I have been doing StrongLifts for the past 7 weeks, exactly as recommended in the website. But I also had the book (Starting Strength 3rd ed.) and the Starting Strength DVD. Nowhere in the StrongLifts website or literature you will find a better description of the lifts and the proper technique. And the DVD is an excellent complement for the book. After reading the book, and checking [URL="http://startingstrength.com"]startingstrength.com[/URL], I became convinced that I should change to SS, which I just did this week. So, I can say, from my limited experience, that the book (and the DVD) are essential. Almost any question you could think of is answered there. And you won't be treated nicely in the Starting Strength forum if you ask something that is in the book.
About doing this for general fitness, let me tell you about my experience training for Tough Mudder (Austin, 10-6-12). During the late spring and summer I did a little bit of sandbag workouts, a little running (mostly sprints and Tabata intervals). The last 6 weeks before the race, I did nothing but StrongLifts and a Saturday track workout. I did much better than I could ever had dreamed. I climbed 10' walls on my own, did the dreaded monkey bars without falling, crawled on the mud, etc. I've been a runner for a long time, so the 12 miles didn't worry me, but all the climbing obstacles were much easier than I had hoped. And, my times during my track workouts were better than when I was just running. I would probably run a slower 10 K than before, but my sprints are significantly faster than they had been in years.
I've been doing SS for the past 2.5 weeks and it's gone well with one major exception: the pinched nerve in my neck is not appreciating the back squats. Part of it is due to the strain I'm putting on my shoulders/arms due to my lack of flexibility in those areas. I had resolved to just sticking with it and fighting through the inflexibility but my neck is hurting and I simply cannot do proper form due to the inflexibility. I just posted a new thread today on this forum asking for advice on alternates to the back squat. I had thought about posting it to the SS forum but you know how that would have gone - "There is no substitute!" I agree, but there's no way I can continue fighting through this as I'm concerned it'll make things worse.
Stinks, because I was making major gains up to this point. But I don't want to risk it anymore. I'll continue to do everything but the back squats and will find some alternative movements to take the place of that one.
My goal is simply to increase muscle definition. I'm fortunate to have a natural V shape and good shoulders. After only 3 SS sessions I'm noticing a nice improvement in the definition in my shoulders.
I don't really care about ever being able to lift heavy weight for the sake of lifting heavy weight, but if it is the proper/fastest way to attain and maintain muscle definition then I'm on it : )[/QUOTE]
Why would you want to just puff up without also wanting to be strong? There was a guy on this season's Survivor who had huge puffy muscles but was oddly very weak. Why would anyone think that this is desirable?
The more I learn about weight training the more weird stuff I learn. I think from now on I'll be looking at these muscular guys and wondering if maybe they aren't nearly as strong as they look. I mean, I really truly never knew. It's like some secret world of guys. I thought only women were so weird as to not care at all if their bodies are functional.
[QUOTE=sbhikes;992072]It's like some secret world of guys. I thought only women were so weird as to not care at all if their bodies are functional.[/QUOTE]
You would be amazed, my buddy just told me the other day while lifting that strength was a side effect of getting bigger. I asked if he meant it the other way around, nope he just wants to be big and doesn't care about strong.
[QUOTE=Wanderlust;992120]You would be amazed, my buddy just told me the other day while lifting that strength was a side effect of getting bigger. I asked if he meant it the other way around, nope he just wants to be big and doesn't care about strong.[/QUOTE]
I'm substantially stronger than lots of guys I see with way bigger muscles than I have. Obviously, some guys are both big and strong, but I regularly outlift much bigger guys, or they ask me to spot them on weights I have no problems with.
There's a puffy dude at my partner's work who is furious that my partner (who is muscular but not puffy) can lift stuff Mr. Muscles can't budge.
[QUOTE=Owly;992175]There's a puffy dude at my partner's work who is furious that my partner (who is muscular but not puffy) can lift stuff Mr. Muscles can't budge.[/QUOTE]
Heh heh, I wanna be your partner someday.
There is a big difference between building strength muscle and building asthetic muscle! What you need to decide on whether you want to be healthy strong or just look like you are!
It has already been said that stronglifts 5x5 are a good way to start out! as you go on and as you learn more about your body and how it works, you can tinker with the programme so it is applicable to you and your goals.
One thing I must stress whilst doing this program is to make sure you do the big three.
This is paramount in any kind of training. Rest is where all the muscle building occurs.
[QUOTE=sbhikes;992632]Heh heh, I wanna be your partner someday.[/QUOTE]
Well, you'd have to grow a foot and gain 100lbs...
But seriously, a lot of the crazy strong people I know don't look like they lift what they do. Hell, I shock people all the time (first when they find out how much I can lift, second when they find out how much I weigh).
Okay then, I want to be you, Owly. Ha ha! The sweet moment I want to have is to shock some big dude with what I can lift. I've done that in the past while backpacking and it's the sweetest snark in the world.