T Nation

First Contest: How to Prep.

I decided I want to do a contest although I’m not that strong yet. This http://www.nastrongman.com/pdf/2013/2013%20Entry%20From%20WEB.pdf

will be in my area this summer. I’ll be competing as a lightweight novice so none of the weights look too bad. I’m sure I can get at least a rep on everything except for the stones, which I’ve never done.

I wonder what advice you guys have on preparing for the contest. I’ve got about 4 months and I just finished my third cycle of 5/3/1 and am on a deload this week. At this point, do you recommend I continue with some cycles of 5/3/1 for general strength or should I start focusing on specific contest prep.

My thoughts on the events:

Axle clean and press: At 185, I figure I should be able to power clean this and shouldn’t have to do any messy stuff with a continental and switching my grip. I want to get some fat grips and practice this since I won’t have regular access to an actual axle. If I’m going for reps at 185, how heavy should I train? My 1RM is around 210 on the push press right now.

Deadlift: Not much to say here. It’s a deadlift. I am pretty weak at the deadlift though, so I could probably only get 3-4 reps right now at this weight. Since it’s light, I figure I’ll need a lot more to be competitive. Should I just focus on getting a stronger deadlift and figure that will translate to more reps at a lower (but still pretty heavy for me) weight. I’ll have to get straps since I’ve never used straps before.

Sandbag: I’ve picked a 190lb sandbag up before so I’m pretty sure I’ll get 175 off the ground. I figure for this event I should just practice. How heavy should I practice?

Medley: Yoke and prowler. Is there an advantage to going heavier on the yoke so that 500lbs feels lighter?

Stones: I guess I need to get access to some of these for practice. Any good ways to practice in a conventional gym?

I may be doing this competition as well as a lightweight in the open class. From personal experience I would train to get stronger at all of the above and as the competition get closer, lets say 4-5weeks out start to get very specific with your training and train the events as much as possible. I think that training with a heavier yoke always makes the lighter yoke much easier.

I would definitely practice the sandbag carry, learning how to accept the suck when carrying anything for max distance is important. I think you would be okay not having access to an axle for the time being. Just work your power cleans and your overhead press(push press, push jerk, split jerk). I have had great carry over from cleaning a barbell to being able to clean an axle.

When it gets closer to max weight though I will continental clean the axle. With stones, definitely practice them with tape/sleeves and tacky.

I reccomend going with a westside type split so you can aggressively fox your weakness. You need to start trying to make your training as event orientated as possible.

For the Axle- instead of getting fat Grips why not go to a scrap yard and buy a 6-7 foot long piece of 1-3/4 or a size just under 2" and make collars with duct tape. You will then have a actual Axle to practice with for less than $25 cheaper than fat grips. If your max is 210 on a Axle I would alternate each week with a Max Effort 3-5 reps and the next week a RE work with about 150. Your strong enough to press it you just need the endurance to keep pressing it. Alot of guys say focus on your 1rm to bring up your reps this does not work for me as well as hitting more volume and reps with the weight I have to hit.

Deadlift- you need to keep getting stronger in general same protocol as above essentially but minus the RE work. I would just focusing on bringing up your deadlift ad much as possible and learning how to effectively hitch as that’s allowed in SM and add a extra Rep or two for sure.

Yoke- if you can get access to one. If not get 2 6-7ft long chains and 4 carabiners and create a chain yoke. This will smoke your core like nothing else and once again at a hardware store shouldn’t cost much at all to get it made.the use of Tape or Sleeves but to each his own.

Stones- Get access immediately, BUY SOME SPYDER TACK AND LEARN TO USE IT, A do not reccomend using tape or sleeves, in the gym focus on Deficit Deadlifts, Front Squats, and Hip Thrusts.

Monday- ME Lower
Front Squat to 12in box/ Deficit Deadlift/ 18in Deadlift/ Back Squat work up to ME 3-5 in one of these.
3-4 assistance moves crushed your Hams, Lower Back, and Abs Heavy.

Wednesday- ME Press
Axle Comp Style/ Incline Axle/ Strict DB Press/ Axle Press against Bands same as above.
3-4 assurance moves hit Triceps, Horizontal and Vertical Pulling biceps if needed.

Friday- Lower DE Day
Low Box Squat: 5 sets of 5 with 55-65% of Max explode
Deadlifts every other week: 6 sets of 2 with 50-60% max.

Saturday- DE Press
Axle Comp Style: 50-60% plus bands if available 5x5
Upper Back 2 movements.

On weeks you can practice with stones I would go light one week really focusing on tech and the next shoot for a PR or so. Also if you know you have a heavy and intense event session I would drop ME work the week after only doing the assistance worm for that day. Because if you can only practice events say every other weekend your probably going to be trying to go balls tl wall on 4-5 complete body exercises for over 3-4 hours your gonna need the extra recovery.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I plan to adjust my training to prepare for the specific events. I’ve got to figure out what I can get my hands on. I like the idea of getting bar for an axle, but I’m not sure about carrying it into my gym. I suppose I can ask.

Most gyms wont mind you bringing in a fat bar. Its literally the same thing as a standard bar just thicker.