Today marks the start of week 6 of my strength training program at Stronglifts as I make strong progress. I continue to increase the weights as I move towards my 12 week goals, which were established before starting the program. Since I had little experience with free weights prior to starting, I began most of the lifts with an empty bar (45 lbs.), but have seen some nice increases, especially in the squat and bench press. The key to this program is getting to the gym on a regular basis, for me that is 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and increasing the weight on each lift, every session.
The squat is the cornerstone behind Stronglifts and one that is of the utmost importance. It was an exercise I never did before starting this program. Starting with the empty bar, I have made a 105 lb. increase and can do a 1RM (1 rep max) of 150 lbs after 5 weeks. My 12-week goal for the squat is 240 lbs. There have been a few issues with my form that have been resolved, thanks to another SL member who provided guidance and insight. I now feel confident in my squat form and think 240 lbs. is well within reach.
The bench press been just as impressive in terms of weight added. Just like the squat I started with an empty bar (45 lbs.). At times I felt a bit ridiculous benching an empty bar, but progress was being made. While my current work weight (for my 5×5) is 115 lbs. I just achieved a new 1RM last Friday of 155 lbs! An increase of 110 lbs. in 5 weeks! The goal set for the 12-week program is 140, so I am ahead of the schedule on the bench press. Still have a few form issues to resolve on the bench press, such as pushing my chest up before I lift. My grip continues to baffle me from too narrow to possibly too wide.
The final number I am using as a target is the deadlift is 260 lbs. This is another lift that I had never done before learning of Stronglifts. I had seen it done by power lifters, but never considered myself in that category when lifting weights. Starting with 140 lbs. I have increased the weight 10 lbs. a week. Last week I was able to pull a 1RM of 200 lbs. It probably could have been 20-25 lbs heavier and still be considerable a good rep. This is another lift where form, especially with the back is important. I have scabs on my shins from literally dragging the barbell up my shins, which tells me the form is still not completely correct as my hips are too low when starting the lift.
Still with some minor issues in my form, progress is being made. I am gaining strength across the board in all 5 lifts I attempt, as well as in the dips I am able to accomplish. Right now the only thing holding me back is pain in my left shoulder. I am trying to decide if it’s an injury (pre-existing before I started lifting) or just tightness in my shoulders requiring mobility training. The twinge is more noticeable when I am pulling weight, as in the barbell rows or doing dips. Last night I want is an injury that will interfere with my work out schedule.