Assistance Work for StrongLifts
I'm at the point in my StrongLifts 5x5 progress where a lot of the lifts are starting to get pretty hard. Right now I squat 205, bench 150, and deadlift 245. So far I've already stalled once on my squats and bench, and on my last deadlift, something just didn't feel right; I barely made by last rep. Also, I'm pretty sure I'll stall on my next overhead press. Barbell rows are still OK.
I'm wondering if I should start doing some assistance work, like pushups or curls, or maybe even some stretching. I know a lot of people will say that I should incorporate some pull-ups, but I'm still a bit overweight (24m, 5'10, 215 lbs) and can't even really do one rep. But if I do start doing assistance work, when should it be done? Post-workout or on off-days?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
You should have some linear progress left in you at those numbers. How's your recovery? (that means are you sleeping and eating lots and lots?) I'm not sure more work is what you need at this point, but more details would help us make a more educated guess.
Yeah, how long have you been at it? Ever lifted before this? BTW...your lifts "getting hard" is a good thing. I wouldn't worry over the stalls until they actually happen with more consistency. Just keep pressing on.... you may surprise yourself!
Last edited by Neckhammer; 05-30-2013 at 08:53 AM.
I've lifted off and on for a few years now, and have been doing StrongLifts for a couple of months, with breaks in between where I wouldn't have time to get to the gym and I'd lose my progress. When I said the lifts are getting "pretty hard," I mean that I almost cannot complete them.
I don't really have details on my diet, as it tends to be a bit sporadic. I'm getting back to eating Primal most of the time, but should I eat more carbs before/after a lift session? My goal is to continue progress with my lifts but also lose weight (would like to be in the 180 lb range).
You may not be eating enough to support the muscular gains you're asking your body to undergo. And you might need to cut the workouts down from 3 per week. Are you deadlifting every other workout?
When I was at your level, I can assure you it was either a combination of the following or at least one of them:
Not eating enough
You have linear gains left in you! If you posted your typical diet maybe you could get some help on that. I can almost guarantee your form needs work (I've gone through multiple form checks on my health & fitness forum as I've progressed, and everytime after deloading + tweaking proper form I broke my plateaus)
I'm worried about eating too much. My overall objective is to lose weight and get in shape. Obviously, lifting heavy weights will help me achieve my goal, but it seems counter-productive to eat a ton of calories.
Anyway, I do my lifts on MWF mornings before breakfast. On lifting days, I will eat carbs (oatmeal, potatoes) immediately after my lifts during breakfast, then eat pretty low-carb the rest of the day (maybe some fruit). On non-lifting days, I will typically eat carbs with dinner, usually after a HIIT session. Those carbs at dinner typically are on Tuesday or Thursday nights, i.e. the last meal I eat before I do lifts the next morning.
Are you eating protein after your workouts? Considering you are essentially working out fasted, you need amino acids if not during (through form of BCAA supplements) then directly after in the form of animal protein or a whey shake.
If you are expecting to get stronger while eating at a caloric deficit, you are in for a rude awakening unfortunately. You aren't supplying the body with the nutrition it requires to grow and get stronger.
There are advanced ways to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time (especially at a higher bf%) but generally speaking the body is only good at doing one thing at a time, either losing fat or gaining muscle. I would continue to lift heavy and eat healthy to get your fat loss achieved, but don't expect much in the form of gains until you are able to eat at a surplus.
Generally speaking, eating a proper primal diet + lifting heavy while at a sub 15% body fat level, you will find yourself not gaining much in the terms of bodyfat despite overeating.
I think dabears is right and the problem isn't lack of assistance work but rather lack of substrate for MPS.
Yes, I should have mentioned that I do eat protein after workouts and with every meal (I thought that was implied haha). Generally I eat 4 eggs with veggies and butter for breakfast, and on lifting days I add potatoes and/or oatmeal+fruit.