T Nation

Losing my PLing Virginity


I've been training for two years now without any real focus on strength until lately. It turns out I really like it. So what better motivation to get stronger then to enter a PLing competition.

I don't have any specific dates yet, but I'm thinking mid 2012 if I can find one. I'm currently trying to contact a local PLing team to see if I can get in with the group.

I have two kids under the age of three, so time is precious for me. I do have a home gym built with most of the required equipment. Cage, rack, oly set, power blocks, bands, home made platform...

I'll be looking for all the wisdom I can get in here as I have a lot to learn. I'm working with a modified WS4SB template and am enjoying it. I had a pretty significant back strain on Sunday that I'm trying to bounce back from and so far it's healing really fast.

I have a couple of 1RM tested lately:

Bench: 255lbs
Sumo DL: 365lbs
Conv. DL: 365lbs
Old Squat 1RM: 275lbs

Those numbers are my baseline and I hope to go up from there. My weight this morning was 169lbs.

Thanks for reading and I hope to learn a lot here!


Getting back to basics when I can load my back again:


Last night I just wanted to move a light load, so here it is:

Close Grip Bench:
20x45, 15x95, 10x135, 10x135, 10x135, 10x135

Pull Ups:
10, 10, 10, 10


Good to hear. WS4SB will be a good template to help you gain some weight. Just keep eating and going heavy. A good training group will add lbs to your total quickly. One on one coaching can easily add 40lbs to a squat or deadlift in a few weeks if you have never been given good instruction.

A nice thing about powerlifting is you can make good gains for a long time with only 3 or 4 workouts a week, so time commitment is small compared to most other sports.

Good luck!


Thanks McDouche. I'm not sure I want to gain to much weight right now. If I want to lift in a 165lbs weight class I need to stay somewhat close to it so I can manipulate with water tricks to make weight. However, I am hovering around the 13% BF mark and could easily drop a few pounds of fat to make weight. Losing weight is not a problem for my skinny ass.

I already know I'm quite quad dominant. I'm getting better at getting my hips back and putting more emphasis on the posterior chain, but I still have a lot of work to do. It's hard to do it without other people watching, so I'm excited to see if this PLing team thing works out.

Thanks for taking the time!


The back is about 75% better so time to get back to work on a few things:

Warm Up:

12 Push Ups
12 Push Ups Plus
12 Pull Ups
10 x Diesel Crew Shoulder Warm Up with 10lbs

Incline DB Presses:
10x10s, 30s, 50s, 70s

a. Chins: 10, 10, 10, 10
b. Band Pull Aparts: 4x12xMonster Mini (Choked up slightly)

Standing DB Military Press:

a. DB Shrugs: 3x12x80s
b. EZ Bar Curls: 3x10x75lbs


  • I have a pretty sore wrist from a wrestling move with a two year old gone bad which resulted in both son and father rolling over on it. I wore wraps for a lot of things to protect it.

  • I'm still pretty careful with the back. I'm glad I'm in a home gym because I'm sure I looked silly wearing a belt and wraps to do standing DB military presses with only 30lb dumbbells.

  • This workout was last night, and although I was a little bit stiffer this morning, the back is coming along. Almost time to get serious again.


Hi, nwiles! I did my first meet early this year and had a blast! My lifting was pretty pathetic (deadlift 275), but no one laughed at me and I got a great experience. (I was 54 yrs, male, 220# class). Your numbers are perfectly fine for a first meet, just keep working at them.

There's loads of great advice here on T-Nation, everyone was helpful, I had no surprises at all. Everything went smoothly. Made some friends backstage, one guy checked my form during warmup.

Be sure to post vids of your lifts so people here can check your form. If you don't get form dialed in, you can't pass any lifts. If possible, have someone check you in person.

Be conservative with your openers, you aren't going to set world records, so don't try.

Welcome to powerlifting!


Good to be back....

