I’ve been a convert to the Starting Strength program for a number of years now. I’ve not been diligent about completing my novice linear progression, but every time I’ve had an opportunity to keep after it for a coherent period, I’ve seen my lifts go up. Managed to get my deadlift work sets over 300 in DC. Got my DL max over 400 while in CA. And now, since we still have a gym that’s open (there’s a LOT of equipment wiping involved, yay COVID…), I’m back on the program. As best I can be.

We’re in Europe, where they use this silly thing called the Metric System. All of my numbers look like hell here, until you convert them back to the imperial system where they make sense. 175kg for a set of 5 this morning on the deadlift doesn’t sound like too much when you’re used to three-digit numbers starting with a ‘3’ for your lifts. Do the conversion, and you realized that 175kg is 7kg away from a three-digit imperial weight starting with a ‘4’. Starting this at the Pentagon, I couldn’t get 300lbs to break off the floor, with a weight belt, for a single rep. 5 years later and my work set was 385# with no belt (don’t have one).

My squats have finally caught up to where they were then, but considering my work set on DL is 50lbs higher for a set of 5 than I was doing for a set of 2 before, this is not bad. Bench goes back over 200lbs this Wednesday, and OHP is back to where it was. Basically, I have added over 100lbs to my DL max and gotten my work sets on the other 3 lifts (I don’t powerclean) back to where they were 5 years ago, as a bit of a younger man.

So now I’m at the sticking point: continuing to add weight to each lift with each workout in order to get stronger. Remember that little kg problem? the smallest weights in the gym are 2.5kg… which means jumps are 5kg, or 11lbs. 11lbs difference between a 220lb squat and a 232lb squat isn’t so terrible. But the same gap is a bit rougher when it’s between 275 and 286. I’m hoping I can manage to get out into town and pick up a set of 1.25kg plates (or 1.25kg ankle weights that I can wrap around the bar ends… or something that will work…) so I can drop back to 5.5lb jumps.

As it stands, I’m jumping 11lbs at a go, trying to get 3 or 4 reps (or all 5, like I did today), keeping the weight the same and getting ALL 5 (or 3×5) reps on the 2nd session at that weight, then jumping up. It’s working thus far, but we’ll see how long I can keep this up. Rip would tell me to just DTFP, (Do the ‘effing program), and I’m trying. Off to eat breakfast to fuel this continued insanity…

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