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big ragu
03-17-2013, 11:40 AM
Here's some background on me. I was not an athletic kid, I grew up in a garage and drag strip. I never played any sports, never cared to (still really don't). I was 300lbs about 8 years ago, I dieted and exercised down to 210. I realized that I really liked lifting and have been doing it regularly since then. I've been as lean as 190, I'm sitting at 220 right now. I'm 6'4, 35 years old and I am NOT blessed with good genetics.

I have a piss poor bench, I pushed 315 the other day (I know it sucks, no need to tell me). I can deadlift 500 on a really good day, and squat 415. I'd be willing to bet I could squat a little more if I work on my form. I'd really like go get all of my lifts up. It'd be really awesome for me to push 350 on the bench. Can I get some suggestions as to programs that will help? I currently lift 5 days a week, I workout alone but in a gym. I really would appreciate a bit of direction, thank you

DontTakeEmOff31
03-17-2013, 05:16 PM
5/3/1 is a solid simple program to follow. There are more advanced programs like Westside or the Cube but if your form isn't good, don't have a good coach, or don't really know what you are doing I would stick with something simple.

big ragu
03-17-2013, 05:35 PM
I'll have to look up what that is. I have no real access to a coach or anything, and I'm getting too old to really make too many gains. But I'd still like to try!!

DontTakeEmOff31
03-17-2013, 05:49 PM
I think without a coach or people to train with 5/3/1 is the best program. If you are around people who know what they are doing, Westside is a significantly superior approach.

Brian Hopper
03-17-2013, 06:59 PM
IMO, 5/3/1 would be your best bet. Buy the 5/3/1 for powerlifting book and read it. If you google it, I'm sure you'll find enough information. Best of luck!

big ragu
03-18-2013, 08:12 AM
Thank you both for the replies. I'm going to ask a really dumb question, try not to laugh. I've got to be past the point of any sort of competing, right? I really enjoy lifting, it's been great for me. A few months ago I got into this little comp at the gym, it was basically a bench/run deal. Bench 75% of your body weight up to 30 reps, and then run a 5k. The amount of reps resulted in a time off your overall 5k time. Anyway, the bench portion was fun but it really didn't have anything to do with lifting a lot of weight. Is it too late to make any sort of progress to do any sort of competing? Keep in mind I work out alone, I have no one to train with and there are no strength coaches where I'm at. Hell I don't even know how to eat to get stronger! I know I'll never be scott mendelson, or any where near the majority of the guys here.

DontTakeEmOff31
03-18-2013, 08:16 AM
You can absolutely compete, there are plenty of people in every competition that have numbers much lower and much higher than yours. No one particularily cares what numbers you put up in a meet (or in general), you are up on the platform competing with yourself.

big ragu
03-18-2013, 08:22 AM
Really? I guess I had a different idea of how these things work. Even at my size? I'm 6'4 220, seems like the majority of the people at my size would be putting up big numbers.

Paulo_Santos
03-18-2013, 09:03 AM
I competed in January at 38 years old. You'll have a great time.

Brian Hopper
03-18-2013, 09:55 AM
I agree, your doing it for yourself and nobody else. Once you compete and you hit your numbers, you plan for another meet and train to do better. My uncle is 68 years young, and he competes at least once year in a push/pull competition.

IMO, your numbers are not that as bad as you think they are. Time to get positive, pick a meet, train for it and hit PR's!

big ragu
03-18-2013, 10:39 AM
Interesting stuff guys. I honestly would have never guessed it was like that. I'll have to see what, if any, comps are relatively local (Rochester, NY). I wonder if I can find something like 6 months from now, and give it a shot. As far as diet goes, what's important? Just calories? Big protein? Big carbs? I've learned to eat to be lean, I don't know how to eat to be strong. Currently I eat a bunch of protein, but a lot of calories too. I'm probably the strongest I've ever been, but not lean at all. I'm getting kind pumped for this, I like to have goals, and I like seeing numbers go up. Guess I need to research the 5,3,1 program, and get started!

