I'm 41 years old, 1.82m tall and weigh 82kg.

I have been on strength training for 14 months (2.5 stronglifts, 11.5 starting strength).

I didn't do the program, as Riptoe would put it. I never got used to drinking the whole lot of milk it requires.

At the end of the first 2.5 months, my lifts were at this:

Squat 5x5  90kg
Bench 5x5  60kg
Press 5x5  40kg
Row   5x5  52kg
Dead  1x5  90kg

After that I moved to starting strength, got sick, had persistent injuries, vacation, etc. Progress has been erratic.

These are my current work weights and all time max (3x5, kg):

          current   max
 Squat    110       117.5
 Bench     65        70
 Press     42.5      47.5
 Clean     -         52.5 moved to snatch, issues with form
 Dead     100       110
 chin     9x6x6     10x8x6

My objective when I started was to get rid of lower back pain, which I did (thanks Riptoe).

However I don't feel I progressed as much as I should in most lifts, have been plagued by injuries on my shoulders (probably caused by a fall I had while running years ago which spread to both shoulders when I started sleeping on only the uninjured side) and overall feel like going to the gym is a chore.

Is it time to move on to a different program or a variation on the starting strength theme that would allow me to progress?


The program I'm following is the described on this question.

  • I would say that after a year of any program it's time to switch it up. Do an upper/lower split for a nice change of pace. The link I've provided you in a previous post has some nice intermediate programs and that forum is a great source for advice.
    – TestWell
    Oct 21, 2015 at 19:18
  • Sorry off topic but what does 9x6x6 mean?
    – Aequitas
    Oct 22, 2015 at 1:23
  • 9x6x6 - my target on chins is 3 sets of 15 reps, at the moment I can do 9 on first set, then 6 and 6 Oct 23, 2015 at 6:04
  • Sounds like a fine time to switch to 5/3/1 or Texas Method (Rippetoe). Oct 26, 2015 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


The key to continued progress

...is variation. Like TestWell said in a comment, "after a year of any program, it's time to switch it up", and that's honestly the best answer. But allow me to elaborate.


There are enough options out there to fill entire volumes of books. It's not really a case of choosing the right one. It's more a case of finding one that you like.

It all depends on where you want to be in 5 years. More power? Leaner? Bigger? Higher vertical jump? Doing olympic lifts? 100m dashes? Or maybe just...

Getting better at the stuff you're already doing

You're already doing the big compound exercises, and that's good. Riptoe's is a very good starting point.

With your shoulder problems, you might want to consider really getting your squat up while your shoulders heal. There are some algorithmic approaches to this whereby (and this is just an example) you squat three times a week, 5x5, using percentages of your 1RM, and progressing over a 6 week period, at the end of which, it's estimated that you'll add 10-12% to your 1RM.

Again, that's just an example (and let me know if it sounds interesting), but there's really no problem tweaking your gym activities around your injuries and preferences.

But first things first

You obviously need to talk to a doctor (if you haven't already) before continuing to work out with weights, given your injuries. You might even end up with a physical therapist who will be even more qualified to help you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.