NoECM Is Terrible at Squats Log

Hi All! Been lurking here quite awhile, posted a little, but still relatively new to the community. In for the Transformation challenge though. Male, 43 Y/O, training seriously and mostly consistently since 2007, just sans any real goals 6’5" currently around 245 to 250. No clue on the current BF%, probably 18-20%

Little about me… I suck at squatting. Been lifting a good long time, never been good at eating or tracking anything, just have always really liked lifting.

Not sure what my PBs actually are, most have been years ago. They are somewhere in the neighborhood of:

  • Flat Bench: 410 lbs
  • Deadlift: 500 lbs
  • Squat: 305 lbs
  • OHP: 275 lb

Yeah i suck at squatting. Ill be frank, ive never enjoyed it, and my leg development shows it. The one time i got in to a rhythm with them and started enjoying them, i went from 185 to the aformentioned 305 in very short order. Promptly got injured doimg something completely unrelated to squats, and lost all those gains.

Currently on TRT (140mg/ Week) and been there about 10 or 11 weeks now. Definitely feelimg better on that front. Been back in the gym very consistently for 12 weeks or so now.

I am recovering from a bulge disc in my lower back that, for a good bit, took me completely down. I have been squatting again light for about 2 weeks, really working hard on learning to properly brace. So this is going to be slow go,i really do not want to deal with back problems again. Im not quite ready to deadlift conventionally again quite yet, in fact not certain the risk reward is there fiven how rough the back got for a bit.

Currently my lifts are roughly (again, ive been terrible tracking this stuff):

Flat BB bench: 315 x 5
DL: Not lifting
Squat: 185 x 5
OHP: 135 x 10 (standing, the compression on my lower back is still a bit much, seated im still doing workimg sets with dumbells up to the 100s, which is biggest in my gym)

Goals: Get leaner and regain a little of the muscle i used to have floating around. I know recomp isnt always the best idea, so ill say recomp with the emphasis going to the fat loss. The TRT has been helping tremendously with some strength gains, so if they come, they come.

Enough for now, ill lay out the rough plan tomorrow. Thanks all for the great community, ive found you all to be extremely good resources for TRT and training alike.


Not the best pics, gym lighting sucks. Hopefully these suffice for entry. @TrainForPain



Thank you sir! Ive been pondering a path forward but still working out some details. Holiday season is obviously busy around the house, so just getting in quick training sessions for the last few days has been a win. Been doing Push/legs/pull for 12 weeks or so.


Knocked out light weight squats, in an unknown number. Working on bracing properly with every single rep. I only had a very short window to train of about 45 minutes, so squats it was. I need to get a video posted to look for thoughts and comments on form and how things are looking. Ultimately, im aware my progression on this log is going to come down to my progression in squats.

Another short session. Pulling today.

Barbell Rows-

Pullups (bodyweight)-

Latpull down-

140x15x3 (im working on back engagement, and this was in no way actual work. Ive really struggledengaging back muscles during pull days over the last year)

Short session, only had a little time again today.

Been on an ice bath kick lately, yesterday was 18 minutes at 43 degrees. Im not sure if these stick around through the challenge, but for now, they seem to help with some inflamation, and the dopamine response is amazing.

Moving forward id be curious what any community consensus would be. Ive ALWAYS been half hearted when getting lean because the strength impact just kills my ego. Im brutally honest with myself on this fact. Moronic i know. And i just feel skinny anything less than 240. I know alot of people talk about looking bigger as they get leaner, after they survive the weird middle ground.

What im leaning towards right now is spending the begining and middle of this challenge building strength while im still getting some initial trt benefits, specifically BUILDING MY SQUATS, and leaning out the last 4-6 weeks for summer and the contest.


Today is an off day. My hardest training day of the week. I am one of those people who cannot pass a training day and tend to screw that up when trying to follow a proven program. It is most certainly my outlet and my stress relief.

That being said, i am leaning towards running 5/3/1 for a good long time. I got a ton of inspiration going through Pwns log, hes just freaking strong and he trains correctly. Reading through 5/3/1 on Tnation and thinking about how ive just had injuries from time to time crush my gains… its got me motivated to take things and make the simple.

Looking better, being leaner, thats going to come from diet. I need simple training, geared around strength, to keep me from being self sabotaging me in the gym.

My definition of success in this log and for the contest… is going to be how i work to improve my biggest lifetime weakness… squats… and how i handle diet.

