After re-reading my old 1992 training log, I decided that if the split I used back then worked, I should go back to it. The overall training load was significantly less than what I've been doing yet I made better progress. In addition to deciding to re-visit the protocol that led to my best successes of the past, I have also spent the last couple days reading articles on a great blog written by Jim Steel. His site, Bas' Barbell Club, has some of the best training and training philosophy articles I've read in a while. I don't know how I missed it all these years but I'm glad I found it. One of his recent articles, "Lift the Weight" resonates with me as I ranted about something very similar in my training log.
It could be that we're both at the "Get off my lawn!" stage of our lives or it could be that we're equally frustrated by how confused some lifters get due to the over-abundance of information available today. All I know is, back when I first started lifting (way before the internet), no male lifter ever considered a 2xBW deadlift to be any kind of achievement. In fact it was almost an embarrassment until one could deadlift at least 3xBW (at least for the lifters under 200 lbs). Unlike today, there was no internet where solitary lifters could compare notes and decide amongst themselves that deadlifting 2xBW was worth bragging about. Back then, the only benchmarks we had were contest results or top 100 lists posted in Powerlifting USA and virtually the only book on powerlifting, "Inside Powerlifting" by Dr. Terry Todd. In that book there was a picture of a 9 yr old Rickey Dale Crain deadlifting 135 lbs at a bodyweight of 60 lbs. If seeing a picture of a 9yr old kid deadlifting over 2xBW wasn't enough to shame one into getting back into the gym and getting stronger, nothing was.
In any case, we weren't stronger back then but the bar was just set alot higher so that none of us ever thought the 2xBW level was a 'barrier' or even a goal. We all zoomed right past that level as we tried to hit reach and exceed the 3xBW deadlift (4xBW for the really light guys). We just didn't know any better so we tried to match the results posted by the best. I think lifters today would be better off if they broke free of their unknowingly, self-imposed barriers by comparing themselves less against each other on internet forums and more against the standards set by the best in the sport. Even if they have no intention of ever competing, they will end up far surpassing their current levels.
So back to my new/old training split...Day 1 will be Bench Press and bench assistance, Day 2 will be Squat and Deadlift, Day 3 will be light legs and light upperbody push/pull work or a rest day if I feel like I need it. Day 1 and Day 2 are consecutive days, likely Tues/Wed and Day 3 will be a Friday or Saturday. That's how I did it in 1992 so that's how I'll try it now.
Bench Press: 135x10x2 sets, 185x5, 225x5, 245x5, 245x5, 245x5, 245x5, 245x4 First time benching with my feet down since the meet and the back thing did hurt but so far it doesn't seem to have any lingering effect. Will stick with the 245x5x5 sets until I get all 25 reps.
Incline DB press (high incline): 75x10, 75x10, 75x8
1-arm overhead DB extension: 30x10, 30x8, 30x10 I used to be much stronger at these in the past, using as much as 60 lb DB's. The weakness is directly related to the shoulder issues I had been having. Now that my shoulder feels better, it's time to hit these hard again.
DB Curl: 45x6, 40x6, 40x8
Leg Raises: 15, 12
Overall this split felt pretty good. It's been a long time since I had an 'upper body' only day.