Warm Up:
Sweet Foam Lovin'
12 Push Ups
12 Push Ups Plus
12 Chin ups
12 Diesel Crew Shoulder Warm Up (5lbs)

Close Grip Bench Press:

Pull Ups: 20, 12

BB Rows: 3x8x135

Seated DB Clean and Press: 3x8x20s

Reverse BB Shrugs: Didn't perform these

Zottoman Curls: 3x15x20s


  • The back still isn't 100%. I was pushing things with the light BB Rowing, so I didn't want to really risk things with heavy shrugs.

  • It's good to be almost completely back

  • Bench felt awkward. I was having issues with my air filling my chest instead of my belly. Must be the long lay off.

  • Close grip bench is almost what my regular grip used to be before I started to move my hands out.


First up, my name is Noah so please go ahead and call me that.

Thanks for your input here, I really appreciate it!

I have a bench video from about 2 weeks ago that you can view here:


Hi, Noah. You're certainly gifted if you're this strong after only a couple of years of haphazard training.

Looks like you have the bar nice and horizontal the whole time. Did you just touch the chest? You'll have to wait for the command to lift, which generally doesn't take more than an instant, but you should practice pausing on the chest.

Can you get a video from the side? That can check that you're keeping hips on bench.

In competition you'll get a liftoff, either from a volunteer or a friend. Does anyone train with you? Have you trained with liftoffs?


I've done a little bit of pause work, but nothing serious. I never thought I would want to do the whole power lifting bit, but here I am. Time to work on them. I also need to start making sure I'm hitting depth on squats. I think I am, but I need to be sure.

I've been meaning to contact some local teams to see if I can get involved but life is demanding right now. I have two kids under the age of three plus I'm now the major contributor in the family business. I'm a little worried about some of my commitments and lack of time. However, I don't see why I can't get together two or three times a month with a group of guys and work on this stuff.

I train alone in my home gym currently. I had to give up the whole commercial gym when our second child came along. I pretty much do all my lifting when the rest of the family is asleep..


Noah, home gym sounds good, just be sure you can do the lifts in good form and there's some way of catching bars. I see supports on your bench rack, good. By the way, if you're uncomfortable with how you look, I should warn you. I'm pretty self conscious myself, and the worst part of the meet was walking around in a singlet. Seriously.

If you're having trouble finding time to train, check out the Over 35 forum, lots of people there juggling family, work, & the iron.

Absolutely get together with other powerlifters whenever you can. Even a couple of times a month will give you good feedback on your lifts. Ask what experience they have in meets.

You "think" you're hitting depth on squats? Uh-oh. I have a horror story myself on thinking I was getting low on squats until people pointed out I was really sky-high. Had to go back to school and start doing box squats with a broomstick. They've come up, but it's been humiliating. Absolutely check this out fast.


Seconding the sentiment on squat form. I got to 255 around mid-July squatting with bad form, then stalled out. I just now got back to 255 with proper form. I didn't have a depth issue, but it just goes to show any issue with the squat really needs to be checked out immediately. Post a squat video if you've got one. Even just looking at it yourself would help.


Here's a quickie test for squat depth. Find a box or something which is about as high as an inch or so under your knees. Put it behind you while squatting. If your butt isn't touching the box, you could have depth problems.


Could it be? Is it possible? Lower body work? I believe so:

Dynamic Day:

Speed Box Squats:
5xBW, 45, 95, 135, 135, 135, 155, 155

Step Ups:
2x12xBW+95lbs each leg

a. Pull Throughs: Grey Bandx12, 12, 12, 12
b. Standing Crunches: Grey Bandx30, 30, 30, 30


  • I'm just going to trust the process for these speed squats. The weight feels pathetic, but at least I'm back into squats.

  • I'm getting serious on these pull throughs. I had some mega tension on that band.

  • My poor abs, I'm going to pay for those 120 reps.