Edit to add… thanks @t3hPwnisher for the motivation in your log, as well as the insights on 5/3/1 within


Agile 8, Limber 11, active recovery

1 Like

Your log is pretty damn motivating too. Your log reminds me of a cat i used to train with, old man gates. Just strong. Biggest thing i miss from my previous deployed life was training with monsters. Sadly, i am the monster where i train. And i so so wish it werent so.

1 Like

Glad it’s been helpful dude! Feel free to tag me or hit me up in my log if I can help.

Bench Day today.
Week 1of 5/3/1 (max bench 345, 310 working max)

Bands, face pulls and light stretching to warmup

BB Bench:
135x10 warmup
185x5 warmup
205x5 working set 1
235x5 working set 2
265x5 working set 3

BBB accesories
BB incline press 135x10x5 (1 minute rest)
Superset w/ BB Rows 135x10
Dumbell curls 3 sets of 10 @ 45lbs

Ill likely get in a peloton ride later at medium intensity and im going to probably torture myself with a short ice bath. Ive decided they stay for the mental boost, but in shorter duration. I like the suck of getting in one. Its always funny when the old lady comes in middle of one and asks… what are you doing? I mean, im being miserable.

1 Like

Looking ahead to tomorrows plan… going to be squat day.

Treadmill at 30% incline 2mph 10 minutes
Leg extensions at 60 alternating with hamstring curls at 60
Light stretching

Squat (based on a 185 working max)
Bodyweight squats (warmup)
Bar only squats (warmup)
115x5 working set 1
135x5 working set 2
155x5+ working set 3

Assistance work
Leg Press 3 sets of 15, weight TBD
Hanging leg raises for abs (i find that ttaining abs on any movement where my lower back hinges helps with pain)

One of the things i am questioning now, and yes its too early to question this sort of thing, is the squat progression going forward. The 185 max is based on 2 things… im currently coming off an injury that really sidelined me, and ive also been a pathetic, no intestinal fortitude dude when i train squats. Im certainly much stronger than that when healthy and behaving like a man with a pair of balls. So moving forward, do i just stick woth the standard progression as outlined in 5/3/1, or do i allow for the fact that im handicapping myself at the start and allow the progression to rise faster at least at first? I guess ill see how it goes for a bit, but im leaning on staying with the 10lb per training cycle. If youd have told me 8 weeks ago id even be squatting today, or squattimg 225 again this year, id have taken it. I had to roll to my damn knees to get off the couch it was so bad. So slow is better maybe?

Looking forward to pending time with my new very bestest friend tomorrow… the squat.

1 Like

Easy work today, substituted the incline treadmill for shoveling my way through the snowpacolypse today. Ended up at 10 reps on the 155 working set, had more juice in the legs, but a tiny little tingle in the lower back is all it takes to stop a set for me right now. Again, after as bad as it was, i am pumped to be squatting again.

Found another monster in the gym today, a much bigger and stronger monster, which makes me happy, but he trains at total opposite times than me. Good to meet him and know hes there, hipefully i can train with him from time to time.

Think ill spend some time today looking for some other injury recovery logs for thoughts and ideas.

No training tomorrow, going to be an active recovery day. Peloton ride, some hiking in the snow and definitely some stretching.

Gearimg up for shoulder pressing day flowing. Hopefully some lingering pain is worked out by then (this is why i chose not to shoulder press as the BBB portion of bench day) and ive gotta wrap my head around deadlifts again.

The back feels great. Feels stronger and healed. So deadlifting is going to be back in the cards for me.

1 Like

Quick one this morning.

Some bands and face pulls to get things moving followed by:

Bar x 10 warmup
95 x 5 warmup
135 x 5 working set
165 x 4 working set
135 x 5 working set

I haven’t done any OHPs in quite awhile. Reading 5/3/1 the advice seems to be spend a few weeks working up to sets of 3 or 4 to get an idea of what your max is if you do not know. So… the set at 165 wasnt super heavy, but again, the low back pressure i could feel. So i am happy to call that what it is and go from there. For future working sets, i think ill begin this cycle with a training max of 170 lbs and work off of that.

I followed that up with bench press 5 sets of 10 @ 155 which is half my 310 working max in bench, super set with sets of 5 pullups.

After that i knocked out some light tricep extensions and some light dumbell curls. Im still trying to feel out 5 3 1 so taking it a bit slow right now. I know it ramps up in intensity quickly, so im not letting the fact that these early workouts are not that challenging bother me or guide my decision making.

