Ok, so I’m naturally strong, but I have been training for powerlifting for a limited time, mainly because I literally couldn’t afford a gym membership for 2 years ever since moving back to my home town, before that I had 3 months where I trained powerlifting while doing my Kettlebell and Pilates course. (I had no idea what Pilates was, but every second phone call I had from a potential client was asking for it. Then I read up on it and it seemed awesome, ‘full body, bodyweight exercises focusing on the core’ then I went to do the course and realised I signed up for a course that had really really good theory attached to some seriously meh exercises, I mean it’s basically a course in crunch variations and some other fancy shit.) I have a serious base of fitness from years of martial arts and surfing, but naturally my body actually favours strength.
I’ve managed to get a gym contract now, and I’ve been going regularly (3-5 days a week) for the past 6 weeks. In that time I went from being 204lb, in ottermode from focusing on my surfing the past 2 years basically, doing some kettlbells and tyre flips in my back yard for some cross training, to 222lb (10% bodyfat), having regained all my strength and then some. Loving it. But now it’s time to stop mucking about and get on a proper program. I have been reading strength training articles on T-Nation for the past few years, and a little look into where my weaknesses lie and how most programs are structured I realised I’d need something a bit more tailored to my specific goals than what Madcow would be able to offer me, and I also need it to be flexible between how many days I go to the gym. The least I go is 3 times a week, but sometimes I want to go 5 times a week, purely because I just plain LOVE training, and it’s a sanctuary from life’s problems for me.
In any case here is my numbers:
Deadlift (my speciality): 230kg (506lb)
Squat (a few issues here): 170kg (374lb)
Bench (HELP!): 100kg (220lb)
Also I can do 1 arm rows with 60kg (132lb) for 7 sets of 5 reps each arm, with limited twisting of upper body, but all my pushing exercises are WEAK. To get into the top 10 in raw nationals (South Africa) in my weight category (105kg and under), if I had to compare this year’s results to my current strength, I know I can do this. The person who got 6th (results are posted only till 6th place on their page) had a total of 600kg, Squatting 200kg, Benching 150kg, and Deadlifting 250kg. I’m 100kg off from here, and I basically just started training.
Now I need to do this and I need to do this fast because I don’t know when qualifiers are but I want to in the very least qualify, I’m not exactly sure what numbers I need to qualify because the website isn’t exactly clear on that. I know where my problems with the squat and the bench lie, and I can still benefit from newbie gains there. For bench it is basically everything about the lift. I can barely do dips without a nerve firing through my triceps on my left arm. I trained it out by doing some bench-dips and now I’m on to standard bodyweight dips, but I still can only do limited amounts of them. 3 sets of 5 kind of thing. I fixed up my stabilizers in my shoulders by doing dumbbell bench press as an assistance exercise to standard bench pressing. I also upped the volume quite a bit. I kept the intensity up by doing a combination of ramp up sets and drop sets, upping the weight strategically, hitting a close to maximal weight, at least 90% of my 1rm, often 95% and sometimes the full 100% (whenever I do the 100% lift and succeed with good form I try for a new PR), then I drop the weights and increase the volume, aiming for sets of 5 at 80% of my 1rm, till I can’t complete 5 reps anymore then I drop down to 60%-70% and do my reps as fast as possible. I don’t train below 60% much if at all. For my squats I have 1 major problem, and that is whenever I get past 85% of my 1rm it starts turning more and more into a goodmorning, and that isn’t exactly lower back friendly. I think too much sitting in front of the computer has kind of killed my glutes.
As for deadlifts, when I go beyond 90% of my 1rm my lower back rounds SLIGHTLY. I’m managing to train it out quite effectively by putting myself on a raised platform and doing my deadlifts from a deficit. Again I blame the sitting on the computer. So I want some specific glute work, I want some specific work on dips, and I feel the program must include most major ranges of motion. Madcow would be perfect if it weren’t for a few things. Firstly it has no dips, and I’m pretty much 100% sure that not including that range of motion while I’m already tight in that direction isn’t a good thing, secondly I don’t like that it keeps the 5 reps throughout it, I function better with a more piramid structure, as the weight goes up the reps go down, and after I’m done with my maximal lift drop sets work wonders. This has always allowed me to work at and over 90% of my 1rm while still doing a large volume of work. But at this point I’m kind of on information overload and I need focus. I know I can just pick a program and stick with it and I’ll get results but I want something that allows for my personal training style. Piramid sets combined with some specific assistance work to train out weaknesses, and while being flexible enough to account for varying amounts of training days a week. The 100% guaranteed days are Monday Wednesday Friday with Tuesday and Thursday being optional training days for me. Ok that was a crazy mind dump but in any case this is how far I’ve come now I need someone without ADHD to come help me here.