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UnmaskedEmperor
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08 Jun 2014, 4:57 pm

There have got to be at least a few of you, among this massive community. I've been lifting for five years, in total. I really don't want to even consider the first couple of those years, as I wasted my time doing a lot of really dumb stuff! !

I've been training specifically for Powerlifting for two years now and my programming for the big four has been centered around 5/3/1 and a modified 5/3/1 protocol. The modified system looked like this: Week 1: 5x5/Week 2: 5x3/Week 3: 5x1.

Current PR's are: Squat - 350 lbs/Bench - 265 lbs/Deadlift - 430 lbs.

Targets for upcoming meet: Squat - 350 lbs/Bench - 275 lbs/ Deadlift - 450 lbs.

My assistance volume has typically been so high that Wendler would frown upon it :lol:. Recently; in preparation for my first meet, I've stripped the volume way down and centered it around bodyweight work. I'm starting to see that there really is something to be said for lower volume, as far as performance on the main lifts and recovery between workouts goes.

I'll post an overview of my pre-meet program and set/rep scheme for peaking, below. Until after the meet, I'm not even doing OHP. Just three days a week, Squat, Bench, Dead. Here's what it looks like:

5 weeks out:5x6
4 weeks out:4x5
3 weeks out:4x3
2 weeks out:3x2
1 week out: Openers on Monday, then Rest and Recovery

Squat
GHR - 3x15
Back Ext. - 320
Front Squat Hold - 3

Bench
Inverted Rows - 3x10
Dips - 3xMAX
Chin-Ups - 5xMAX

Deadlift
GHR - 3x15
Hip Thrusts - 3x20
Weighted Planks - 3

I want to know:

What does your program look like?

Your PR's and current goals?

What methods are your favourite?

Any pointers for a first time competitor?


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Last edited by UnmaskedEmperor on 08 Jun 2014, 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kurgan
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08 Jun 2014, 5:16 pm

I've been doing powerlifting for 2.5 years. My bench press PR is 320 lbs, my deadlift PR is 450 lbs, and my squat PR is 305 lbs (the last one I'm embarassed of). My regime is simply nothing more than conventional base lifts (bench presses, incline presses, narrow grip bench presses, deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, rows, and pull-ups) + a few isolation exercises. In most exercises, I stick to 4 sets and 6-8 reps, but in the case of pull-ups, I do pyramids.


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08 Jun 2014, 6:17 pm

Those are some pretty good numbers! The gap between your Squat and Dead is bigger than the average, but we all have different physiology. Have you ever worked with a trainer, or did you get this far on your own? What type of Squat stance do you use? Six months ago, I injured myself while Deadlifting (ego lifting). I got carried away and allowed my back to round like mad!! This resulted in a sprain that left me unable to train my lower body, let alone walk right for almost two months. Since then, I've had to reset my lower body training... Very frustrating!! I worked with a good coach who helped me clean up my technique a bunch and that went a long way.

Squats used to be a huge problem lift for me, as I struggled to hit depth. Anyways, I used to squat with almost a sumo stance and super-low bar. I've found that; for me, placing the bar a touch higher up (in the nook between my lateral and rear delt) and narrowing my stance to just slightly wider than shoulder width is what works best. I used to pull sumo style, as well. But, now I pull strictly conventional. It just FEELS better, really.

What do you mean by a pull-up pyramid? As someone who kind of sucks at pull-ups, I'm always open to trying new strategies with them. My biggest weakness is OHP. My current PR is 150 lbs and I feel that it should be a lot higher, relative to where my bench is at. Considering that I plan on competing in amateur Strongman events, getting my OHP up to speed is important.


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Kurgan
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09 Jun 2014, 3:43 pm

UnmaskedEmperor wrote:
Those are some pretty good numbers! The gap between your Squat and Dead is bigger than the average, but we all have different physiology. Have you ever worked with a trainer, or did you get this far on your own? What type of Squat stance do you use? Six months ago, I injured myself while Deadlifting (ego lifting). I got carried away and allowed my back to round like mad!! This resulted in a sprain that left me unable to train my lower body, let alone walk right for almost two months. Since then, I've had to reset my lower body training... Very frustrating!! I worked with a good coach who helped me clean up my technique a bunch and that went a long way.


