Has anyone started with less then 45lb bar?

Hello, fellow 5x5 fans, I know this group is for women who do 5x5 but I am here on behalf of my wife. In all honesty the SL5x5 group for women is way more active then the mens group. Not to mention the ladies have 2k+ members and we have a little under 300... So anywho. My wife wants to start 5x5 with me, but is very very nervous about starting with the 45lb bar.( She struggles with injuries and is currently in PT, advised not to do heavy lifting just yet) I am part of the stronglifts inner circle and I got advice to have her start with just a broomstick on squats and lighter dumb bells for the other exercises.

I just wanted to ask an experienced lady what they thought as there are not many active ladies posting on the inner circle.

Sorry if this group is 100% exclusive for women, I can have my wife post and ask this same question if you would prefer, She is just usually busy and I have the spare time. Plus I told her I would do the research for her.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Replies

  • randomtai
    randomtai Posts: 9,003 Member
    I used these before I was able to "graduate" to the "big girl" bar:
    10kgprostylebarbell---1349262465.jpeg
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
    Of course you're welcome to post, and she is, too!

    About the bar--it's perfectly okay to start with something lighter; the whole point of barbell training is that it is scalable. You just have to find something like a bar. I would say it's better to use a fixed weight bar than dumbbells for things like squats and deadlifts (you will have to elevate the bar to the right height). Those lifts are too different technically when done with dumbbells to be super-useful.

    How big is she? A ballpark estimate of her weight might give you an idea of how much she will be able to lift. Unless she's been bedridden for the past year, a bigger body weight is usually correlated with bigger absolute strength (though not necessarily strength relativized to body weight).

    And finally, injuries. PTs and lifters are kind of at loggerheads about this, because there is a lot to be said for active rehab, but many PTs prefer really wimpy isolation exercises. I know a thing or two about injuries myself (I've been active my whole life and have had just about every kind of injury you can imagine, except for bone fractures). So if you have specific questions about injury rehab, we might be able to help here.
  • kitkat4141
    kitkat4141 Posts: 379 Member
    I used a smaller bar that weighs 26 pounds and added weight until I reached the Olympic bar. The important thing is to start and have room to add weight slowly, nail the form before lifting heavier weights.
  • Jit7
    Jit7 Posts: 75
    I've just started this week and I'm not very strong so I've started light.

    The first round I used an empty bar which in my gym is 10kg (22lbs) and then just added some weight on the second time around, although I am still only at 10kg for bench press.

    I know you are supposed to add weights each time, but I am going to take it slowly so I dont hurt myself. I want to get my form right first before going further.
  • Madhouseof5
    Madhouseof5 Posts: 34 Member
    I just started last week with york spinlock vinyl barbell/dumbell 50kg set. I'm only 5ft 1, so the shorter bar (165cm) is a good starting point for me, plus it only weighs 1.9kg

    I am not pushing myself too far too fast as I am lifting t home and think I need to get good form before I worry about heavy weights.
  • Martucha123
    Martucha123 Posts: 1,093 Member
    I was working out with dumbbells for the first 2 months
  • Mikej77
    Mikej77 Posts: 112
    Nice, thanks for all the replies! We are planning on trying it tonight and see how it goes. I forwarded this post over to her. If ANY of you ladies want to take the initiative, send her and/or I a friends request, here name is Wendybee73. I am sure she has lots of questions everyone could help get the answer for.
  • Hello Ladies, Thanks for all of your help already. My husband and I started lifting together yesterday. What a wonderful hobby for us to share ! I enjoyed myself, I started using a 15 lb bar with my squats. Mike tells me that i barely reach parallel when doing squats. (it hurt my lower back to much) I didn't push myself to go that extra bit hope that's OK.
    Also want to ask about the dead lifts. does anyone have a suggestion for me for how to approach this. My lower back is very weak and feels fragile (gets hurt easily) I am TERRIFIED by the dead lift. I do not want to do it i am so afraid I will hurt myself more and set myself back significantly. Any suggestions on how to modify (or replace) this exercise?
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
    Hello Ladies, Thanks for all of your help already. My husband and I started lifting together yesterday. What a wonderful hobby for us to share ! I enjoyed myself, I started using a 15 lb bar with my squats. Mike tells me that i barely reach parallel when doing squats. (it hurt my lower back to much) I didn't push myself to go that extra bit hope that's OK.

    Also want to ask about the dead lifts. does anyone have a suggestion for me for how to approach this. My lower back is very weak and feels fragile (gets hurt easily) I am TERRIFIED by the dead lift. I do not want to do it i am so afraid I will hurt myself more and set myself back significantly. Any suggestions on how to modify (or replace) this exercise?

    Have you had your back problem diagnosed? A good chiropractor would be able to tell you what type of structural weakness you have.

    We might be able to help if you post a video of your squat in the form check thread.

    Deadlifts: start *really* light if you have back problems. In fact--and I do not usually recommend this, but in your case it's different--I would start with simple back extensions on a roman bench, if you have access to one.

    roman-chair-grch322.jpg

    If you don't, just start really light and get comfortable with form before you attempt any challenging weight. The good news is that back problems respond well to strength training; I have a history of them (lax sacroiliac joints) and I haven't had any pain in a long time now that I do barbell training.

    And get Starting Strength, don't rely on internet videos and random blog posts about squat form. If you are prone to injury, it's not something to mess about with.
  • randomtai
    randomtai Posts: 9,003 Member
    The good news is that back problems respond well to strength training; I have a history of them (lax sacroiliac joints) and I haven't had any pain in a long time now that I do barbell training.

