T Nation

6 Months of Lifting, New PRs & Goals


^^^ Me, mid-June ^^^

I started lifting in mid-June with the StrongLifts beginners program, and am now on my second cycle of the Advanced program.

When I started, I'd never lifted weights before, or participated in group sports of any kind as an adult. The last time I was in any kind of shape was 20 years ago, when I was in the Army.

I turn 40 in April.

In that time, I've gone from 215 to 230 lbs, while maintaining a BF% of 17-18%. I know it's high, but I've been fighting with getting my diet nailed down in terms of caloric intake. I'm eating clean (nothing processed or packaged; lots of cruciferous veggies and red meat, along with chicken, eggs, bacon, nuts (not peanuts), and so on). I think I've got the diet nailed now, and the fat's just starting to come off, but it'll be several months before it shows. I'm in this for the strength. The fat loss will come once I have the kitchen fully figured out.

Anyway, I'm a old fat guy. :slightly_smiling:

So, when I started in June, I'd struggle with the lifts with 40-50lbs on the bar. I really had no idea where I wanted to go with it, except that I wanted to increase my strength and look a bit better. Around August, I set the following goals for myself:

By the end of 2008, I want to:
* Squat 300 for reps
* Deadlift 300 for reps
* Bent-over Row 200 for reps
* Bench 200 for reps
* Overhead press 125 for reps
* Dip 50 for reps
* Manage a 5 sets of 5 unweighted pullups (couldn't do a single pullup when I started, and could barely manage 1 in August)

Today (Dec 31, 2008), I deadlifted 300 lbs for 3 reps, a new PR. I also did 3 reps at 120 for the overhead press (PR), and 3 pullups with 15 lbs of weight on the dip belt (PR). Monday, I did a set of 3 dips with 50 lbs on the dip belt (PR), and benched 185 for 3 reps (PR). I also managed a set of 3 Rows at 200.

If you're wondering why all of these are 3 reps, it's because I'm in the intensity phase of the advanced SL program, which is 3 sets of 3 reps each.

Friday I'm going to try for 3 reps of 200 on the bench.

As you can see, I hit almost all of my year-end goals. I missed the OH Press, and my squat is currently at 275 for 3 reps. In two weeks, my OH press should be at 125 (or higher), and I should be able to knock out a set of 3 squats at 300.

Goals for April, 2009:

Squat 320 for reps
Bench 220 for reps
Row 220 for reps
DL 340 for reps
Dip 75 for reps
Pullup 50 for reps
OH press 150 for reps

The pullups and OH press are a bit out there, but hey, that's what goals are for!

Goals for year-end, 2009:

Squat 415 for reps
Bench 300 for reps
Row 300 for reps
DL 415 for reps
Dip 100 for reps
Pullup 75 for reps
OH press 185 for reps

The OH press is probably the hardest here to reach. But I'm going to try.


^^^ Me, today ^^^

I think the entire extra 15 lbs went to my quads!

(yeah, I know the lifts aren't spectacular, and I still have a lot of work to do on my physique, but I'm proud of what I've accomplished in 6 months. Give me a few years, and I'll be posting some more impressive lifts and photos. :slight_smile: )


Good to have you, good goals, and good luck!


Good luck and I hope you stick with it!



Deadlift 415 for reps


Deadlift 450ish

Your deadlift is not going to be the same as your squat, it will probably be larger.

We make our own luck


Good job man. Just remember most guys on this site have been lifting for 10 plus years. Keep setting your goals and meeting them and see where you are in 3 or 4 years. Congrats again.


Awesome work man, its clear your putting alot of time and effort into this and as long as you keep it up your deffinatly going to keep seeing results.

Also like Echelon said you might be selling yourself a little short on your deadlift, if you can squat 415x3 your deadlift should be close to 500x3 from what I have noticed.

Keep up the good work!


hey, that's why I posted in the "Beginners" section! :slight_smile: Thanks.

By the way, I missed my bench goal today, dammit. I was up late late late New Year's Eve, partying and such. As a result, I got really crappy sleep in that night, and it hurt me in the gym today, even though I got 11.5 hours last night. I only managed a set at 190. So I'm going to try 200 Monday.

But at least my squat was up to 285 today! :slight_smile: Every day, a bit closer to my new goals.


Good luck! Who is helping you with your form on the lifts?


Good Job, I can see some progress especially in your quads.

Let us know how it goes with the bench press.

I am in about the same place as you on the bench press. My goal is 225 for reps by the end of Feb 09. I started in mid July 08. Had to struggle with 135 for a while. Then 185 was my next goal, got that for reps. Then I was going for 200 before new years. I got 200 for 2 reps today. And 210 for 1.

My starting weight was 195 and now its 215.

I know for our weight these bench numbers aren't huge but you have to start somewhere.

Anyway I didn't mean to ramble. I just thought we had a similar situation/goals. And I appreciated your post.


Me, Rippetoe's book, and a video camera. :slight_smile: Sadly, I'm one of the heaviest lifters in my gym. On the bright side, we have tons of free weights and racks and such, and it's private (my company provides a free private health club).

On the upside, one of the "trainers" there is actually an ex-bodybuilder and powerlifter, and I've asked him for form advice now and again because I've heard him coach often enough to realize he may know what he's doing.

He helped me with my squat, DL, and row form quite a bit. Where he disagrees with Rippetoe, I just ignore him. :slight_smile: