T Nation

Starting at 30


I've decided to make a training log for various reasons, one being that other readers can understand the background to any questions I might ask in the future. Hopefully my learning curve can be of use to other new or late starters too.

First some history. I've always been very skinny at a height of 5'9ish. People always told me I would fill out when i reached 16, 18, 21, 25, 30... Well it never happened. So at the age of 30 I really started to notice and care about the fact I was very unfit, and weak as a kitten. At the age of 30 and a weight of 120 pounds, I decided to do something about it all.

I decided to start running initially, and found I could only do half a mile before feeling like dying. I bought a fitness book, which gave a strategy on building up endurance. Long story short, I built up to running a 10k distance, or 6 miles. Thats until my knee seized solid from the cheap trainers I had! I now have proper fitted running trainers and can cover distance again.

But I was still skinny. This book had a brief section on weight training, and at the same time a local gym next to work had a half price for 3 years contract offer on. I bought it and the rest is history.

My initial and seemingly fantasy goal was to be a mighty 10 stone - 140 pounds! What I really wanted to do was look like an adult male, rather than someone too ashamed to remove a t-shirt in public. A friend gave me a copy of beyond brawn by stuart mcrobert, a mighty volume! I tried to apply this, but also paid for routines from the gyms resident trainer. Then internet forum discoveries were made...

Over the last 3 years I've tried 1,2,3,4 and 5 day a week routines. full body, push/pull, push/pull/legs 5x5, dorian yates etc. My quickest and earliest gains were made on 1 or 2 day a week full body routines, and they got me to 150 soft pounds.


And so we come to present day. I'd found I'd lost my way a bit over the last year. Bodyweight had stalled, and still had pot belly attached.

Size gains had come along from the start, people at work noticing, and asking "have you started working out?" and a few curious prods of the pecs! My wife was happy with my progress, although she'd never been unhappy with how I looked, this has always been for my own benefit (vanity!)

So I've gone back to basics really. My bodyweight and composition still indicate beginner status I know. From the start I'd always had goals of bodweight press, 1.5bw bench, 2bw squat, 2.5bw. I had a 6-8 month stretch over a year ago with a 60yr old powerlifter, who took me from a 45kg bench with wobbling arms, to a 102.5kg 1RM. So I have the 1.5bw bench done.

To get back on track, I've picked a strength goal, this time the press. In fact the Push Press, since I always kick the standing press, I may as well do it properly and do the push version. Previously I'd maxed out at 45kg for this, so 65kg is my new target.

Additional goals are re-established my squat form, recently corrected and overhauled by an experienced large lifter - many thanks. Also, rebuilding deadlift form ensuring a proper back position. I've never actually done standing bent over barbell rows, so nows the time to start! Dips have been powerful before for me, so I'm trying to progress these too.


So the this is the program I ended up with, keeping in mind my previous best gaining periods of 2x week TBT approach. I stall quickly on 4way etc, which is a real shame as I like the idea...

Squat 5x5 - volume approach to really get the feel of form, build at 2.5kg a week
Dips 6x3 - double wave of triples for strength, increase weight at 1.25kg a week
Bent Row 5x5 - establishing form and again 2.5kg a week


Deadlift 1x20 - done from deadstop, 20 singles, concentrate on proper form from start of lift, 2.5kg a week
Push Press 6x3 - double wave of triples for strength, increase weight at 2.5kg a week
Curls 3x10 - variations of curls ez bar and dbs as suits, increase as 3x10 complete
So far, from starting from 13th dec 2010, I've had a new PR in push press, going from 45kg to 52.5kg, failed to get 55kg. Dips have gone from bw+20kg to bw+25kg so far. So very pleased with these results

Previous maxes in squats was 100kg x 3 for dubious depth, and deads was 120kg with possible questionable back position. I've started light on these, right back to 60kg, now at 75kg for 5x5 and 1x20 as above. Still going strong. In theory they would reach 200kg each by the end of the year.... shame things arent so linear in real life! I'm aiming to progress these for as long as I can and exceed previous maxes with good form in the next 3 months or so.