    Yes this... My back and knees have never felt better since I started lifting heavy.
  • roxylola
    roxylola Posts: 540 Member
    Check out the crazy core lady's core thread as there is a ton of stuff on there that will help strengthen your back and core in addition to this program.

    Squatting, how are you with bodyweight squats? Can you get parallel? Are you driving out your knees as you go down?

    Dead lifts, start light (as light as you need to get a feel of form and really, if that is a broom stick propped on 2 step boxes then that is enough. The movement will help you get stronger on it's own if your back is so weak. And just work up and up from there. Are you working out at a gym? They probably have preloaded bars which I used for OHP to start and also flyweight bars which you can add small weights to.

    Just to add by no means an expert just thinking what I would do in this situation
  • Mikej77
    Mikej77 Posts: 112
    Hello all,

    On Saturday, Wendy was using a 15lb bar for squats and was having trouble reaching parrallel. I do not want her to force herself too much so I am going to just keep her with that bar maybe go up 5lbs from there. She did very well with the barbell row. Getting up to 25lbs on her last set. We will see how workout B goes today, was planning on having her start deadlifts with the same 15lb bar, but I think she is too nervous to try it.
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
    Wendy, in addition to the above, have you tried squatting without a bar (ie bodyweight squats?) - I'd do a bunch of these until you can get to depth, then in that bottom position stick your elbows against your knees and push your hands together to shove your knees out. if you can hold this stretch in the bottom position it will help you know you can do it for real.

    they say if you can sit down on the toilet you can squat deep enough :) so it is probably a combination of confidence and form - do post a video!

    the other thought would be to put a chair behind you so you squat down onto the chair. it will reassure you that you aren't going to fall over and that you can get low enough!
  • kr1stadee
    kr1stadee Posts: 1,774 Member
    I thought that I had an Oly bar until I picked one up at a sporting good store. But to me, the number of lbs I can lift/move isn't as important to me.. the fact that I'm increasing the weight and still getting it done is MUCH more significant!

    Everyone has to start somewhere!!
  • CherylP67
    CherylP67 Posts: 772 Member
    This may be an unpopular opinion, but have her try level 1 of the 30 day shred. I did that before joining a gym. I focused on the technique and my squats are excellent. My trainer loves my squat form, she says it's perfect. I squat without a bar right now. I do use a medicine ball I hold away from my body.

    The dead lift is the first lift I've added weight to the barbell. I started with a PVC pipe set on some boxes to learn proper technique. I progressed to an empty barbell and have added weights to that. I like that my trainer had me start with PVC pipe, that way I'm holding something, yet I'm able to focus on which muscles I need to use to properly execute the move.
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
    This may be an unpopular opinion, but have her try level 1 of the 30 day shred. I did that before joining a gym. I focused on the technique and my squats are excellent. My trainer loves my squat form, she says it's perfect. I squat without a bar right now. I do use a medicine ball I hold away from my body.

    The dead lift is the first lift I've added weight to the barbell. I started with a PVC pipe set on some boxes to learn proper technique. I progressed to an empty barbell and have added weights to that. I like that my trainer had me start with PVC pipe, that way I'm holding something, yet I'm able to focus on which muscles I need to use to properly execute the move.

    The nature of the novice effect is such that pretty much any activity can contribute to increased strength. Rippetoe says that even working on an exercise bike can increase a noob's squat. But the most direct way to train for the squat is to work with the squat. If you want to squat with the bar, starting without the bar to get the sense of depth is the right way to go, as Lydia suggested above.
  • kitkat4141
    kitkat4141 Posts: 379 Member
    The good news is that back problems respond well to strength training; I have a history of them (lax sacroiliac joints) and I haven't had any pain in a long time now that I do barbell training.

    Yes this... My back and knees have never felt better since I started lifting heavy.

    I agree. My hubby has issues with his lower back but also started Stronglifts. He approached deadlifts very carefully, slowly increasing the weight, and really concentrating on form. Happy to say he is much stronger and almost lifting his body weight. I think by really paying attention to form, getting it right, gave him to confidence to proceed in a measured manner.

    As for dead lifts, I can't think of any other lift I would rather do. It hits almost all of the muscles. Makes me feel super strong and super confident. My favorite.
  • aimforhealthy
    aimforhealthy Posts: 449 Member
    I'm really glad you posted this. I had a soft tissue injury in my shoulder last winter/spring and had very little upper body strength to begin with... the result is that now I struggle with 10-pound dumbbells, so I have no idea how to start doing Stronglifts.
  • roxylola
    roxylola Posts: 540 Member
    It's really just about starting with a weight you can manage and progressing. Doesn't matter if that weight is 4lb or 45lb I would add though that dumbells are harder work for the same weight as a bar. No way could I use the equivalent dumbell weight to what I put on the bar. The fact that it is a bar and therefore more stable helps enormously. I would go for a lighter preloaded bar or a flyweight bar every time if at all possible
  • threesixten
    threesixten Posts: 134 Member
    By some Academy employee mixup, we ended up with a 16 lb bar and 300 lbs of weights (Marcy brand instead of CAP). Didn't really feel like reloading them all into the car and returning, so for now we have a 16 lb bar. I just started yesterday and used just the bar weight to get a better feel for form etc. I think 45 lbs would have been too heavy for me to start anyway.