I got this far without a PT, but I still got help from books, articles, and Youtube clips (Bill Pearl, Reg Park, Mark Rippetoe, and Martin Berkhan all gave indispensable advice). My squat stance is 1.5 times my shoulder width; any wider than that, and it gets too dificult to go below parallel. I've never injured my lower-back (I round my upper-back when deadlifting).

Quote:
What do you mean by a pull-up pyramid? As someone who kind of sucks at pull-ups, I'm always open to trying new strategies with them. My biggest weakness is OHP. My current PR is 150 lbs and I feel that it should be a lot higher, relative to where my bench is at. Considering that I plan on competing in amateur Strongman events, getting my OHP up to speed is important.


In pull-ups, I start with bodyweight only, then I attach weights to a weight belt, and then I degressively lower the weight for each set. :) OHP is a weakness to many people; I would like to improve my standing OHP as well.


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10 Jun 2014, 12:40 am

Impressive that you've come so far, without direct mentor-ship. I aim to work with at least one trainer a year. For this first meet, I have no coach and am flying solo... For the next one; this fall, I've found myself a coach who "speaks the same language" as me - and whom I respect very much as an athlete. I've actually never heard of Reg Park, or Bill Pearl. Will have to look them up! I really look up to Jim Wendler, Paul Carter, Brandon Lilly and Christian Thibadeau - to name a few. My squat stance is just a touch narrower than that. I try to always go ass-to-ankles, in training. You're lucky to have never injured your back... What a nightmare!! Tight hamstrings were part of the issue, in my case. Now, I stretch each one for 10 minutes a day lol!! !

I usually do my pull-ups weighted, but haven't tried that sort of pyramid. Should be interesting to experiment with. Have you ever tried Seated Behind-The-Neck Presses? Those have taken my Strict Press through the roof, I recommend them. I also spend 3 minutes a day stretching my shoulders, using a technique that Elliot Hulse demonstrates in a couple of his videos. You put your hands up high on the wall and lean into it, as if you're holding it back from falling down, pushing your head "through the window". After that, I do a a few shoulder circles and 3 to 5 sets of 6 shoulder dislocations with a broomstick. That has all helped my technique and drastically improved external rotation, but I still suck!! ! :oops:

Have you, or do you plan to compete? Or are you gonna stick to doing it recreationally?


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Kurgan
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10 Jun 2014, 5:37 pm

UnmaskedEmperor wrote:
Impressive that you've come so far, without direct mentor-ship.


I still had to be taught proper bench press technique from a bodybuilder, though. :P

Quote:
I aim to work with at least one trainer a year. For this first meet, I have no coach and am flying solo... For the next one; this fall, I've found myself a coach who "speaks the same language" as me - and whom I respect very much as an athlete. I've actually never heard of Reg Park, or Bill Pearl. Will have to look them up! I really look up to Jim Wendler, Paul Carter, Brandon Lilly and Christian Thibadeau - to name a few. My squat stance is just a touch narrower than that. I try to always go ass-to-ankles, in training. You're lucky to have never injured your back... What a nightmare!! Tight hamstrings were part of the issue, in my case. Now, I stretch each one for 10 minutes a day lol!! !


Reg Park and Bill Pearl were old-school bodybuilders; the former bench pressed 500 lbs before he ever touched steroids. I've never injured my back, but I've injured my shoulders (I can't do dips without feeling pain because of this).

Quote:
I usually do my pull-ups weighted, but haven't tried that sort of pyramid. Should be interesting to experiment with. Have you ever tried Seated Behind-The-Neck Presses? Those have taken my Strict Press through the roof, I recommend them. I also spend 3 minutes a day stretching my shoulders, using a technique that Elliot Hulse demonstrates in a couple of his videos. You put your hands up high on the wall and lean into it, as if you're holding it back from falling down, pushing your head "through the window". After that, I do a a few shoulder circles and 3 to 5 sets of 6 shoulder dislocations with a broomstick. That has all helped my technique and drastically improved external rotation, but I still suck!! ! :oops:


I no longer do any exercises that places the arms behind the neck. Very wide-grip pull-ups behind the neck was the main reason I injured my shoulders. ;) I think my shoulder press will improve the next time I'm bulking (currently cutting); I've only recently started doing standing overhead presses.

Quote:
Have you, or do you plan to compete? Or are you gonna stick to doing it recreationally?


