In case you missed part 1, here is a recap on why I started my Old Man Strong Journey:
• Tired of training for long distance races and a sprint Tri-Athlon
• Felt weak and wanted to get stronger
• Set out to hit 1000# total in the squat, bench and deadlift
That is part one in a nutshell, if you are interested on how I got started and how I programed it I would suggest going back and reading Old Man Strong part 1.
So I started at 685# which wasn’t that much of a surprise to me due to the fact I had been more concerned with not drowning with my sprint tri-athlon training than picking up a weight. But I thought with hard work and a good program I could hit 1000# by my birthday which is in July, 10 months away.
I realized about 6 months into it that I wasn’t going to hit 1000# by my birthday but the plan was to test on that day. After working hard and sticking to the program I got pretty close:
July, 2017 Total= 960#
It was probably one the happiest and most satisfying gym days of my life. Never had I lifted that much weight and there are very few feelings that compare to PR’ing (personal record) a lift. What I decided to do next in my training was take a break!
What? Why? So close?
There were a couple of reasons why I chose to take a break from the routine.
1) Everything revolved around the week's workout
Which I guess isn’t a bad thing but after 10 months I felt I needed a break from squatting, benching and deadlifting.
2) Fall was Coming!
As an athletic trainer the fall season is the busiest. With my responsibilities at the high schools as well as in the PT clinic, it was going to be difficult to put in the amount of time that was needed to train the way I had.
So even though I was only 40# away, I needed to be realistic about things and decided to take a break. I continued to work out a few times a week but it wasn’t as strict as the previous 10 months.
I started up again once the holidays were over. The key for me was not to get too frustrated at whatever strength loss I had. I knew it would take me a while to get back into it so I adjusted the program a bit by adding a 4 week prep phase where I would perform the workouts for that mesocycle but at a much lower percentage. Once I got back into the routine I also extended the next mesocycle to 6 weeks instead of 4. By doing this I got accustomed to the program again, felt confident in my lifts and honestly felt like I reduced the risk of hurting myself.
Test Day May 18, 2018
I was really excited for the possibility of hitting #1000 but also really nervous that I would fall a few pounds short. You start questioning yourself, did I work hard enough or did I do everything that I could have to make this happen? But I did do it, not only did I hit my 1000# but I PR’d in all 3 lifts which I wasn’t expecting to do. It was a very good day and I couldn’t have been happier. I wore my 1000# club member t-shirt all weekend.
What I Learned
1. Volume and Tempo are more important than the number of exercises
You will always have people trying to sell you the newest equipment or try to teach you the newest and best exercise. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t need to be that difficult or expensive. You can perform the same handful of exercises and be just as effective. The amount of weight you put on the bar, the speed at which you perform the exercise and the amount of rest in between sets are more important than constantly changing exercises.
2. You need to periodize your routine
I went over this briefly in part 1 but basically it’s working at certain percentages of your 1 rep max. It gives you systematic approach to helping you reach your goal; it holds you accountable for each work out and makes sure that the volume is there that are necessary to safely increase workload.
3. I really enjoyed power lifting
I plan on continuing power lifting in some capacity. I enjoyed the way the program was set up and how I felt after each cycle. Who knows, maybe a 500# deadlift for my 40th birthday next year?
4. Reaching goals take time
Whether it’s rehabbing an injury, losing weight or getting stronger, it takes time. That is why when you are in the gym you need to enjoy what you are doing.
Enjoy the process, enjoy the challenge!
In my case it took me 20 months to reach my goal. After 20 months of working out in my garage in the middle of the winter or at the clinic before or after work all I have to show for it are a few pictures and a couple of short videos.
But boy was it worth it!!
Michael Lopes ATC, CSCS