Fattest 198 of All Time. OF ALL TIME.

My primary goal is to get stronger in the Big 3, and my secondary goal is to put on size. In my experience, they will go hand-in-hand.

I figure it’s worth putting up my lifting history and current “milestone” lifts.

I got into lifting seriously for wrestling my sophomore year of high school. At the time I had been benching for a few years, and it was the only thing I was doing remotely correct. I joined the powerlifting team after wrestling season, since it seemed to be the thing to do. Finally under some decent tutelage, I learned squats and deads and improved my bench technique.

I was on my way to beating pretty much every school record in the 165 class junior year, but I hit my first injury bug then; I herniated a disc squatting (which I attribute to constant deficit deadlifting-I did not agree with this even then and I would never teach beginners a deficit DL now), which took me out of the meet and killed the progress I was making.

By the end of senior year, I had gotten my DL back to where is was at 360x6-7, squat was 315x6-7, and bench 250x6-7. I did pretty bad at my last full meet considering those numbers and hit 375-275-375 for a 1025 total at 165. If I knew how how to prepare for a meet, I probably could have added 100 pounds to that, but I won my weight class easily.

Moving on to college…entered around 160 pounds, lifts about the same as above. Then I started to get a little bigger. By the end of freshman year, I was 195 with some decent numbers: 380x7 squat, 315x6 bench, 225x7 muscle clean. I quit deadlifting because I despised it (thanks again, deficit sumos). I benched 395 at 193 in a bench-only meet, but that was the last powerlifting event I participated in.

Unfortunately I yo-yoed for most of college, and by the 4th year I was 205 and had only progressed to 360x6 bench. Squat was non-existent, as I lost what it meant to have good form and developed sever tendinitis in my knees. I basically bro-trained for three years and it destroyed my body. While doing that 360x6 bench, I could barely lower the bar to my chest because of the pain in my shoulder, and it was chronic for over a year leading up to that.

This is why you should not be an idiot like me and listen to your body. All of this led to me being broken down and burnt out, so I finally bit the bullet and took time off after 8 years of training.

The road back has been fun and enlightening. In the meantime I graduated, got my shit together and am now in grad school pursuing an Master’s in Biomechanics. I started lifting again at about 170 pounds with almost the exact same lifts I had in high school. It’s been about 3 years since I started lifting again (the layoff was about 4 months), and I’ve gained a steady 10-15 pounds per year and am sitting on 215 right now.

Along the way I’ve relearned to squat, picked up deadlifting again (even if it’s on again, off again), and have put up some decent numbers. I will eventually do another powerlifting meet, I just haven’t decided yet when to make my glorious return to the sport. Here’s some current milestones, though in two months I’ll probably be way past them:

Push/Pull 11/9/13:

Gym/Meet lifts:
S 515w/501.6
B 435/418.9
D 600/600.9


DB Shoulder Press
50x10 warmup
Working sets: 75x15, 85x12, 90x10, 95x10
Comments: Tried an 11th rep at 95 but failed, may move up but may also go for more reps next week.

Front Raise with EZ bar
Working sets: 80x8,12,15
Comments: Don’t do this often, so just getting a feel for it.

Seated Lat Raise
WS: 40x10,8, 35x12

Facepull/Machine shoulder press superset
~140x12/137.5x8, ~140x12/150x10, ~140x12/150x12

Pullover skullcrusher
WS: 100x12,10, 110x10,12
Comments: I normally do a JM Press/SC hybrid with much heavier weight primarily for bench-assistance, but this as expected hit the tris a lot harder.

Rope press
WS:~120x12,12,12, ~140x10

Standing Military Press
Comments: Done as a finisher and I was able to it sans shoulder pain, which is a rarity for me in a barbell pressing movement not named flat bench.

Overall: Shoulder felt mostly good. Provided I get a proper arch, my shoulder seems to be OK (previous Rotator Cuff issues). Excellent shoulder workout on the whole with some good triceps work as well, may postpone Deadlift until Thursday if I am overly sore tomorrow.

