I am a huge advocate of fitness and healthy living. I love to workout. It helps me stay fresh and strong. A few days ago, I decided to start strength training because I have always felt that my strength was not up to the mark. After searching here and there on the internet, I came across the stronglifts 5x5 program which is directed towards beginners. I planned on doing this for a month and see where this leads me to. I also have plans of doing this again in future. So I name this session 1.
I modified the program a little bit in a way that I incorporated some isolation training for biceps and triceps which are not in the program. I began with light weight based on my calculations of where I was going to get after one month. Reason behind selecting one month is that it was the month of Ramadan. The gym is less crowded during this time of the year and people won’t be waiting for instruments as I do the workouts. According to plan, there were 12 workouts. So 12 workouts of squat and 6 workouts of the other exercises. Considering an increment of 2.5 kg or 5 kg per workout I calculated which weight I should start from. I started the program on 11th June and here’s the whole journey of session 1.
** All weights are in kg and without the weight of the bar. The bar weighs around 17-18 kg. Just add 17-18 kg with the weight mentioned below to find the total weight. Standard bars weigh 20 kg. The reason behind 17-18 kg is that the bars have deteriorated over time. Also I didn’t include warm ups in the log.
Day 1 - 11-Jun
Squat: 30 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 20 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Dead lift: 50 kg, 5
I was very much comfortable with all those weights. I know what you are thinking. They are very light. I am a beginner here and I didn’t want to ruin my journey by starting with ego lifting. So I started small and looked forward to increasing weight on each workout.
Day 2 - 13-Jun
Squat: 35 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead press: 10 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bent over row: 20 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Still the weights were pretty light to me. However I started to feel some pressure during the finishing reps of the final set of squat. I incremented squat weight by 5 kg because 30 kg was too light for me. I will do the same in the next workout. It was a good solid workout.
Day 3 - 15-Jun
Squat: 40 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 25 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Dead lift: 60 kg, 5
I started to feel the weights. All the exercises were hitting the muscles. The whole workout felt great!
Day 4 - 17-Jun
Squat: 45 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead press: 15 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bent over row: 30 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
I increased the weight on bent over row by 10 kg because last time I did it, it felt too easy. Even with 30 kg I did pretty good. The squats became difficult towards the end. I found most difficulty in the overhead press. I struggled to get the last repetition.
Day 5 - 19-Jun
Squat: 50 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 30 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Dead lift: 70 kg, 5
The weights are getting heavier. I am starting to struggle. This is exactly what I need!
Day 6 - 23-Jun
Squat: 52.5 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead press: 17.5 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bent over row: 35 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Before this workout, I had a little bit of back pain due to bad posture. After working out, the pain was aggravated. I am not sure if I can do the next workout properly. May be I have to reduce weight, or do alternate exercise that don’t involve the back so much.
Day 7 - 25-Jun
Leg press: 150 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 35 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
My back was hurting. I decided not to do squat as it puts pressure on the back. Alternatively I chose leg press. I completed leg press and bench press properly. Then I didn’t do dead lifts for the aforementioned reason. Instead, I did some bodybuilding chest exercises. I did inclined dumbbell press and dumbbell fly.
Day 8 - 30-Jun
Squat: 55 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 37.5 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Dead lift: 75 kg, 5
My back pain was causing me a lot of trouble. So I decided to take a break for a few days. Then I started again from where I left off. Squats were tough even though I accomplished them. I struggled with bench press a lot. I needed support from my partner to complete all those repetitions. I was fine with the dead lift.
Day 9 - 3-Jul
Squat: 57.5 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Overhead press: 20 kg, 5/4/5/5/5
Bent over row: 35 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
I am happy about my squats. I have been able to increase weight consistently. I struggled with over head press. I couldn’t lift properly in the second set. I stopped at 4th rep. I took support for the next 3 sets. I could’ve increased weight on the bent over row. However the last time I did it, it caused me back pain. So I didn’t want to increase.
Day 10 - 5-Jul
Squat: 60 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Bench press: 40 kg, 5/5/5/5/5
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time for this workout. So I had to skip dead lift. I am satisfied with the squat performance. However my bench press needs a lot more work. I had to take support from my partner to finish all those sets and reps.
I must say it was a wonderful journey. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it for the total of 12 days due to the injury I mentioned above. I also didn’t finish all the workouts properly. Most of the gains are newbie gains. After the eid-ul-fitr vacation I am going to resume the high volume workouts. I track all the workouts in fitocracy. I am definitely going to do stronglifts in future. From my experience, I highly recommend it to the beginners.
Here is the final picture (in kg without bar weight).
Squat ------------------------- 30 ----> 60 ---- +30 Bench press ------------------- 20 ----> 40 ---- +20 Dead lift --------------------- 50 ----> 75 ---- +25 Overhead press ---------------- 10 ----> 20 ---- +10 Bent over row ----------------- 20 ----> 35 ---- +15