T Nation

Not Bad for an Old Man


I've been lurking on the site for a while, and have been wanting to start a log in this section. I enjoy checking in on the strength pursuits of others my age. I'd like to add to the group here, in the hopes that I can get feedback on how to manage this pursuit as I get older, and maybe even inspire some others fighting the effects of wear and tear.

Quick stats on me:
I'm 39 years old, have been married for 14 years, and am the father of 3 children. I'm a mailman for my day job, with a walking route. I do 6-8 miles of "urban hiking", 5-6 days per week. This has a tremendous effect on my lifting, recovery, joint health, weight management, and general energy levels.

I'm 5'8" tall, and yesterday morning, I weighed 217.4 relatively lean lbs. I've been lifting for 11 years, and did my first powerlifting meet in August 2008. My wife and I both compete and serve as state referees in USAPL. We just got back from our almost-annual trip to Disney World, and are training for USAPL Raw Nationals, October 17-18. I'll be in the 105kg Open, and can't wait to be eligible for Masters division starting next year! She's 36, and is in the 84+kg Open. We usually train 3-4 days per week, and we usually train together these days.

I haven't competed equipped since December 2010, but I expect to get back in some suits and shirts in 2016 and beyond. I plan to compete raw and single-ply going forward. I don't get into the raw vs gear debate. I enjoy both, and don't make excuses for training or competing in either style.

Enough of that stuff, and onto the fun part of a training log - the training! Here is yesterday's session - our first one since the Disney trip, and first squat session in 13 days. There was definitely some rust.

TUE. 9/8/15 - Heavy Squat, Light Bench

  1. Squat
    135/5, 225/5, 275/3, 315/2, 365/1
    405/1 - added wrist wraps here
    435/1 - added belt here
    455/1 - Kind of slow, as expected, but harder than I'd hoped.
    430/2, 2

NOTE: when I alternate sets between 2 or more exercises, I list them as 2a, 2b, etc.

2a. Bench Press
5 reps each at 95, 135, 165, 185

2b. Squat Press - plate loaded machine, similar to the normal leg press
6 reps each at 180, 360, 540, 720 - last set was 1-2 reps shy of failure.

Thanks for reading all of this. I look forward to being a part of the group.


1st...Welcome !


Welcome. It's a friendly group here; just supporting each other on our individual journeys. A lot of us are competitive powerlifters.

I'm envious of you having a job that allows you so much active recovery. Really awesome.

It's quite possible I know you or your wife or at least am acquainted with your names. I have been affiliated with USAPL since 2008 as well and have attended several national and world meets.

It's cool that you'll be an M1 next year. USAPL Masters Nationals is in my backyard next May. Perhaps you'll be competing and we'll meet then? My coach will be lifting. In the meantime, good luck training for Raw Nats. PA, right? That is my absolute favorite meet to watch.


Except for me...Im the Ass of the group.

All joking aside welcome you will fit in here just fine. As KP stated a large % in the over 35 do meets or are strength focused.


Thanks everyone! KP, we might have crossed paths. If you've ever been to the Arnold Sports Festival in the past 7 years, then we've been in the same spot. I competed in the Raw Challenge there in 2010 & 2011, coached a lifter in '12 (IIRC) and have attended every year '08-'15. American Open 2010, Raw Nats 2012 has been it for Natl meets. If we haven't met, hopefully we will do so one of these days.

I haven't gone back to work yet since the trip. I'd been saying I'm going tomorrow to save a little leave, but now it looks more like I'll wait until Saturday. What that means for today was an afternoon training session - I normally train at night.

THU. 9/10/15 - Heavy Bench, Light Deadlift

  1. Bench Press

95/6, 145/5, 185/3, 225/3
255/2 - added wrist wraps here
275/2 - started getting handoffs here. Easier than I expected. Felt like I was good for 4.
285/3 - Again, easier than I expected. RPE either 9.5 or 10.
290/2 - Really happy with this. I've been hoping to open with 287 at the meet. Yes, my bench is pathetic for someone who's been training this long.

  1. Deadlift - I use a modified sumo stance.

5 reps each at 135, 225, 275.

  1. DB OHP

10 reps each w/45's and 60's.

Wanted to do one more set each of DL's and OHP, but the childwatch was closing, and we had to get our 2-year old girl. My son takes karate at the YMCA we train at, so I may do some stuff like face pulls and ab wheel since I didn't have time for it this afternoon.


What was the joke?!?!


Welcome sir. What are your competition PR's?

The Arnold is my backyard and it's amazing how it has grown over the years. Bulldog actually helped me at my first meet back in 2011 and is a pretty good guy but we can't let it go to his head!

