I am 37 and I have been lifting for around 2 years (started May 2018), but had a few months where I had small injuries; with the latest one I stopped for almost 5 months from Sept 2019 to Mid Jan 2020, but I had other small breaks of 1 month or breaks with just a few lifts, every break was a big setback.
I was skinny 65kg (143 lbs) when I started and now am 79kg (174lbs), with definitely nice visible gains. My fat levels is a bit high (no abs) but I currently don’t do cardio, so I guess when I start that it will help me drop (planned for Autumn with fewer people at the pool).
I started with Starting Strength, and have since then just built on it and for the big lifts, I have been increasing weight on all sessions. To do that for so long I have used microplates with the lowest additional added weight being 0.5kg per session (mostly for overhead press and then bench) or 1 kg (Squat and Deadlift). On a few support lifts, I have sometimes added reps instead of weight. Additionally on some lifts, I increased the sets (Bench Press, Overhead Press, and Deadlift), and for Squat I changed the rep number from 5 to 8 because somehow I am comparatively extremely good at it and I quickly reached quite high numbers compared to my other lifts and it felt dangerous. I also did some stupid changes once or twice to the program (for example changing Deadlift for Romanian Deadlifts).
I have always trained only 3 days per week, and I plan on keeping to do that, as it’s as much as I plan on giving.
I’m not even going to compare the lifts from when I started, as obviously it increased very fast in the beginning. Currently, the below are my last 2 successful training sessions (like in Starting Strength I kept the ABA BAB 2 weeks programming):
- Deadlift: 2 * 5 @ 135 kg (297 lbs)
- Bench Press: 4 * 5 @ 79.5 kg (175 lbs)
- Pull-Up: 4 * 8 @ 82.5 kg (182 lbs) done with a 3.5kg belt
- Standing Overhead Press: 4 * 5 @ 54.5 kg (120 lbs)
- Squat: 4 * 8 @ 134 kg (295 lbs)
- Parallel Pull-Up: 3 * 6 @ 94 kg (207 lbs) done with a 15kg belt
- Dips: 3 * 6 @ 94 kg (207 lbs) done with a 15kg belt
- Note: Parallel Pull-Ups and Dips are done in a row with minimal rest between Parallel Pull-ups and Dips, but then taking longer rest before restarting
You will notice that it is my upper body lifts that are the weakest. I am however quite happy with the progress until now, and my focus is actually on growing my back. You will notice that I train the OHP in front of the Squat because that’s where I want to gain. Unfortunately, I am more and more challenged mentally and physically to keep on with this. Also, I need a lot of rest in between sets (5-8min) which makes the sessions quite long around 2 hours with the warm-up and warm-up sets.
I have been looking around for my next program and the two programs that seem to fit would be the Texas Method or the Juggernaut Method. But as I want to take it a bit more easily I think the juggernaut method is more attractive to me at the moment, as the texas method would still be mentally challenging and long especially on volume day.
However, I am planning on doing one major tweak to this planning and wanted to see what others think about it.
First I will continue to train 3 days per week. In the book he gives two alternatives, one is to put the OHP and Deadlift on the same day, and the second one to just do the four days when they come (so instead of being 4weeks blocks its even longer). I am however thinking that at my current stage of early intermediate, it could be in my interest to actually decrease the total time until it doesn’t work anymore. What I mean is instead of doing 3 days and only combining 2 days together, I would combine the other 2 days together as well and reduce the block time. By doing that I would keep the AB training I was doing until now. It would look like this:
- OHP + Squat + Parallel Pull Up + Dips
- Deadlift + Bench + Pull-Up (if the time is ok then either delt flies or face pulls)
As you can see, it is actually almost the same as I am currently doing. The main difference will be that I would use the progression and blocks as detailed by the Juggernaut Method for the main 4 lifts instead of the session to session progressive overload I was using.
By using the AB system, it would decrease the program from 4 months to less than 3 months, and I feel it should be ok at least for the time being. My plan is that if I see that I can’t add any more reps on the Realization phase before failure, then I will tamper it down to the 3 days as described in the book (only one combination day).
My last view on this is that if you really just use one of the main lifts per session, then not only are you only lifting them once per week, but you would need to add quite a lot of assistance work. With my current level and as I only have a home fitness with barbell, convenience and results of focussing on the main lifts seem to be enough for the results I hope to achieve (basically I want to be at around 80kg but with lower body fat, so I guess at my current body fat it would be around 85kg).
Any opinions on this is well appreciated. Cheers!