DontTakeEmOff31
03-18-2013, 10:51 AM
IMO, your numbers are not that as bad as you think they are. Time to get positive, pick a meet, train for it and hit PR's!

This is true as well. Those are not bad numbers either (if you even consider any numbers as "bad").

Couple things, don't change your diet up too much. Eat a solid diet and compete at whatever comes naturally, there is no need to bulk up as big as possible. You'll get plenty of PRs at your current weight. If you want to get bigger thats great, but keep in mind your history with weight.

If you run 5/3/1, run it for a solid 6 months and then after that do a competition, you can pick one out now but the program needs some time to progress forward.

Tim K
03-18-2013, 05:16 PM
I did my first meet (bench only) in over 25 years in February at 46 years old. Don't worry about your numbers (which aren't all that bad). Do a meet, learn how a meet runs, have fun.

big ragu
03-18-2013, 08:09 PM
I see that 5,3,1 is a 4 week program. I assume you run it for 4, then restart it based on your new 1rm? I'm still a little confused on the program, I need to look it over some more tomorrow. More than likely I'll start it on Next Monday. I thank you all for your input, i may start a log when I get it rolling.

Brian Hopper
03-18-2013, 08:16 PM
Buy the book :)

big ragu
03-19-2013, 06:44 AM
Fair enough! I bought the ebook, I'll do some reading

Brian Hopper
03-19-2013, 07:15 AM
Fair enough! I bought the ebook, I'll do some reading

I wasn't trying to be an a-hole, lol. But, he does explain everything and it will all make sense to you.

Did you get the 5/3/1 for powerlifting or his first one? If you have any questions, just start a thread. There are a few lifters here with 5/3/1 experience including myself.

big ragu
03-19-2013, 07:37 AM
No worries man, I never took it as you being an ass! I don't know which one I got, it's titled Jim Wendler, 5,3,1. I suspect it's the first one.

Edit:I have this one:
http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=370&pid=2976

DontTakeEmOff31
03-19-2013, 10:53 AM
Think thats the regular one, but that's all you need. Give it a read, and follow one of the templates he has until you start to get more knowledgeable about what kind of assistence works for you.

Brian Hopper
03-19-2013, 12:24 PM
Yeah, that's the first version. The other one (5/3/1 for powerlifting) is pretty much the same. He just swaps it to 3/5/1 and adds singles. If you have the extra cash, I would buy that one as well. He does explain how to peak for a meet and some offseason training. IMO, both books are worth the money.

big ragu
03-19-2013, 02:31 PM
Funk it, I bought them both. Between the 2 books and a new Inzer belt this is getting expensive! I'm kidding, small price to pay for knowledge.

Brian Hopper
03-19-2013, 04:45 PM
Good, now read them and let us know if you have any questions.

Jonathan E
03-20-2013, 02:14 AM
Brian, Donttakemeoff, and others have provided you with some good ideas. Follow them. I just wanted to echo the thought of thinking positive and competing for yourself, against yourself ! Get at it.

big ragu
03-20-2013, 04:44 AM
I'm on it! I see people that ask for help and then don't follow what they're being told. That's not me. I asked, the entire group suggests the 5,3,1 method, and that's where I'm heading. Overall seems like a simple program, I just need to get a better grasp on the assistance work. Like what exercises to do on which day. Seems a lot like the 5x5 program, which I have run in the past. I haven't had the time to read it all, but I will.

I think the biggest battle I'm going to have is diet. Right now I'm 220, I'm lean at 200. Right now I am carrying quite a bit of fat on my midsection. I just have to keep my mind set on being strong, and not start dieting. I'd like to do this for 6 solid months and see where I end up, and I'd like to keep this weight, if not put on a little more. At 200 I'm not very strong. Luckily I have a pregnant girlfriend who's eating everything. Makes it tough to diet anyway! I'd really like to see a 350lb bench someday, a bigger dead and squat.

