Need Advice on Proceeding

Brief history of my training:

Started lifting at 14, lifted very consistently for about the next 7 - 8 years with my upper body, and about 4 - 5 years with my lower body.

My height weight peaked out at 5’11 and 170 - 180lbs, with 10% or lesss bodyfat
Bench 300, Squat 400, Military Press 190

Lifted sporadically in my 20’s occasionally reaching these numbers, maybe slightly above in the bench press and military press, rarely squatting or doing legs at all.
Weight stayed pretty steady in the 180’s and `190’s, definitely somewhat fatter.

In my early 30’s I began lifting even less, if I trained half of the time in my 20’s, I probably trained a quarter of the time, most likely less than that. Weight was now regularly in the low 200’s

After 35 I barely lifted at all until recently, weight kept increasing to 220, 230, 240+, which started to bother me a bit, so I began trying to train again in 2020, had some good success before Covid-19, but didn’t lift at all from March until September 2020.

Weight has now increased to 260, and I have been lifting fairly steadily since mid-September.

Long story short, somehow I am still quite strong! I’m still getting back into it but I have been able to do the following lifts recently

Bench 235 x 10
Squat 315 x 5
Military Press 175 x 5 for 5 sets

Is my strength level due to all the weight gain?
It seems strange that I can lift this much right now based on my training history

Should I try to “slow down” to protect my joints?
Elbows have recently started to hurt, never really hurt before when lifting

How much weight should I try to lose, and how quickly?
I don’t know my bodyfat % right now, but it is probably 30%+

It’s hard for me to believe that I gained much muscle mass, if any, from
when I weighed 180 lbs, but maybe I gained a little, does this mean I need to lose 60lbs+ to be in “good shape”?

Your how old now exactly?

Is your goal health or body image motivated?

I am 38 now, I would like to get healthier, but I also like the idea of getting stronger as well, as that was always my mindset when I lifted seriously in the past. I’m also body image motivated as well.

I never really had to worry about my weight until recently, so this is a very new experience for me with regards to weight training.

I don’t think any of your goals are mutually exclusive right now. How regularly can you train? Do you plan to do any cardio or conditioning? What’s your current diet like?

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I get pretty sore when I lift, so I can only work each muscle group once per week.

I’m trying to do this for a split

I’m trying to do 3 days of cardio on the other days as well.
Trying to figure out a better diet, just trying to generally eat healthier now.

Did 325 × 6 squatting today

It’s only my 3rd squat workout since September

I’m trying to go up 5 - 10 pounds per week, with maybe an extra rep per week for a 2 - 3 months.

Is this too ambitious?

Have you considered doing 3 full body sessions per week? I’d think that would have a quicker impact on getting your body fat down than the split you mention. I also suggest you treat your cardio sessions as being just as important as your lifting sessions.

I can’t do full body sessions multiple times per week, my body can’t recover quickly enough

If I read your log right you’re going to hit each body part once a week. That means after say 12 weeks and 12 workouts for each body part you have increased anywhere from 60 to 120 lbs per major lift. Do you feel you’re capable of that?

When you say your body cant recover from full body sessions multiple times a week, is this because of an injury or are you just sore? What makes you believe you are unable to recover? Many older guys on here myself included will train the same movements multiple times a week with good results.
Is there a reason you have come up with your own split vs choosing a program written by an experienced coach ?

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I get very sore after lifting, I always have even when I was younger and training regularly.

I’m not sure, I feel like I might be capable of doing that with my legs, but only because I’m returning after a long layoff

I would rather follow a standard program, but I can’t seem to find one that allows myself enough recovery, since they usually hit muscle groups at least 2x per week

I will bench press on Monday and literally still feel sore on Saturday.

The soreness will get better the more you train. If you balance the volume and intensity across the week, you may find you get good results from full body.

If you are fixed on doing a split. There are lots of programs out there that don’t hit the same muscle group or movements more than once a week.

Are you set on 3 days a week? Or would you do more days?

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I like 3 days, but I could do 4 days

So, you’re making steady progress regarding your primary weightlifting goal (that being strength). This suggests there’s no need to change anything. On the other hand, your elbow pain indicates something does need to change (and needs to change ASAP). Can you be more specific regarding the pain–where precisely it’s located, which exercises aggravate it, etc. I suspect a simple re-organization of your split will take care of it.

Regarding weight loss: At this point, just continue eating healthier for a while–no crazy or superstrict dieting. Don’t overdo the cardio–keep it at three easy sessions/week. You have a lot of weight to lose–be patient.

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It hurts when I do exercises involving my triceps, I’m trying to work around it right now. It doesn’t really hurt while I’m doing it, it just might hurt after it.

I think it might be from too much workload, I was doing 5 x 5@80% for my chest and shoulders. Now I am trying to do one working set to failure on heavy compound exercises.

I guess I could try the following split

Push (chest shoulders tris)


Pull. (Back and bis)

I like my other split because it allows me to go much heavier on my shoulders and arms, since they aren’t being fatigued by chest and back

(I get fatigued quickly after benching or rowing)

Provided you do a true push/pull split (ie, not inadvertently including triceps work on ‘pull’ day), this split would be much better for your cranky triceps tendons, and would likely add to the number of pain-free lifting years you have.

Be that as it may, it seems your triceps don’t like it. And in the long run, theirs is the opinion that matters.


Spot on advice here!