Fulfilling Potential

I’ll try to keep the intro brief.

I have been working out off and on (mostly off) for the last 10 years and have actually lurked on the boards of T-Nation for the last 6-7 years and got some fantastic information over that time.

I have always stayed fairly strong and have been told on repeated times that I have a great genetics for body building. Unfortunately due to general laziness I have repeatedly got to a good level of strength only to take a week off which turned into 2 months and then having to start all over again. I used to debate about what sort of athlete I wanted to be and this has led to me not fulfilling my potential within strength training.

For the last 3 or 4 months I have been gone through my longest sustained spell of lifting and thought by keeping a log it will keep me honest.

I would say I am fairly knowledgeable around strength training (I have a Sports Science A-Level, just finished my gym instruction qualification and start my personal training course in February) but unfortunately don’t put this knowledge into practice. As shocking as it sounds, I have probably dead-lifted less than 10 times in my life and squatted maybe 3 times in the last 12 months.

However, I have seen the error of my ways and will be using these boards and the threat of abuse and criticism from you guys to post my progress and take any advise/criticism thrown at me in the right way.

I am 29 years old and currently 6ft 2 and weigh in at around 17 1/2 stone (around 240lbs I believe).

My stats on the main lifts are below…

Deadlift - no idea (as above, I have attempted these less than 10 times).
Bench Press - 315lbs x 2 (did this 2 days ago and had more in the tank).
Squats - not sure (have been easing my way back into squats, did 265lbs ish for 6 reps last week)
Military Press - 165lbs x 5 reps (again, more to come)
Wide Grip Chins (pronated) - bodyweight x 8 reps

I would say my legs are drastically lagging however this (I hope) is down to general inactivity and believe they will improve dramatically with volume but my upperbody push/pull is fairly balanced.

Guess it wasn’t such a brief intro…

Before the abuse comes, I am well aware that my bench numbers being higher than my squat is all sorts of wrong and by Christmas I will have this fixed.

I am adopting my project with a fairly old school approach to lifting, though lifting fashion seems to go in circles. I know one-legged, shoulder presses on a swiss ball are all the rage now but I am not sure you can argue with an old fashioned body builder split.

With this in mind, I will be doing Chest & triceps, Back and Biceps, Legs & Shoulders (I know - direct arm work!)
I am aiming for 6 sessions a week and have no real excuse not to - desk bound job, no kids, sympathetic girlfriend and plenty of time to recuperate.

I shall begin posting my workout on Sunday - there is a local strongman training session from 12pm-3pm and I have an interest in pursuing this long term and they don’t mind a newbie!

My aims (1 rep max) by the end of the year are…

Deadlift - 505 lbs
Squat - 360lbs
Bench - 330lbs
Wide-Grip Chins (pronated) - 6 x Bodyweight + 20kg
Military Press - 180lbs

I have listed some pictures of where I am now. I will be honest and say my diet has always been to eat and drink whatever I fancy and due to this I am carry a fair amount of bodyfat, mostly around my stomach and lower back.




Legs (minus any training)


My current stats are…

Chest - 46 inches
Shoulder - 21 inches
Bicep - 18 inches
Waist (across belly button) - 40 inches (ouch)
Thigh - 26 inches
Calf - 16 inches
Neck - 16 1/2 inches

I will post stats and further pictures in 3 months time for comparison.

My goals at this time are not to have killer abz!! I am more concerned about building strength/muscle for the next 6 months. It’s coming to winter in England now so won’t be getting my body out anytime soon.

I have started to clean up my diet so hope I will see the benefits of that in due course.

Great arms,good back,chest and quads need more work…

My 1st workout of the log. General aim today was to workout a basepoint for deadlift and wide grip chins.

1 x 6 @ 60kg
1 x 6 & 100kg
1 x 6 @ 120kg
1 x 4 @ 140kg
1 x 3 @ 160kg
1 x 1 @ 180kg (405lbs)
1 x 1 @ 185kg - failed on two occassions.

So a PB of 405lbs, quite happy with that but hope to be establishing a PB most weeks as I develop in the lift.

Wide Grip Chins
1 x 6 @ bodyweight (approx 240lbs)
1 x 6 @ bodyweight
1 x 5 @ bodyweight
1 x 4 @ bodyweight + 10kg
1 x 3 @ bodyweight + 14kg

No belt for adding weight at the gym/health club so had to struggle with db’s between legs. Have ordered a dipping belt so should be easier from now on.

Just finished off with some hammer grip pulldowns

1 x 8 @ 90kg
1 x 7 @ 90kg
1 x 5 @ 90kg

I am going to keep going with my regular routine until the end of October however will be changing it up in November.
I am looking for a routine to build strength and was wondering if anybody out there had achieved great success with a particularly routine.
I will of course do my own research but thought I would put the question out there.

Check out:

Madcow 5x5

Put you initial weights into the template then it gives you your training load and setsxreps for an 8 week program. It is ramped up to a heavy set of 5 Monday, then a heavy set of 3 Friday, then next week you do you 3 weight for 5 and continue for about 8 weeks. I think at week 5 or 6 you will start setting PRs.

Wendler’s 5-3-1

Similar to above, but it adds the press to the bench, deadlift, squat, and each lift is usually trained once a week but there are 2 day and 3 day templates. The training loads start light, and you ramp up to an AMRAP set, which will usually be above the projected number of reps the first couple of 4 week cycles.

