Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

Logan’s Introduction to Strength

by Chris Northern | December 13, 2018

logan strength training progress

Logan played football throughout grade school, and I had the pleasure of coaching him in youth football in 7th and 8th grade. He was a bigger kid and played on both sides of the line. When he went on to high school, I offered to give him some lifting tips in the off-season and he met me at the local YMCA a time or two. He continued to play football his freshman year of high school, but his season was cut short due to injury. In June of 2017, prior to his sophomore year, Logan called me and said he was ready to start strength training. At the time, I had just set up my garage for strength training for myself and planned to train others. Logan became my very first client.

He Begins Novice Linear Progression (LP)

Logan, who was a couple months shy of his 15th birthday at the time, hadn't had much experience in the weight room yet. As I had become more and more familiar with the Starting Strength methodology, I wanted to apply it to a true novice. Logan's youth and lack of experience made him the perfect candidate. He was consistent, he had great support from his parents, and he was receptive to coaching. His very first session with me looked like this:

  • Squat 85x5x3
  • Bench 65x5x3
  • Deadlift 115x5x1

We went through the teaching progressions before each lift. I remember that first day well, because on his second set of squats, Logan shifted his weight too far back and I had to catch him. He was like a baby giraffe starting to walk. We started a little lighter than we could have, so that I could get him used to the movement patterns he would need for the future. We worked all summer together, 3 days a week, only missing a couple of weeks for vacation.

Logan ate all the food his parents bought (they considered sending me a bill for the food), and his final session of summer 2017 looked like this:

  • Squat 245x5, 185x5x2
  • Bench press 120x5x3
  • Deadlift 305x1x5

Right around his 15th birthday, sophomore football season was upon us and of course, with practice, school lifting, and games, the coach essentially didn’t want him doing extra work outside of school. Following his sophomore season, he came back and we reset his weights, and restarted a Novice LP. He resumed in Nov 2017 and continued an LP for the next 5 months, slowly increasing the weight over time. We would have occasional scheduling conflicts and he also had a strength class in school, but he kept making steady progress while riding that “toxic” wave of testosterone boys get in adolescence. 

“Hey coach, I want to try a meet.”

Over the course of the year or so that I trained Logan, I resisted attempting 1-rep maxes with him so we could continue to get him stronger. But after seeing me compete in powerlifting, Logan wanted to give it a try. We tapered a few weeks prior to a local meet and he set PRs in Squat (415 lbs) and Deadlift (430 lbs) at the APA Wisconsin State meet in June of 2018. He also hit a bench press of 210. He was still only 15 years old at this point. Logan got very strong in just about a year of LP with a sprinkle of intermediate programming here and there to keep him interested.

logan after meet

Varsity Playoff Football

While Logan spent a year of squatting 3 times per week, pressing, deadlifting, pushing a sled and bench pressing, many of his peers were doing bro splits, pushups, arm curls and jumping on boxes. In July 2018, his football team started their summer workouts and Logan showed up having the highest squat on his team as a 16-year-old junior. His new strength and his dedication to practicing his skills earned him a varsity starting position at Nose Tackle where he consistently drew and beat double-team blocking all season long. He regularly made tackles in the backfield and contributed to a defense that dominated their opponents. His team just made a deep playoff run and came up just short in the state semi-final game last weekend, and he has already received recruiting letters from colleges.

logan strength playing football

Logan will come back and resume training with me in a week or two and as you have probably guessed, we will restart him on an LP and see just how strong this young man can get.

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