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Becoming an Elite Power Lifter

My goal is to become elite. I got into exercising to relive stress. The more I’ve learned, the more experience I’ve had with lifting, the more I love it and want to excel.

I started exercising a couple of years ago. I was the skinny guy on the smith machines, doing curls, avoiding the free weights. I’ve progressed since those days. I decided to take lifting serious in the fall of last year. I’m now 25 years old, I’m 6’2 217 with a 1075lb total. I want to get to 1700lb total before I’m 30.

I was looking for advice on how to continue to keep getting stronger as productively as possible. I’m sure that a lot of you guys could look back and think, man, if I had known_______ back then, I would have been a lot better off. I was hoping to just get some advice, on any lifts, all lifts. I eat, I lift, I’m fairly patient. I want to push myself hard, as hard as I can, while not going overboard. This site is great for information, I read and read and bring things into my work outs.

I have a 250 bench, 410 squat and 415 dead. I’ve ran the smolov jr and base and loved both, even though it was miserable, it was an awesome miserable. The spread sheet i used came from here, just looking for more.

I never have used bands or chains on any of my lifts. I would like to learn about how to use them and how beneficial those are. Thanks for any positive advice, on lifts, diets, recovery, anything really.

Thats a really good squat. Really good. I was in a simlar position when I first started competing a year ago that my squat was 425 and I didnt even deadlift hard before. So my first meet I did 415 on deadlift, then 2 weeks later, 474. Now a year later I do around 550 for a max.

I would say to focus on the deadlift a little bit if I were you, I just switched to deadlifting on Monday to start my week and boy has it helped. I used to just deadlift after squatting, but now deadlifting monday, squatting thursday really is doing alot for me. And mentally I think the biggest thing is to know that if you are squatting 410, your ass better be deadliftin at least 450. And once you realize that, your mind powers your body to make it a reality

Im just 20 so I cant say I have the greatest advice of training, but I have been lifting for 8 years, and am lookin at 500+/325/550+ right now on all my lifts at 170 so I have seen what works and what doesnt to a fair extent at least.

Also, I have found that volume is vital for bench, I only squat once a week, but I bench 2-3x a week and always have seen great gains doing so.

bands and chains are effective, but honestly I dont think they are needed for a raw lifter at your level. I would save those for when you hit platues, which I’m guessing for you would be in a year or 2 when you are hittin around 350/525/565 or so. I am just throwing those numbers out there as an example, but the main reasoning is because you are newer to lifting really hard and heavy. And I think the best thing for a newer lifter is to just lift consistently with nothing fancy, so you can see the gains which will come without anything extra

i currently use mini monster bands for my speed/DE work, i also have a 100lb set of chains i use for DE work.

id say speed work alone has helped my strength numbers jump quite abit.

also Board press has helped my bench jump alot.

Great topic.

A few things jump out at me:

  • WHY you are doing something is just as (if not more) important as what you are doing. Be very critical of yourself. I can list dozens of examples off the top of my head. Nobody cares what you do in training, the only thing that matters is what you do in a meet. This applies to every aspect of strength training including technique, weight selection, exercise selection, training routines, nutrition, etc., etc. The ONLY reason you train is to better the result of your competition.

  • Gym lifts don’t mean shit, so don’t waste your time in the gym doing stuff that won’t make you better. Deadlifts off 6" blocks isn’t a powerlift. So if doing that lift does not make your powerlifting total better, don’t do it.

  • Accept the fact that your technique blows and that you need to practice it frequently. I’m not talking about going through the motions, I’m talking about concentrating on perfect form 100% of the time. It will never be a convenient time to start doing this, so start now.

  • When choosing to follow a certain training program, strive to understand it holistically. When you understand the “why” behind a successful training program, you can start to adapt it to better suit your own needs.

  • Don’t be afraid to leave a little bit in the bag. This one took me FOREVER to learn and I still struggle with it. You don’t have to blow out your O-ring every day to make progress. Powerlifting is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Figure out what works FOR YOU. Many people can suggest things for you that have worked for them or their clients in the past, but ultimately you need to have the understanding of your own body to make the right call.

[quote]frankjl wrote:
Great topic.

A few things jump out at me:

  • WHY you are doing something is just as (if not more) important as what you are doing. Be very critical of yourself. I can list dozens of examples off the top of my head. Nobody cares what you do in training, the only thing that matters is what you do in a meet. This applies to every aspect of strength training including technique, weight selection, exercise selection, training routines, nutrition, etc., etc. The ONLY reason you train is to better the result of your competition.

  • Gym lifts don’t mean shit, so don’t waste your time in the gym doing stuff that won’t make you better. Deadlifts off 6" blocks isn’t a powerlift. So if doing that lift does not make your powerlifting total better, don’t do it.