1 Like

A rare day when training just was not in the cards. Too damn much going on in the real world today. Going to take it as an extra day of recovery i hadnt planned on. Still going to be a full week of training as its just a relocated off day, but one of my most deeply held beliefs is never taking an off day at anything on the day of. Always plan off days. Alas it happens.

Kept eating in check today. Good clean fuel today and enough of it to knock out a big training day tomorrow. My return to deads after more than 3 months away from them.

1 Like

Tabata prisoner squats perhaps? Could help with the being terrible at squats, haha.

Ill have to look in to it. It got seriously bad, at one point i could dead 500, pause a 405 bench, and could barely eek out a 275 squat. I need to post a form video honestly. Get some feedback. I do readily admit most of my deficiency in squats is the fact ive never enjoyed them and i have lacked the intestinal fortitude to take on difficult squat sets. Im working on both.

Deadlifts today. They welcomed me back with open arms… and promptly chewed me up and spit me out.

Warmup was about 20 minites of moving, some leg extensions, hypers, hamstring curls and walking. Just moving.

With no clue what i can pull amd no desire to jack up my back, i went with the followimg progression:

95 x 10
95 x 5
135 x 5
135 x 5 (sumo)
135 x 5 (at this point i felt ok, felt form was ok)
185 x 5
185 x 5 (sumo)
225 x 3 (felt ok. I felt a little hingy if that makes sense, like legs just were not pushing away right)
225 x 3 (felt better. No issues)
255 x 3 (weight not an issue, but the hingy feeling came back, so i decided id take a win on just deadlifting)
225 x 3
135 x 5

Again, the weights were not super challenging. The fear in my lower back was. But again, at my age and comimg off an injury, every training day i get better is a win. Deadlifting again, pain free, was a huge mental win.

Went in to BBB squats. 5 sets of 10 at 95lbs. Ouch. My work capacity is just going to take some beefing up. But got the work done, feel great, ready to keep grinding these damn squats.

Hit the heavy bag 3 rounds, on jelly legs, which is always fun. Felt good today. Time to go home and eat right today. I love this stuff.

1 Like

Bench Day Week 2

Training max 310 for this cycle.

Warmup with face pulls and bands with some stretching.

Bar x 20 (warmup)
135 x 10 (warmup)
185 x 5 (warmup)
220 x 3 working set 1
250 x 3 working set 2
280 x 3 working set 3


OHP 5x10 @ 95lbs Super Set with sets of 5 to 8 chins.

DB curls / lying DB tricep extensions superset, just some light reps, nothing to track.

I am going to pick up a couple of 5/3/1 books to start getting some more info outside of the simple articles here. Even though i feel like the articles here are more than sufficient to get it done. Ill get a miserable ice bath and an easy peloton ride in later today. Bodyweight is still right in the 243 to 247 range almost constantly.

1 Like

Off day yesterday. Training 4 days a week is tough. Currently have a pile of kids i have to keep up with during the days, so, yeah not really a rest day.

Woke up to the world being a sheet of ice because of some overnight rain. Schools closed. Daycare closed. Good. More steps in my forecast today.

At some point today ill get down to the gym for week 2, squat day. Excited to squat today. Should look something like:


Working sets of 3 @ 130, 150 and 170

Ab work super set with 5 sets of 10 @ 135 in deadlift. I do love combining abs and deadlift, always makes me feel better with the movement. When i lifted heavier in deads, it was always with abs.

1 Like

Few tough days last few. Couple days ago missed my normal time in gym, went later, full of kids playing on equipment. Turned that in to just moving for the sake of moving and getting blood flowimg a little.

Then 2 additional days of no training, cardio or anything. Sometimes it happens, too much going on with kids to do much. Additionally, sleep has been, well, none. No more than 6 or 8 broken hours total over last 3 nights. Covid and kids just don’t mix. Fun times.

Ice bath today, not super cold. Used my daughters bath water which was still warm and tossed some ice blocks from the bath porch in. Meat thermoter had it between 53 and 55. Also used alternating hot and cold shower, because i was certain, hindsight being what it is, that she peed in the bathwater.

Shoulder, which had been nagging for a few weeks, feels amazing today. I have had plenty of calories to repair anything nagging, and if i can score some sleep tonight i hope ill be fully back on track tomorrow.

I often forget sometimes life just happens.

1 Like