Good luck . Looking forward to following your progress. Amazing how competing makes us look forward to hitting age milestones that others are fretting. so that we can move up the ranks. I'm 18 months out from hitting 50. Kpsnap just turned 30 but she likes hanging out with the older guys.


Here are my raw PR's:

Squat - 230 kg (507 lbs) @ 92.7 kg (204 lbs)
Bench - 140 kg (308 lbs) somewhere around 205 lbs. Did an unofficial 4th attempt with a ref in the warmup room, just to know I could hit it.
Deads - 262.5 kg (578 lbs) @ 92.2 kg (203 lbs)
TOTAL - 627.5 kg (1383 lbs)
WILKS - 394.82

I haven't done an equipped meet in almost 5 years. I was in the 198's back then, and I think I squatted 551 at that meet. I don't remember the BP or DL. I did an equipped test day at the end of 2012, and did 595/358/573. Is there a way to post YouTube vids here? I know I haven't been posting long, so that may be why I don't see a way to embed vids.

As it turns out, I did more in the gym than I expected in the gym tonight. I was just looking for stuff to do to kill time while my son was in karate. All of these were hold & squeeze reps - bodybuilding type reps.

THU. 9/10/15, Part 2 - Extra Stuff

  1. Face Pulls - rope attachment on cable station
    25/20, 15, 15

  2. DB Raises
    20's/12 front, 10 side, 10 front, 10 side

  3. Pressdowns
    62.5/12 - rope attachment
    70/15, 85/10 - short, straight bar
    85/8 - V handle

  4. DB Curls
    40's/12 - This was the 1st set of curls I've done since July 21. That day, I did 3 sets. :slightly_smiling:

The plan is to do heavy deadlifts & light squats tomorrow, followed by a lunch buffet at our favorite Indian restaurant. GAINZ!!!


Here's where we crossed paths. In Killeen.

I can relate.

It's true about the older guys. But I am exactly two weeks out from being an M2.

I just heard that Raw Nats has more than 930 lifters rostered and four platform. I cannot imagine the warmup room.

In terms of embedding videos, just cut and paste the YouTube link right into your blog.


Great work here. I'll be following along.


Welcome to the forum. Lots of smart strong folks here.


Crippler and HARA, glad to have you along for the ride!

KP, my apologies - it must have been Raw Nats in 2011, in Scranton, PA. Same site as this year's. I haven't been to Killeen. As for the warmup room with 930+ lifters, and a few days yet to go until the deadline, the director has stated that there will be 9 rack/bench stations and 3-4 DL only stations. 4 platforms running for the meet. Worthy of note - when we were at Disney World last week, one of the ride attendants' name tag indicated she was from Scranton. We told her we'd be there in a month, and she knew all about it. She's not into PL, but she said the event is a huge deal to the folks in her hometown.

As for today's lifting, it didn't go quite as I planned. Poor clock management. None of the upper back work or hamstring work I wanted to do, and squats were literally as light as possible.

FRI. 9/11/15 - Deadlifts, and not much else

  1. Squat/RDL Warmup
    Squat: bodyweight x 20
    RDL: bar x 20
    Squat: bar x 10
    RDL: bar x 10

See? As light as possible.

  1. Deadlift - modified sumo stance
    365/2 - started using over/under grip here
    425/1 - started using chalk here
    495/1 - started using belt here
    525/1, 1, 1 - Replaced shoes with my comp slippers for the 3rd single.

Those 525's were never in doubt, but felt REALLY slow. My wife's heaviest pulls today were at 245 & 260 (PR is 292 from June), and hers were slow too. Before my next to last set it hit me - we hadn't pulled heavy in 13 days, and this was just our 3rd session back. I'll chalk it up to that, and won't worry unless the next session or two aren't any better.

As I said, we didn't do well with time again today, so the rows and RDL's we had planned didn't happen. We said we'd go back this evening, but she and all 3 children went to sleep after getting them from school, and didn't wake up until it was too late for childwatch. Like many moms, she's always complaining about being tired. When she came downstairs after her nap, she was fussing that I hadn't awakened her. Sometimes, you just can't win.

At least we got to the Indian buffet. :smiley:


welcome to the geriatric wing!

will be following your progress.


Nice lifting in here and I hope you and your wife do well in your next meet. Powerlifting with a purpose sounds like the logo for the federation I compete in the most: Raw United.


What kind of deadlift program are you running? 3 singles at 90% is pretty stout.


Thank you Hawk & Gorilla. GV, no slogan infringement intended. I'm not too familiar with that fed, so it's pure coincidence. :slightly_smiling:

DB, my DL training goes something like this:

Meet prep: about 5-6 weeks out, aim for 3 singles at 90+% each session. If time/energy allow, decrease the weight and do 1-4 singles at 80-89%. In most cases, I would have done at least 2 singles in that 80-89% range on my way up to ninety. There is no real time limit on these, other than a general sense of urgency to finish in time to get everything done.

