Beating PRs & Keeping It Safe

I have some experience with powerlifting but never did much super heavy stuff at the strength gym I used to go to (mostly a heavy 6 reps). A big reason was because of imbalances from previous injuries playing basketball, judo etc.

My bench was always terrible but since I have been visiting a chiropractor my bench shot up 40kg in about 2 weeks which is great (the jump in strength is scary enough as it is). However I am feeling very cautious about beating my PRs because with all the injuries I have sustained I am finally moving forward after about 8 years of problems.

Any ways, I watched this video with Dave Tate:

I just wanted to hear some opinions and also see if I understood the video correctly.

If you match your 1 rep max PR then going past this:

  • Have no more than 3 attempts at a new weight
  • Do not bench more than 3 times after beating your PR
  • If you exceed 105% of your PR then stop

I am interpreting it that going against these invites serious injury AND you will not create further gains any ways.

Any insight or clarification would be really helpful. Any searching on google seems to generally come up with people saying “I just keep going until I fail”. But DT is obviously a figure to be respected so here I am trying to clarify my understanding.

Thanks,

Ian

I also found this video:

According to Louie, as soon as you beat your record (I am guessing to any degree at all) you just stop. Or as he said “you are out of the door”. Does this mean your workout is done, no accessory exercises at all either?

He also talks about the 3 week pendulum system, he talks pretty quickly and doesn’t use any visual cues so I found it a little hard to follow. I watched a previous video where he talks about box squats and that an experienced and skilled lifter will have a 200lb carry over to squatting without a box. I understand this stretch reflex idea but he doesn’t mention a box in this video. He says that using 50-60% of your 1rm and using a different exercise every week on a max effort day is simply enough. Is he also implying something to do with a stretch reflex using a pause of some kind for all the lifts? I believe he said:

Week 1 = Front squat
Week 2 = Safety bar squat
Week 3 = Back squat

He also mentioned in the other video I eluded to of doing 8-15 sets of 2 reps on a speed day with 58% of your 1rm. Basically I am getting pretty confused about what he wants you to do on a max effort day versus a speed day. All in context of course of preventing injury etc…

I understand the simple points of varying your exercises regularly so that you don’t adapt in a way where your body becomes complacent. But I am sure that people reading this can understand that I am getting pretty confused.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated.

I’ve kinda adopted this in the last couple years, but its hard to say whether its helped me definitively, because Ive never had a serious lifting injury either way. At this point I will take the steady progress and continued luck with injuries. I always think its better to look for the underlying reason for something rather than just doing something, so Ive adapted it a bit: if I set a PR, I dont stop just because its a PR. If I grind out a new 1RM or just a heavy set and I feel like it kicked my ass a little, I think I’ve learned that pushing for more that particular day isnt worth too much. Also I dont feel like missing a lift is ever helpful.

By “out the door”, yes I think he literally sent lifters home if they hit a big PR sometimes. To me, whether you wanna do some acessory work afterwards: who cares? You just hit a big PR.

Check out the Westside thread here for your other questions:

[quote]darkvoid86 wrote:
I also found this video:

According to Louie, as soon as you beat your record (I am guessing to any degree at all) you just stop. Or as he said “you are out of the door”. Does this mean your workout is done, no accessory exercises at all either?

He also talks about the 3 week pendulum system, he talks pretty quickly and doesn’t use any visual cues so I found it a little hard to follow. I watched a previous video where he talks about box squats and that an experienced and skilled lifter will have a 200lb carry over to squatting without a box. I understand this stretch reflex idea but he doesn’t mention a box in this video. He says that using 50-60% of your 1rm and using a different exercise every week on a max effort day is simply enough. Is he also implying something to do with a stretch reflex using a pause of some kind for all the lifts? I believe he said:

Week 1 = Front squat
Week 2 = Safety bar squat
Week 3 = Back squat

He also mentioned in the other video I eluded to of doing 8-15 sets of 2 reps on a speed day with 58% of your 1rm. Basically I am getting pretty confused about what he wants you to do on a max effort day versus a speed day. All in context of course of preventing injury etc…

I understand the simple points of varying your exercises regularly so that you don’t adapt in a way where your body becomes complacent. But I am sure that people reading this can understand that I am getting pretty confused.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated.[/quote]

Louie has a wealth of knowledge up there with anyone in the history of PL, but he really is terrible at organizing his thoughts in an easy way to understand. He jumps around from topic to topic and often isn’t clear about what aspect of training he’s discussing. Seeing isolated videos or articles of his without understanding the bigger picture is confusing for most, so don’t be discouraged.

The 3 week pendulum is in reference to your Dynamic Effort days, not the ME. For Squat/DL the main movement on DE days is a box squat with accommodating resistance (bands and/or chains). Louie would have you pick a squat variation (e.g., SSB Box Squats), and the 3 week wave would be @ 50%, 55%, and 60%. In addition, you would have about 20-25% in accomodating resistance (bands and/or chains) at the top of the movement. So say your best SSB Box Squat is 300 lbs. Week One you might hit 12 sets of 2 @ 150 lbs + 75 lbs of band tension. Week 2 you would hit 12 sets of 2 @ 165 lbs + 75 lbs of band tension. Week 3 you would hit 10 sets of 2 @ 180 lbs + 75 lbs of band tension. After this 3 week pendulum you would pick a new variation and run that for 3 more weeks – maybe Buffalo Bar Box Squats, or use chains instead, or increase the band resistance. You should also be working in some speed pulls after the box squats on DE day. Between 4 and 10 singles depending on the intensity for that day and how you feel. These can be synched up with the 3 week pendulum waves for the box squats. Either 50/55/60% or 50/60/70% for the deadlifts, with another 15-25% of your 1RM in band tension or chains at lockout.

He’s also often talking in the context of training geared lifters. So when he mentions the 200 pound carry over from the box squats to the squat, he’s talking about his geared lifters going from box squats in training (where they often squat raw or with straps down) to a competition squat in full gear.

As for Max Effort, the idea is you pick a different variation for the Squat/DL each week on ME day and work up to a true 1RM each time. The theory is both that this prevents accommodation/complacency, and that it helps keep the lifter fresh despite maxing out week after week (CNS burnout is the term Louie uses). The ME variations you select should be movements that help improve your competition squat and DL. So, e.g., if you’re a raw lifter who is missing squats in the hole, it’s probably not too wise to be doing squat variations with a ton of band tension which are overloaded at the top. So you might do something like this on your ME Squat/DL day:

Week 1 - 10" Box Squats
Week 2 - Sumo-stance Deadlifts
Week 3 - 10" SSB Box Squats
Week 4 - 2" Deficit Deadlifts (Conventional)
Week 5 - Arched-Back Good Mornings (*Louie recommends 3RM or 5RM for Good Mornings)
Week 6 - Narrow-Stance Free Squat
Week 7 - Competition Deadlift
Week 8 - Competition Squat

At Westside they rarely if ever do the competition lifts on ME. As less experienced, less uber elite lifters, I find that it makes sense to use the competition lifts as just another variation. Hit the competition squat and competition DL once every 2-3 months and hopefully you’re hitting solid PRs each time. Good practice for the competition lifts under high intensities, and proof that the training PRs you are seeing in the variations each week are translating to PRs in the competition lifts.

The two threads another poster linked to above are tremendous resources. A great summary at the top of each thread and a wealth of knowledge throughout both threads.