About Me

I’m Brian Goldstein. I’m a designer, developer, and new dad from St. Louis, and this is my online training log.

My professional background has nothing to do with strength. But, ever since I was a small kid in the late 80’s, I can remember wanting to grow up to be big, strong, and heroic. Like most boys, however, my judgement and methods were, um, cloudy at best. Yes, let’s leave that there.

Eventually, I would stumble into periods of success followed by periods of over complication, stagnation, frustration, and eventually losing interest, only to start the cycle over again.

If that sounds like you too, trust me, I have been there. I have been the noob on the forums asking the dipshit questions; I have been the guy trying out this workout or that workout because so and so endorsed it or I read it in a magazine or online. And i’ve indulged in just about every fad of the last 15 years. What’s the old saying? Experience is what you get when your plan doesn’t work? Well, in that sense I got a lot of experience.

But like I said, I have had periods of success: first starting out under the great eye of Coach Kinney, I learned how to squat, clean and snatch; Next, following Dan John’s Mass Made Simple program; with the incomparable Matt Owen at Project Deliverance, and every time I come back to the basic teachings of Rippetoe and Kilgore’s Starting Strength.

About 6 months ago, a friend of mine asked me if I could show him how to lift weights. He’s made great progress and it has been fun and enjoyable training him. The only thing exceptional about this guy is his willingness and he’s continuing to get stronger, faster, and in better shape, despite a few bumps in the road.

I may never actually open my own gym, but the experience of coaching him has taught me that I really enjoy it, and I’d love to continue to train people. I may even go and earn my starting strength coach certification, because I really would love to coach at least a few more people.

Last, and most importantly, I just became a new father this past week. So far I’ve experienced a need for a productive outlet to all of this nervous energy and a desire to be the kind of man I want my son to grow into.  This site, and my coaching practice, should I have one, is dedicated to those men who understand that the simplest way to handle your responsibilities is to grow stronger physically, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. By prioritizing our own growth and development as men, we become better able to handle the demands of jobs, family, and life.

I want my son to see me the way I saw my father – someone capable and heroic – for as long as I am able. If you’re in that position too, or want to get back to that, reach out to me. I would love to help.

Recent Posts

Next Four Weeks

For the last 6 weeks I was on family leave from work, so other than keeping my infant son alive and my beautiful wife happy, I was actually able to train with regularity and success, largely unhurried.

The results were very positive, at least with regard to my Squat, Bench, and Press.  Never before have I hit these kinds of numbers:

Squat 260x 5 reps x 3 sets

Bench 185x5x3

Press 130x5x3.

And my body weight at 180 is 15 pounds heavier than where I started the year and other than snugger fitting clothes in the butt and shoulders, barely noticeable, as my waist is the same.

My pulls are not that great right now. I’m only using the double overhand grip on the deadlift and reset to ensure better technique. I’ve been going up very slowly on Cleans for a while now too. And chins are still good, but as I weigh more now, they are a little harder. I seem to have difficulty breaking 10 on set 2 and 3 still.

In any case, as I’m now back at work I’m trying to not drive my self into the ground.

My new plan to adjust back to a 40 hour work week is to reduce the frequency and volume of my workouts while still trying to push the intensity higher.

Workout A: 

Squat x5

Press x5

Cleans 3 reps x 5 sets

Weighted Chins (optional) 5×3

Dips (optional) Mx3

Workout B:

Deadlift x5

Bench Press x5

Squats 5x3x80% of Workout A

Chins (optional) Mx3

Weighted Dips (optional) 5×3

Some notes here. I’m a little dubious that this will be enough volume either overall or on the lifts, but we’re going to try.  I’m also going to try to get in the chins and dips as much as I can, because I think they will help not just with aesthetics but also keeping my press and bench press inching upwards. I can’t spend that much time at the gym though, so always a concern. Yesterday (Sunday 4/9) I hit 265×5 on Squat, which is a rep PR, but I also have a suspicion that had I done 2 more sets I’d have done a more productive session.

Sunday 4/9

Squat 45x5x2, 135×5, 175×5, 205×3, 235×2, 265×5

Press 45x5x2, 65×5, 85×3, 105×2, 120×5

Clean 140x3x5

I’ll try this next week and see how 270 goes. If it is obvious this is not enough squatting, I’ll add 2 back off sets at 90% of the top set on Workout A. As in all things, if you add something in, you must take something out.  If I do that, I will likely drop dips from Workout A and chins from Workout B.

Regardless in four weeks we’ll evaluate where we are at. Plan A is to add back a third day of training, in a heavy, light, medium (HLM) set up. That might look like this:

Workout A (Heavy):

Squat 5×3

Bench 5×3

Deadlift – singles, doubles or triples at a heavy weight, 4-6 total, so 3×2, 2×2, 1×5.

Workout B (light):

Squat 5x3x80% of Workout A

Press 5×3

Chins Mx3

Back Extensions 10×5

Workout C (Medium):

Squat 5x3x90% of Workout A

Push Press 3×5

Clean 3×5

If things are still going well in four weeks, but time or recovery is still an issue, I might “run it out” from there, and continue with the original two day template but take those top sets from 5’s to triples, from triples to doubles, and doubles to eventual singles.

If things are just completely in the dump after 4 weeks, I’ll do a hard reset on all lifts and start a true linear progression over again.

Option planning:

Best case – go to HLM after 4 weeks

Null case – stay with two-day template but run it out to max singles.

Worst Case – hard reset for a new linear progression

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