The Little Lifter Who Could

I am 23 years old, and I have been training properly (READ: following a programme and squatting) for roughly a year now. My weight has gone from 58kg to 84, which was the first bench mark I set myself. My training is currently as follows:

Squat: 95kgX5, 110kgX3, 120kgX1 (fail)
Good mornings: 70kg 4X8
Leg press: 120kg 4X8 (but, I think I’ll swap this for front squats. Makes way more sense.)

OHP: 40kgX5, 45kgX3, 50kgX1
Pull downs: 45kg 4X8
Reverse grip curls: 22.5kg 4X8

Deadlift: 120kgX5, 135kgX3, 150kgX1
Glute ham raise: bodyweight 4x8
Farmer’s walks

Bench: 65kgX5
Inverted rows with a 5kg disc on my chest
overhead shrugs: 40kg 4X8

My short term goals are to squat 150, dead 200, bench 100, and press my bodyweight. All very achievable, then I have long term goals to go off and SMASH. I started not even being able to bench the bar, so for as far as progress goes, I am a happy little lifter.

What I NEED to work on, right now, are my hams, glutes, posture, squat technique and overall upper body. My mum today told me today that I “look like a duck” and “have no arse”! So, yeah, gonna work on those. Gotta love a mum’s honesty, eh?

WARNING: I am not just filling this log with training details, I’m also going to pollute it with the random, mundane, slightly weird thoughts that come into my head ALL THE DAMN TIME. So, if nothing else, it should be fun.

I’m in, btw how tall are u?

Awesome. This is the first time I’ve ever seen my back, so I’m pretty happy with what I see! More of a “V” than I was anticipating.

Also, really need to work on my flexibility. When I bend over to touch my toes, I can get to roughly just over half way down my shins. Unfortunately, I hate stretching. Catch 22, eh?

Mum just came round, and dropped off my old leather jacket. Not worn it in years, and now it fits perfectly! Fuck yeah. Also, my beard looks a little ginger in the other, slightly homo-erotic pic. It’s not. I assure you. Honest…

just stretch and foam roll everyday, that will get you flexible in no time

Yeah, got myself a foam roller, so just need more discipline.

Started work today at 5.30, but now I’m, home! So yeah, swings and roundabouts. The deaf guy at work has taken over my old job, so now I’ve taken on a little more responsibility. Boom. I work for a well known supermarket chain here in the UK.

Enough about work!

Since watching “Perks of Being a Wallflower” the other week, this song has been in my head.

If you haven’t seen this movie, go and see it now.

I’m on a deload week this week, but I’m going to bench tomorrow. Aiming for 67.5kg 5X5. Have to see how that pans out. Got martial arts training tonight, some JKD and BJJ, but don’t know if I can be bothered to stay for jits, as I’m exhausted. Have to see later on.

Been in a good mood all day, and I think it’s down to my back being in far better shape than I thought it would be. Not great, yet, but better than I realised.

Ended up not training at all yesterday. Had to stay home and look at houses to buy instead. Ah well, adult life is calling. However, I did foam roll and stretch! My legs feel roughly 9bazilion% better, which is to be expected. Got to try and bench today, should be able to squeeze that in a little later on. For now though, I’m gonna go and eat my reduced price apple and whatever sausages.

“Come on dude, this is a training log, and you haven’t even mentioned training yet!”

Ok ok. So, today was bench and upper back day. A few weeks ago, my bench 1RM was 70kg, and today I managed to hit 67.5kg x4, x3, x3, x2, x2. Was aiming for 5x3, then thought I’d try and get 3x5. Ah well, it’s still a massive improvement for 4/6 weeks. I think anyway.

Then I did inverted rows, 4x8 with a 5kg disc on my chest. Then overhead shrugs 4x8 using 42.5kg. Fairly happy with that, but would have been better if I’d benched more. Never mind, it’s a PB!

