I've been asked to outline this quite a bit. I really have no idea why, other than just general interest. I've kinda gone over it before but here is a more detailed outline of my lifting from a chronological standpoint. It's possible after 23 years of lifting now I could be off on some numbers, but I will do my best. I'm not going to try and cover everything, just the things that stand out. I also no longer count lifts that wouldn't meet my present day standards. For example, I "benched" over 400 in my early 20's.....with my ass 3 feet off the bench and the spotter doing an upright row. A lift I would never do or count now.
Summer 89 - 14 years old - 110 pounds?
Started training with my martial arts instructor. Couldn't bench the bar or do a single squat with the empty hack machine. I do remember leg pressing a plate or two on each side for a few reps, feeling like Mr. Big Shit about it. I was WEAK. And when I say weak, I mean there were small women in the gym that were warming up with my maxes.
Summer 90 - 15 years old - 130 pounds
I believe I spent that summer at Ft. Riley with my sister and her husband. I hit a 135 bench for the first time. I don't remember anything else. I don't think we trained legs. HAH!
Winter 90-91 - 15/16 years old - 150 - 165 pounds
I remember hitting 185 on bench, being able to do 20+ chins, and t-bar rows with a few plates. I squatted. Once. 155 pounds for 8 reps. I know this because that set was burned into my brain about how pathetic a squatter that I was, and I never wanted to attempt a squat again.
92 - 17 years old - 175 pounds
My family moved to Louisiana around this time and I was able to join a gym. Once I did, I actually started training legs regularly. Leg pressing of course. Fuck that squat rack. I curled in it too.
I'm just kidding. I did start squatting, but I was turrible at it. Nevertheless, I was told I needed to squat, so I did. I think 315 was my general weight to be used for some shitty sets that probably were not even to parallel.
I do remember doing some rack deadlifts with 500 pounds I think. However it was all of that above the knee garbage that's more worthless than Calista Flockhart bulking advice. I also remember hitting 275 and 315 in the bench during this time. After I hit 315 I remember hitting 275 for sets of 8 pretty regularly.
93 - 18 years old - 210 pounds
I spend the summer that I was 17 eating like a mule and training 6 days a week. By winter of 93 I was around 210-215. I can remember doing 315x8 on bench, and overhead pressing 225 for reps easily. I also remember doing seated db press with the 100's for reps without much problem. I vaguely remember taking a run at a 315 incline but just missing it.
I do remember squatting 405 at this time, however I'm sure it was high. I remember sinking 315 for a set of 15 (?) or so during that same workout. I remember this workout very clearly because it was at 5-something in the morning with my buddy David Guzzardo. Dave squatted 425+ or so that morning for reps at around 170-some odd pounds. He was a solid squatter.
I was also a big Dorian Yates fan, so I did remember doing curl grip barbell rows (which are still a great movement) for reps with 275.
Early 20's -
I remember dieting to get lean a few times and realizing as I dieted down, that I was WAAAAYYY smaller than I thought I was (sound familiar guys?). You also must remember that all of my early years were spent doing bodybuilding, and not really training for strength. I did lots of leg pressing, lat pulldowns, and the such. Even the years I played football I still did mostly bodybuilding style training. That's what I knew.
I remember leg pressing 10 plates per side for some pretty high reps, but then sometimes still struggling with 315 on the squat (technique) which goes to show you that leg pressing some partial reps doesn't really have anything to do with real strength. I think the leg press is a valuable tool, if used properly, but 99% of guys use it as an ego lift.
I remember I was squatting 405 for reps at my first duty station in the Air Force. I hit a double with 500 in 1999. I also pulled high 500's during that time, but with straps on a very +10% kinda day. As you can see, my deadlift has always been a pathetic whore.
In my 20's, if you wanted me to be honest with you, I feel as though I toiled about making little progress during this time. Not entirely my fault. I got married, joined the military, had kids, moved 97 times, so forth and so on. It wasn't exactly the ideal environment for making progress, but I still never missed workouts and always had some kind of plan. It often was short circuited because of other factors, however.
05 - 07 - DC Years
It was during my DoggCrapp years that things started to really come together for me. Not in terms of just lifting, but in terms of philosophy and using all of the years of my previous training to forge the foundation of what I believed worked. Plus, my life had finally settled down quite a bit and I was able to really get consistent with my training and all of the ideas I beliefs I had about productive training.
All of the things I had read or heard before, all of the lessons I had learned, started to click. Leaving a rep in the tank, my back off sets, understanding the ebb and flow of good days, bad days, and "everydays". I hit a still remaining PR of 585x3 in the squat during this time, pulled over 600 for the first time.
It was during/after DC that I really started leaving behind anyone else's principles or methodologies and started going with what I knew and what worked for me. My DC training split eventually evolved into what most guys see in the "solid rotational split". I pared down the amount of movements I did, stayed in the percentages that "felt" solid (80-85%), and made a lot of progress. I remember spending about 6 months during 05 where I squatted twice a week for high volume each time. I'm talking 15+ WORKING sets of squats, because I was so tired of my squat sucking ass and/or it not being consistently good.
It's hard for me to define a lot of years after I had kids, because all of those years seem to run together. Where when I was young, it was a lot simpler. This more of less gives you an idea however, of what my lifting life has looked like. I had many years where I made no progress, or even went backwards. This was frustrating at times, but I am thankful for those years because when things are really in the shitter, and you pull yourself out of it there are a multitude of lessons to be learned, so long as you don't remain bitter about it.
There's a lot of shit I'm not covering here but it would take a book to cover 23+ years of my lifting life.
As a friend of mine wrote about me on a board, "Paul's lifting has been a long and consistent journey. Slow and steady over time."
I think that about sums it up.