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Thread: LongDriver's Training Log

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default LongDriver's Training Log

    • starting strength seminar jume 2024
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    I guess my initial log post should include some background information as well as a few baselines.

    Age: 50
    Height: 5’11”
    Weight: 220

    My all-time 1RM for the basic SS exercises were accomplished in 1983 at a bodyweight of approximately 190, and are as follows:

    Squat: approximately 245 (with bad form)
    Deadlift: 365 (never really trained DL, but I once tried to pick up 365 and was able to)
    Bench Press: either 335 or 345 (I don’t remember which)
    Overhead Press: 235 for 2 reps (seated, behind the neck)
    Power Clean: approximately 185 (never trained)


    After a layoff of over 25 years, I started consistently working out again this past April. So far my current 1RM for the basic SS exercises are as follows:

    Squat: ?? (maybe 185, but probably not much more)
    Deadlift: ?? (have done 225x5 recently with no problem)
    Bench Press: 280 (245x5 for one set)
    Overhead Press (seated): 195 (185x3, 175x5)
    Power Clean: ?? (can do 135 hang clean easily)
    Pull-ups: bodyweight + 45 pounds for 1 rep, or 11 reps with bodyweight only.


    My 1RM goals for the novice SS program are:

    Squat: 315
    Deadlift: 405
    Bench Press: 315
    Overhead Press: 205 (attained workout #49 on 3/12/12; see page 7 of log)
    Power Clean: 225
    Pull-ups: Bodyweight + 90 pounds for 1 rep


    Not sure whether these are attainable by someone my age on the novice program, but I'm going to give it a try. I have a few injuries (both shoulders, left wrist, and lower back), so hopefully they won't limit my progress too much. My left shoulder worries me the most; a bench press injury in 1983, coupled with 16 years of long driving have taken a toll.

    On an ironic note, one of my first experiences with weight lifting was not exactly positive. When I was in 5th grade I broke my right arm trying to lift a 40-pound barbell over my head in my back yard. As I was trying to get the barbell overhead I lost my balance and fell, and I had to put my arm in the way of the falling weight to keep it from landing on my face.
    Last edited by LongDriver; 03-13-2012 at 02:05 AM. Reason: Added overhead press goal completion.

  2. #2
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    11-14-11

    For my first SS workout, I decided to reset my bench press to a weight that I knew would be plenty light to allow me to add a liberal amount of weight each workout for at least several weeks. For squat and deadlift I had no idea how much to start with, so I guessed.

    Results were as follows:

    Squat: 135x5 (warm-up), 135x5, 115x5x2
    Bench Press: 135x8 (warm-up), 185x5x3
    Deadlift: 135x5 (warm-up), 185x5
    Pull-ups: bodyweight for 12 reps (didn’t quite go all the way down).

    The squat felt very awkward, probably because I haven’t tried it in years, and even in my college days I’ve never really trained it consistently. I also never tried to focus on correct technique until today, and I’m sure it looked horrible anyway. I used 135 for my warmup, thinking it would be plenty light, but I was shocked at how much I struggled with it at the bottom. I ended up backing off to 115 to prevent my form from suffering any further.

    On the bench press I really worked on keeping my arms at no more than a 45 degree angle from my torso. I also tried to keep the bar going up on a straight line, and instead of looking at the center of the bar (as I usually do), I focused at a point on the ceiling. On my last set I tried to keep my metacarpals in line with my radius/ulna, and I noticed a definite increase in pressing power. I could actually feel how removing that “moment arm” (as Mark called it) resulted in better leverage, and it also kept the bar from drifting over my head (as it tends to do with heavier weights).

    A guy I just met a few weeks ago at the gym was doing deadlifts, so I ended up working in with him and using the same weight he was using. My back was still tired from the squats, so the 185 felt a little heavier than I thought it would. I now understand why fewer sets of deadlifts are done.
    Last edited by LongDriver; 11-16-2011 at 04:04 AM.

  3. #3
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    11-16-11

    I wasn’t sure how this workout would go, because my legs have been extremely fatigued since my initial SS workout two days ago. I was also unable to get much sleep the past two nights, so my recovery has probably been slower than it should. Today I did the following:

    Squat: bar x 8 x 2 (warm-up), 115x1, 95x5x3
    Press: bar x 8 (warm-up), 95x5x3
    Deadlift: 95x5, 135x5 (warm-up), 195x5
    Pull-ups: Bodyweight for 12 reps


    Even with the unloaded bar I felt like I had no balance at the bottom of the squat. I am ordering Mark’s Starting Strength book and DVD, so hopefully I’ll have it by next week and be able to diagnose what I’m doing wrong. Since I was able to handle 115 last workout I figured I could use it again, but this time the first rep nearly crushed me! I had to rack the bar and take off 20 pounds. I’m pretty sure I had trouble because my legs have not recovered from Monday. The three sets with 95 pounds felt much more manageable, but I still had balance problems.