I'm working on the assumption that more strength will end up with more size, with recovery being a priority. Once I've got really established with this routine and get a feel for it, then I may start to add exercises, or change rep ranges


I've had to tweak the Push Press slightly already. Workouts started like this:

30 / 35 / 40 / 32.5 / 37.5 / 42.5 for 3 reps each

This ended up 4 weeks later at

37.5 / 42.5 / 47.5 / 40 / 45 / 50 for 5x3 + 1only

I took a week of lower weight / more reps, then the next week did a ramp of triples to get a 3rm and a 1rm. I got 50kg for a 3RM, 2 more reps than a fortnight before, and a 2RM of 52.5kg. I tried to get a single at 55kg but failed on two attempts. I'm now going to experiment with the HP Mass ramp style of 5x3, 8x3 and then 11x3 for the next 6 weeks and retest, and see how that compares with my own progression.

So far so good. The logbook is back in use, I'm focusing on real targets again, the future seems bright...


You press is surprisingly low compared to your bench, hows your upper back strength? also i found doing something like snatchs before the press helps me move higher weight, something to do with stabalization which might be worth giving shot


Thanks for reading.

The bench figure was after 6 months of 3x week specialising, so may be artificially high in comparison. I havent done bar bench for ages, a regular weight for reps is probably 80kg which is a bit more in relation to press.

I am thinking of clean and press, so clean the first and rep 3 presses, I've heard others say similar to you in increasing press weight. I'm keeping that in reserve so far. What sort of exercise are you thinking of for upper back strength? face pulls?


Yeh in particular rear delts, once i started putting alot of effort into face pulls and traps it really helped my press shoot up, its at just under 1x body-weight for a couple of strict reps now up 12.5 kilos over the last 2 months


Well done on the new PR! Thats good info to know from your experience. I had traps in mind too, I always feel them on dead / press day, but I didnt know how much was from which exercise. I think I may add a set or 2 after deads. I may change exercise order to do press - deads - shrugs - curls. instead of deads first, it may pan out a bit better. Not sure yet where to put the face pulls. I'll just change one thing at a time for the moment


Mon 7 feb

Squats 77.5k 5x5 fairly good, getting tired by the end set. form pretty much consistent, back strong.

Dips ramped from bw to bw+30k sets of 3. Got 2 at 30k, didnt feel 3rd was safe. Starting to feel sore "inside" the shoulder and traps. wondering about less weight for more reps e.g. 3x6 rather than 6x3

Rows 57.5k 3x5 good but lost mind muscle connection that i had last week. beginning to jerk the weight up rather than row. not enough time to do 5x5 before work.

These workouts make me almost fall asleep about an hour after, which i take as a good thing, whole body drained and recovering. I'm going to have to cut a set or two if going to fit another exercise in soon.


I like articles here, I usually find something that i can use, sometimes everything, sometimes just one point. But I DO like this:


Happy to see the whole body or upper/lower split approach is approved of. I'm glad I picked push press to progress on, and for much the same reasons given here. In fact I'm wondering about dropping dips to do push press twice a week. we'll see...


Delayed a day here, should have been thursday. Pushed for time as running late all day, but decided i've got to go and get it done, so i did my primary lifts at least

Push Press HP Mass Style

37.5k / 40k / 42.k 8x3 week 2 ramp. Felt strong strangely middle weight wobbled a touch, but the MTW went straight up, and fast. Feels good


77.5kg 20 reps. 10 overhand grip, few breaths 5 + 5 switching grips. Still trying to rep out to build grip strength without straps. Lower back feeling powerful now for last few weeks.

Felt really wired and dizzy for next hour at work, as crammed into just 30 mins wokout. Seemed to verge on a cardio workout. All felt positive though


Just seen dez6485 log, he refers to


For me at 148 class

1185 elite 539kg
1087 master 494kg
979 class1 445kg
858 class2 390kg
754 class3 343kg
656 class4 298kg

So far already above class 4 as total of best lifts, although not competition of course, is 320kg. Class 3 for next goal!


