May 6th, 2019

Starting Strength A

Starting Starting Strength

For the first two workouts, the coach has programmed sets of increasing intensity for each lift, so today you get to see that: squat, overhead press, and deadlift, starting light and getting heavier. I also dug up a gooseneck camera mount of mine to hold my phone, instead of just leaning it against stuff, as I've always done before. The results are . . . okay.


May 3rd, 2019

Starting Strength Test

I signed up for Starting Strength Online Coaching!

My first assignment was to show my coach where I'm at by performing a "moderately heavy" set of five reps for each other four main lifts: squat, overhead press, deadlift, and bench press. Ultimately, I share the following sets: Squat @ 285 lbs., Press @ 105 lbs., Deadlift @ 315 lbs., and Bench @ 155 lbs. According to my coach (and myself after reviewing this), I did alright, but there is plenty of room for improvement. So, let the journey begin.

May 1st, 2019

StrongLifts B

WTF--change in format?!

Yes! I finally took the plunge, and I have signed up for Starting Strength Online Coaching ( While I haven't yet been assigned a coach and received my first programming, I did read how they want you to shoot video, and they require landscape format at angles not directly to the side. So, I'm giving that a shot!

Deadlift: 1×5 @ 345 lbs.*
Squat: 5×5 @ 225 lbs.
Overhead Press: 5×5 @ 105 lbs.

*What? Deadlift first?! Today was one of the few times when I had to share the rack, and since the other guy was going to squat, it made sense that I squat when he squatted just to make the transition smoother. But he had a few other things to do before he squatted, so while I waited, I decided to deadlift. This was the first time I have ever deadlifted without squatting beforehand, so I was going to be very fresh. That certainly made a difference on the first few reps, but I still think my lower back was loosing rigidity by the last two reps.

April 25th, 2019

StrongLifts B

Squat: 5×5 @ 225 lbs.*
Overhead Press: 5/4/3/4/4 @ 117.5 lbs.**
Deadlift: 1×5 @ 345 lbs.***

Body Weight: 192.2 lbs.

*Near the end of my squats, I realized that I was doing them way too fast. So I slowed down on the last set, and I will strive to do all light squats at that speed from here on out.

**Still trying to work up to 5×5 at 117.5 lbs. Still felt _really_ bad after first rep of the third set.

***My form was better this time than last, but I'm still not satisfied after the third rep. So, I'm doing 345 again next time until I get it right.

April 23rd, 2019

StrongLifts A

Squat: 1/3/3/3/2 @ 315 lbs.*
Bench Press: 3/4/3/3/2 @ 175 lbs.**
Barbell Row: 5/5/4/5/5 @ 225 lbs.***
Weighted Dips: 3×5 @ BW + 10 lbs.

Body Weight: 192.2 lbs.

*I almost threw up after my first squat, which killed that set. Damn.

**My right shoulder was not as sore as it has been, but my whole right side was very week. I might have been holding back so as not to aggravate the shoulder.

***I don't think I rested enough between my first two row sets, and so I missed a rep on the third set. I'll get it next time.

April 20th, 2019

StrongLifts B

Squat: 5×5 @ 225 lbs.
Overhead Press: 5/5/5/3/3 @ 117.5 lbs.*
Deadlift: 3 @ 345 lbs.**
Chinups: Skipped***

Body Weight: 193.8 lbs.

*Recall that I am taking a different approach to the overhead press. Instead of driving up the intensity and running the risk of passing out and giving myself another concussion, I am trying to drive up my tonnage by not increasing the weight until I can achieve 5×5. I hope that by doing this, I can develop the physiological tolerance to the increased exertion. Anyway, I did well enough for the first three sets, but I don't think I rested enough before the fourth set (I rested five minutes between the first three but only three minutes before the fourth). I also started feeling really crappy at some point. So, on the last set, having only gotten three reps before, I opted not to kill myself and only pushed for three again (though I did start a fourth).

**I did manage to get the weight up five times, but I'd say the last two had some pretty questionable form--my back wasn't as rigid as I would like it to be. So, I only marked three and will try for five at 345 lbs next time. Wish me luck.

***I think I mentioned last time that I am going to hold off on chinups until my right shoulder stops hurting during the bench press, since chinups are what caused it to start hurting in the first place, and I don't want an accessory lift to interfere with an assistance lift. Well, my shoulder hurt the last time I benched, so no chinups this time. If my shoulder doesn't hurt the next time I bench, then I do chins the time after that.

April 18th, 2019

StrongLifts A

Squats: 5×3 @ 315 lbs.*
Bench Press: 5×3 @ 175 lbs.**
Barbell Row: 5×5 @ 220 lbs.***
Weighted Dips: 3×5 @ BW + 7.5 lbs.

Body Weight: 195.4 lbs.

*Since I squatted 5×3 @ 315 lbs. the time before last, I was shooting for 3×5. But alas, I failed on the fourth squat of my first set. And by failed, it's probably more accurate to say that I just gave up, looking at the video. Of course, I had a reason to do so. Recently, I've been losing belly fat, and my waist has been getting smaller. Consequently, I've been able to cinch my squat belt a little tighter. This time, I was able to go in one extra hole at the expense of irritating my large intestine (I have ulcerative colitis and seem to be in a flare-up), and well, squatting with an inflamed colon can be a bit unnerving.

