Tonight was the final week of a 9-week Russian back squat program that my strength trainer, Joe Sarti, created for me.  The idea was that after laying a solid foundation over the 9-weeks of squatting twice per week, the personal record (PR) attempt would be made at the last session.

That session was tonight and it went very well — beyond our expectations.  The final session of moving up in weight last week was 2 sets of 2 reps at 285 lbs, which went fine.  Joe projected that the PR may be in the range of 295-315 lbs.

This evening, I progressed through my warm-up carefully and built up the weight until I was at the 285 lb weight of last week.  At that point, there was no grind and I was coming up solid with that weight, so I went to 305 lbs.  That also went smooth and I took it up to 325 lbs.  That also went really well and I went up to 345 lbs.  At this weight, I had to do some work.  Since all of this was in unknown territory, the feeling was I was approaching the limit for my PR right now.

We decided to take the weight up to 355 lbs and be conservative.  I made an attempt and my form wasn’t great, so I got a little correction from Joe and then brought it up on my own.  That was a failed attempt.  Even so, it was obvious to both of us that the weight was going to be done tonight — no doubt about it.  But, I’m still learning and refining my squat and this weight for me right now means I need to have solid form to get it up.

I made a final attempt and there was a bit of a grind to get it up and some adjusting, but I was able to get it to go clean.  New PR established at 355 lbs.  I’m very pleased with overall progression, the PR result tonight, and also for the foundation it builds to continue to go further.  The overall goal of the past year has been to join the so-called “1,000 pound club”, which is to lift a combined 1,000 lbs across 3 lifts.  These lifts are typically the back squat, the dead lift, and the bench press.

I thought that making that happen was still off in the future somewhere not too far.  But, after tonight, it looks like I’m just about there.  My dead lift is progressing even better than my back squat, in that I feel I’ve refined it further and am really confident with it.  I’m currently doing 8+ singles at 405 lbs and it’s time for a PR attempt of that in the coming week.  What might that be?  I really like the sound of 445 lbs.  If so, 355 + 445 = 800, and 200 remains for bench press.  I’ve not been training bench press at all, but 200 should be something I can crank out “off the couch”, so this is getting exciting to soon hit the first major milestone!