So this is week 4 of my attempt at the Starting Strength program, and I can report one big positive and one big negative.
The good news first: I’ve increased my strength dramatically, pretty quickly. Yesterday I easily deadlifted 225. Easily. Probably could have thrown another 25lbs on there but some anorexic looking chick decided she was going to use the Smith machine that I was setup right next to. Talk about awkward.
Unfortunately I took week 3 off for two reasons:
- Major neck pains. I can’t recall if I blogged about this already but a few weeks ago I broke down and went to my doctor in hopes he would send me for an MRI. I tried it before and chickened out (I’m claustrophobic). That was 4 years or so ago and at the time the idiot neurologist that sent me for the MRI said it wasn’t really necessary because he was certain I had a pinched nerve and no matter what the results of the MRI there wasn’t anything he was going to do about it. So of course when I went into the tube, which apparently was NOT an open MRI as I was told it was by the hospital when I made the appointment, I panicked and chickened out. It was easier knowing I didn’t *have to* get the results. I’m confident I’d stick it out this time around, but to my surprise my doc said he thinks the problem is some mild arthritis in my neck and he sent me for an x-ray, which confirmed it. That was the beginning of week two of the Starting Strength program, so I pushed forward and kept adding more weight with each workout, as prescribed. The last workout that week, I was really struggling with the squat weight. The next day my neck was hurting on the left-side versus the usual right-side, so I took it easy for a few days, and it remained annoyingly painful for a full week+. I still feel it some, but not nearly as bad.
- Flexibility. Yup, it’s still a huge issue and is stopping me from making more progress quickly. But it’s forcing me to realize that stretching before the lifts is just not only an option but a necessity. So yesterday, my first workout back from the week off, I modified Starting Strength to something I can do:
- Warm-up by walking on treadmill for 10 mins
- Deep squat stretching
- Deep arm/shoulder stretching
- Workout, but aside from a couple of quick warm-up sets (one very little weight, one medium weight), I have abandoned the way too many warm-up sets that SS prescribes, because it was taking close to 2 hours to finish a workout when you consider the stretching I needed to do.
The trouble is finding the stretches that really work for me. I’m going to continue to refine and hope to report back more progress and specifically a routine for stretching, as I’m certain I can’t be the ONLY person struggling with this! Hard to believe that I’ve been working on this since May and I’m still so inflexible.