Wednesday: Pull 1

Deadlift (dead pulls, WS with chalk+belt)
Warmups: 135x6,225x5,315x4,365x2(1st set of mixed grip)
WS: 405x3, 435x3, 460x4 (10s hold at lockout)
Comments: I will most likely move up to 465 next week. I got caught in an internal debate over trying a 5th rep and ended up holding too long at the top, so I just held it for 10s and set it down. I only do one set of 5 reps for deadlifts because of a previous herniated disc, so the other two are more like working warmups that help me iron out any form issues before the real set.

Sumo Deadlift
Comments: Extremely easy off the floor for all 4, but lockout feels strange. I’m doing this mainly to strengthen my hips and I alternate my mixed grip from the heavy set of conventional; I am having some minor pain in my forearm and have determined it to be one of my supinators, and alternating my grip seems to be correcting the imablance that is there and eliminating the pain.

Supinated Barbell Row
Warmup: 135x10, 185x6
WS: 235x10, 255x10, 275x10, 315x4
Comments: First two sets done with no grip-aid, second two with chalk. 315 was a bit ambitious as my grip just wasn’t there, but would have been easy with straps. I was very pleased with how easy 275 was.

Cable Wide Row
WS: 135x10, 165x10, 195x10, 225x10
Comments: Easy after switching to a different bar. I will definitely work up to at least 240 next week.

DB Curls
WS: 45x10, 50x10, 55x9
Comments: Nothing out of the ordinary. I hate biceps but this was a one rep improvement on the last set.

Overall: Great workout. This was my fourth day in a row of lifting and I did much better than I had hoped for. My grip seems to be improving. Looking forward to a much-needed break tomorrow before bench on Friday.

PS-Serratus is absolutely fried from the pullover skullcrusher. That has to be the first time it has experienced any kind of stretch in the last 6 months.

Friday: Push

Flat Bench (PL-style)
Warmups: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 255x2
WS: 275x5, 305x5, 340x5, 355x3
Comments: 340 was easy, gassed out on 355 but no big deal, wasn’t a scheduled set. 345 next time, but I will need to work in a week of no pressing or cycle into a period of narrow grip/high rep. Shoulder is starting to get achy.

Comments: Done on a whim, narrow grip. Tris felt strained on liftoff so banged out 4 reps and called it a day. Normally I do low-incline DB press here, but shoulder needs some kind of break.

WS: 115x12, 135x12, 155x12, 175x13

HS High-incline (counted with Plates Per Side)
WS: 2 PPSx12, 2PPS+25x12, 3PPSx12, 3PPS+10x13
Comments: First time doing this machine, will probably keep it in the routine as I can get into ideal position before handling the weight.

Tri Ladder
BWx11, 4 rungs on Smith Machine down and up
Comments: Tris were screaming on the way back up, will look for 12 reps per rung next week.

Tri Press
WS: 100x12, 110x12, 120x10
Comments: 1 rep improvement on heavy set.

Overall: Killed bench, but shoulder will definitely need a break soon. Excellent workout on the whole.

I was feeling some numbness in my left arm on Saturday (same arm with shoulder issues, probably a mild aggravation of a nerve in there), so I decided to scrap my 2nd pull workout and rest.

Monday: Legs

Warmups: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 275x2
WS: 320x5, 345x5, 370x5
Comments: Form was good, weight felt light on my back, and it was a relatively easy 5 (2 rep increase from last week). I will jump to at least 375 next week. After adjusting to the mirror, I really like it. Also, I think I benefited from the added weight in my progression.

WS: 155x6, 175x6, 195x6
Comments: Much improved from last week (+1 on heavy set), feeling it a lot more in the quads now, will move up 5 on every set next week.

Single-leg curl
WS: 37.5x6, 50x6, 62.5x6, 75x6
Comments: I can’t see myself ever doing a leg curl with both legs again. Really felt the hamstrings work, and plenty of room for improvement now.

