So I thought I would start my own training log.
25 years old
6’5", 290 lb.
Arms- 19.25 ® 19" (L)
Bench- 385 lb.
Squat- 335 lb.
Deadlift- 435 lb.
Training History - I spent about 13 years swimming competitively, and lifting played a pivotal role in my training. My junior and senior years of high school, I weighed 220 lb. and was fast. At the time, I could bench 225x3 (not bad for having loose, unstable swimmer shoulders), deadlift 315 lb., clean and jerk 225 lb., and perform 21 strict pull-ups and 33 dips.
Unfortunately, when I went into my freshman year of college, I was extremely depressed - I hurt my shoulder within the first few weeks and couldn’t lift for the entire year. I barely ate for the first six weeks I was at school, and my weight dropped to 188. I was skinny and weak and miserable; as soon as the swim season ended (mid-March), I forced myself back into the gym. Training from mid-March to the first week of May, my bench went from 185x4 to 225x5, my pull-ups from 5 to 18, my dips from 12 to 36, my deadlifts to 315x5, my bodyweight from 192-225, and my arms grew from 15.5" back to 17" (their size in high school).
I trained all through the summer (May-August), but unfortunately, since the gym I lifted in didn’t permit deadlifting, I focused mainly on bench and pull-ups and ignored my legs. Over those 4 months my bench progressed from 225x5 to 275x3. I also put on a lot of fat - by August, I weighed 270 lb.
The program I used to get my bench up was pretty simple - once a week, I would do 3 sets on the bench press, shooting for 6-12 reps per set. On the third set, after reaching failure, i would perform partials to failure in the strong range followed by negatives to failure. I would then drop the weight and repeat all three steps a second time. I’d drop the weight again, and on this third “round” I would simply do repetitions to failure. I would perform this routine for 2 consecutive weeks, followed by a deloading week. This is the program I followed from mid-March to August that helped my bench go from 185x4 to 275x3.
The problem, however, was that I stuck with that program for the next several years. I underemphasized everything except bench press and pull-ups, and my physique suffered for it. My strength did as well - despite my best effort, following the same bench program for FOUR years only upped my bench to 275x8-10 (I usually only increased weight when I could get 12 reps on at least the first set). This program did great stuff for my arm size - 17.5" to 18.75" - but next to nothing for my maximal strength. Last August (2011), I benched 315 lb. for only the second time!
I decided I needed a change, especially after focusing on only bench and chins for so long. Since last August, I have started focusing on lower reps and far more lifts. This log will detail my attempts to get strong while losing body fat. I’ve started emphasizing Squats and deadlifts, and though they aren’t that high yet, they have improved significantly since August.
Summer 2012 Goals
Bench- 385 lb. (7/14)
Squat- 365 lb.
Deadlift- 455 lb.
My ultimate goal is to shoot for a 500 lb. raw bench. I think it’s doable - I could strain out 405 now, but for the sake of my shoulders, I refrain from maxing out except when I KNOW I can lift the weight smoothly.