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Squat 100 LBS per Decade

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.

Day one:
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.

Day two:
Trap Bar Deadlift 8x3-4
Safety Bar Squat 3x10-12
Planks (trying to progressively add more time)

Day Three:
Bench Press 8x3-4
Lat Pulls 3x10-12
OHP 3x10-12
Triceps Push Down 3x12-14

Day Four:
Squat 8x3-4
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.

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2/15/20

OHP 100 lbs - 4/3/3/3/3/3/3/4
DB BOR 90 lbs total - 12/12/12
DB BP - 100 lbs total - 12/12/12
DB Curls - 50 lbs total - 14/10/8

The rows and DB BP were superset. My reps on the curl were actually down from last week. I think it’s due to adding more reps on the rows and using some holds and slow lowering on the last rep on the rows. If I can’t get at least 12 reps per set next week, I’ll probably back off the weight on the curls. I’ll plan to go up to 100 and 110 on the rows and DB BP next time.

2/17/20

Trap Bar Deadlift - 320 - 4/4/4/4/4/4/3/3
Safety Bar Squat - 185 - 12/12/10

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Gonna be checking up on this one. Hepburn is one of my favorite methods I’ve ever ran and really enjoy seeing others use it. Good luck and good lifts, sir!

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Appreciate it. It’s my first time using progression like this.

2-19-20

BP - 190 - 4/4/4/4/4/4/4
Lat Pulls - 105 - 12/12/12
OHP - 70 - 10/10/10
Triceps Push Down - 90 - 12/12/12

The Lat Pulls and OHP were superset. I’ll go up to 195 on BP next week and move up on the lat pulls. Still a pretty good bit of soreness in my left shoulder. I may have to end up tweaking this to only do upper body pushing movements once a week to give more recovery time. We’ll see over the next week.

Went ahead and made the decision to move to a 3 day PPL. Shoulder staying sore pretty much all the time trying to press twice a week. I need sound joints in my profession. Think I’m going to run in back to back 3 week cycles with a deload every 7th week. Going slightly down in volume and up in intensity through the 3 weeks.

Legs

Squat - 270x8, 265x8, 260x8, 250x8
RDL - 155x8, 155x8, 155x8, 155x8
Leg Press - 300x8, 335x8, 345x8, 345x8

Was feeling out the appropriate weight to use for the 8 reps this time.

2-24-20

BP - warm up then 205x1, 185x10 followed by 185x5 1 min later
OHP - 45 47 reps over 3 sets
Decline Dumbbell Press - 50 t - 65 reps over 3 sets
Ones set of 20 on triceps push down.

2/26/20

Trap Bar Deadlift - Warm Up: 135x10, 185x5, 205x4, 275x3, 305x2

350x1
285x12
1 min rest
285x6

DB Rows:
80 Total lbs - 25/14/12 (2 mins between sets)

Lat Pulls:
90 lbs - 15/12/13 (2 mins between sets)

Face Pulls:
60lbsx20

2/28/20

Squat -

Warm Up: 45x10, 95x5, 135x4, 205x3, 245x2

Working Sets:
315x1
260x12 followed by 1 minute rest
260x6

RDL -
135x21
135x14
135x12

Seated Leg Press -
335x20
335x17
335x13

Seated Leg Curl -
75x20

Shoulder still pretty sore after today’s push workout. Going to narrow the grip more on bench next week. I think I might still be a bit wider than my shoulders like. Will probably stick with the same weight, despite meeting the rep goal since it will be a more narrow grip. Will get a feel for it as I build up to the over warm up. If I have to, I’ll go down some. Also did a machine OHP today instead of standing barbell OHP. Think I’ll stick with that for a while. Kept the first exercise the same with the over warm up and 50% sets. Instead of doing the 350 method on compound assistance work, I played around with Paul Carter’s Jacked In 3 set and rep scheme on the compound assistance work. Will do the same on the remaining days this week. Then I’ll decide which style to use the rest of the way. I do like the over warm up and 50% sets for the first lift though.

BP -
Warm Up:
45x10, 95x5, 135x4, 160x3, 180x2
Working sets:
205x1
185x12 followed by 60 seconds rest
185x6

Flat DB Press - (using rounds of hops with 20 seconds rest in between) weight listed in total lbs

First Round: (began too heavy following BP) 70x8, 80x8 30x8, 40x8, 50x8, 60x8, 70x8, 80x8

Second Round: 24x8, 30x8, 40x8, 50x8, 60x8, 70x8, 80x8, 90x6

Machine OHP -

First Round: 10x8, 20x8, 30x8, 40x8, 50x8, 60x8, 70x7, 80x3

Second Round: 10x8, 20x8, 30x8, 40x8, 50x8, 60x7, 70x1

Face Pulls: 45x25

3/4/20

Trap Bar Deadlift -

Warm Up: 135x8, 185x5, 205x4, 255x3, 315x2

365x1
300x12 followed by 1 minute rest
300x6

DB BOR - (total weight)

90x21
90x12
90x9

Lat Pulls -

90x16
90x12
90x12

Face Pulls -

45x15

I’ll go up another 15 lbs on the Trap Bar Deadlift for the working set. May stay the same or just go up 5 lbs on the single next week.