This leads nicely onto my next point. My friend rang me when I got in, saying he’d had to take 2 weeks off from the gym due to shoulder pain. Shoulder pain he’s had for years. Shoulder pain he’s never really tried to get rid of. He benches. A lot. And is reasonably strong too. However, he believes I know fuck all about training, so never listens to anything I have to say. Such as “stretch your shoulders and chest” or “train your goddamn legs, you top-heavy freak!” So when I asked him on the phone if he did anything for his upper back, he smirkingly replied “yeah, rows, lat pull downs. That kinda thing.” As far as I’m concerned, they’re your middle back, no? Upper back contains things like your traps and rear delts. His reply to this? “Rear delts are SHOULDERS, not back.” Fuuuuuuuuuuuu…

Ah well, my shoulders are fine, and his are fuckerood. Let’s see who’s lifting in 10 years time… (probably neither of us, but my point is still valid.)

So, now, funny shit I saw at the gym. A guy doing upright rows in the Smith machine, asking for a spot. This guy then went on to purposefully make his friend laugh when he was using the shoulder press machine. There was some other minor stuff, but it’s gone from my head now.

So, back on it today. Using I entered my squat max as 100kg. This meant that today was really light, but I’m happy with that. I tried to remember everything from this thread: One Armed Row and Bench Critique - Beginners - Forums - T Nation Things such as elbows down, chest up, spread the floor etc. It felt a little weird on my shoulders, and my right hip twinged a bit when warming up, but it felt manageable, and I felt much better doing it. A lot more upright.

So, I did

Then, front squat 50kg 4X8. That was awful! I hit all reps, and had some gas left in the tank, but it was certainly hard. Tried to start with 60kg, but that wasn’t gonna happen. Gonna stick with that weight for this cycle, then add 5kg next cycle.

Then good mornings 60kg 4X8. I feel like my flexibility is progressing there, so that’s good.

My mum’s been on about getting “fit” and “in shape” for ages. Went round to pick something up from there today, and Dad said she’d gone out to a “bootcamp” type thing. ‘Great’, I thought, ‘she’s fallen foul of some gimmick’. I hung around till she got back, just to see what it was like. Turns out, she’d been using a prowler, battle ropes, squatting, pulling a sled and all sorts of really good shit. I’m gonna go check them out on Saturday, hopefully, and join them. Sick of my comercial gym where they celebrate terrible form and weakness. I’m one of the strongest guys in my gym which shows just how terrible that place is.

This week I have been mainly…

feeling like shit. You know the day after squatting, sometimes your body aches all over? Just aches and hurts? Well, I had that from the day after squatting, till now. Plus a sore throat and the sniffles sniff sniff

This week has been a bloody write-off, except for the whole “finding a heavenly new gym to train in” thing.

Looked at houses to buy, they were all shit. Looking at more houses on Saturday, they look like perfection made solid and inhabitable.

First time training at this new gym last night. It’s bloody freezing! Not bad once you’ve gotten warmed up though.

Training was:


Front Squat:
50kg 4X8

Good mornings:
60kg 4X8

Started this month’s cycle again, as I missed most of it last week. Life, eh?

Got complimented on my squat form last night, so was happy with that. Clearly the cues I’ve been given have paid dividends. It feels a LOT better, if somewhat unusual. Gonna smash 120kg next time I meet it. Can’t wait. Very tempting to just go back up to big weights, but don’t think my form is ingrained enough yet to withstand three digits.

Also, did some cardio for the first time in ages! Used the battle ropes, did 4 mins, broken down into 40s on, 20s rest. Biceps were sore today.

Went for my second viewing of the house from Saturday today. Still love it, but it’s got a LOT of work needs doing. Gonna get some quotes for how expensive it’ll be. We shall see.

Training tonight made me really realise just how much I hate my current gym. 2 guys in there, one a big meathead, and the other a skinny-fat guy. Both mates, both going on and on about Dorian Yates. Dorian bleedin’ Yates. Then they moved on to what steroids they were taking, and what the local gangsters were up to. Basically, just 2 very loud, obnoxious dick heads.

