Update for 9/2/2017:
Program: 5/3/1 with a current emphasis on preparing for a strongman competition on 11/11/2017.
Best 1RM’s (November 2017):
Overhead Press 195#
No bench record because of shoulder problem.
Current best lifts (Last week, sets of 3, not really maxxes since I wasn’t testing, just the best lifts I’ve hit lately):
Bench: 3x225# (shoulder not quite 100%, but much better)
I’ve had several layoffs of anywhere from 3-5 months over the last 4 years, since I’ve been in Kansas. My most recent layoff was from the end of November 2016 until April 2017, and I’ve been very consistent since then. I signed up for a Strongman competition in Missouri, and I’m adjusting my 5/3/1 program slightly to support that goal, but I’m not making any sweeping changes because it’s been working for me so well so far. I’ll update this first post again after the competition.
End of update.
Okay, I’ve been reading T-Nation articles for a while now, and I finally decided to join up, since this looks like a good place to post my log, and checking out the training logs of strong people is a great motivation to me, to see what’s achievable.
First, a little about me, I’m pretty old (turned 49 in January) and, worse than that, I didn’t really start training to be strong until about 5 years ago. When I was younger, I was more into swimming and running, and only toyed around with weights at best. About 8 years ago a friend got me into Crossfit, and I had a lot of fun with that for a while.
I go balls deep in whatever I’m doing, so I had some great success with Crossfit, got strong(er), got really fit and got ripped to shreds, looked better than I ever did before… I also got injured, over and over. I don’t completely blame Crossfit for my injuries, but rather my tendency to go all-out at whatever I do, combined with my unwillingness to acknowledge that I’m not as young or resilient as I used to be.
Also, not all of the injuries were directly from Crossfit. I also dislocated my left shoulder and broke my right arm snowboarding (2 separate incidents). I decided something needed to change.
The best thing Crossfit did for me, I realized, was introduce me to doing real barbell lifts. Of everything I got out of it, the thing that I valued the most was the improved strength, so I decided to focus on that. I bought Starting Strength, got decent at all the big lifts, and got a little stronger. Then I bought the 5/3/1 e-book, and continued to get stronger, and decided I wanted to compete in powerlifting.
In December 2012 I set a goal, to compete at the California Games in San Diego in July, and started working toward that, following 5/3/1 (at this time I also bought 5/3/1 for Powerlifting, and incorporated that into my work). Then my ego got the better of me again, and I hurt myself trying to test my rep maxxes back in April of 2013, tried to bench 255# without a spotter, and completely detached my left pectoral muscle from my shoulder.
In July, when I should have been competing in my first PL competition, I was instead getting reconstructive surgery on my left shoulder. On the plus side, all the lifting I’ve done over the last few years has apparently done wonders for my bone density - The orthopedic surgeon told me he had to try half a dozen times before he got the staples to penetrate my bone enough to anchor the tendons… so, a win there, I guess?
The doc also told me to wait at least 6 months to get under a bar and bench press, and also told me not to do anything else that would seriously tax the attachment, so I spent a few months just piddling around. Then in December, I started doing some 5x5’s with light weights to get an idea how strong I was and get my muscles used to bearing weight again.
In January I picked a week, some doable weights, and did as many reps as I could comfortably make of each main lift to calculate a starting max, then on 1/27/14 I restarted 5/3/1.
Fast forward 4 months, and I just wrapped up the first week of my 5th cycle of 5/3/1. So far I’ve been successful in keeping my ego in check and following the program, doing the recommended jumps each cycle even though I’m sure my training maxxes are well below what my actual maxxes would be if I tested them. I want to give my joints and connective tissue time to adapt, and I don’t want to go and break myself again and destroy all the progress I’ve made.
I am still going to compete in a PL competition, but now I’m looking at the beginning of next year so I don’t get in a hurry and do something stupid to myself.