I was pushed for time so I utilized the 350 method for the compound assistance work because it would be quicker. I think that gives me the answer I’m looking for on that

Used a different cable apparatus for the Face Pulls today, so I had to adjust and use less weight.

3/7/20

Squat

Warm Up:
45x10
95x5
135x4
185x3
225x2
275x1
315x1

Sets:
260x15
1 min rest
260x7

RDL
135x25
135x15
135x12

Seated Leg Press
350x20
350x17
350x13

Seated Leg Curl
87.5x20

Hit my rep goals on everything tonight. So I’ll move up on everything next week.

3/9/20

Narrowed my grip on Bench today by another inch to an inch and a quarter. Used the same weight but was able to do less leps.

Bench Press

Warm Up:
45x10
95x5
135x4
155x3
180x2
205x1

Sets:
185x9 followed by a minute rest
185x4

DB Press
80x22
80x12
80x10

Machine OHP
60x11
50x12
50x15

Face Pulls
60x26

Triceps Push Down
75x21

My shoulder was still quite sore yesterday after lifting but has been a little bit less so today than a day after in recent weeks. Still think I need to take further steps to improve this. I think narrowing the grip more was in the right direction but depending on how the shoulder feels over the next five days, I may give up barbell pressing for a few weeks and do pushups and other movements that stress it a little less until it is fully healed. Then start back lighter with a more narrow grip.

Recovering from the flu, which has knocked me out of commission for a few days. May try to get back to it either tomorrow or Friday depending on how I feel in the morning. Also, am going to be working out at home with all of the virus precautions. I’ll have to alter what I’m doing because of available equipment. I’ve got 310 pounds, counting the bar, and a half rack. I also have an old bench, though it’s not very convenient to use. I won’t have access to a trap bar, dumbbells, cables, or any machines.

I dropped about seven more pounds while dealing with the flu. I’m sure about half that was muscle mass. I’m expecting to feel weaker when I start back.

3/20/20

Got started back following the flu. Honestly I felt very weak today. I expect that to be the case for a few days or so.

With limited equipment I am going to have to adjust what I have been doing.

Narrow Grip Bench Press

Warm Up:
45x10
95x5
135x3

Rep Goal of 30
155 lbs
10, 5, 6, 5 for a total of 26

Push Ups
10

I’m shying away from any overhead pressing until I’m fully past AC joint soreness. Still some discomfort today with the Narrow Grip BP and Push Ups. It didn’t seem as bad as past weeks but we’ll see in the coming days. I may lower the weight next week by 5 or 10 lbs and shift the rep goal up to 35 or 40.

3/22/20

Had intended to use rep goal goal method for squats coming into today but between still feeling pretty sluggish post flu and doing some intensive physical labor for a friend yesterday, I kinda winged it instead.

After a quick warmup:

210x5
245x5
275x5
155x10
155x10
155x10
155x10

Followed squats up with 20 band pull aparts.

3/24/20

Used a few landmine variations today to get in more shoulder and upper chest work with less stress on the ac joint.

Single arm landmine press for each arm
Warmed up with empty bar x10
+2.5 lbs x10
+5x10
+7.5x10
+10x10
+12.5x10
+15x10
+17.5x10
+20×10
+22.5x10

Landmine Turn Away Press for each arm
Empty Bar x10
+2.5x10
+5x10
+7.5x10
+10x10

Landmine Press (Single Bar, two hands)
+25x12
+30x12
+35x12
+40x12
+45x12
+50x12

Did deadlifts today for the first time in a couple weeks or so. I’ve been doing only trap bar deadlifts for probably 6-7 months. Doing straight bar today since that’s what I have. I stopped using the straight bar because of inconsistencies in form. The trap bar just feels more intuitive to me. I was using a modified sumo stance before. It’s where I’m the strongest with a strait bar. I decided to use a standard stance to basically have a clean slate with regards to technique. I haven’t done it in a few years. So I went lighter. Biggest issue was grip strength using overhand on both sides. I’ll need to pull out my straps for my latter sets next week.

Deadlift

Warmed up with 135x5, 185x3, 205x1

225x3
235x3
245x3
250x3

Trying to add pull ups. Have been unable to do any unassisted. With the weight loss I was able to do one a little sloppily on form. Then used a boost with a light jump to get up to the bar and then tried to control the negative on the way down as best I could for a few more.

Used Rep Goal for Underhand Bent Over Rows. Was going for 35. Completed 34.

Sets - 8, 11, 7, 8

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3/27/20

Close Grip Bench Press

Warm Up
45x10
95x5
135x3

Working Sets
160x11
160x7
160x4
160x4

Bilateral Landmine Press
Bar +45 × 17
+47.5 x 12
+50 x 12

Shoulder seems to be improving some.