The last time I lifted weights, I was in high school. That ended when I broke cartilage in my wrist while power cleaning 205 pounds. I was deadlifting almost 500 pounds with a trap bar. I weighed 165 pounds. I’ve never weighed, nor lifted, that much since.
Since June 2014, I’ve started lifting again. I’m documenting my progress here to offer an opinion on various lifting techniques and programs. Exrx.net’s low-volume lifting program was my initial program, using squat, overhead press, bench press, deadlift and barbell row. However, my OH and bench presses stalled, at 115 and 155 respectively; I think this happened because I was lifting too heavy without enough reps to make my muscles grow.
Since the end of September, I started the basic Stronglifts 5×5 program to try fixing the shoulder and bench plateau. My squat, deadlift, and barbell rows have been doing well. 5 rep maxes for these are 255, 315, and 155, respectively.
At the end of November, I moved from the Stronglifts 5×5 program to Greyskull’s Linear Progression program. I did this because my squat and deadlift had grown too heavy for me to do both lifts successfully in a single workout: the days that I squatted and deadlifted in the same workout, I wouldn’t be able to complete all reps for one of the lifts.
The Greyskull LP program assigns squats to workout 1 and 3 each week, while the deadlift is done on week two. My current 5 rep max is 335, with a perceived rate of exertion (RPE) of about 8.5. I haven’t tested my 5 rep max for squat since that 255 number; I’m currently doing a 3×5 at 235, at an RPE of 9, so I’m not sure my squat is progressing as well as my deadlift — time will tell. My bench is progressing well, 3×5 at 147.5, at an RPE of 8.5. I’m nearing my 5-rep max, with an added two sets. The additional volume of the SL 5×5 and Greyskull programs has helped me add weight to all of my lifts, where I was unable to do so before. Also, I’ve scraped a lot of rust off my form on these lifts, which is probably the leading cause of the weight increases.