T Nation

Your Beginning


The idea to this thread came with reading about Arild Haugen, who at the age of 16 deadlifted 165 kg after very little training. He has since pulled 400 kg, which is an improvement of 2.6x his starting lift. How much have you improved? Is it reasonable to think that if you start out deadlifting, say 100 kg, that your max is very likely to end up around 250 kg rather than 300, and if it starts out at 150 or even 200 kg as is the case with some with a sports background that you may well reach 400 kg?

Where did you start? Did you start out overweight, underweight, were you strong, weak? And how much have you improved in some key lifts?

I'll go first. In started out fat, sedentary and weak as shit..At the age of 14. failing hard for the first years with pushups and crunches and jogging, and got down to 95 kg when I was 17. Was very unathletic and didn't know what I was doing at all with regards to nutrition and training, did a zillion sets of light weight for arms and that was that. Hardly any improvement for years, but I lost some flab, which was more than enough for me.

Starting weight:110 kg
Benchpress: 40 kg
DB Curl: 6 kg, 4 reps
OHP: 27 for 8
Deadlift: 60 for 12 ( 80 kg 1 rm)
Squat: 50 for 8

Arms: 29 cm
Waist: 115 cm
Thighs: 65 cm

Current weight: 80 kg
Arms:40 cm
Thighs: 60 cm
Waist: 80 cm

Pushups: More than 0
Chinups: 15, with 20 kg added for 6
Incline Benchpress: 95 for 6
Dips: BW for 60 reps ( I was bored) 65 kg for 3 reps
Db Curl: 22 kg for 6 reps
Military Press: 70 kg for 6 reps
Deadlift: best of 215 kg, and 180 for 6 ( an improvement of 2.8 times the starting weight..Hmm.)
Squat: Best of 140x10
Front Squat: 100x7

So, where did you start and where are you now? I'm especially interested in the deadlift because it's awesome.


wtf are kg's?


Shutup, idiot.


Well, my one notable lift improvement was the deadlift (like everyone else... lol)

Since it required no spotter and such, its easy to mentally go for big numbers. I started out with a quarter on each side, had to elevate the bar with 45s. Within 8 months I think, I was pulling 355 for a double.

Just needed to grow a pair and push through da heelz


When I started I could not even deadlift the bar without my back rounding. So I did back extensions for three months until lower back got stronger. Then I started deadlifting.


I remember I could only bench 90 lbs the first time I ever lifted...lulz. That's the only lift I remember from the very beginning.


LMAO - Americans are funny


I started lifting weights when i was 14. I weighed 130lbs at the time. My first bench max was 135 for 5 reps. I had been doing tons of pushups since I was 4 because of martial arts. In 2 months I could bench 225 at a bodyweight of 160. My first squat max was 225 at the same age. I could do about 20 chin ups straight with good form. I didnt start deadlifting until I was about 17, and my first max was 275 i believe.

Also working out was very sporadic all through high school. This is because I was touring the country fighting competitively. I also wrestled, boxed, played football, and was in every advanced class i could take. Obviously, time was very limited.

My senior year I was still bench 225 due to many shoulder dislocations during my sports. I was squatting 350 at the beginning of my senior year in high school. But then I shredded my meniscus during wrestling. They put 7 anchors in my knee and 5 pulleys, in order to put everything back together. It took a while before I could squat , and it still hurts for a few days after I squat.

Currently i'm a senior in college, I can bench 330, squat 430, and deadlift 465. If it weren't for all the injuries i'm sure these numbers would have been A LOT higher.


I'm surprised you guys actually remember your beginning strength levels. The first time I weight trained was in grade 11 gym class for a couple weeks. The only thing I recall from that period was our teacher telling us not to do lat pulldowns behind the neck because it would damage your neck.


maybe he was confusing "lat pulldown" with "donkey punch".


I have no idea how strong I was when I started lifting for the first time. I was definitely weak as hell, though.

Over the past two years, since consolidating my fecal matter:

BW: 170-222
BP: 170-285
SQ: 220-405
DL: 265-450


Yeah when i started i could only do 70 for a few reps and i weighed 240..


ahahaha getting your shit together
i just laughed, coughed, tasted superfood and gagged. gg, jerk


This is a pretty interesting thread. I'd also be curious to know how much you guys think starting points are a factor in your genetic limitations. I would say they are definitely a factor, although for some it seems bigger/smaller than others.

One of my friends started out at a bodyweight of 140 and a bench press of about 135 at the end of his senior year. Today, 2 years later, he is about 220 pounds with near 19 inch arms and a 315 lb bench press (no sturoidz!). Looking at him in high school i would have never guessed that he was capable of getting that big.


In my opinion, beginning strength levels have no determination whatsoever in regards to a sport like bodybuilding. Strength sports sure, but a physique contest? Nah.

Besides, genetics is all about how well/quickly your body adapts to the stress of weight training. If it had never had that stress before, you would have no idea what you're capable of so judging someone from the start is pretty pointless.

Now if they already look jacked without ever having touched a weight, it's safe to say they have amazing genetics.


yeah id aggree, like i know i grow faster and get stronger faster then most all of my friends so i cant have horrible genetics even though i started really weak. But i have a friend who looked bigger then normal before ever touching a weight and once he started grew really fast in the upper body and got up to a reasonably strong decline bench within the first year of training. absolutely no legs on that guy though lol. I think if you worry too much about your genes youll find some way to convince yourself your not good enough and are only setting up for failure


I started off a skinny fat 215 benching 185. Cut all the fat and dropped to 190. 12 months after 1st lifting my bench was 315. Had a really bad 2nd year with some injuries but managed to get my bench up to 335 and bodyweight to 240 before having 2 years under my belt. Arms went from about 13.5 to 17.

I can't deadlift because of 2 herniated discs but out of curiousity I pulled 275 without really training my lower back. In less than 2 months of front squats I got to 275x1 before tearing my ACL playing football.

My 1st time weight lifting was in 8th grade. We tested our maxes on a wooden picnic bench and plastic Joe Weider plates. I was the strongest one benching 90 lbs lol. I wish I would've kept it up instead of waiting till 32 y/o to start training.


So we can say starting strength basically has little to nothing to do with your genetic limitations as a bodybuilder. What I am wondering now is does a persons starting size have anything to do with their genetic ability to "grow." Lets say we have someone who is naturally jacked at about 6 foot 240lbs. Then you have someone who is naturally 6 foot 140 lbs. Now if that 140 lb guy worked his ass of to get to a shredded 240, you would say he has very good genetics for bodybuilding, despite where he started. Now that both of these people are at the same size, which of these people would you choose to be if you were trying to become the next Ronnie? I honestly don't know which I would choose


I agree, but let's clear this up now... I and nobody else here (I don't think?) are worrying about their personal genetics and how it is going to limit our gains. We are just "talking" about genetics. I feel like that needs to be said because pretty soon there will be a crap load of people saying "you guys shouldn't even worry/talk about genetics because you're setting yourself up for failure and blah blah blah."


lol if someone is "naturally jacked" at 6' 240 they could easily be a top pro if they chose.