I periodically return to the first post to update my status and goals.
Log Started: January 4, 2016
Last Update: October 25, 2020
Weight: 212.8 (as of 10/4/2020)
High school athlete (Football, Wrestling)
College football player (2004-2007)
Competitive-ish runner (2008-2012)
Kettlebell Enthusiast (2013-2015)
CrossFit-Like Athlete (2016-2017)
Strongman-Like Athlete (2018-2020)
StrongFirst-Inspired Athlete (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.
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 and fat loss until I slimmed down a bit, and then resume training inspired by StrongFirst (a Pavel Tsatsouline-led approach to strength training that does lots of pull-ups, kettlebell work, and some barbell work). Also, having reintroduced an old favorite, the Westside-style box squat workout, that’s feeling good, so I’ve got the notion to keep the Westside idea of having a “dynamic effort” day (eight doubles of box squats around 60-65% of 1RM) and a “max effort” day that works to a heavy single or double on a squat or deadlift variation. Anyway, here’s the current plan to blend “StrongFirst” and “Westside” style training:
Sun: Dynamic Effort (Deadlift 10x1)
Mon: Pull-ups (50 total reps)
Tue: Kettlebell Press 16x1x88
Wed: Dynamic Effort (Box Squat 8x2)
Thu: Kettlebell Press 16x1x88
Fri: Pull-ups (50 total reps)
Sat: Max Effort (Front / Back Squat)
Once my weight has stabilized around 210, I will pursue the following goals:
315-pound front squat
405-pound back squat
106-pound kettlebell press
My simple way of keeping myself honest on the strength-vs-leanness tradeoff: no PR attempts allowed unless my morning weight was under 210 pounds. Good way to ensure I don’t fall into the old habits just because my lifting numbers are going up.
Recent (Post-Second-Child) PR’s:
Front Squat 2x255 (10/13/2020)
Back Squat 2x300 (10/25/2020)
Deadlift 1x325 (10/24/2020)
KB Press 1x88 (many times)
Front Squat 1x370 (8/15/2019)
Back Squat 1x445 (9/27/2019)
Deadlift 1x625 (2/8/2019)
Back Squat 1x205 (9/10/2019)
Deadlift 1x230 (6/23/2019)
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, and she’s done a terrific job working her way to a 205-pound squat and a 230-pound deadlift, even after birthing our son in 2018! She delivered our second son a few months ago (July 2020) and has now returned to barbell squatting again, so I expect these PR’s to be updated again in 2021 (she’s hit 170 already as of 10/17/20).