Powerlifter's Cancer Recovery

Can a powerlifter that is on the better side of middle age, lose most of his strength because of chemotherapy and get it back? I don’t know. I am going to try and log my efforts here. I was a bicyclist that started lifting at age 40. I did my 1st meet at age 45. Now I am 55 Since then, I have competed in the USAPL and AAPF as a raw lifter in the 308 and SHW. My best competition lifts are.
Squat 507
Bench 352
Deadlift 584
After 7 weeks of radiation and chemo that ended Jan 10th. I waited another month and a half to go back to the gym until I was able to consume enough calories. My strength loss soul crushing. At a bodyweight of 290lbs.
Squat 135 (and it was not pretty)
Bench 160
Deadlift 275
I now have almost 3 months of training in and have made some progress. I have started and stopped a couple time because of complications of the cancer treatments. My weight loss has stabilized, and I have even gained 3lbs. I lost 75lbs over 8 months. 10lbs when my wife died, 40lbs after the recovery from the treatments and 25lbs after the pulmonary embolism. That last 25lbs came off scary fast. It is my goal to compete again with the strength I had last fall. I`m now at 267lbs and I feel good and ready to train. This is my first time ever posting anything on the internet. I hope I can add my workout logs to this stream.

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Congrats on getting started again. Only one way to find out.
Welcome to forum.

You can log your workouts by hitting the reply button and type it out.

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Thank you

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You have been through a lot, sir. Best of luck and let us know how we can be helpful. If nothing else, I hope this log can help you vent/ talk

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Thank you for your support and I love the name ( train for pain)

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7/15/2022
DL
135lbs 1rep 10sets
185 1 5
225 1 5
275 1 1
315 1 2 put on belt
365 1 1
385 1 3
chest supported tbar rows
105 8 3
70 8 3
low cable face pulls
85 10 3
cable curls
140 10 3
roman chair
10 2

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7/20/2022
paused box squats
bar for 10 reps 2 sets
135lbs 8 reps
185 5 3
205 2
185 5 2

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7/21/2022
bench
bar 10
135lbs 5reps
170 5 4sets
170 for 11reps
MP
95lbs 8reps 3sets
HS incline press
140lbs 10reps 3sets
cable lateral raise
20lbs 10reps
30lbs 10reps 2sets
cable press down
150lbs 10reps 3 sets
incline sit ups
10reps 3sets

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Yes, you can get back to where you were. My story here: Getting Back After Cancer Treatment - #25 by Extopaflyer

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You are looking very fit. You mentioned getting your deadlift back. How close did you get with your bench and squat. Thank you.

Hi Bam,

Reading your story youve had had to take a lot of hard knocks, but you cant keep a good guy down!! Your a true inspiration!!

Hopefully this helps. One of my best friends was diagnosed with testicular cancer and multiple tumors. During treatment he lost a lot of mass, but this was him a year ago in my home gym less than a year after finishing treatment. Benching 418lb here, hes back benching now over 500lb

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You are right about the squat. I think it’s because the chemotherapy hits the nervous system also.

That is inspiring. If I tried a 500lb bench before treatments it would have been considered a suicide attempt.

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Not very, but there are other issues involved. I injured my shoulder in a motorcycle accident not long after I got back to the gym, and it still hasn’t completely healed. Chest workouts have been regulated to the cable machine where I have been able to find a groove that doesn’t cause pain. If you read through my whole post I indicated that I was able to match my precancer best of 420 lbs in the deadlift. I’m over 60 and 160 lbs. That amount is within spitting distance of the California record for my weight and age. Close enough to hire a trainer to put me over the top. My concentration was solely on the deadlift; I neglected my squat workouts. I was about a month away from competing when Covid hit. Here in California the gyms were closed for a long time. Frankly, by the time they reopened I had lost all of my motivation and unfortunately I haven’t really gotten back. I still go to the gym 5 days a week and push it just as hard as ever, but I’m no longer trying to break personal powerlifting records. But I’m also 64. You’re just a young pup :slight_smile:

Well, it took me something like 30 years to get my squat to 135, bench 145, and DL 275, so overall it’s just a really slow process, even at best. I had treatment for prostate cancer a couple years ago and it didn’t interfere much with my lifting.

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Glad you are still with us. You know you are alive when you are pushing your personal limit under the squat bar.

7/22/2022
Deadlift
Worked up to
405 for a couple of singles
Made me feel really good and went up without a hitch (pun intended)
Dmbl rows
100 x 18
Rdls
225 x 8x 3

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Lol. Progress!

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7/25/2022
I decided that I was going to beat myself up in the squat rack today. If I can’t walk tomorrow so, be it. I dug out my squat shoes and knee sleeves, thinking I might trick myself into being stronger.

bar x 10 x 2
135 x 5 x1
185 x 5 x1
225 x 5 x 1 my first time under 2 plates this year
225 x 2 x 1
185 x 5 x 19
185 x 0 Had to drop it on the safeties

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7/27/2022
BW 274

Got on the scale this morning and uncontrolled weight loss is no longer an issue. I’m going to have to start watching what I eat or stop drinking bourbon on the weekends. I’ll start watching what I eat.
Bench
bar x 10
135 x 5
155 x 5
175 x 5 x 4
175 x 12

MP
100 x 8 x3

HS incline press
150 x 10 x 3

Pec Dec
150 X 10 x 3 (pin position #3and #3}
Cable Press Down
150 x10 x 3
Cable Lateral Raise
30 x 10 x 3
Incline sit ups
10 x 4 sets

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