    I felt good on the press, strengthwise, but I think my lack of shoulder flexibility may make heavy weights a challenge. I am used to doing these on a seated OHP station, and I find them quite a bit more difficult from a standing position.

    The deadlift also felt pretty good, but I sensed that I was rounding my back while lowering the weight back to the ground. I also bumped the weight into my shins on the final rep (maybe I had my butt too low as the weight was leaving the ground?).

    Immediately after the pull-ups I felt quite dizzy, and then an hour after the workout I could barely walk due to leg fatigue. I think it will take me at least a few weeks to get used to working my lower body.
    Last edited by LongDriver; 11-17-2011 at 02:12 AM.

  4. #4
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    11-19-2011, workout #3

    I moved Friday’s workout to Saturday evening because during the day I needed to help move a refrigerator and some heavy furniture down a steep flight of stairs. Having my legs wobbly from the previous night’s squats would not have been safe. I also received the Starting Strength book and DVD in the mail, so I watched the squat and press portions to see what I could glean. I was still helping transport some boxes, but on the way I stopped off at the gym (24 Hour Fitness) at 10:20 pm, only to be told that they were closing in 40 minutes. I had never worked out so late at this location, but based on their name I had mistakenly believed that all their locations were open 24 hours (as my regular locations are). Still, I was able to get the complete workout finished with 5 minutes to spare because there were only maybe 7 other people working out in the entire gym.

    Today’s workout was as follows:

    Squat: no weight (8 reps), bar only (8 reps), 95x5, 115x5x3
    Bench Press: 135x8, 195x5x3
    Deadlift: 135x5, 205x5
    Pullups: Bodyweight x 12, Bodyweight x 8 (hang with arms at 90 degrees 10 seconds following last rep)

    I weighed myself today and was 225.8.

    The squat felt much easier today because my form was closer to what Mark was teaching on the video. However, my lack of hip and lower-back flexibility is preventing me from lifting my hips significantly at the start of the recovery phase. I believe I’ll need to incorporate a stretching program into my training on my “off” days. My lack of leg strength is by far the biggest weakness I’ll have to overcome in this program. Also my lack of shoulder flexibility makes it difficult for me to get both the bar and my arms into the correct position.

    The bench press felt so-so, but two weeks ago I felt a little stronger on the bench than I do now. I don’t know whether my muscles are beginning to adjust to the lighter weights or whether I was tired from moving stuff all day. I’m also wondering whether the effort I’m exerting on the squat is taking a little away from my bench strength. Bench press used to be the first exercise I did each workout, so I was always fresh.

    The deadlift actually felt lighter than it did the other day, even though I added 10 pounds of weight. My lower back strength used to be pretty good, so maybe it’s starting to come back.

    On the pull-ups, it’s hard to resist the temptation to add weight, except my bodyweight has increased about five pounds this week because I’ve begun drinking protein shakes every morning since starting the program and eating more snacks. I may do three sets of five reps and try to add a little weight each workout, just as I do on the basic lifts.

  5. #5
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    11-21-2011, workout #4

    Today’s workout was as follows:

    Squat: no weight (8 reps), bar only (8 reps), 95x8, 125x5x3
    Press: bar only (8 reps), 115x5x3
    Deadlift: 115x5, 215x5
    Pullups: Bodyweight + 6 pounds (belt + 5) x6, x5 (lost count), x7 (hung with arms at 90 degrees 24 seconds following last rep)

    I weighed myself today and was exactly 230 pounds with my gym clothes on.

    The squat continues to feel better. I think I could’ve handled quite a bit more weight today. I still can’t seem to get my arms in the correct position though, due to my lack of shoulder flexibility.

    The overhead press remains pretty easy for now, but I know it will get much more difficult in several more weeks.

    The deadlift continues to feel lighter than the previous workout. This may be because my muscles are adapting quicker than I’m increasing the weight, but I’m reluctant to go up too fast too soon.

    On the pull-ups, I decided to add a little weight this time. I figured if I’m going to be working on strength I might as well keep the reps low, as I am in the other exercises. I’m also thinking I might like to add weighted dips every other workout. It turns out that my dip belt weighs 1 pounds, so in the future I’ll use that to factor in how much additional weight I’m using.

  6. #6
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    11-23-2011, workout #5

    Today I brought my girlfriend and asked her to film me so I could check my form (especially on the squat and deadlift). However, 24 Hour Fitness says I need written permission from their headquarters in order to do so. I explained that they could have a liability problem if I got injured because I was using incorrect form and they prevented me from checking it. They agreed but said basically “rules are rules”. I’m going to fire off an email to see if I can get permission before this Friday’s workout.

