I periodically return to the first post to update my status and goals.
Log Started: January 4, 2016
Last Update: March 15, 2023
Weight: 232.4 (as of 1/4/2023)
High School Athlete (Football, Wrestling)
College Football Player (2004-2007)
Running Enthusiast (2008-2012)
Kettlebell Enthusiast (2013-2015)
CrossFit-Like Person (2016-2017)
Strongman-Like Person (2018-2020ish)
Now Just Trying To Stay Fit (Present)
I played football & wrestled in high school, also dabbled in powerlifting, played football in college, ran long-distance races (from 5K’s up to marathons) for 5-6 years after that, and picked up other fitness hobbies like yoga, mountain biking, and rock climbing. In 2014-2015, I started doing lots of kettlebell work and eventually lifting heavy barbells again, which brings me to the current bout of time as something resembling a strength athlete, around the time I started this log in January 2016.
Longtime friends know that I followed a “daily dose deadlift” approach for most of the period from 2016-2019. It served me well for several years - I pulled 620 in September 2018, which isn’t setting any records but seems pretty good for someone training 20 minutes a day in a basic garage gym. However, for most of 2020, my back didn’t feel right; I am pretty sure I had a herniated disc that kept getting worse because I wouldn’t give it the rest it needed to heal. I also had an unpleasant realization that over a couple years of bodyweight creep, my physique had gotten huskier than ideal for good health and longevity; I weighed in at 258.6 pounds on 2/4/2020 which was surprising but not that surprising (I knew that it was creeping on, just kind of rationalized it because I was getting stronger).
So, I decided to deload from heavy barbell work for a few months, focus on improving my pull-up numbers until I slimmed down a bit. I eventually resumed deadlifting with a switch to sumo style, which has seemed to agree with me - no real back issues since making the change. I will always love pulling heavy weights so I’m hoping to stick with the deadlift as my barometer for the long haul, though now I’ll make myself a little more well-rounded than just deadlifting every day. In April 2022, I bought a bench and now (March 2023) I intend to follow a more traditional 3-day-a-week powerlifting split something like this:
S: Gym Workout - Arms & Back
M: Box Squat (8x2x255)
T: StrongFirst Kettlebell Press
W: Axle Bench Press (3x3x235)
R: StrongFirst Kettlebell Press
F: Sumo Deadlift (2x1x495)
S: StrongFirst Kettlebell Press
March 15, 2023 note - I like the idea of making Monday box squats a lighter “dynamic effort” day and Friday deadlifts a “max effort” day, that’s why the box squats seem so light relative to the deadlifts. I’m also going to try to nudge the bench press weights up to 3x3x255 over the next couple of months. Finally, my wife has gotten pretty into kettlebell training and just finished a 12-week program she bought from an online coach. Interestingly, after largely neglecting her upper body training-wise for years, she now seems very keen on improving her press, so I said it might be fun for us to run a little pressing program together (in parallel); she likes training, but also prefers if “someone else tells her what to do” rather than making a program up herself (we have young kids, the mental energy is pretty drained). So, I found a 12-week, 3-days-a-week kettlebell press program from StrongFirst and we might give this a run. I’ll do my powerlifting workouts on Mon/Wed/Fri and my kettlebell pressing Tue/Thu/Sat. The kettlebell workouts are pretty short - just pressing, can’t imagine they will take more than 15-20 minutes apiece - but as y’all know, with little kids/stressful job, that can be a good thing.
In 2023 (and beyond) my powerlifting goals will be:
405-pound back squat
315-pound bench press
My simple way of keeping myself honest on strength-vs-bodyweight: instead of chasing more weight on the bar, chase these goals while driving and keeping my bodyweight under 220.
Back Squat 375 @ 232.4 (1/2/2023)
Bench Press 260 @ 233.4 (2/11/2023)
Deadlift 495 @ 233.4 (1/6/2023)
Front Squat 370 (8/15/2019)
Back Squat 445 (9/27/2019)
Deadlift 625 (2/8/2019)
Back Squat 200 (11/5/2022)
Deadlift 205 (9/28/2022)
More explanation(s): my wife is a longtime runner and yoga instructor, but she took up barbell training in 2017 after a few years dabbling in kettlebells. She consistently squats and deadlifts once per week, while still doing a daily yoga practice and some kettlebell workouts. See above for a little description of our current training status.