Glute Bridge
WS: 225x5,7,8
Comments: First time doing this one, so the weight was obviously light. This will definitely stay in my routine.

Overall: Had to cut out good mornings as I was pressed for time and had to get to work, but I think the glute bridges are an excellent edition and will give me a stronger base on my squat. Squat was easy today and I’m looking to carry that into next week and continue moving toward 405 for reps.

Tuesday: Push 2 (shoulders/tris)

BOSU pushup
Comments: I hate the BOSU ball more than any piece of equipment in the gym, but even it has some practical uses. These have really helped me with shoulder stabilization.

Seated Face-pull
WS: 125x10, 140x10, 155x10, 170x10
Comments: Done at the cable row station. For me this is a good variation to the standing face-pull.

HS Shoulder Press
Warmup: 1 platex12
WS: 2 Platex12, 2 plate+25x12, 12, 12
Comments: HS machines seem legit. Tried to keep the weight light.

Pullover Skullcrusher
WS: 80x12, 100x12, 110x12, 120x8
Comments: Again, felt this in the tris much more than if I had done my alternate variation on the SC.

Rope Press
WS: 70x10, 80x10, 90x10

I finished this workout by doing about 15 minutes worth of rotator cuff prehab.

Overall: A light session in which I was looking for high reps and experimenting with shoulder exercises. Hopefully this helps deal with the recent impingement issue.

Strong lifts in here… ill be following your progress.

Much appreciated, sir. The squat is the one I’m most concerned with, and it consumes most of my thoughts, so that’s where I’m really holding myself to a high standard as far as making progress.

Wednesday: Pull 1

Warmups: 135x6, 225x5, 315x4, 365x2
WS: 405x3, 435x3, 465x3.5
Comments: Wasn’t my best deadlift considering my recent progress, but I just missed the lockout on the 4th rep of 465, so it was about what I should have expected. Back felt excellent.

Comments: With one failed rep already on the table, I didn’t try the 5th here, but this feels remarkably easy off the floor. I’m getting snagged by my knees on the way up, so there are some minor form issues that need to be worked out, but I may pull sumo exclusively next week to see if I want to make the switch permanently. I felt a better trap workout for some reason on this day, so that was also encouraging.

Supinated BB Row
Warmup: 135x10
WS:225x10, 240x10, 260x10, 280x10
Comments: Grip strength seems to be improving tremendously, so no complaints here.

Wide Cable Row
WS: 150x10, 180x10, 210x10, 240x8
Comments: Should get the heavy set for 9 or 10 next week.

DB Curls
WS: 45x8, 55x6, 65x4
Comments: Felt like going heavy this day, so I did. I’ve gotten 65 for 5 previously, but my grip died here. I’ll look to get 10 with the 55s next week.

Overall: Very encouraging as far as my back is concerned. My deadlift has exploded since February and I’m not noticing any back issues, and my grip is improving as well.

Friday: Push 1

Narrow Bench
Warmups: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 255x3
WS: 275x5, 295x5, 315x5, 325x3
Comments: Used a wide grip for the first 3 warmups as a feeler, and my shoulder felt bad at 225 so I went narrow. This will likely be a permanent switch considering the minimal decrease in weight, and because my shoulder is starting to flare up again. It just doesn’t seem worth it to risk a wrecked shoulder. If I do a meet in the future, I will probably train wide for the last month at most to increase the numbers. I went wide for almost 5 months this time, but that was too much I think.

WS: 115x12, 135x12, 155x12, 175x15
Comments: Time to jump 5 more on every set.

Seated Lateral Raise
WS: 30x10, 35x10,12
Comments: Focused on extremely strict form and activation of the medial delts. No pain here.

Tri Ladder
4 rungs up and down on Smith Machine
BWx11 each rung
Comments: More improvement here, may try 13 per rung next week.

Tri Press
WS: 100x12, 110x12, 120x11
Comments: 1 rep improvement on heavy set.

