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Help with Strength Building, please...

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Old 12-28-2008, 06:19 PM   #1
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Default Help with Strength Building, please...

I want to build strength on deadlifts, squats and bench. I've only been back to lifting for 2 weeks, after a 6 week layup for my arm injury. I started really light with one 10 rep set and have been working weights and sets up very slowly from there. Thinking ahead, I'd like to have a plan for building strength in these lifts. Previously I've only done high rep sets for these, and frankly, even if illogically, I'm burned out on the high volume stuff, and just need to do something different.

So, my question is, coming from my current 3 sets of 10-12, plus coming off this injured arm, would it best (safe for my arm, but still working to best advantage for strength gains) to go straight to 5x5 when I am up to bar weight for each lift, or would it be more prudent to ease up on it, maybe 3x8 for a couple workouts, 4x8 for a couple, then 5x5? I was planning to start with bar weight and just go up 5 lbs or so each workout till I get to some real working weights, by which time I think I'll be safe to push a little harder without worrying about the arm.

I'm thinking I'll try using one weight for all sets, just for these exercises, because I want to try that out and see how it feels. I figure by the time I get to working weights, I'll know if I want to keep doing it this way, or go back to adding weight each set.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:32 PM   #2
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With the very strong disclaimer that I'm not an expert, your plan sounds pretty good except the part abotu using the same weight for all.

I know that I can deadlift a helluva lot more than I can squat or bench. And I can squat a helluva lot more than I can bench.

I wouldn't limit yourself by limiting your weights that way. Just me.

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Old 12-28-2008, 06:41 PM   #3
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No, PC, sorry, what I meant was the same weight for every set of that exercise in one workout. Like, I'll hit bar weight on DL first, then do the first workout with 45 lbs for all sets, next workout for DL 50 lbs for all sets, etc. I could DL more, but I'm just taking it slow because I just don't want to go too heavy too fast and reinjure my left arm. I'd hit bar weight on Squats next, and at that time would just add a little weight each week. My bench press is pretty weak, so I probably won't be adding weight to that one each time, just because I feel like I should keep it light for a few more weeks, just to make sure the arm and all the connective tissue is ready for some "real" weight, KWIM?
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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I think you will be fine going straight to a 5x5 or a 4x6. In fact if you are tiring of higher rep sets, the contrast will probably be better than dropping to 3x8. Many beginning strength programs like Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength use the 5x5, so I don't think there is a need to work into it. Now, if you wanted to go straight from 3x12 to do a lot of singles or doubles at 90+% of your 1RM, I'd try to reighn you in a bit, but I definitely think you can handle 5x5.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:45 PM   #5
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Thanks, D. That's all I needed to know on the set/reps. Hopefully I'll see some good strength gains with the new workouts.
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