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View Full Version : Help! Beginner making little gain on Rippetoe



MBingley
09-02-2012, 10:59 AM
A little background: I'm 38, 145 lbs, lean. I've been chronically ill for most of my 30s due to a misdiagnosed medical condition. This past year I'm finally getting healthy with the correct treatment, and I've taken up weight training for better health and fitness.

I tried a number of routines, and I settled on Rippetoe, because I don't have the stamina for anything longer. By the time I'm done with squat, I feel like I've used up half of my energy. So the simplicity of the Rippetoe program appeals to me. However, I'm making little gain, and I'm hoping you can help.

I started the Rippetoe program in June, and I have not progressed a whole lot. For example, I squatted 135 lbs when I started. I'm still doing the same amount. Likewise, I didn't improve a lot on the deadlift. On the other hand, my bench went from 85 lbs to 105. My military press went up from 40 lbs to 60 lbs. (Since I have a shoulder injury, I was glad to be able to do military press at all -- I have do use dumb bells to avoid aggravating the injury.) For whatever reason, I frequently end up having to lighten up on the weight. On some days I just can't lift as much.

I adhere to the program fairly strictly, so I'm not experimenting and overtaxing myself.

One problem is that though I try to lift three times a week, I miss a lot of workouts due to illness. So from 6/20 to now, for example, I had only 19 workouts. That's about 11 weeks, which should translate into 33 workouts. So I was physically out of commission 50% of the time.

Another reason I miss workouts is the various aches and pains of the body. Frequently it has to do with my lower back (no, this has nothing to do with my major health problem). It always gets sore, and I seem to strain it regularly. That's not good for the squat or for the deadlift. I'm wondering whether my weak back is holding me back. I have strong legs, and they feel like they want to do more than what I can squat. But my back can't take it. (On the squat machine, which supports your back for you, I can easily do 250 lb.)

I believe I have pretty good form. I've been doing martial arts for more than ten years, so I understand the importance of body alignment. I also dance. I also hired a personal trainer to teach me the basic exercises (squat, deadlift, etc). (Of course, I get jealous watching these young guys lifting with bad form and getting away with it. I know my body could never do that.)

I also seem to get pinched nerves from time to time -- hips, knees, shoulders, wrist... Usually some time and rest will restore my body.

I'm trying to eat sufficiently and well, though when I'm not feeling well I can't do very much of that. (I confess I'm not calculating calories.) I take creatine and protein supplement when I feel well enough to work out.

So, alright, I am still facing some health problems, but isn't it weird that after 19 workouts, my squat is where it started? I shouldn't be plateauing so early. My weight hasn't changed much either. What can I do to make gains?

Thanks for listening!

ironwill2008
09-02-2012, 11:17 AM
... I miss a lot of workouts due to illness.....


......... but isn't it weird that after 19 workouts, my squat is where it started?

Based on the first line above, what you're getting is not at all weird.


The first premise of any type of weight training is consistent progression over time. If you're unable to stay on the prescribed schedule of the program you're attempting to use, you're only chasing your own tail.






Get your medical issues sorted out so that you can train regularly, on schedule. Until that time, it's not going to be possible to make progress.


Good luck.

MBingley
09-02-2012, 11:48 AM
Get your medical issues sorted out so that you can train regularly, on schedule. Until that time, it's not going to be possible to make progress.

My medical problem is as sorted out as it will ever be, short of a scientific breakthrough. So what can I do?

I'm trying not to wither away in bed.

crupiea
09-02-2012, 12:15 PM
You are bound to have some aches and pains, thats just the way it ios so not sweat with that. obviously you can tell when its more then that so do what you need to when that happens.

Sounds to me like someone isnt eating enough.

what is your diet like?

oh what the hell, dont even bother posting it, just double it from what you normally eat and you most likley will see some gains.

MBingley
09-02-2012, 04:04 PM
My diet is a problem. I can't always eat. My chronic condition is GI-related. Yes, I understand it's an obstacle. Maybe there isn't much I can do to work around it. On the other hand, I met a powerlifter with IBS years ago. Now I wonder how he did it.

acrawlingchaos
09-02-2012, 04:18 PM
What is your weight and ht out of curiosity? Not to be intrusive, but are we talking something like Crohns or other GI issue that inhibits proper digestion?

gray73
09-02-2012, 05:35 PM
My diet is a problem. I can't always eat. My chronic condition is GI-related. Yes, I understand it's an obstacle. Maybe there isn't much I can do to work around it. On the other hand, I met a powerlifter with IBS years ago. Now I wonder how he did it.
Google it, bro. I'm being 100 percent serious here. Look up IBS and people who have made weightlifting a profession somehow. If you know that powerlifter's name who has IBS, look it up and see if there is any info out there. Do some research and I hope you find the answers you seek, bro.
Good luck. :)

gray73
09-02-2012, 05:40 PM
http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/eli-blahut-interview/
Read this interview with Eli Blahut. He's a professional bodybuilder who is allergic to a ton of different foods. He has found a way to not only work around his allergies but also be one big mofo.
There is a bunch of info on Eli, maybe you can find a bodybuilder who has your specific issues.

Sen8or
09-02-2012, 08:11 PM
GI related? Gluten Intollerent?

If so, thats pretty easy to control with diet, not sure about in the US, but in NZ, "gluten free" is a fad on the uprising (whether or not people are Coeliac or not) and as such, many of the food companies now promote gluten free options. Ofcourse, it doesn't stop some of it tasting like chewy rubber, but for most staple foods, there are options available.

MBingley
09-02-2012, 09:20 PM
Thanks for asking. I do have food allergies, and they're more complicated than simple things like gluten allergy. (Some people just have to avoid a certain food altogether and they'll be fine. But I'm one of those people who also react to certain combinations of "safe foods" or certain ways of preparing "safe foods.") When I get sick, I can't even go to work, much less strain my way up under a barbell. Fortunately, I'm in good hands, so I'm hoping to be able to manage things better in the long run.

The good thing about posting, as an exercise, is that it allowed me to see how many workouts I missed and what a big impact it had. Indeed, usually after a sick bout, I'd have to step down on the weights and work my way back up again. No wonder I have trouble gaining.

EjnarKolinkar
09-03-2012, 12:11 AM
[QUOTE=MBingley;942645443] (I confess I'm not calculating calories.)

This sticks out to me, I used to think that I could get away with not counting calories and macros. I got over that started using the myfitpal website and things got better.YMMV.

I think sticking to it and being as diligent as you can be will yield results. Have you tried adding a half to 3/4 pound a workout to your squat? You can make some fractional weights out of some light weight chain you can get from the hardware store, weight them out on a food or postal scale, or take them to the grocery and do them there if you have to. even going up .5 lbs a week gets you up 26 pounds in a year.

A couple of websites and bodybuilders recommend setting the weight at 1/2 that of a 1 1/4 plate. That way you can progress even when the going is tough. Good luck