Overall: Shoulder was tweaked on 315 set of narrow bench. My bar path was terrible on the first rep and is the reason for the tweak, so I’m not too worried considering I fixed it on the 2nd rep and banged out 5 total. I loved the narrower bench and will stick with it. The pressing part is easy right now, so I just need to work on the descent and really letting my lats handle it. Because of the shoulder tweak, I will probably not press anything next week, but it will be a wait-and-see thing. If nothing else I will hit the tris and upper back hard and give my shoulders a break.

Saturday: Pull 2

Rack Pulls
Warmups: 135x6, 225x5, 315x3, 405x3
WS: 455x5, 495x5, 545x5
Drop set: 405x8, 315x8

Comments: It’s been a couple of months since I did these, but it was about time to switch from trap DL and I was at a gym that didn’t have a good trap bar. I think I have another 20 pounds or so in me on the heavy set. For the drop set I knocked off the weight directly after finishing the heavy set and went into it.

DB Row
WS: 105x10, 130x10, 150x10
Comments: Second 2 sets done with straps. It was nice to have DBs that went higher than 130 for a change.

Narrow Cable Row
WS: 180x10, 220x10, 240x10, 260x10
Comments: The weights weren’t labeled after 90 on the cable station I used (and the weights changed sizes after 180), but it felt heavier than the 240 at my gym so 260 seems right.

Biceps Machine
WS: 80x10, 90x10, 100x10
Comments: This is the one and only biceps machine I have ever liked. It is a free weight machine like HS equipment.

Overall: Great atmosphere in this gym (Fitness Factory, Louisville, Ky). IFBB pro Tricky Jackson was in the house doing arms. Great lift overall. My back has gotten a lot stronger since the last time I did rack pulls.

Monday: Legs

Warmups: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 275x2
WS: 325x5, 350x4, 375x5
Comments: Obviously I took it easy on the second set, but I was saving up for the last one and didn’t want to over-exert myself on a set that wasn’t meant to be max-effort. The weight felt great on my back, and I feel good about 380 next week.

WS: 140x6, 160x6, 180x6, 200x5
Comments: Added an extra set in for fun, but I was at the other university gym and would have liked to have had the mirror for reference. Not bad for a first week at 200, though.

Seated Single-leg Curl
WS: 50x6, 70x6, 90x6, 100x6
Comments: Different gym, different machine, but still felt like a good hamstring workout.

Glute Bridge
WS: 225x5, 275x5, 295x5, 315x5
Comments: Actually had time and was able to go somewhat heavy after getting a feel for it last week. Definitely a keeper.

Overall: Another good leg day, especially considering how tired I felt prior to it (caffeine FTW). I knew by the last warmup that I was going to squat well today.

Wednesday: Pull 1

Sumo Deadlift
Warmups: 135x6, 225x5, 315x4, 365x2
WS: 405x3, 425x3, 445x3, 455x2
Comments: Took a little hit since it was the first week, but I am now a huge fan of sumo. The difference in the way my back afterward as compared to conventional was huge, plus I got my legs involved a lot more this way.

Supinated BB Row
WS: 245x10, 265x10, 285x10
Comments: I think my grip has finally caught up to my lats. The last two reps were grinders, but I had no problem holding the bar even at that stage. I will move up 5 on the heavy set next week.

Wide Cable Row
WS: 180x10, 210x10, 240x9
Comments: Improvement, if small.

Narrow Pullup
Comments: Done as a finisher since the gym was closing, and I had to rush into it because of the time issue. I paused at the bottom of every rep and made sure to extend fully. I expect a lot more if I do this next week.

Overall: Likely permanent switch to sumo, and I think I will be pulling more in a few months that way. Abbreviated because of the time constraint, but still a good workout.

Thursday: Push 1

Narrow Bench
Warmup: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 255x3
WS: 285x5, 305x5, 325x5, 335x5
Comments: Apparently my ego only had to take a 1-week hit, as next week I will be back at the weight I was using prior to my switch to a narrow grip. I still can’t do a full tuck, though.

