pros: Learn the important lifts. Move up quickly in strength which is just even more encouragement to continue lifting. Doing overhead presses and power cleans are probably my favorite now and has really given me a goal to learn more Olympic weightlifting when I finish SS.

    (4) Cons: Nothing really yet. Has done what I was looking to do. Gain strength. I guess the only con is my friends don't' want to do it with me because they are afraid of the barbell.
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by FastCatChamp View Post

    Good God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The thread is for reviews. Reviews. Reviews.

    The title says End of Controversy as a play on just posting reviews without the sideshow.
    Then you shouldnt have mentioned 'controversy'.
    You should have just titled it 'SS reviews' & thats it.
    YOU are the one who made references to & therefore invited controversy, implying there are issues to be resolved. You even put this idea first before even mentioning reviews. Its clear what you are after.
    Strong bait is strong.
    The irrestistible force meets the immovable object.
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  17. #17
    Cheap OPERATOR Cheap5.0's Avatar
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    (1)Feb 4th, 2010

    (2)Beggining:
    Squat: 115
    Bench: 105
    Dead: 145
    OHP: 45

    Current (8-20-2010):
    Squat: 270
    Bench: 235
    Dead: 325
    OHP: 125

    (3)Easy as sh^t.

    (4)High weight, low reps fuking kill your soul a little each time you go.
    Yall can call me Chris.

    1 Million pull ups: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=159234121&p=1185574001#post1185574001
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  18. #18
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by feltmann View Post
    Then you shouldnt have mentioned 'controversy'.
    You should have just titled it 'SS reviews' & thats it.
    YOU are the one who made references to & therefore invited controversy, implying there are issues to be resolved. You even put this idea first before even mentioning reviews. Its clear what you are after.
    Strong bait is strong.
    Yeah, you are right on the title. But, I am not after anything other than a crapload of reviews in one spot.

    Post up those reviews!
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  19. #19
    Pale Sasquatch Pride Farley1324's Avatar
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    SS was the first real program I ever ran. In high school I did the bench and curl routine while running track and cross country. Then I didn't do anything for the next 6 years. When I was 24 I went back to the gym and did bench/chinups/DB press/ curls for a few months. Then I finally ran SS for about 4 months (spring 2008). I was 6'00" 170 lbs when I started.

    I started too heavy on the lifts, except for deadlift, so the progress is pretty accurate.

    3x5 Squat 185-->280
    Bench 185 4x6 -->225 3x5
    3x5 Press 95 -->145
    1x5 Deadlift 185-->330
    Bodyweight 170-190. I ate more and drank my milk.


    Then I took 20 months off. I started back Jan of this year (2010). My first squat session had me limping badly for two days, and I actually missed a rep of bench the first day . Yeah, I started WAAY to high.

    From late Jan -->Early April
    3x5 Squat 155-->300
    1x5 Deadlift-->185-315


    From Late Jan-->May
    Bench 3x5 165-->226.25
    Press 3x5 95-->148.75
    Power Clean 5x3 135-->185 or so


    Then I switched to intermediate programming in May. For squats I used Ripp's Texas Method. My squat had gone down after April. I went weeks without squatting as a aggravated my herniated disc pretty badly. I limped for a week. It is now August. I have squat 315 5x5, 350x5 and 365x1, power cleaned 215, overhead pressed 162.5x4 and benched 275.


    I doubt any other program would have accomplished this, though plenty of others would be similar.
    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

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  20. #20
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Technically, I'm not sure I can claim to have been doing SS, since I was also doing pull ups, rows and chin ups on alternating days as assistance exercises (strictly speaking, SS is only 3 exercises/day) and I didn't GOMAD. Otherwise I was following the exercise prescription.

    DATES: March 2010 to June 2010

    PROGRESS: (NB these are not my starting weights on squat/bench/dead, just the heaviest I'd done for 5 reps prior to the program. For press I really couldn't lift more than the empty bar starting out, and I'd never performed a real power clean before reading the book)
    - Squats 65kg to 85kg
    - Bench Press 55kg to 65kg
    - Deadlift 85kg to 92.5kg
    - Press 20kg to 35kg
    - Power Clean 27.5kg to 45kg
    - Bodyweight +5kg

    PROS: Learn some of the most important exercises and how to perform them with great safety and efficiency; uses legs/push/pull every session; sets you up for progression.

    CONS: Cannot be followed for all its potential IF microloading isn't an option; limited nutritional advice; GOMAD seems like rather broad and sloppy advice to me as that's easily adding over 2,000kcal/day to the diet - overkill isn't necessarily of any extra benefit.
    SQ 2x150kg BP 95kg DL 190kg OHP 60kg @ 70kg

    You can work out without training, but you can't train without working out.

    The noob effect, as explained by Greg Everett: "You take someone who's totally sedentary and you can get 'em stronger by making them pick their nose vigorously for an hour a day."