    Today’s workout was as follows:

    Squat: no weight (12 reps), bar only (8 reps), 95x8, 135x5x3
    Bench Press: bar only (15 reps), 95x10, 135x8, 175x2, 205x5x3
    Deadlift: 135x8, 185x5, 225x5
    Pullups: Bodyweight + 9 pounds (belt + 7) x5x3

    I weighed myself today and was 231 pounds with my gym clothes on.

    The squat felt a little heavy today, so I’m thinking I may need to start going up in 5 pound increments pretty soon. I’ll probably plan on doing 145 on Friday and make my decision then. I also noticed some pain in the right hip at the bottom of the movement. The shoulders felt a little better today, but I still can’t get my hands as close together as the video shows.

    Although my bar speed on the bench press was plenty fast, it’s starting to feel a little heavy also. I’m planning a 10 pound jump for next workout, but next week I may need to cut that down to 5 pounds so I don’t get stuck by the end of next month. The left shoulder felt a little tender an hour or so after the workout.

    I continued to feel pretty good on the deadlift, but I noticed that I’m locking out my knees a little too early. I think it's going to take more practice to get everything coordinated.

    The pull-ups felt pretty good too. I’m planning on doing them on bench press day and adding weighted dips on overhead press/power clean day.

    I think I need a little more work on my deadlift form before adding the power clean, so I’m planning on holding off on that exercise until next week. I need to study the video a little more.
    Last edited by LongDriver; 11-24-2011 at 04:16 AM.

  7. #7
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    Hey, geezoid! Welcome. We are identical size and I have a bit more seasoning. (I'm 54.) It's great that you are posting not just the workouts but your assessments of each day's work. You mention a lot of variation in perceptions from workout to workout. This will dampen out pretty quickly. Your relatively strong pressing background is dominating your lifts even after a couple of decades on the sidelines. This is good because it gives some quick successes and will keep you coming back for more. Study the materials and ask questions. You'll probably want to check your programming pretty soon but give it another week or two and see where you stand and where you want to go from there. There are a bunch of good folks with varied lifting backgrounds that are here to help.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the encouragement Bob! I've been reading some of the other logs, and I've noticed that most guys post quite a bit less of the commentary than I do, and that maybe mine is somewhat excessive. However, what I'm really interested in is having something to refer back to in several months when I (hopefully) have made a little bit of progress, especially in my weakest lifts. I'm also trying to read a lot of the articles here, because I really don't know a whole lot about how to work out properly (but hopefully I'm learning). Watching the Starting Strength video has helped a lot too.

  9. #9
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    11-25-2011, workout #6

    I emailed 24 Hour Fitness about getting permission to have a few of my sets videotaped for form, but I haven’t heard back yet.

    Today’s workout was as follows:

    Squat: no weight (12 reps), bar only (8 reps), 95x8, 145x5x3
    Press: bar only (10 reps), 95x8, 135x5x3, 155x2
    Deadlift: 135x8, 185x5, 245x5
    Pullups: Bodyweight +11 pounds (belt +10) x5x3


    I stuck with the 10 pound increment on the squat, and on the first rep of my work set I had a hard time getting back up because I lost my balance a bit at the bottom – the rep felt a little like a good morning. I realized that I had the bar too high, so I made the adjustment on the second set (which felt much easier). However, I wasn’t paying enough attention to my knees, and they were not far enough apart. On the third set I tried to widen them, and the set felt quite a bit more difficult than the second set had. I also noticed some pain in my right hip at the bottom.

    The press started to feel a little heavy today. I believe I’ll probably be pressing a good 20 pounds less standing up than I can sitting down. After the third work set I added twenty pounds to see how heavy it felt. Both reps went up quickly, but I wasn’t sure if I could do three sets of five. I guess I’ll probably find out in two weeks.

    On the deadlift I tried not to lock out my knees before my hips – I tried to get them to finish at the same time. This will take a lot of practice before it becomes automatic. On my work set I scraped the bar all the way up my left shin, and after I finished the set I noticed it was bleeding. I did wipe the bar with disinfectant, which they happened to have conveniently placed right next to the squat rack. I may need to wear something that provides some protection next time.

    The pull-ups felt a little more difficult than normal because the handles were farther apart than at the place I usually work out. I was able to complete all the work sets, but I didn’t have a whole lot left after the last one.

    I’m looking forward to adding the power clean next time I do overhead presses.
    Last edited by LongDriver; 11-26-2011 at 04:05 AM.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    I'm also very similar in size: 6 foot in shoes, 230 lbs, age 43.

    I'm pretty sure your numbers are only going one way. I love the attention to detail in your log.

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