  • Accept the fact that your technique blows and that you need to practice it frequently. I’m not talking about going through the motions, I’m talking about concentrating on perfect form 100% of the time. It will never be a convenient time to start doing this, so start now.

  • When choosing to follow a certain training program, strive to understand it holistically. When you understand the “why” behind a successful training program, you can start to adapt it to better suit your own needs.

  • Don’t be afraid to leave a little bit in the bag. This one took me FOREVER to learn and I still struggle with it. You don’t have to blow out your O-ring every day to make progress. Powerlifting is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Figure out what works FOR YOU. Many people can suggest things for you that have worked for them or their clients in the past, but ultimately you need to have the understanding of your own body to make the right call.[/quote]

x2 Great advice!

[quote]arramzy wrote:

[quote]frankjl wrote:
Great topic.

A few things jump out at me:

  • WHY you are doing something is just as (if not more) important as what you are doing. Be very critical of yourself. I can list dozens of examples off the top of my head. Nobody cares what you do in training, the only thing that matters is what you do in a meet. This applies to every aspect of strength training including technique, weight selection, exercise selection, training routines, nutrition, etc., etc. The ONLY reason you train is to better the result of your competition.

  • Gym lifts don’t mean shit, so don’t waste your time in the gym doing stuff that won’t make you better. Deadlifts off 6" blocks isn’t a powerlift. So if doing that lift does not make your powerlifting total better, don’t do it.

  • Accept the fact that your technique blows and that you need to practice it frequently. I’m not talking about going through the motions, I’m talking about concentrating on perfect form 100% of the time. It will never be a convenient time to start doing this, so start now.

  • When choosing to follow a certain training program, strive to understand it holistically. When you understand the “why” behind a successful training program, you can start to adapt it to better suit your own needs.

  • Don’t be afraid to leave a little bit in the bag. This one took me FOREVER to learn and I still struggle with it. You don’t have to blow out your O-ring every day to make progress. Powerlifting is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Figure out what works FOR YOU. Many people can suggest things for you that have worked for them or their clients in the past, but ultimately you need to have the understanding of your own body to make the right call.[/quote]

x2 Great advice![/quote]
This is a friggin gold post…

Im 6’2" and the best advice I can give is gain weight. No reason you should not be competing in the 275’s. You got to fill out your levers. also see above post. I dont know any elite lifters above 6 feet tall who are not either competing in the 275’s or 308’s

[quote]frankjl wrote:

  • Don’t be afraid to leave a little bit in the bag. This one took me FOREVER to learn and I still struggle with it. You don’t have to blow out your O-ring every day to make progress.[/quote]

Could not agree more.

OP - who do you train with? By yourself? Any way you can get training with other PLs IRL? You need to get your technique as good as possible and this is what will help the most.

Is your squat to depth? Not calling you out but if you are by yourself then it definitely might not be.

How are you training your DL?
Where are you failing?
Your DL seems pretty low, should be around 500 I would guess.

Are you planning on staying natural?
Are you planning on gaining weight to do this?
What is your nutrition like?

What is your mobility and GPP and general condition like?
It is important to avoid injuries as much as possible!

What are your current strengths and weaknesses?
What is your body like? Long arms? Torso?

Alot of this stuff is rhetorical to help you clarify your own thoughts, please don’t read them as me being aggressive or anything like that. But some of the above will help you work out what will help YOU personally rather than more generic advice.

good luck.

Thanks for the posts everyone.

The reason my squat and deadlift are so close is because I ran smolov twice in the past eight months. I didn’t do any deadlifts during smolov. I don’t see how anyone could, honestly.

I have been taking my time with dead lifts too. I am raw, natural lifter. I don’t believe in sumo lifts or anything. I just want good raw lifts with good form. In my experiance, even really strong lifters in my gym, their dl form gets bad past 400 pounds. Rounded backs, off balance, I don’t want to be that guy.

My worst lift is the bench press. It hasn’t been as natural as my squat and I’ve just never enjoyed it. Which seems to be different than everyone else I know. Everyone loves the bench press, but it’s never been like that for me.

I will always be natural. I don’t really want to gain a lot more weight. I just don’t want to be 250+. But if I have to gain a few more pounds, I’m OK with that.

Here is a video of my 410 squat I did about a week ago.

[quote]BigRedMachine87 wrote:

I have been taking my time with dead lifts too. I am raw, natural lifter. I don’t believe in sumo lifts or anything. I just want good raw lifts with good form. In my experiance, even really strong lifters in my gym, their dl form gets bad past 400 pounds. Rounded backs, off balance, I don’t want to be that guy.
[/quote]

Great squat.

what do you mean by “off balance”? Fair enough reasons for not training the DL much, but I personally think you should train it more now, possibly with more upper back assistance too. With that squat and at your BW, a 500 DL should be a short term goal (like before end of this year), imo.