DontTakeEmOff31
03-20-2013, 09:24 AM
I'm on it! I see people that ask for help and then don't follow what they're being told. That's not me. I asked, the entire group suggests the 5,3,1 method, and that's where I'm heading. Overall seems like a simple program, I just need to get a better grasp on the assistance work. Like what exercises to do on which day. Seems a lot like the 5x5 program, which I have run in the past. I haven't had the time to read it all, but I will.

I think the biggest battle I'm going to have is diet. Right now I'm 220, I'm lean at 200. Right now I am carrying quite a bit of fat on my midsection. I just have to keep my mind set on being strong, and not start dieting. I'd like to do this for 6 solid months and see where I end up, and I'd like to keep this weight, if not put on a little more. At 200 I'm not very strong. Luckily I have a pregnant girlfriend who's eating everything. Makes it tough to diet anyway! I'd really like to see a 350lb bench someday, a bigger dead and squat.

I would just clean up your diet but keep eating a solid amount of food, that will slowly recomp your body if you maintain your current weight and get stronger.

vdizenzo
03-20-2013, 09:41 AM
I'm 43 and still making progress. Best of luck. Work hard and have fun.

luigisacs
03-20-2013, 12:33 PM
Hello. As a possible adjunct to the 5/3/1 or Westside might I recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Practical Programming by him as well. They are not as popular on this site as other options but I've found them to be very good novice to intermediate training.

Bigboy1968
03-20-2013, 12:36 PM
Big Ragu,
There is a WNPF meet next month in Rochester (I will be competing in it), it's a pretty nice laid back event and even for an older lifter like myself (45) it's still enough to get the competitive juices flowing. I really do kick myself for waiting 18 years in between meets (1993-2011) but it has been fun to get back into something that makes me train with a purpose.

big ragu
03-20-2013, 01:05 PM
Hello. As a possible adjunct to the 5/3/1 or Westside might I recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Practical Programming by him as well. They are not as popular on this site as other options but I've found them to be very good novice to intermediate training.

I will take a look at it. Any bit of info will help! As a side note, I'm driving back to ny from Levittown right now, I had to make a run to Evans equipment on Bristol pike.

chris mason
03-20-2013, 01:07 PM
Hello. As a possible adjunct to the 5/3/1 or Westside might I recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Practical Programming by him as well. They are not as popular on this site as other options but I've found them to be very good novice to intermediate training.

It isn't popular here because I know enough to know it is crap.

big ragu
03-20-2013, 01:07 PM
Big Ragu,
There is a WNPF meet next month in Rochester (I will be competing in it), it's a pretty nice laid back event and even for an older lifter like myself (45) it's still enough to get the competitive juices flowing. I really do kick myself for waiting 18 years in between meets (1993-2011) but it has been fun to get back into something that makes me train with a purpose.
Really? I'm going to look it up, I haven't heard of anything around here. I'll come out and watch, I'm certainly in no position to compete!

luigisacs
03-20-2013, 01:44 PM
It isn't popular here because I know enough to know it is crap.

Hi Chris, thank you for your opinion. Would you be able to advise you believe it is crap? I've been on it for a short time and have gotten stronger. I just wanted your thoughts?

Bigboy1968
03-20-2013, 02:24 PM
Really? I'm going to look it up, I haven't heard of anything around here. I'll come out and watch, I'm certainly in no position to compete!

Big Ragu,

I was suggesting you actually compete in it. What I learned from my 18 year layoff is that you are never actually "ready" for a meet, you could always wait for the next one, until you add 20 more pounds to this lift, or 70 lbs to your total, there is never a perfect time to do it, you should just go ahead and jump in, because it is fun, because it is a challenge, and most of all because we all look awesome in a singlet.

Brian Hopper
03-20-2013, 02:49 PM
Big Ragu,

I was suggesting you actually compete in it. What I learned from my 18 year layoff is that you are never actually "ready" for a meet, you could always wait for the next one, until you add 20 more pounds to this lift, or 70 lbs to your total, there is never a perfect time to do it, you should just go ahead and jump in, because it is fun, because it is a challenge, and most of all because we all look awesome in a singlet.

I agree and disagree. You can be ready to compete at any meet as long as you plan your training right and peak at the right time.

