This was a good one.........
I'm a 31 year old guy who never touched a barbell until the age of 29 when I started going to a Crossfit box that a friend of mine opened. A year of that got me from 32% to about 16% bodyfat and taught me how a barbell behaves, but that place is expensive, and you have to be on time to class... So I got a membership at the YMCA and I've been training barbell lifts 3-6 times a week in there since Nov 2012. I plan to keep working at this until I'm physically unable to do so.
Beginner's gains stopped coming and no one was doing my programming for me... I did whatever I felt like day-to-day for a while, then I read way too much, hopped from this 4 week program to that 6 week program, seriously injured my lower back doing something stupid, etc. All of this was a lot of fun but after recovering from injury and getting my strength back to where it was, I hit a really long plateau and in particular my deadlift stalled hard for months.
So anyway eight weeks ago I got your basebuilding manual and right now I am 7 weeks into a basebuilding cycle, doing the 4-day "Zenith" split from your book. I programmed EDMs of 290 on squat, 300 on deadlift, 200 on bench, and have just been running Phase I on each of those lifts, doing the same thing every week.
Last Tuesday I decided to check my progress the way you suggest by pulling my EDM after the 5 sets of 3 deadlifts. I deadlifted 300 so fast that it felt like a warmup and I went ahead and pulled 330 for a PR faster than I'd ever gotten 275, like surprisingly fast, after 6 weeks of lifting nothing heavier than 260 pounds... and that felt nowhere close to a max. JOY.
So anyway yeah I just wanted to say it feels great to be making progress again, in six weeks or so I went from feeling like I'd be stuck painfully deadlifting 315 pounds forever to feeling like 405 is right around the corner for me.
Feels great! Thank you! THE THINGS YOU SAY ARE DEFINITELY TRUE. I have recommended your books and programs to others.