I’ve accepted that my elbows will always have to flare slightly because it’s the only I can bench without feeling pain in my rotator cuff. I assume it has something to do with my narrow bone-structure, but hell if I know for sure.

Inhuman CGP
WS: 180x5, 200x5, 220x4
Comments: God knows if I did this correctly, but I pushed towards my feet and continued to push towards my feet as I brought it down. Since this is one of the best triceps workouts I’ve ever done, I don’t think any small error in technique is relevant. Done on Smith machine, bar weight not counted.

Seated Lateral Raise
WS: 30x10, 35x10, 40x9

Tri Ladder
4 rungs up/down, BWx13 each level

Tri Press
WS: 100x12, 110x12, 120x12

Overall: Love the IH CGP, shoulder felt good after some experimentation with grip.

Saturday: Pull 2

Rack Pull
Warmup: 135x8, 225x6, 315x4, 405x2
WS: 455x7, 495x5, 545x5, 565x5
Comments: Figured out how to breathe during these, so back felt good. Bar started at knee-height.

Shrug Drop-set
WS: 495x8, 405x12, 315x15
Comments: Time in between was about 20s, just enough time to drop the weight and restrap.

Wide Paused Pullup
WS: BWx12x2

Overall: I had less than an hour to do this workout since our gym only opens from 12-4 on weekends and I worked that shift. My boss let me stay and workout while he cardioed, so I did what I could in the time allotted.

Monday: Legs

Warmup: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 275x2
WS: 325x5, 355x4, 380x4
Comments: The last time I tried 380, I barely squeezed out 1 rep, so it’s hard to be upset with 4. I wasn’t sure about depth on the last rep, though, so I will try and get a video next week.

WS: 140x6, 160x6, 180x6, 200x6
Comments: Balance is getting better. Moving up 5 on each set next week.

Single-leg Seated Curl
WS: 60x6, 80x6, 100x6, 105x6

Glute Bridge
WS: 225x5, 275x5, 315x5, 325x5

Overall: Good first showing at 380, will do everything in my power to be at that weight for only one more week. I also think it’s time to add a second leg day since I’m easing back on pressing for the time being. I’m thinking Zerchers and maybe Good Mornings on Thursdays.

Wednesday: Pull 1

Sumo DL
Warmup: 135x6, 225x5, 315x4, 365x3
WS: 405x3, 425x3, 445x3, 455x2.5
Comments: Failed at the midpoint on the 3 rep at 455. The bar is still easy off the floor but I’m failing in the transition. I’m guessing my hips are rising too quickly and the bar is getting out in front of me, but I’ll need some video. 445 was easy, though, and the second rep at 455 was much easier this week. I’m going to try and be reasonable and go for more reps at 445, but I said that last week, so we’ll see what happens.

Supinated BB Row
WS: 245x10, 265x10, 290x10 (+5 pounds)
Comments: Grip wasn’t quite as strong this week, but still had no problem holding the bar all the way through. May try 315 again next week and see where I am.

Seated Wide Row
WS: 180x10, 210x10, 240x10 (+1 rep)
Comments: Really had to grind out the last two or three reps because the bar was different and much fatter, but that should just help my grip so I wasn’t worried about it.

Paused Narrow Pullup

DB Curl

Overall: First time lifting in the morning and I got crunched for time again, but saw improvement in every lift and I was fine with the earlier time.

Thursday: Legs 2

Zercher Squats
Warmup: Barx8, 135x5, 185x3
WS: 225x4, 245x4, 265x3, 275x2

Comments: Great squat variation. Legs weren’t at the point of failure, but I am not strong gripping the bar yet and it limited me.

I pulled an 11-hour shift at the gym and had to lift during my break, so this is all I could do. Will probably add GMs next week and ab/lower back work.