ScottYard
03-20-2013, 02:57 PM
Solid choice with 531. You cant go wrong.

big ragu
03-20-2013, 03:34 PM
Big Ragu,

I was suggesting you actually compete in it. What I learned from my 18 year layoff is that you are never actually "ready" for a meet, you could always wait for the next one, until you add 20 more pounds to this lift, or 70 lbs to your total, there is never a perfect time to do it, you should just go ahead and jump in, because it is fun, because it is a challenge, and most of all because we all look awesome in a singlet.

I kind of thought that's what you were getting at! I've never trained to be strong, up until now I've trained because its fun. I only recently broke 300 on the bench, I feel like I need to give myself a good 6 months of working at it before I compete. When I did that little bs bench/run comp I only did it because I knew I could complete the allotted reps. I think I'd have a lot more fun knowing I spent a fair amount of time preparing for it. Plus I don't even know how an event works. I have to at least observe one first.

Singlet?? Is that mandatory? I think my wife beater adds 50lbs to my deadlift, I'd be weak without it!

Bigboy1968
03-20-2013, 05:23 PM
I agree and disagree. You can be ready to compete at any meet as long as you plan your training right and peak at the right time.

Brian,

What I mean is that there is always a reason to not compete, that's why people never get on the platform. Once you do a meet, put up shitty numbers and realize nobody laughs at you for not being a world record holder it makes it easier to compete again. Getting a baseline is important.

Brian Hopper
03-20-2013, 05:45 PM
Brian,

What I mean is that there is always a reason to not compete, that's why people never get on the platform. Once you do a meet, put up shitty numbers and realize nobody laughs at you for not being a world record holder it makes it easier to compete again. Getting a baseline is important.

I totally understand, and that's the part I was agreeing on. I hear too many people saying "I'm not strong enough to compete". It's not about being strong enough. Your lifting against yourself. Yeah, it feels good to win. But it feels even better when you win against yourself and smash PR's! I do agree that getting a baseline is important and once you compete for the first time you get hooked, lol!

Travis Bell
03-20-2013, 07:07 PM
I totally understand, and that's the part I was agreeing on. I hear too many people saying "I'm not strong enough to compete". It's not about being strong enough. Your lifting against yourself. Yeah, it feels good to win. But it feels even better when you win against yourself and smash PR's! I do agree that getting a baseline is important and once you compete for the first time you get hooked, lol!

Brian I totally agree. Competing to win in the long run will end up being a meaningless venture that will get you disapointed.

You really have to compete against yourself, finding new levels to push yourself to and constantly setting new goals.

Travis Bell
03-20-2013, 07:09 PM
I'll also add a lot of guys think they are pretty strong until they enter their first meet. Everyone finds out it's pretty easy to think performing in front of people and hitting your best technique in an unfamiliar area with different equipment and with judges is going to be a breeze but it aint.

So the best thing is to get out there and get some experience.

big ragu
03-21-2013, 06:36 AM
Everyone finds out it's pretty easy to think performing in front of people and hitting your best technique in an unfamiliar area with different equipment and with judges is going to be a breeze but it aint.



This leads me to believe that I need to observe a meet beforehand. Not only am I not as strong as I could be, but I have no idea how it's run. I don't know what to expect, I've never been to a meet. I will freely admit that I don't think I'm strong, yeah, I can out lift my 57 year old dad (who lifts every day, might I add), but I think in the grand scheme of things I need to prepare myself better. As of right now I assumed I could walk in wearing sweat pants and a tank top and lift, now I hear something about a singlet? I don't even know what that is. I never even thought about lifting in a belt until last week. I have used straps on the deadlift, now I read in 531 that you're not supposed to? You guys are blowing my mind, there's no way in a months time I can be even remotely prepared. I will go watch though, get a solid idea of how it goes down. Also I'm not exactly a "get up in front of other people and perform" kinda guy. That's something I'll have to consider.

For the time being, Monday I'll start the program, and see how that goes. I expect more from myself than where I'm currently at.