At the end of my 12-week SL5x5 routine, I did a strength test, in the form of a mock powerlifting meet.
Powerlifting meets are structured as a small number (3-5, usually 3) of single attempts at the squat, bench press and deadlift, in that order. The order's as sacred as the triathlon swim-bike-run order. After you warm up, the idea is that you start with a "banker" safe lift (are bankers safe any more?) then push and pull huge amounts of iron while snorting ammonia and growling like continental drift. You must make at least one lift in each exercise to score at all. Solo, there's no gamesmanship angle, but hey. "Raw" rules apply: no fancy kit here, just belt and chalk. Only good lifts: No half squats, arse-up benchpress or hitched deadlift allowed!
The squat warmed up to 140kg, then started with a banker of 150kg, easy. 160kg was hard but went up. I'd hoped to try for 170, but the toughness of 160 made that clearly silly so I went for 165. First go, and I went out of the hole and over forwards CRASHBOOMBANG into the safeties. Time out. Breathe. One more go... and it went up! 165kg for the squat.
The bench banked at 80kg. That was heavy but went down and up nicely. I was already into unknown territory so 82.5 was next... yup, that too. 85? Nah. 85 went down and stayed down. 82.5kg for the bench.
Deadlift time. I do like the deadlift, it's so huge and caveman-simple. Banked at 180kg, then 190 ("Is that 190kg?" asked the nerdliftergirl at 180. "No..." RARR THUD "...but that was :D"). Then two attempts at 200kg and although it broke off the floor, I couldn't get it up. Grip was, surprisingly, perfect -- I had chosen the most bitey-knurled bar in the gym for the lift and was using a dust storm of chalk. 190kg for the deadlift.
Lifetime PBs all round and a total of 437.5kg, or 964.5lbs. Damn near half a ton. Just shy of my seemingly-impossible target from three months ago of 1000lbs. Close enough that I am stoked at the numbers (just off-target enough to deny my prize).
Reflections: Afterwards, I locked up utterly, whole-body stiff-n-sore, slept like the dead and still haven't stopped eating: the systemic impact of max efforts is pretty intense, just like for a triathlon day out. The max-effort bench was particularly hard on my nerdy-carpal wrists and forearms, and I'll be buying some wrist wraps for continued training. Tactically I may have made the 85kg bench if I hadn't done the 82.5, but hey. And the 200 deadlift was greed: 195 was surely doable.
Both the squat and deadlift failed on that primary hip-unfoldium driver, so I'll probably add good mornings or glute-ham raises to the assistance exercise list. And I'm tempted to try weightlifting shoes for that raised heel: this was all in Vibrams (which are perfect for deadlift by the way) and the biomechanics of a heel-up squat are a tad different.
Interestingly my lifts match my predicted lifts (1RM from ye standarde formula) almost to the pound.
Where next? Well, I'm still on for the thousand and more: this is working for me, and working nicely. I'm going to give Madcow 5x5 a go. I respond well to pushing this 5-rep point -- much better than I respond to training to failure or repping out.
And perhaps more importantly: those lifts are handy enough that I'll look out for a novice/masters powerlifting meet next year and try my hand in competition. Yay!