**My right shoulder still hurts! Benching with it is tougher than it should be. I think I might have to forgo chinups, which caused this in the first place, until it clears up, for I'll be damned if I let an accessory lift interfere with one of the main lifts--even though I really want to do chinups... Maybe I'll just do them at body weight (as though the extra 2.5 lbs. actually matters.) On the plus side, I made 5×3, which is an improvement from the 3×3 I did last time. Hopefully next time, my shoulder will be well enough that I can push for 3×5.

***Apparently, I didn't press record on my fourth set--at least, until after I finished the set. Oh well...

April 16th, 2019

StrongLifts B

Squat: 5×5 @ 225 lbs.
Overhead Press: 5/4/4/5/4 @ 117.5 lbs.*
Deadlift: 1×5 @ 340 lbs.
Weighted Chinups: 5/3/3 @ BW + 2.5 lbs.**

Body Weight: 195.6 lbs.

*I tried pressing 127.5 lbs, but I felt really bad doing so. So, I dropped to the last weight at which I failed to achieve 5×5 and went for 5×5. I didn't get it, but I was kinda close. I'm trying again next time, and if I make it, I'll continue pushing for 5×5 at lighter weights instead of driving up the intensity and thus the risk of passing out. Wish me luck...

**My right shoulder really started to hurt during this. Since this pain is interfering with my bench press, I decided to take it easy on the chinups. I should have dropped the extra weight--perhaps I will do that next time.

April 13th, 2019

StrongLifts A

Squat: 5×3 @ 315 lbs.*
Bench Press: 3×3 @ 175 lbs.**
Barbell Row: 5×5 @ 217.5 lbs.
Weighted Dips: 3×5 @ BW + 5 lbs.***

Body Weight: 200 lbs.

*I have an idea. Instead of just holding steady on my heavy squats, I am going to try to increase my tonnage by doing more reps and sets at 315 lbs until I can do 5×5, which I've never done before at that weight. So, since I did 3×3 last time, this time I went for 5×3. Next time, I'll shoot for 3×5, and so on. Perhaps I will start increasing the light squat intensity, too. We shall see.

**Shoulder still hurts. It hurt too much to get three reps at 182.5 lbs, so I racked it after two. Then I switched to 175 lbs for 3×3. That, I could do. So, I think I'll try the same thing I'm doing with my squats: go for 5×3 next time, then 3×5, etc. until I reach 5×5, which I've never done at 175 lbs. Hopefully, that will make me stronger and give my shoulder time to recover.

***I felt really bad after my first dip--lightheaded that is, so much so, that I had to pause and reset before continuing. Then I finished the first set without trouble. Then my mom called, and I rested too long, and I went through the exact same thing on the second set. The third set was fine.

April 11th, 2019

StrongLifts B

Squat: 5×5 @ 225 lbs.
Overhead Press: 3×3 @ 125 lbs.
Deadlift: 1×5 @ 335 lbs.
Weighted Chinups: 5/5/3 @ BW + 2.5 lbs.

Body Weight: 192 lbs.

Things went pretty well here, though I was very lightheaded after the first press. Fortunately, I was able to make 3×3. As for my sudden drop in body weight, I did not suddenly lose eight pounds. Instead, I finally reached a weight that my gym's scale can measure. I've been in the 190s for a while now, but the double-beam balance, for whatever reason, just can't measure precisely in that range. So I've been rounding it to 200 lbs.

April 7th, 2019

StrongLifts B

Squat 5×5 @ 225 lbs.*
Overhead Press: 3/3/3/3/0.5**
Deadlift: 1×5 @ 330 lbs.
Weighted Chinups: 5/4/3 @ BW + 2.5 lbs.

Body Weight: 200 lbs.

*As I described last time, I am going to try high volume, lightweight squats on B-days in order to give myself more time to recover between heavy squat days, not waste myself before the deadlift, and practice my form. To keep things simple, I will try alternating between two and three plates per side, 225 lbs and 315 lbs, on light and heavy days, respectively. Currently, 225 lbs is downright easy, which is nice considering that weight presented my first major plateau about a year ago.

**As expected, I experienced episodes of lightheadedness during the overhead press, the worst of all occurring during my last set. That one was bad enough for me to rack the weight before I completely lowered the rep, so I didn't fully count it. Here's hoping I don't die next time.

April 5th, 2019

StrongLifts A

Squat: 1/1/1 @ 320 lbs.*
Bench Press: 4 @ 177.5 lbs.; 2×3 @ 165 lbs.**
Barbell Row: 5×5 @ 212.5 lbs.
Dips: 3×5 @ BW

Body Weight: 200 lbs.

*I've squatted more weight for more reps in the past, but for some reason, I just didn't have it this day. I'm fairly sure that I've gotten to the point where I need more than two days to recover from the previous session's heavy squats, so, I'm going to try something new going forward. I still don't want to entirely switch programs until my presses and deadlift come up to par, so I am going to keep using StrongLifts but alternate between heavy, low-volume squats and lighter, high-volume squats. A-days will be heavy days, and B-days will be light days--hopefully, that will keep my legs fresh for heavy deadlifts on B-days.

**All those chin-ups last time did something to my right shoulder, and it's killing my bench press. I couldn't get five reps at 177.5 lbs because of the pain, and more importantly, because I didn't want to make things worse. So, against my own desires, I switched to a lighter weight. Hopefully, this doesn't last long.