Cavalier - It took me a while to figure it out. I knew I had seen your name somewhere and then I saw it.... you post a lot in my good buddy's log, Canada_K. I don't post much in there because if I have something to say to Kent I just pick up the phone. Now to answer your question, I typically go beyond parallel. In fact I have a video of myself hitting ass to grass with 185lbs for 20 reps. That bench rack you saw I only use for benching. I squat in my cage, so yes, I can set the pins to break parallel. To also answer your box question, I have made a whole bunch of homemade boxes with various heights. Today I set my box at 15" which takes me right at parallel, but not quite breaking. I wanted to go easy on the freshly recovered back.

hde128 - I hear you man. I REALLY hurt myself about 16 months ago with poor squatting form. I rebuilt my squat from scratch and I think I've got pretty good form now. Now it's time to push the weight.

I got a hold of the PLing team guy today. They aren't getting together until after the summer. I left him my phone number to call me when they get going again.

Cavalier, I will post some pics of the home gym sometime. I just made a really cool dead lifting platform.


You're good friends with Kent? Awesome! Yeah, I post on his log. I spend quite a bit of time on the Over 35 forum.

If you're checking your squat with boxes, sounds like you're on the right track.


do you train at a mattress factory ?


I'm still around but I'm having a terrible time trying to balance work, family and lifting right now. My whole family is sick (kids are 1 and 3) and I'm in a small family business so I work a lot of hours. My wife is back at work now and it's really thrown my daily routines upside down. I just need to figure it all out and then get back on track.


Solid sleep last night...
Allergies are manageable...
Not working today...
Time to move some iron!

Warm Up:
12 Pushups
12 Pushups Plus
12 Pull Ups
Forgot to do the Diesel Crew Shoulder Warm Up (Hey come on, I'm rusty here)


Flat DB Bench:

a: BB Rows: 4x10x135lbs
b: Face Pulls: 4x10xOrange Band

Barbell Shrugs: 3x8x315lbs

Standing DB Curls: 3x12x30s


  • Having two 45lb plates between my legs brought new meaning to iron balls

  • Felt REALLY good to get back into it. I wasn't all that mentally into it, but it got better as I went.

  • My kids are perfect squatters. I wish I could do it as well.


  • My back just won't heal completely. I REALLY need to find the time to see my chiro.

  • My wrist is giving me issues still. I must have done some damage in there. I used wraps for my heavier presses.


  • If I'm going to hit them, I think I need to put on some weight.

  • Carbs might be fair game again.


Another solid sleep last night! Definitely on a roll here and I feel really good. All the extra calories and carbs have me feeling fantastic too. Hopefully my body adapts to all the extra carbs because my gas is terrible right now. Time to break out the gasX because the digest enzymes are a bunch of BS in my opinion.

I seem to be a hazard to myself lately with injuries. I was in my cage getting ready for a set today when I saw my son trying to pull down my kettle bell from the table. I absolutely smashed my knee on the end of a safety pin trying to get to him asap. I ended up being the one hitting the floor in pain and not him thankfully. KB stays on the floor now.

Dynamic Lower Body Day:

Box Squats for Speed:
3xBW,45, 65, 95, 95, 115, 115, 115, 135, 135, 135

Good Mornings:

Natural GHRs:
8, 10, 12

Hanging Leg Raises:
10, 10, 12, 15


  • My speed on the boxes was really good. I'm pleased with the progress. The weight is pathetic, but that's not the point here.

  • Those good mornings felt like nothing. I'll be upping the weight next week. Back is amazing right now. More on that soon.

  • I smashed my knee during the good mornings. It made the GHRs that much more miserable.

Back update:

I knew I needed to get to my chiro because something was off, and I still will, but this morning I was rolling over in bed and felt this "pop." I had instant relief and suddenly had no discomfort! The good mornings were amazing today. I'm thrilled with this because I was thinking of delaying my lower body max effort day until it passed.


I really like the look of that rack, so nice for a home set up