Okay well I'm going to try my hand at journaling my workouts here.
Background: for a number of months (almost a year) I started working out again. The last time I seriously lifted was in high school for football (I am now 33 years old). Last summer (2008) I weighed roughly 225 - 230 lbs. I focused on diet and cardio, and I have since dropped about 25 - 30 lbs. (I'm at 200 lbs. now). During that time, I worked on dumbbell exercises. The thing was, while I lifted more with the dumbbells than most of the other guys in the gym, I knew I wasn't nearly as strong as I could be. To top it off, most of the bigger lifters in the gym didn't touch dumbbells and instead stuck with barbells. So my quest for strength began, and I found this site (among other things).
So I'm 33 years old, 6' 3" tall, 200 lbs.
Short term goals:
1. Squat more than I bench (I've always been a crappy squatter and I am resolved to change that)
2. Bench more than 225 as a work set
3. Be able to do 3 sets of 10 weighted pull ups
4. Squat, bench, and deadlift more than I weigh.
I have been doing a variant of the Starting Strength program (from the SS wiki) for just over a week:
Practical Programming Novice Program:
3x5 Bench press / Press (Alternating)
Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps
3x5 Press / Bench Press (Alternating)
3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)
Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps
I also add weighted situps to strengthen my core ab muscles.
Right now I am doing pull ups every workout because I want to become good at them and train myself to do them before I routine them (I've never been good at pull ups).
Last night I had a bench/deadlift day, and here is where I am (not counting warmup sets):
Squat: 135 lbs. 3 sets of 5
Bench: 165 lbs. 3 sets of 5
Deadlift: 205 lbs. 1 set of 5
Pullups: took 6 sets to get to 30... better than I have been doing, but deadlift days really sap the energy
Weighted situps: ran out of time so only got two sets of 20 @ 25 lbs.
I started SS with squat at 135, but I seem to have some kind of mental block with that weight. It is hard to deep squat with it, but I know I can do it... for some reason I tend to get a mental block. So I initially rolled the weight back about 20 lbs. and have built back up. Yesterday was better but still not as good as I wanted. Better, though. I know I'll get there.
Just to round it off, my next lift day (Thursday) I will do press at 110 lbs.