No meet or test day in sight: work up to one "heavy" single, then back off a bit to anything over 80%. Then I'm pulling singles under a time constraint, as in shoot for 8 singles with the same weight in 10 minutes, or 10 singles in 12 minutes. If time/energy aren't there, I'll skip the heavy single, and my "on the clock" weight will be my heaviest for the day.

This is my own spin on the SSPT Deadlift Table. If you haven't heard of it, here's a link:


Weighed myself this morning - down to 213.8 lbs. On Labor Day, I was 217.4 lbs. I've been back to work since Monday, and this kind of quick drop post-vacation is pretty normal. I don't think I'll drop more than another pound or two, before it levels off and then rebounds.

TUE. 9/15 - SQUAT

  1. Squat135/6 - Felt tightness/mild pain in hip flexors & abductors. Figured it would go away.
    225/4 - Pain hadn't gone away. Felt like streaks of heat shooting downward from my hip/pelvis.
    275/2 - Started to get worried. Tried foam rolling it.

325/1 - Sucked. My wife was talking to someone, and turned around startled when I let an expletive go on the way out of the hole. She said "What's wrong? You don't cuss." I told he how the tightness was getting worse. I decided to do some more rolling, stretching and mobility stuff and see if 325 felt any better or worse.

325/1 - Much better, in terms of both speed and pain. I was encouraged enough to keep going.

365/1 - Added wrist wraps here.
405/2 - Added belt here. Flexors & abductors were feeling better by the set.
425/2 - Felt tougher than it looks on video. Good for another rep or 2.
445/2 - Heavier off the rack, but moved just like the 425. Stunned by the turnaround.
455/1 - Started this set hoping for 2, but took a long time getting my feet in position. I think I need new shoes. Before I started my descent, I'd already changed my mind to a single.

415/1, 1 - This turned out to be like a rest-pause set. I was hoping for 3-4, but the 415 felt like the 455. I actually checked the plates after the first rep to make sure it was loaded properly.

Summary: Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! I was about to abort the whole session by that first 325 single. I hope this turns out to be a harmless lesson in what I need to do to improve my warm-ups for squats and deadlifts, as well as taking care of myself in general.

THU. 9/17/15 - BENCH PRESS
1. Bench Press95/6, 145/5, 185/4, 225/3
250/3 - Added wrist wraps here.
270/3 - Started getting handoffs here.
290/3 - RAW 3-REP PR! Paused the first rep, touch & go on 2-3.
300/1 - Got commands on this one. Rare for me to bench 300 raw in training.
265/4, 4 - Good for 5 on each set, and second set felt stronger.

Compared to an awful lot of lifters, there is nothing astounding about these numbers. Plenty of people smaller than me warm up with this. But it honestly may have been my best session of raw bench pressing, ever.

  1. DB OHP40's/12, 55's/10 - Did these standing.
    70's/8, 60's/10 - Did these seated. I probably haven't done a seated OHP in 5+ years.

  2. Face Pulls - Cable with rope attachment.
    40/20, 15

Trying to deal with that body weight issue as I type this, with a steak bowl from Chipotle, and apple pie a la mode on tap for the end. God willing, deadlifts tomorrow.


Strong squatting and congratulations on the bench session.


This is huge. Congratulations!

Just read Raw Nats has 1,144 rostered. I cannot imagine . . .

And what weight class are you planning to compete in? 205 or 231?


Thank you sir.

Thank you ma'am. Yes, Raw Nats is going to be unreal. This has to be the largest USAPL meet ever. I haven't read that, but I can't imagine a larger roster. Maybe Collegiate Nats where you have teams, but I don't know.

As for weight class, I have two options: cut weight and lose, or eat anything and lose. I'm going with the latter, so this will be my debut at 231.

Here's how Friday's lifting went:

FRI. 9/18/15 - DEADLIFT

  1. Deadlift - modified sumo in thick-soled shoes
    135/6, 205/3, 275/2, 345/2, 415/1, 465/1
    505/1 - Added belt here.
    535/1 - Went slower than expected, and turned my left shoulder in a weird way. No injuries, but it made the pull awkward.
    535/1 - Repeated the weight in my competition slippers. Still slow, but cleaner.
    495/1 x 5 - Added Versa Gripps here, and still in the slippers. I usually do my back-off singles with a time constraint, but I didn't rush through these. Took me about 11:00 for these.

2a. RDL - back in the shoes
275/10, 10

2b. Pullups
BW/10, 10, 10 - different grip each set

God willing, we'll be in there Tue/Thu/Fri this week also, and possibly with a different split. 9-10 heavy sessions to go.