Regarding you bench, imo you should train it with more volume. The volume should help build some muscle along with strength, which will help.

[quote]BigRedMachine87 wrote:
I have been taking my time with dead lifts too. I am raw, natural lifter. I don’t believe in sumo lifts or anything. I just want good raw lifts with good form. In my experiance, even really strong lifters in my gym, their dl form gets bad past 400 pounds. Rounded backs, off balance, I don’t want to be that guy.

My worst lift is the bench press. It hasn’t been as natural as my squat and I’ve just never enjoyed it. Which seems to be different than everyone else I know. Everyone loves the bench press, but it’s never been like that for me.

I will always be natural. I don’t really want to gain a lot more weight. I just don’t want to be 250+. But if I have to gain a few more pounds, I’m OK with that.

Here is a video of my 410 squat I did about a week ago.[/quote]

Oh, I thought you said earlier you wanted to be an elite-level powerlifter? After this post, it just seems like you like to work out.

[quote]yolo84 wrote:

[quote]BigRedMachine87 wrote:

I have been taking my time with dead lifts too. I am raw, natural lifter. I don’t believe in sumo lifts or anything. I just want good raw lifts with good form. In my experiance, even really strong lifters in my gym, their dl form gets bad past 400 pounds. Rounded backs, off balance, I don’t want to be that guy.
[/quote]

Great squat.

what do you mean by “off balance”? Fair enough reasons for not training the DL much, but I personally think you should train it more now, possibly with more upper back assistance too. With that squat and at your BW, a 500 DL should be a short term goal (like before end of this year), imo.

Regarding you bench, imo you should train it with more volume. The volume should help build some muscle along with strength, which will help.[/quote]

I guess I mean that I want to be as in control of every step of the deadlift as I can. I don’t want to have a wobble in my feet, falling forward, falling to the sides, anything like that.
I think a 450 squat, 500 squat, 300 bench is a resonable goal for me by the end of the year. But I try not to set dead lines or anything. I just work hard and don’t stress progression, as long as I am moving forward.

I hit 225x7 on bench today, that was the most I had ever done with 226. So I felt pretty good about that. I want to make sure I make my shoulders stronger, so I can keep up with the heavier weights.

Thanks for the post.

Yeah, strange shift in what he’s saying. In any event, I appreciated your advice above, so thanks for typing that out. I still struggle with the leaving some in the tank aspect.

Don’t say stupid shit like “I dont believe in sumo”… Sumo may be the best thing for your deadlift and there is nothing wrong with it. I hate idiots that think its cheating or something.

Don’t tell people what not to say, you retard. If he doesn’t like sumo’s that’s totally fine. You don’t see andy bolton using sumo for his world record. Sumo is fine if you want to use it… To me personally though it’s shortening the range of motion ridiculously and just an ego lift.

It’s just as bad as those fat fucks with a hyoooge arch and the 3 inch ROM on the bench press. If that gets you off fine. Just don’t act like a little bitch when people disagree with it.

[quote]BigRedMachine87 wrote:
But I try not to set dead lines or anything.[/quote]

OP “I want a 1700 by 30.”

lol only messing with you.

Work your DL, I have found the upper back strength has helped both bench and squat.

[quote]alocubano1110 wrote:
Don’t tell people what not to say, you retard. If he doesn’t like sumo’s that’s totally fine. You don’t see andy bolton using sumo for his world record. Sumo is fine if you want to use it… To me personally though it’s shortening the range of motion ridiculously and just an ego lift.

It’s just as bad as those fat fucks with a hyoooge arch and the 3 inch ROM on the bench press. If that gets you off fine. Just don’t act like a little bitch when people disagree with it.[/quote]

yolo84 approved.

[quote]frankjl wrote:

Oh, I thought you said earlier you wanted to be an elite-level powerlifter? After this post, it just seems like you like to work out.[/quote]

Uhh dude, maybe he wants to become elite at a certain weight class? You dont have to be a 300 pound fat shit to be an elite powerlifter…

[quote]yolo84 wrote:

[quote]BigRedMachine87 wrote:
But I try not to set dead lines or anything.[/quote]

OP “I want a 1700 by 30.”

lol only messing with you.

Work your DL, I have found the upper back strength has helped both bench and squat.[/quote]
Lol, well that’s far enough away where I’m not really aware of it. My point was, I don’t want to set a lot of numbers, then get discouraged if I’m not there or get content if I surpass them. STAY HUNGRY.

Now that I have ran a couple of smolov, I will put more into my dead lift. I think it will really kick me into over drive. Such a good lift and now that I’ve got my squat pretty decent, I feel good about attacking the dead lift.