Dec 062011

This will serve as a hopefully semi-brief summary of my training history to put all future posts in context.

I started working out about seven or eight months after graduating college, at the beginning of 2007. I was sitting at 185 lbs. or so and pretty skinny fat. I dicked around in the gym doing normal stuff that you see people who don’t know what they’re doing doing for eight months or so, ran a little bit, started watching what I ate. I was then introduced to Starting Strength via second hand information. I just knew the basics, didn’t have anyone to really coach me, didn’t realize how important the diet was, etc., and ended up fumbling around with it. I made progress, but between random issues (real life stuff) and my lack of knowledge, it was not impressive at all.

Fast forward to August 2009 when I started law school. By this point in time I mostly knew what I was doing, got the kinks worked out of my form and started eating properly. I think I took my squat from mid-200’s for reps up to over 300 for reps that first semester, and got my deadlift up to 395 for reps (and then had my diet catch up to me). I started having knee issues, and had it diagnosed as patellar tendinitis. Being a hard headed jackass at times, I ignored this diagnosis and continued what I was doing and ignored it. Beginning  of the next semester, in February I believe, I stopped squatting altogether to let my knee heal. It was bad enough that if I unexpectedly stepped into a pothole it would cause a ridiculous amount of pain and set me back a long ways. Other times I would push myself too hard in the gym and set myself back. Finally I stopped doing anything to aggravate it and stuck mostly to pressing. Eventually, I got my press up to 185×5 at a 225 lbs. body weight, at which point even heavy pressing caused issues.

Without going into details (I’ll post something about it eventually, since it seems like it might be useful to others), I started figuring out what was wrong, and after reading up, decided I could force it to heal like anything else by gradually increasing the stress I put on it. I started with just the bar, and in order to make the lift slightly more difficult without having to risk screwing up my knee, I chose to do overhead squats. I have been making significant progress this way. About the same time I started Lyle’s Rapid Fat Loss Diet, I hit 125 lbs. on the OHS, which started to get into the “tough” category for me, since I hadn’t done any heavy squats in almost a year. Because this comes with a higher chance of form breakdown, I decided to make the switch to high bar squats. My knee has also started to feel like it’s healing faster than the weight on the OHS is going up, which was another reason for the switch.

High bar squats are closest to my OHS style, so it would be easier to gauge what weight I should start them with. I’m also experimenting with whether I like them better than low bar squats (*cowers in fear of Rip suddenly appearing next to me*). On Sunday, I went ahead and bumped it to 135 lbs. to start my high bar squats. The plan is to increase by ten pounds until I feel it stressing my knee a bit more than I like, then drop the increments down to five lbs. If I get really lucky, it’s almost completely healed and will last up until the squats get hard. I doubt that will happen, but this is where I am at now.

Relevant stats:

  • Height: Between 6′ 1″ and 6′ 2″
  • Peak Weight: < 230 lbs.
  • Max Squat: ~305 – 3×5
  • Max Deadlift: 395 – 1×5, 405 – 1×3
  • Max Press: 185 – 1×5
  • Max Bench: ~230 – 3×5 (rarely trained)
  • Max Power Clean: 225 x 1
  • Max Power Snatch: 165 x 1 (might have involved a little muscling up)
  • Max Overhead Squat: 135 – 1×7
None of these stats apply to me currently, those are just the strongest I’ve been in all the lifts.

And my attempt to monetize my blog a little:

Starting Strength Third Edition

Practical Programming Second Edition

These are, of course, directly available from

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