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  21. #21
    Ace Orlando1234977's Avatar
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    Arrow

    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    Technically, I'm not sure I can claim to have been doing SS, since I was also doing pull ups, rows and chin ups.
    Uh OH!
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  22. #22
    The All-American American Woody-5's Avatar
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    June 2010 to present
    Squat- 115 start 205 present (reset this exercise twice- once for pain/ flexibility problems, and once because of terrible breakdown of form)
    bench- 150 start 170 present (started too high on this one. have reset once)
    deadlift- 185 start 265 present
    OHP- 75 start 108 present (thank you microloading! should be higher but was sidelined on this exercise with a shoulder injury for a few workouts)
    Powerclean- 65 start- 137 present (could probably have pushed it higher but reset to work on form- I'm working out at home, so no coach.)

    Pros- simple program to follow. Eat right and you'll gain weight- I'm up over 15 pounds since I started. It's great incentive to keep lifting when you're watching your numbers go up so fast.

    Cons- not much variation, can get a little stale after a few months. Squatting heavy 3x a week is murder once the weight starts getting heavy. Sometimes I'm so beat after squats I have a hard time finishing the workout with any sort on intensity. Of course running back in forth on the concrete floor at work doesn't too much to help out my legs and knees either....
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  23. #23
    One cheeky kunt. Mode7's Avatar
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    I ran a slightly adapted version: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224

    (1) Dates - March '10 to Present. Probably will run for another month, lifts are still going up (slowly now though).

    (2)Beginning 3x5 Weights/Ending 3x5 Weights:
    Dead - 155/245
    Squat - 125/205
    Bench - 65/135
    Row - 65/135
    OHP - 65/100

    (3) Pros: Very comprehensive program, easy to use and follow, with instructions for every eventuality. Program ensures you have will the core lifts down by the end. I believe just by following the program I understand the whole world of weights lifting and training a lot more. Gets you into good habits, like warming up properly. Makes you bigger and stronger - I have put on 28+lbs while on this program. On a side note; micro loading has helped me loads with bench, row & OHP.

    (4) Cons: Squatting heavy 3 times a week git a but much as the weight got nearer to 200lbs. I have recently started squatting light on dead lift day which has helped, and allowed me to increase my dead lift too. Nothing much to hit lats directly, but if you are too concerned about targeting specific parts this probably not the program for you. I did add wg pullups after a few months though.

    Definitely recommend this program. Great introduction into world of weight training. I wish I had picked it up straight away instead of messing around doing a 4 day split for 2months when I first started. Don't believe there's a better program to get a noob stronger in shorter amount of time.
    Jan 2010 - 132lbs
    Jan 2011 - 174lbs
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  24. #24
    One cheeky kunt. Mode7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Woody-5 View Post

    Cons- not much variation, can get a little stale after a few months. Squatting heavy 3x a week is murder once the weight starts getting heavy. Sometimes I'm so beat after squats I have a hard time finishing the workout with any sort on intensity. Of course running back in forth on the concrete floor at work doesn't too much to help out my legs and knees either....
    I found this too.
    I squat light on deadlift day now. Has helped me increase my deads as legs aren't finished by time I get round to it. It's also helping when I do squat heavy as have had more recovery time.
    Jan 2010 - 132lbs
    Jan 2011 - 174lbs
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  25. #25
    Registered User BombDonald's Avatar
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    Wouldn't bodyweight be good to include as well? After all, the goal should be to put on muscle.
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  26. #26
    Registered User scump's Avatar
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    cant remember how long i ran it for... initially it was like 4 months on/off (not serious)

    started like this
    squat= 67lbs/210lbs
    deadlift= 67lbs/266lbs
    bench= 67/155lbs
    clean= 45/120lbs
    press= 45/120lbs



    then i had a big break followed by 2 months of serious lifting with SS

    perfected form and final lifts were

    squat = 233lbs
    deadlift= 244lbs
    bench = 180lbs
    press= 122lbs (wouldnt budge)
    rows = 166lbs (subbed cleans)


    pros= easy to do, only 3 times a week, good strength gains.
    cons= size gains pretty minimal, not enough focus on diet, as stated previously
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  27. #27
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BombDonald View Post
    Wouldn't bodyweight be good to include as well? After all, the goal should be to put on muscle.
    LBM would be better, but harder to gauge. On SS I stared at 180 and topped out at 195ish. I have since got back to 188 (six months after ending SS) but have added strength on a different routine.
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  28. #28
    Former Bench Jockey FastCatChamp's Avatar
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    Big DD Bump (s)
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  29. #29
    Watchoutyourcommentsbro krease's Avatar
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    (1)Dates that you ran SS: I have done it on and off for approx 6 months (it depends on mma and jiu jitsu training and tournaments)- probably 2.5months of that time
    (2) Gonna do stats in kg cause can't be bothered to put in lbs
    3x5 stats
    60kg squats to 100kg
    50kg bench press to 80kg
    40kg OHP to 52.5kg
    60ish kg deadlift to 120kg
    60kg cleans to 75ish kg
    (3)Pros in your opinion. Same as OP. Also helped me in MMA.
    (4)Cons in your opinion. For the average person it doesn't add a lot of size to the parts of the body they want (eg arms and chest), I added around 10kg mainly on my legs (which I had trouble developing before not matter how hard I tried ), which in my opinion is a pro but not for a lot of people.
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  30. #30
    Registered User ptwa9's Avatar
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    Presses don't mean shoulder joint (rotator cuff) stability. Program should include rows for rear & medial delts.
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