I’m a 44 year old male and have been lifting for a little over a year. Over the last 20+ years, I’d began lifting but rarely lasted more than a few months before getting distracted by something else or losing steam. For whatever reason I’ve finally been able to stick with it for much longer this time and I really don’t see myself stopping.
Having said that, my attention deficit issues make it tough for me to not program hop frequently. When I began a year ago I used the standard 531 program but probably with a little less volume on assistance work. Though it’s not typically used as a beginner program, I thought it would be a good way to start, with it stressing a more long term approach combined with my age and the fact that I had allowed myself to get into fairly poor condition. I ran it for a few months and had good strength gains but didn’t nail down healthier diet habits and wasn’t doing much cardio work on non lifting days. After a few months I began program hopping and have mostly done so since.
I got up to about 287 lbs at my heaviest and figured it was time to begin to tighten down on my eating habits. It can still be tough but I’m doing much better than a year ago. I’m down to about 257 lbs currently. My height is approximately 6-3.
Between getting past newbie gains, losing weight, and all the program hopping, my strength gains have mostly stalled though I have have developed better strength in moderate to higher rep ranges and have increased my training capacity. I think my max effort lifts may have decreased just a touch over a short time when I lost about 15 lbs pretty quickly. I want to have a somewhat more holistic approach but am still mostly motivated by strength improvements. I still need to drop over 20 more lbs though. While doing so I want to take my squat up to 450 lbs by my 45th birthday. I have a little under a year.
To get there I’ve put together my own plan, heavily borrowing from others, which I believe fits my overall goals of getting stronger, improving my body composition, and fitting into my schedule. It’s basically a mix of 531 and Hepburn with a quick pace.
Weekly schedule is 531 - with the press, trap bar deadlift, bench press, and squat being the four main lifts. The progression is inspired by Hepburn. The main lifts begin at 8x3 moving up to 8x4. Once I hit 4 reps on all sets I move up in weight and start back at 8x3. The number of added reps isn’t set in stone. If I can add a rep to two or three sets that’s fine. If it’s just one, that’s fine too. The assistance work follows a similar approach going from 3x10 to 3x12 or 3x12 to 3x14. Rest between the main lift sets is 70 seconds. Rest between the compound assistance lifts is capped at three minutes but I try to go quicker than that. Rest between the isolation assistance lifts is set at 90 seconds but, again, I try to go quicker.
Standing OHP 8x3-4
DB Bent Over Rows 3x10-12
DB Bench Press 3x10-12
DB Curls 3x12-14
- I’ll usually superset the Rows and DB BP.
Trap Bar Deadlift 8x3-4
Safety Bar Squat 3x10-12
Planks (trying to progressively add more time)
Bench Press 8x3-4
Lat Pulls 3x10-12
Triceps Push Down 3x12-14
Romanian Deadlifts 3x10-12
Face Pulls 3x10-12
It’s not programmed in, but on squat and DL days I may add some adductor and abductor work at the end. Prior to pressing I try to do some shoulder rotational stuff as I’m trying to work through some AC joint soreness in my left shoulder. I’m also trying to add short cardio at the end, time permitting. Going to start getting in more light cardio on non lifting days.
I’m not sure what my current squat max is, but I hit 385 a few months ago. Currently working with 290 on my 8x3-4.
I’m a couple weeks in with this program.
***Edited to add that AC joint soreness wasn’t improving, possibly getting worse. So I just found a program/philosophy I could utilize three days a week so I’d only be doing upper body pushing once a week. Basing it off of Paul Carter’s Big 15. Going to use this for an extended period of time. Also going to put more attention into treating the shoulder.