James's Blog

Weight Training

I’ve been lifting weights for the last couple years and it’s been fun working on getting stronger and getting to take peaceful breaks for exercise.

Weight training gives a different sort of challenge for my body than more repetitive exercise and there’s a focus on progress (vs. fitness classes where I get a good sweat but don’t feel like I’m progressing).

I started weight training by following Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program (book, online). The workouts are simple and there’s lots of emphasis on good form (form videos).

After about 9 months of semi-consistently following Starting Strength, I stopped getting stronger and (thanks to my friend Susanna’s recommendation) switched to Wendler’s 5/3/1 program (book that I got, newer book that I haven’t read, online). And after a few months of that I stopped training bench and military press because my right shoulder was feeling weird and I found out that I have a torn rotator cuff and labrum (old injury) and figured I’d rather not stress out my shoulder. Now I warm up with the Agile 8, do the main lift of the day, and then do bodyweight assistance exercises (on squat day, single leg step ups to a box and pull/chin ups; on deadlift day, glute hamstring raises). I document every workout in a training log and use a spreadsheet to calculate 5/3/1 percentages and draw graphs to show my progress.