It’s been about a year since I started consistently weight training again, so I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what kind of progress I had made.
“Consistently” needs a little bit of a qualifier. I had several weeks here and there when I wasn’t able to train, largely due to travel; although I’ve done better than ever at finding gyms when I’ve been out of town, sometimes it just wasn’t possible. I also had my training impacted a bit by a shoulder injury that caused me to not train upper body for about a month.
I’ve been training using Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 program, which I highly recommend to everyone who wants to increase strength in a straightforward way. One of the great things about it is that it pushes you to set new personal records every time you go to the gym, which also makes it easy to track progress over time. I took my calculated 1 rep max for each of my major lifts and put them into a chart:
Deadlift (280 to 468: +67%) – The deadlift is by far my favorite of the big lifts, and I’m quite happy with how much progress I’ve made.
Squats (250 to 373: +49%) – I took a break from heavy squatting starting in September, because I was experiencing hip pain, and I wanted to work on my flexibility. Despite the break, when I resumed squatting last week, I immediately set a new PR, and then broke it again this week.
Bench press (233 to 304: +30%) – Due the shoulder problems, I hadn’t bench pressed in years, but I decided to start doing them again midway through the year, and I’m making great progress.
Military press (140 to 180: +25%) and push press (180 to 215: +20%) – For overhead pressing, I started the year doing military presses, then switched to push presses (where I can obviously move more weight), then recently back to military presses again.