Straight Linear Programming/Texas Method

Same as above, but it leaves it to you to figure out the exact programming. Straight linear programming is pretty much 3 sets of 5 for your core lifts, then add weight every workout. This will work for awhile until you have to move to weekly PRs, which is the Texas Method. With it, you have a volume day usually 5 sets of 5 across, then back off next workout, then finish the week w/ an intensity workout where you will ramp up to a heavy set of 5, 3, or perhaps 5 or so heavy singles.

…All of those are good choices and very similar. Just keep adding weight to the bar as you go. I think you could get away w/ pretty much straight linear programming for a bit judging by your size and lifts, especially for squats and deads. Don’t be afraid of the 5’s or lower reps, especially for your legs as they will get bigger if you are eating. You can throw whatever assistance you deem appropriate for higher reps as assistance.

My 2 cents, hope that gives you some things to look into.

Thanks “theuofh” - some good reading for me there. Have read up on the 5/3/1 but will check out the other programmes

[quote]Marlind wrote:
Great arms,good back,chest and quads need more work…

Thanks Marlind - completely agree.

Good session yesterday and will be including weighted pull-ups from this point forward. I have a great stretch today.

Just back from the gym having attempted to work out my one rep max for Military Press, details below…

1 x 5 @ 60kg
1 x 3 @ 60kg
1 x 3 @ 70kg
1 x 3 @ 75kg
1 x 3 @ 80kg
1 x 1 @ 85kg (struggled to lock out but managed it after a bit of a battle).
1 x 10 @ 60kg
1 x 8 @ 60kg

So a new PB at 85kg (187 lbs). Strict form and didn’t attempt any push presses.
I am happy with this, was struggling to complete 5 x 60kg (132 lbs) a couple of months ago.

Also means I need to reset my goal for the exercise, my new goal is to hit 3 x 225 lbs in 6 months.

Shoulders are my new favourite bodypart to work out.

Finished the session off with

Lat/side raise - 3 x 10 @ 10kg db’s
Upright rows - 1 x 8 @ 50kg, 2 x 8 @ 60kg.
Front raises - 3 x 12 @ 10kg db’s
Shrugs - 4 x 8 @ 30kg db’s

Legs tomorrow - wanted to put it in print so I don’t try to pussy out of it.

Legs (Quad dominant) day.
I will be honest and say I have neglected legs forever, probably averaging a leg session every 3 months. I would then go in the gym and lift what I did when I trained regularly. I would then suffer serious DOMS and walk around for a week like I had been abused - not good.

So today I left the ego at the door and lifted within myself and ensured I went as deep as possible.

2 x 8 @ 60kg
2 x 6 @ 80kg
2 x 6 @ 100kg
1 x 6 @ 110kg
1 x 6 @ 120kg (265 lbs)

I had more left but going to move it up gradually, I will aim to hit 2 leg sessions a week and increase the weight by 5kg (11 lbs) per week. Therefore I should hit the 140kg mark in 4 weeks.

Dynamic Lunges
1 x 12 @ 18kg (dbs)
2 x 8 @ 18kg (dbs)

Leg Extensions (Single Leg)
3 x 12 @ 25kg

Bench Press (Flat)
1 x bar
2 x 8 @ 60kg
2 x 6 @ 100kg
1 x 3 @ 120kg
1 x 3 @ 130kg
1 x 1 @ 140kg (poor spot, I struggled for 1/4 second and the guy grabbed the bar - wasted).
1 x 2 @ 140kg (different spotter - pb for reps)
1 x 11 @ 100kg

DB Flyes (Flat)
3 x 8 @ 26kg db’s

Tricep Dips
1 x 12 @ BW
2 x 8 @ BW + 14kg db (need to buy a dipping belt)

Decline Press
3 x 10 @ 80kg

A couple of tricep exercises.

Brought the 5/3/1 e-book today, it seems everyone is doing it.
I am going to start the programme in November and following it for at least 6 cycles, possibly even 12.

As one of my goals I would like to compete in some regional powerlifting meets in around 12-18 months time and feel the 5/3/1 programme will help on this journey.

I would like to throw a question out there to anyone who has perhaps competed at a local, novice powerlifting/strongman event and could give some guidance in terms of base levels of strength on the 4 main lifts one should have before thinking of competing. I don’t want to embarrass myself and having some rough numbers will help in my goal setting. I weight around 245 lbs if that helps.

I will also put this question in the powerlifting forum

Yesterdays workout.

I wanted to work up to maximal effort deadlifts but my hamstrings were still sore from my leg workout so have had to push these back until Sunday.
I then wanted to go for some weighted pull-ups but as my dipping belt has not arrived yet and I couldn’t get the db’s comfortable I went for 50 reps instead.

Wide-Grip Chins (Pronated)
3 x 5 @ BW
1 x 3 @ BW + 14kg
1 x 5 @ BW
1 x 7 @ BW
4 x 5 @ BW

Incline Rows (Supinated)
2 x 6 @ 80kg
1 x 3 @ 100kg
3 x 3 @ 110kg (232lbs)
1 x 17 @ 60kg

Barbell Curls
2 x 6 @ 50kg
1 x 4 @ 60kg
2 x 3 @ 60kg (132lbs)