NOTE by Mehdi: this is the success story of StrongLifts Member Andrew S. (47y, Oakland CA USA) who increased his Deadlift from 150lb to 355lb and his Squat from 150lb to 285lb in 12 months and after getting knee surgery.
Thirty years ago, I was 135 lbs, teaching kung fu and fighting anything that would fight back. I benched 250 and squatted 300 with no form whatsoever. I went to Art School and all things fitness went the way of Art and Music. Flash forward a few decades and here is the result: Fifty pounds heavier, bad knee, bad hair and bad habits.
I got knee surgery and while rehabbing, decided to do more than just one leg. I decided I wanted to get stronger than I had ever been in my life, even at 46. I also had no interest in getting big, so I looked for programs that emphasized strength over size, this led me to Starting Strength. In my seasoned opinion, 3×5 wasn’t enough so I added 2 sets and subbed out Rows for Power Cleans as I didn’t have bumper plates. By pure accident, I was doing Stronglifts 5×5!
A big mistake I made was starting all my lifts near 5RM while teaching myself proper form. I struggled for six months with several stalls from 150lb Squats to 230lb. Another mistake I made was not checking my form with video until six months in. I found out I was Squatting high bar and not breaking parallel.
By then I had joined the Stronglifts Community. I wished I had started here, and done form checks early before the weight got heavy. When I had stalled on all lifts for three months I read the StrongLifts Ladder of Strength, and decided to do Madcow. I had gone from 5×5 to 3×5 but I skipped 1×5 as I felt Madcow had more variety in it’s programming, plus I just loved the name. Madcow broke my stalls, and I added 40lbs to my squat, deadlift and rows.
I’ve put on weight since I started lifting, but my first six months I made the mistake of cutting while lifting, which made stalling more frequent and recovery difficult. Caloric excess is a tailwind, and while not all my weight gain is muscle, I can get rid of fat later, once I’ve reached my strength goals.
I don’t recover as well as when I was 17, but if I eat enough and sleep enough, I do all right. Ultimately, I don’t think age is hindrance, just a factor. I notice some of the strongest Members here are over 40.
Here what I look like now. I didn’t start lifting to look better, but I am pleased that I have an ass now and my legs don’t look spindly. The gut may require a few less Manhattans and braised Pork Bellies…
When I started lifting, I had no intention of getting any stronger than 1.5xBW squats and 2xBW deadlifts. I have since adjusted that as I have learned to love getting stronger. I think in terms of plate milestones now.
|Andrew's Gains||01/25/2010||01/29/2011||Gains so far...|
Had I started here at Stronglifts, I have no doubt my gains would have come faster, and I would have suffered less as my ignorance of form, process and diet led to numerous stalls and setbacks. Beyond the sheer amount of information that can be had by reading all the free articles and report, there is the tremendous resource of the Stronglifts community. I can interact with lifters my age, and adjust my approach based on our collective experience. Reading others logs helped me understand how to benefit better from the Madcow program. I can learn from others mistakes and from their successes. Best of all is the support and fun interaction of a wide variety of people from all over the world. I can learn from housewives in New Jersey, crazy teenagers in Canada, Supermen from Texas and Georgia, Viking strongmen in Iceland and Belgium, Cornbelt Ironmen, Asian powerhouses, the list goes on and on.
This is a special place Mehdi has created. A place of purpose, civility and deep humanity. Now let’s all get stronger!
-StrongLifts Member Andrew S., 47y, Oakland CA USA