Anywho. Press tonight.

45kgX5 - felt ok, could have gone for another one or 2 i reckon.

Then I did Biceps curls 25kg 3X8, 1X7. Should probably have left my rest for a little while longer, but I had to get out of that room. See above ^

Then it was lat pull downs, 47.5kg 2X8, then 50kg 2X8. I’ll probably bump it up to 4 straight sets of 52.5kg next week, and keep it at that for this cycle. Felt good though, could feel it in my lats, so I’ll probably feel it tomorrow too.

Completely forgot to order myself some more maltodextrin, so I had to have shakes without it. Tasted fucking AWFUL. I suppose that’s a lesson I’ll just have to learn.

I’m a few days of training behind, so here goes.

Last Sat was deadlift day.

135kgX3, then my grip gave out. Had to rest a few mins to let my hands recover, then I finished my set. I have now bought chalk, so that shouldn’t be a problem again.

Going into that day my back had DOMS from the pull downs, and I could really feel it between my shoulder blades. My bi’s and tri’s were very sore, and my grip felt like a baby’s. I took all this to be a positive thing.

Then on Monday I squatted.

Then it was front squats 50kg 4X8. Was on a tight schedule, so I couldn’t stay to do good mornings. Shame, but I’ll try and make up for it with GHR’s and deadlifts later in the week.

Tonight it was shoulder press.

The 50kg was difficult, and had to sort of push press it up. Bit annoyed that I had to, as I’ve pressed 50kg before, but it is what it is.

Then I did some close grip pull ups. This new gym doesn’t have a pull down machine, so I had to change. Damn. What a shame haha. I did 2 sets of 3 with 5kg on a belt, and another 2 sets of 4 with 2.5kg on it. I’m sure this will soon get easier. Better had do.

Lastly, I used the prowler. Wow. It chewed me up and spat me out. Loved it. Did 4 sets of 30s on, 30s off with 20kg loaded on it. Made 3 runs on my first 30s, and slightly less after that. My aim is to keep the weight the same, and get it so I can do all 4 sets with 3 trips, then get the rest times to 40s on, 20s off. After that, I’ll add weight. All in all, I’m happy. Just gotta keep eating now.

Deadlift on Friday.


Before I started 531, 145 was my 1RM. Last Friday I hit it for a solid 2, and a shaky 3rd. Before I started the pull, my adrenaline started really pumping, not sure why, but I imagine it really helped. Got some chalk balls the other day, and it was easier to put it on the bar itself than my hands. Maybe they just need to be used more to loosen them up?

Then proceeded onto 4 sets of 8 glute ham raises. When I first started these, they made the back of legs cramp up something rotten, it was bloody awful. Yesterday, my legs didn’t cramp up, and I wasn’t sure they were as effective since I’d been doing my good mornings. Then when I stood up to walk, my legs froze and I nearly fell over. In conclusion - they are still VERY effective.

Got a few days’ of training to write up. Monday I did squats, and, as I’d missed a few bench sessions, I benched as well.

85kgX5 pretty happy with that. Reps felt good, nice and smooth. A lot easier and more comfortable.

Then I benched:

After that was inverted rows, with a 5kg disc on my chest, that was 4x5.

Then I pushed the prowler for a bit. Killer that thing. Feeling much fitter, even after only a few sessions of it.

Wednesday was press day.
55kgX1 a slightly sloppy single, and I think I’ll have to reset that soon.

Some pull downs, 4X8 at 57.5kg. Didn’t get to do curls, as someone was using the ez bar. And I like poor excuses.

Today was deadlift day. Couldn’t find my chalk before I left, and I knew it was my very heavy day, so wasn’t sure if I would be able to pick it up. Warmed up, and it felt quite heavy, so was feeling slightly less confident. Did my first set of 120kgX5. Grip was slightly giving out on the last rep. 2nd set of 135kgX3 was ok. Then, finally, without chalk or straps or a belt, I lifted 155kg. Nearly a double body-weight lift, about as raw as you can fucking get. Now, this may not be impressive to some people, but I was really impressed.

