My name is Brandon; just wanted to introduce myself and “officially” become part of the T-Nation community! Pretty new to T-Nation, but I’ve been reading articles and browsing the forums for a few months now. I’d like to start by saying thanks for the wonderful information and insight that so many of you provide. It has definitely changed the way I think about lifting, nutrition, and life in general.
Anyway, about myself: 21 (22 next Friday!), 5’9", 147 pounds. Yeah, I know, that’s small or whatever, but I’ve always had a small frame and I like being “relatively strong” at my bodyweight. As much as I appreciate any advice here, I don’t necessarily want to hear “just get bigger, you’re too small.” I like to keep a decently ripped physique, just a personal preference.
The heaviest I’ve ever weighed was about 160-165 lbs, which I wasn’t comfortable with at the time (4 months ago). I’ll probably approach that again eventually, as I’m clean bulking right now. What else… oh, I have a herniated L-4,L-5 disc that occurred about two years ago, which significantly changed the way I train. It’s a genetic issue AND I was born with a minor crack in my spine that resulted in an unequal distribution of weight on the vertebrae. Deadlifting one day and it just popped out.
Anyway, I’ve gone through rehab and now I do my own personal rehab (or prehab I guess) to stay healthy. Of course, it still acts up but I do what I can. Also, I’m a college student in central Florida studying physics, chemistry, and biochemstry; just applied to a graduate school so I should hear back soon!
Okay so the lifts. My question is, basically, what are some good numbers to put up as a beginner/intermediate (I’ve been lifting for maybe 1.5-2 years, with injuries along the way)? I’ve been increasingly interested over the past few months in getting much much stronger.
I enjoy shamming some of the bigger guys, in a specific fraternity here on campus (the ones that think they’re hot crap), when I put up better numbers than they do but at a significantly lower body weight. Just wanted to get a quick evaluation from you guys, and see what you all think would be the best way to progress from here.
Press - 130 lbs
Bench - 240 lbs
Deadlift - 270 lbs (most I’ve tried anyway, definitely had more in me; I hope to retest this in a couple weeks)
Front squat - 215 lbs
Power Clean - 130 lbs
Chin up - 100 lbs
Dips - 110 lbs x 2
Yes, the deadlift is low. I just started deadlifting about 3 months ago, and all of it was off blocks just below the knee (maybe 1 inch). This was because of the disc injury which I’m very hesitant of aggravating again. I started deadlifting off the floor January 2 of this year, for the first time in two years.
Front squat… I don’t back squat because I’m also afraid of direct spinal compression. Also, I find that front squats are very, very hard on my legs with literally no stress on my lower back. Eventually I do want to back squat, but I’m trying to get as strong as possible, and as healthy as possible, prior to doing that. I’d also like to work with a coach/trainer to make sure I do them absolutely perfect to minimize the recurrence of my injury.
Just started power cleans a month ago; that max isn’t accurate as I know I can do more, I just haven’t really pushed it yet.
Same with overhead press, except that the number listed is probably near my max.
As for training, I’m currently running 5/3/1 + BBB (slightly modified, very minor) - started 1/28. First real “powerlifting” program I’ve ever run. I always did splits, except for the last few months where I did a ton of full body training, which I loved. It helped me shred a ton of fat and get decently strong, I think.
Nutrition - Currently running intermittent fasting, something between LeanGains and the Warrior Diet. I generally work out about 4:30 pm, and break the fast around 7 pm. I finish eating at 11:30 pm - 12 am (slight fluctuations depending on the day). So I fast from 12 am to 7 pm daily (average). It fits really well with my super busy school/work schedule, and I enjoy the benefits I get from it (mental focus, etc.).
I also love working out fasted, something I began doing during my cutting phase. I sip BCAAs pretty consistently through the day; load up on them before/during/after the workout. Then I eat super clean within a 3-4 hour window. I know this may not be the optimal way to build muscle, but I’ve gained ~2.5-3.5 pounds since I started 6 weeks ago and I’m actually noticeably more vascular, muscular, and the cuts within my abs are deepening. I believe I’m probably somewhere in the 7-8% bodyfat range.
Anyway, I hope that wasn’t too much rambling. I’m super excited to “meet” some of you and have insightful discussion. I love reading through these forums, so I’m thrilled to become a part of it. Thanks again guys, to anyone who responds with advice, says hi, or simply reads what I have to say.