I only do it for recreational reasons. It helped me get through my studies, and it also helps me cope with my AS. :)


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11 Jun 2014, 12:23 am

Quote:
I still had to be taught proper bench press technique from a bodybuilder, though. Razz


Not to hate on bodybuilding, but when say learning to bench from a bodybuilder, it puts a funny picture in my head :lol:... All jokes aside, do you bench wide and with a huge arch? I've been using a pretty moderate arch lately and my standard grip is what most people call close grip.

Quote:
Reg Park and Bill Pearl were old-school bodybuilders; the former bench pressed 500 lbs before he ever touched steroids. I've never injured my back, but I've injured my shoulders (I can't do dips without feeling pain because of this).


Okay, I looked those guys up and saw the video of Reg benching 500. It's my understanding that the lines between Bodybuilding and strength sports were not so defined back then and that lots of Bodybuilders were also Powerlifters and Strongmen.

There still are some cases like this, such Matt Kroczaleski. Speaking of him, man I love me some Kroc rows! Have you ever tried those out? I like to do a set of those after four sets of 8 Pendlay Rows, an excellent way to wreck the Rhomboids!

Quote:
I no longer do any exercises that places the arms behind the neck. Very wide-grip pull-ups behind the neck was the main reason I injured my shoulders. Wink I think my shoulder press will improve the next time I'm bulking (currently cutting); I've only recently started doing standing overhead presses.


Oh man, I have had some slight impingement and had to back off on pressing... But never an injury. That's gotta suck, but cool that you are back doing OHP.

Quote:
I only do it for recreational reasons. It helped me get through my studies, and it also helps me cope with my AS. Smile


I hear you on that, it is an excellent outlet... and has done a great job of "keeping me out of trouble" haha! I see my training as an endless playground and tweaking the fine details to get different results is very satisfying for the control freak in me.

There is an obscenely strong guy at my gym, who has been lifting for 20-some years and told me that he doesn't compete because he doesn't want to turn his passion into a job. I can understand that and respect that attitude.

For me, it is just that much more motivation to take my game to the next level. Not only that, I really have a hard time finding people who I fit in with... But, I couldn't feel more at home among the community surrounding this sport!! :D


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Last edited by UnmaskedEmperor on 12 Jun 2014, 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

CommanderKeen
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11 Jun 2014, 9:36 am

The only way I can bench is with a medium grip, that would be considered close and only going down to 90 degrees. Anymore and I hit "snap city".



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12 Jun 2014, 12:12 am

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The only way I can bench is with a medium grip, that would be considered close and only going down to 90 degrees. Anymore and I hit "snap city".


I'm guessing you learned that the hard way? Besides comfort, the main reason that I use that close of a grip is because I'm drek scared to tweak my shoulders!!

More about Matt Kroc... Man, the guy has rowed a 310 pound dumbbell for 13 reps. That is savage!! !! Anyways, he has put Powerlifting behind him and is a Bodybuilder now. I respect his attitude toward embracing new challenges, for sure.

Quote:
I was small and skinny throughout childhood. I didn't really have the genetics for lifting, but I always loved doing it. I always wanted to be big and strong. My first set of "weights" was a bent bar I found out in the woods, which I used to lift milk jugs full of sand.

Those days are long behind me. Now, I'm a powerlifting world record holder. In 2009 I earned that title in the 220-pound division by squatting 1,003 pounds, benching 738, and deadlifting 810 for a total of 2,551 pounds.


Talk about humble beginnings, hey? :lol:

So my meet is in just 9 days, I couldn't be more thrilled to take this opportunity by the horns. Here is a link, for anyone who wants to check out my training blog: John Sambo's Quest for Iron

Either of you log your training? I really enjoy looking at other people's programs, picking their brains and whatnot - and am open to anyone who would like to do the same. My brain is rip for the picking, hit me up!! There is a lot we can all learn from one another, regardless of specific disciplines!! !!


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17 Jun 2014, 1:09 pm

UnmaskedEmperor wrote:
Not to hate on bodybuilding, but when say learning to bench from a bodybuilder, it puts a funny picture in my head :lol:... All jokes aside, do you bench wide and with a huge arch? I've been using a pretty moderate arch lately and my standard grip is what most people call close grip.