Farmer’s walks after that with 80kg.

A few months ago I was at the bus stop, and remembered I’d left my wallet at home, so I went for a nice, easy, gentle jog back to the house…and pulled my left hamstring. For a few weeks, it was really painful, but it’s been getting better since. Occasionally if I run somewhere, or just walk up the stairs it hurts again. I’ve since realised that if I stretch my left glute, it gets easier, so I imagine having a tight arse is what’s caused it. Anyone else had similar problems?

So, I’ve just been trying to create a spreadsheet, using the formulas that Jim gives in the manual, but I’m having two problems. The first is that when I try and use his formula for working out your 1RM (weight x reps x 0.333+weight = 1rm), but I get crazy numbers. When I entered this formula into a cell on my spreadsheet, my apparent 1RM when I can bench 65kg is 12739kg. So, yeah, THAT’S fucked up. The second problem I have is that my numbers from strstd is about 5kg out from my spreadsheet. Not sure that one counts as a “problem”, per se, but it’s odd.

And that, after today’s benching, completes cycle number 7. I figured out how to put in a decent 1rm calculator into my spreadsheet, and it’s all looking good now.

Today I benched:

Not too shabby, I don’t think. Only about 20kg off of doing a bodyweight bench…

Then onto inverted rows, 4X8 with 5kg disc. Overhead shrugs 4X8 with 40kg. My upper back was sore today, but I’m not sure if it’s from deadlifts or farmer’s walks. Either way, it’s a strangely comforting feeling.

Back in the gym today. The best thing about deload weeks is that by the end of them, I’m itching to get back in and lift something. Especially after the recent Kroc article, which I’m thinking of running after Christmas. Depends how brave I’m feeling.

Today I squatted:

Front squat:
55kg 4X8

Good morning:
65kg 4X8

So today was the day of 5’s. Everything ended with a five. Could definitely feel the front squats today, they made my legs and my lungs burn, but I think next week they’ll feel a lot better.

Shoulder press is starting to lag. Was programmed to do 50kgX5, which I knew was ambitious. Managed to get 3 and a push press, so not TOO awful, but still. I know press goes up very slowly, but I was hoping to get a really shaky 60kg this cycle. I think a weak link might be my triceps, as they are always the most sore part after pressing. I don’t do any direct training for them as I gave myself awful tendonitis in both elbows. Now I don’t do any direct arm training, and only squat once a week my elbows rarely hurt anymore. I decided after my pull-ups to do some dips, so I’m gonna swap my curls for dips, as I want more triceps and chest/shoulder work. Back and bis are getting plenty of volume, and I think it’s starting to show now.

I did some sled pulls too, and then pushed the prowler. All in all, felt really good, just disappointed I didn’t get my set amount of reps on push press. Looks like I’m gonna have to reset that.

I’ve been a bit wiped the last few days, with work and a horrible cold. You know that feeling when your body aches after squatting? But it feels good? Well, I had the body ache, bad version, and DOMS, which was ok, and I was just ridiculously tired. So today, I got to the gym, ready to lift some heavy shit and make up for it…CLOSED. Mother fuckers. Ah well, I’ll just use it as motivation for next time.

Thinking of switching to Wendler’s 3x a week split, on the basis that it’ll help recovery, and I’m hitting most muscle groups a few times a week.

Swapping to 3x a week was a good idea I think. Don’t feel as stressed trying to get all 4 workouts in during the week. Much better.

Last week I squatted:

Then front squats 55kg 4X8.

140kgX4 then an extra 1 afterwards. I’m happy with that one, as 145kg was my 1RM not too long ago.

50kgX3. Missed my 2 reps there, so I’m gonna have to reset that. Annoying, but hey-ho. I think a big problem with my press is triceps strength. I do a lot of pulling exercises, so my biceps get a lot of work, but my tris really don’t. Gonna swap the curls on press day for dips. Gotta love dips.