Friday: Push

Narrow Bench
Warmup: Barx8, 135x6, 225x4, 255x2
WS: 285x5, 315x4, 340x4 (+5 lbs)
Comments: Went about a half-inch narrower this week, so my pinky is now slightly inside of the ring. Those were 4 very good reps at 340 and went up much more evenly than last week. If I think I can get 4 at 345, I will move up next week. Only went to 4 on the 2nd set since it was a ten pound jump from last time, didn’t want to waste energy.

Smith IH CGP
Warmup: 90x6, 180x3
WS: 200x5, 220x5 (+1 rep), 230x6 (+10 lbs)
Comments: Felt much more comfortable this week, bar weight not included.

WS: 120, 140, 160x12, 180x13 (+1 rep)

Seated Lat Raise
WS: 30x10, 35x10, 40x10 (+1 rep)

Tri Press
WS: 105, 115, 125x12 (+5 lbs)

Overall: Good lift. No noticeable shoulder issues and I’m getting very comfortable with the narrower grip.

Saturday: Pull 2

Rack Pull
Warmup: 135x6, 225x5, 315x4, 405x3
WS: 455x7, 495x6, 545x5, 565x3
Comments: Lowered the safety pins to the lowest setting this week. Obviously it was much harder as evidenced by 2 fewer reps at 565. Bar started a couple of inches below the knees, which was approximately 2-3 inches lower than last week.

Shrug Drop-set
WS: 495x10 (+2 reps), 405x13 (+1), 315x16 (+1)
Comments: Saw improvement, but I was somewhat limited by extreme tightness in my lower back. I need to take up foam-rolling.

DB Row
WS: 100, 110, 120x12
Comments: No grip-aid for the first two sets, chalk for the third. My right-hand grip is significantly stronger than my left-hand grip.

Wide Paused Pullup
BWx15, 10
Comments: Much easier when I actually had a few minutes of rest beforehand. When I get to ~20, I will probably start doing this with added weight.

Overall: I finished the workout by doing 45 minutes of TRX work with my GF. I liked it, and it certainly will help to improve my balance and all stabilizing muscles. I will look to do that once a week. As for the real workout, I can say that today (the day after) my back is absolutely wrecked from top to bottom, so I’ll call it a good day.

Monday: Legs

I know my body well enough to know that any sort of spinal loading on this day was going to bury me, but after reading the article on Kroc, how could I not at least try? Well, it would seem that I was correct. I got through my first two working sets OK (325x5, 355x4), but my back was absurdly uncomfortable, particularly after the second set. I tried my heavy set of 380, but one rep told me there was no way my back was going to allow any more. My spinal erectors felt like they were about to explode, and it was impossible to get into the bottom of the squat. I accepted defeat on this day so as not to torpedo my deadlift as well. What I learned:
1)Fuck Rack-pulls. Trap DL was working just fine and never gave me back issues. 2)If I think I shouldn’t go heavy because my back is too sore, listen. In hindsight, I could have repped out at 325 or even 355 and been OK, and it would probably be good for me to do so every few weeks.

Wednesday: Pull 1

Sumo DL
Warmup: 135x6, 225x5, 315x4, 365x3
WS: 405x4, 425x2, 445x4 (+1 rep, easy)
Comments: No trouble getting any of this off the floor, lockouts were easy. The progression may seem strange, but I liked it. I should be able to get 3 easy at 455 and 4 isn’t an unreasonable goal. I will be shooting for 4 on sumo pulls because my form breaks down after that even at easy weights.

Supinated Row
WS: 235x10, 255x10, 275x10, 295x9
Comments: I wore a belt as precaution for the last two sets. Grip and lat strength seem to be on the same level now as both were failing at 9 reps.

Paused Narrow Pullup
WS: BW+10x10, BW+20x10, BWx11

Overall: Hungry4more said his sumo pulls started going up in the 3rd week, and like clockwork mine seem to follow that pattern. Everything felt easy. My back was tight, but nothing unbearable. I will probably do biceps tomorrow and foam roll the bejesus out of my back, but I don’t think I’ll be doing Zerchers this week and will rest up my back as much as I can.