I like powerlifting better than bodybuilding myself. :) I have no arch apart from the one I get from putting the weight on the rear delts. On an eleiko bar, I bench with the little fingers on the rings.

Quote:
Okay, I looked those guys up and saw the video of Reg benching 500. It's my understanding that the lines between Bodybuilding and strength sports were not so defined back then and that lots of Bodybuilders were also Powerlifters and Strongmen.


This is true. Back then, bodybuilders had 8% bodyfat instead of 3% bodyfat.

Quote:
There still are some cases like this, such Matt Kroczaleski. Speaking of him, man I love me some Kroc rows! Have you ever tried those out? I like to do a set of those after four sets of 8 Pendlay Rows, an excellent way to wreck the Rhomboids!


I do close grip barbell rows. :) I did pendlay rows before, but they don't give you the benefit of eccentric movement, and can harm your lower back once the weight gets heavy.

Quote:
I hear you on that, it is an excellent outlet... and has done a great job of "keeping me out of trouble" haha! I see my training as an endless playground and tweaking the fine details to get different results is very satisfying for the control freak in me.

There is an obscenely strong guy at my gym, who has been lifting for 20-some years and told me that he doesn't compete because he doesn't want to turn his passion into a job. I can understand that and respect that attitude.


I agree with him. :)

Quote:
For me, it is just that much more motivation to take my game to the next level. Not only that, I really have a hard time finding people who I fit in with... But, I couldn't feel more at home among the community surrounding this sport!! :D


I hear ya. Far too many do not take weight lifting seriously.


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17 Jun 2014, 1:10 pm

CommanderKeen wrote:
The only way I can bench is with a medium grip, that would be considered close and only going down to 90 degrees. Anymore and I hit "snap city".


You might want to reconsider your arm positions. Don't keep your arms all the way to the side; this is a good start.


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19 Jun 2014, 12:16 pm

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I like powerlifting better than bodybuilding myself. Smile I have no arch apart from the one I get from putting the weight on the rear delts. On an eleiko bar, I bench with the little fingers on the rings.

PL is what makes the most sense to me. I don't follow - but do respect bodybuilding, as it takes serious commitment. It is truly incredible, to see just how far some take it.

Your grip width is almost the same as mine, except it's my ring fingers on the ring. I think I'll start using a more extreme arch, for future meets.

I'm pretty sure I'd hit 300, if I arched like a mofo!! Dunno about you, but I've spent a lot of time working on my rear delts - definitely makes a huge difference, on the bench. I'm crazy about face pulls.

Quote:
I do close grip barbell rows. :) I did pendlay rows before, but they don't give you the benefit of eccentric movement, and can harm your lower back once the weight gets heavy.


Yeah, they definitely leave my lower back pretty sore! I like the Pendlays, mostly because of how closely the mimick the starting position of my Deadlift.

Anyways, my first meet is just two days away! I can't remember the last time I was this excited about anything!! I have to admit; though, taking this week off lifting to focus on active recovery has left me feeling severely restless.

My goal for the meet has changed, a bit. I realized that I'm cheating myself by only going for a 450 Deadlift. It was over a year ago, that I PR'ed at 430 and last week: I hit an EASY double with 425. I could have hit 5 reps, no question. I'm making 450 my second attempt and going for 485 on the third!


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Kurgan
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19 Jun 2014, 2:43 pm

Good luck! :)


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20 Jun 2014, 1:32 am

Kurgan wrote:
Good luck! :)


Thanks man! Whatever happens, I'll be thrilled to have been a part of it.


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25 Jun 2014, 2:35 pm

I achieved all but one of my goals. The 485 lb deadlift was actually pretty easy! I'm pleased with the overall outcome, having totalled 495 kg, in 93 kg Open division. But, I'm just getting started!!

Here is my review of the meet:BCPA Provincials Review

How is your training lately, Kurgan?

My CNS is pretty burnt out; so I'm doing a deload, this week. Taking it easy... Everything is a battle right now, even just lacing my shoes up!! 8O So worth it, though!! !

I had some fun yesterday, experimenting with Power Snatches. My form is pretty atrocious. Having done my fair share of Power Cleans and Snatch Pulls did carry over, somewhat. Though, I am definitely no Olympic Weightlifter :lol:... Gotta admit, Snatches are a lift that just look awesome!! !


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