T Nation

6 Months Until First Meet. Continue Madcow?


I’ve been thinking about getting into a meet, and everyone I’ve asked has encouraged me to do it. I don’t think I’m strong enough, but I guess you’re never really strong enough. I’ve been running madcow after a 3 month hiatus from the gym and I’m currently on week 5. Things have been going pretty smoothly, as I have hit each rep without much struggle.
I started with low numbers so I could get back in the groove of things, and I based the percentages off of these maxes: Bench=215x5, Squat=325x5, Deadlift=390x5
This meet is 6 months out and my actual previous max lifts were: Bench=240 paused , squat=325x8 (no 1rm), dead=410x6 (no 1rm).
So my question is, should I max again and up the weight or keep the program as is and just keep going until I can’t lift the weight anymore. It might sound dumb, but I don’t wanna be lifting too light and miss out on anything.
Any general advice on programming, training, weight, etc is encouraged.

I am 6 foot tall, my bodyweight is 180 lbs at about 13-14% bf and I plan on competing at 181 after a bulk
Cliffs: took a break from the gym, lifts seem easy, don’t wanna miss out on gains


I’m not really familiar with madcow, but if you are seeing progress on whatever program you are using then stick with it. If you are using a percentage-based program then use realistic maxes, anything else just doesn’t make sense. But don’t waste time maxing out either, that is time and energy that could be put towards actually getting stronger.

If you are 6’ and 180lbs. then you definitely need to gain weight if you are serious about powerlifting. I don’t think that there are many good lifters your height that weigh less than 220, somewhere around 275 sounds more appropriate. This is something to consider for the long term, and I mean in the next few years, gain weight slowly so that you add muscle and not fat. Ask Amit Sapir for some advice in his nutrition thread.


Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I’m pretty thin, and not a great weight for my height, but I was at 155 a couple years ago. I’ve been gaining slowly, but mostly in the summers since my meal plan is garbage at school. I’ll definitely check out his thread though


If Madcow is making your numbers go up over time and the lifts still seem easy, why change anything? Why go heavy and beat yourself up? Stick with it.

The only thing I’d change 8 weeks out is start hitting some heavy-ish singles to see where you are at.


Eat more on top of whatever your meal plan provides. If you are determined, you can make it happen.


Whatever you do, there will always be some 47kg Chinese Girl who can bench more than you.


No keep it light -it is one of the keys to its effectiveness, even if it doesnt feel like it. Also dont worry, the last few weeks it will start getting very tough


I kept it light, and a few weeks later I’m very pleased. I’m now hitting PR’s each week and it feels great as the weights increase gradually.


That’s good to hear. One thing that people need to realize is that you don’t have to be going all out all the time or pushing to failure to get stronger, relatively easy sets can still make you stronger as long as there is sufficient volume. A lot of that has to do with improving your technique as well. Also, try to move every rep as fast as possible, even if it feels easy to move it slowly. This is what Fred Hatfield referred to as compensatory acceleration training (CAT), Josh Bryant uses this with his clients and other lifters like Sam Byrd and Dustin Reed (Reed on this forum) have squatted 800+ after a training cycle with most work around 60%.


Good stuff