Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

Kirk Grows Up

by Chase Lindley | February 08, 2018

kirk training his squat

During my short time as a strength coach, I have had the pleasure of seeing my clients get stronger. Some of my younger clients take strength training leisurely (what do you expect from a bunch of twelve and thirteen-year-olds?), but one is an exception. His name is Kirk.

Kirk began training at Wichita Falls Athletic Club during the summer of 2017, and since then has missed no more than 5 days of training. No shit, 5 days. He found WFAC through word of mouth by a family friend and has seen his strength increase steadily. Kirk is a rare case in the sense that he has very good control over his body’s eccentric movement; many kids his age have no idea how to control eccentric descent under the bar.

He isn’t the most genetically gifted human, but what he lacks in genetics he makes up for with hard work and the sheer desire to get stronger. Kirk isn’t fond of the idea of having to play middle school sports, which is in itself a shit-show. This means his sport or physical activity of interest is barbell training, making him the perfect candidate for strength training. Kirk comes into the gym each day with the same expression on his face, ready to work, even after his high school-level classes and schedule. 

Starting his strength training journey, Kirk began his first workout as follows:

  • Squat 35x5x3
  • Press 20x5x3
  • Deadlift 45x5

After eight months his lifts are currently:

  • Squat 130x5x3
  • Press 63x5x3
  • Deadlift 140x5

Kirk has informed me that he is now the strongest kid in his grade, and his friend circle. I wouldn’t doubt that after knowing his work ethic and watching his numbers climb.

Kirk made the choice to get stronger – but the execution of the process used to get stronger is where most people go astray. Kirk eats when he’s told to gain weight, sleeps enough, and doesn’t do anything to interfere with his training. At the gym, he rests enough between sets, and doesn’t gripe or complain about weights being heavy; he simply gets under the bar and does the work. But he does get mad when told to deload, even though I know from experience that he needs to.

Kirk is a pretty weird kid. He is more robot than human, but that’s because he shy, and I was once the same way. After more barbell training, being around the older guys in the gym, and me talking to him more on a personal level, he will come out of his shell like we all do. This kid is very polite and smart, which is also very odd to see in a young person nowadays. Kirk has this weird ability to randomly disappear, and then magically emerge out of thin air when it’s convenient. It’s funny after reflecting on it, but when trying to keep track of the three other kids I’m training at the same time, it is a lot like trying to herd house cats.

I’m super proud to train Kirk; he makes my job easy and gratifying, as well as entertaining. It wasn’t long ago when I was in his position being coached in the gym, and now coaching kiddos makes me feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode – the roles are switched, and I’m the big guy now. I’m sure Kirk won’t be the only kid I’ll have the pleasure of making strong, but he will certainly be one of my favorites and one of the strongest. If you want to make the commitment that Kirk has to being strong, you know what to do. But just know that wherever you are, there is a twelve-year-old who’s probably stronger than you.

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