T Nation

14 Week PRs


Hello, I'm 5'10" and 222 lbs. At 14 weeks of lifting these are my new PRs: 230 Bench, 300 Squat, and 325 Deadlift. I know they're nothing yet, but this is the beginner's forum. Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to blow away these numbers. Just wanted to let someone know.


so youve only been lifting for 14 weeks? thats amazing progress in such a short time, what were your numbers to start with? It seems like youve got a hell of a base to start with, keep working at it and you will be very very strong in a few years


I didn't do any baseline numbers to start, but I would suspect my starting bench was about 180 or 185. At 4 weeks I got a PR of 200 on bench. Squat was non existent. I had seriously never squatted before. I was one of those 17 year old idiots in high school who thought bench and curl was a great program. I'm 24 now and haven't lifted since I was 17. I wouldn't count that year of ignorant lifting for my numbers now. My first week of squat was 135 at 5x5 and it was pretty tough. I'm sure my form was awful, too. I started bringing my wife with me to tell me when I hit parallel and if my back was rounded or if I was bending too far forward. My form is much better now, but I'm always trying to learn more. The 4 week max for squat was 255. Deadlift was 310 at 4 weeks.
Everything shot up quite a bit from the start to 4 weeks and from 4 weeks to 14. Deadlift, unfortunately, didn't. I'm pretty disappointed it only went up 15 pounds in those 10 weeks.

Anyway, thanks for the support. I'm glad to hear that I'm starting out well. It's funny, squat was the only lift I hit the goal I had set for myself, and I wasn't even happy. All I could think about was getting that to 350 next time.


Great job, keep it up!


Seriously have been gifted with a great start. You're working with some pretty decent weights now which should further speed your progress. Many of the little guys work for years and still cannot get a 225 bench. Hope you've got the bug and stick with it.

As an old guy, I advise you to set good habits for warming up, maintaining muscular balance, and doing mobility work. I focused too much on lifting heavy and only lifting heavy for a while and ended up dealing with set back after set back as I rehabbed from training injuries and nerve impingement issues.

Highly recommend you stretch your shoulders out after all shoulder/bench days. This stretch rehabbed my shoulder impingement and has kept it from recurring over the past 3 years. Get a 5' piece of 1 1/2" PVC for a couple bucks at any lumber store. A broom handle will work but if your shoulders are very stiff, you may not have enough length to spread your hands wide enough. Start with bar in from on you and your hands spread wide as if doing a olympic snatch. Keeping your elbows straight, roll your shoulders out and up over your head, then behind your back as far as you can keeping your elbows locked. I do slow sets of 10, then move my grip in an inch or two and repeat till I've stretched too my limits...which takes 3-4 sets to get as full a range of motion as I'm capable of.

Good luck.


Thanks for the support and the tips. I'll definitely do the stretching exercise you talked about. I never stretched after lifting. That's definitely something I need to work on since I'm the most inflexible person I know.


We're about in the same spot lift wise.

I'm doing 5/3/1, working 1RM's of 275 squat, 285 DL, 210 bench (these are about 80-90% of true 1RM).

Your progress is pretty awesome. I certainly haven't progressed as much as you.

Your DL might be held back by inflexibility, limiting your hip drive. It's also a HEAVILY technique dependent lift - little tweaks can bring huge gains. What's your weak link? Grip, low back, upper back, or posterior chain strength?


id suggest you head on over to elite fitness, and look up there "so you think you can bench" and "so you think you can squat" videos, they were extremely helpful, dont know if theyve got a deadlift one, but if they do, watch that too


I'm really not sure what the main weakness is. I know I'm inflexible and I know my grip is not a problem at all. As far as low back I was doing straight leg dead at 240-260 for reps, so I don't think it's that. Could be upper, could be glute, hams, and quads. I've been reading and watching everything Wendler I can find to get better. I'll be starting 5/3/1 next week and adding in GHRs and good mornings. I still can't do a chin up to save my life. Maybe that's an indicator of a weak upper back. Thanks for the support.

Edit: I thought it may be helpful to tell you I tried 400 on DL my first max attempt and couldn't get a sheet of paper under the plates. Every other attempt was the same way. It seemed like with 325 if I could get it up an inch (giggle) it was no problem from that point on. Maybe that helps determining a weakness.


Thanks. I've seen them, but I'm definitely not opposed to watching them again and again.


Chinups are highly lat dependent. Coincidentally, the start of the deadlift also places a high stress on the lats. The lats keep the bar from moving forward of the shoulders and putting the pull in a disadvantageous position.

There's Rippetoe's explanation. Go to 4 minute mark.

Are you "tucking" your scapulas down into your back pockets? This helps engage the lats and other upper back musculature. Might be a technique tweak that'll allow you to pull more. Could be plain weak lats as well, since you mentioned chin up failure.


Thanks. Great tips. I'll definitely add this in to the lift.


Get more flexible. Do chins, or since you said u cant, do em on a machine that helps push you up, or do rack chins. deficet pulls and cleans to get faster off the floor.

Not bein rude, just sayin it simply


Thank you. Starting a couple days ago I'm stretching everyday and working on getting deeper and deeper into all stretches. I'll also add in cleans. Chin ups on a machine will be hard since I lift in my garage, but I'll see what I can come up with. Again, thanks.


This picture is me right before I start to pull. If I'm understanding the several videos I saw Rip doing instruction, my butt is way too low and the bar is too far out. My shins should be touching and my butt should be up. Seems basic. I'm pretty mad at myself for that.


bar should be mid-foot. It's a little too far out, but not much. The reason it's not close to your shins is your back position - you've got a terribly rounded back.

Honestly, I'd work on getting your back in the correct position before trying to pull too heavy. It's too easy to screw up your back and be out for 6 months+ and have an injury that never really goes away...

You need to get your hams and glutes flexible. Static stretching + foam rolling every day and you should make some good progress in a couple of weeks. Then you'll be ripping through PRs.


yep, you should be able to close enough to the bar, with your upper back up so that your lower back is arched and locked in


try this, set up the barbell in the squat rack and bring a bench over, put your heels on the bench with your legs straight and start chinning, when you can get say, 20 reps on that you should be good to go for regular chins


Will do, guys. Thanks. Raising my butt helps the rounded back tremendously. I'm able to pull my chest up and arch my lower back while keeping the upper back straight. Can't wait until Thursday. Again, thanks. You guys have been a great help and i appreciate all the tips. I will be putting them to good use. In 2 or 3 months I'll rip through these numbers.

  1. You tried 400 when your current max* is 325? Try 330. 335 and so on.
  2. I think most guys learned to do their first pullup by jumping to the top position and doing the eccentric as slow as possible. It works and it requires no equipment at all.
  3. I don't think you understand the butt issue fully. I'd say your butt is too high. I think (haven't seen a vid) it rises before the weight does and you end up in that position. Your last post sounds weird to me. Haven't seen a vid though, so I can't say it's bad.

*not saying you're not good for more