Previous entries didnt seem to go on properly

Mon 14th feb

Squats - 80kg 5x5

Getting really tiring now doing all 5 sets, going to drop to 3 sets from now on to see how progresses

Decline Smith Bench - Ramped to 25kg a side for 3. Not sure what the smith bar weighs, anywhere from 20-27.5kg are peoples guesses. so max of 77.5kg. I did this to compare with max dip of 95kg including bodyweight.

Ran out of time and was late for work


Thurs 17th feb

Push press - hp3 11 sets triple ramp 37.5 / 40 / 42.5kg

Felt good, considering never done that many heavy sets before

deadlift - ramped to 100kg for 3

Extremely tired not eaten properly before workout, paid price in training

Bent over row - 60kg for 1 set of 5

Totally washed out now so stopped training


Mon 21st Feb

Squats - 82.5kg 3x5

Felt fresher and stronger from the start knowing only 3 sets to do now
Decided to do a more rounded out upper body workout.

Decline Smith bench - 20kg side for 10 all out
Incline Dumbell bench - 20kg for 8 all out
Bent over row - 40kg for 10 } lighter for feel, mind muscle connection, squeeze and hold
CT triangle pulldown - 30kg for 9 and 7 }
Face pulls - 10kg 2x10

Trying to get my back to work properly, so concentrate on form, squeeze and hold, ignoring weight used to some extent for now. Presses done 1 set to failure, for max weight / reps


Wed 23rd Feb

Really wound up about work before going, so decided to do a quick angry workout to relieve tension

Push press, hang clean on first rep - hp1 5 sets 40 / 42.5 / 45kg

Done quick and brutal, with added adrenaline! A lot of benefit later in the day...


Sat 26th feb

Deadlifts - 5/3/1 style, based on 100kg 4rm. 65 / 75 / 85kg 5,5,6

Decided to start 531 for deads as not progressing as well as i'd liked before. Still allows for an all out set at the end, and a good logical progression. probably not going to incorporate deload weeks for now

Push Press hp1 5 sets 40 / 42.5 / 45kg again hang clean on first rep, feels a bit better this way than out squat rack

Dips 9,8,8
Chins 8,5,5


Diet is not going well on a side note. Decided to give milk another try as rested my gut from it for a while. Started at 4pints a day this week. Day1 ok, day2 still pretty much ok, day3 bit worse, day4 toilet explosion! so going to have to take that more gently, build up slowly. On the other hand i've been playing with shaker recipes, one im giving a go is up to 1000cals, 500ml milk, scoop whey, scoop maltodextrin, 50g oats, 30ml olive oil. I vary sometimes depending on appetite

The problem is feelings of nausea when eating, feeling overfull, constipation, which then puts me off further feeds. going to have to work some way round that over time, see how it goes


Mon 28th Feb

Squats - 85kg 5,4,4

Could be a one off missing 3x5 this week. Might be poor pre workout food, or could be a sign of having to just ramp up to a single set of 5. Ramped up 60,70,80 x 5 for warmups. I'm going to continue 3x5 next week if I can

Decline smith bench - 21.25kg side x10
Incline db bench - 20kg x 8
Bent over row - 40kg x 10
CT triangle pulldown - 30kg 2x10 feeling muscles more than last time
Face pulls - 10/15/20kg 3x10 again more mind connection

Feeling tired going into the bodybuilding part, im wondering here about splitting the squats and some extra assistance to monday, and this chest / back part to tuesday. We'll see for the meantime


Jut so i dont lose where i read it:

Jim Wendler: Roygion -
Day 1 - Squat 5/3/1, Leg Press 5x10, GM 5x10
Day 2 - Bench Press 5/3/1, Press 5x10, Chins 5x10 (add in some extra arm and upper back work)
Day 1 - DL 5/3/1, Leg Press 5x10, GM 5x10,
Day 2 - Press 5/3/1, DB Bench Press 5x10, Rows 5x10 (extra arm/upper back work).
Assistance work is just an example.



handy havig this log for references