T Nation

How to Form a Powerlifting Team?

Here at Sheppard AFB, we have have few guys who are interested in PL. I can see training with 2 maybe 3 guys at a time. However, the problem is if I get an overwhelming response and have 10 guys who want to train. How do you manage the training of these individuals? I can see breaking up the members into smaller units and train, but I am looking at how to get the most out of each of these individuals.

Can anyone provide some advise or guidance as to your experiences on managing a PL team and how to make and track progress?

I would say that you can run up to 5 guys on one exercise as long as everyone has relatively close strength levels. In the past I have done this with squatting and it worked out very well. My advice would be to just do your core movements (squat/bench/dead) in large groups of 4-5 individuals and then break off for your accessory work since spotters and motivators are not as important there.

One thing that you could do is break the group into two sub-groups and put them on opposite routines. For instance if one group is squatting one day the other group is benching. This way you do not tie up all of the equipment and allow each group to get through their workout efficiently. It would also give you an opportunity to pair up the guys with similar strengths so that they can push each other and not have to load/unload weights.

Thats a damn good starting idea Shakes. I just afraid of taking a 1hr workout into a 3 because there are so many of us. I can definitely see the opposite training split and pairing up of folks with similar strength levels.

Thanks for your input!

space is also a factor . sessions start to suck when there’s too many bodies in too small a space .

Shakes hit it on the head on how to split up the groups . per weight being trained with would be ideal ; just like flights in a meet .

I’ve lifted in a group of 4 with no problem (being the newest to the group I probably slowed things down the most) . after a couple months of training together , the group will get into a rhythm and things will sail .

I also lifted in a group of 3 , along with a couple “lingerers” , in too tight a space and it sucked balls .

I run a powerlifting team, although we don’t always (or even usually) train together. Are you looking for general advice on how to deal with the team or more like advice on how to set up the routine if everybody is training at the same time, as per the posts that you have received so far?

All the above! How to run a team, training advice and tips above and or beyond what has been given already.

Thanks in advance.

Here are a few things to consider. If you want to email me at NPTITim@aol.com, I would be happy to share my guidelines and stuff for my own team.

Why do you have a team?
What do team members get out of being on the team?
What do you (the team founder) get out of hosting the team?
Is there a fee to be on the team and if so how much?
Are you going to compete as a team and if so who will pay for the team entry fee?
Who decides who is on the team and how do you kick people off of the team if necessary?
Is there anything mandatory team members must do (like attend a certain number of meets, practice, meetings, etc)?
Are you focused on a certain type of powerlifting (raw vs geared, drug free or not, bench only, etc). You don’t have to be, it is just useful to know the general direction you want to head and the federation(s) you want to compete in.
Are you going to have a team uniform (T-shirt, singlet, gym bags, whatever) and how will that work? Will you buy it and they buy it from you? They buy it and you order it? Everybody does their own thing, etc.
Does the coach dictate how the team members train or do they get to train however they wish? Same thing for picking meet numbers.
It is an all male team or are women allowed?

I think that is a good starting point. Even though those questions can go in depth this does not have to be a massive time committment on your part, but it could be if you want to control everything personally especially including running each training session.

For me personally most of my team does their own thing when it comes to training, myself and my workout partner always workout at the same time (he is also on the team) and anyone is welcome to join us. I am available for questions and help with programming and meet prep but I don’t dictate what people do unless they ask me. One of my main goals was just on meet day it is great to have a group of 5, 10, or even 20 people routing for you, helping you on the day of the meet taking pics, videos, having dinner afterward, warming up, etc. I had that in college and lost it once I trained in the “real world” so one of my goals in creating a team was to create that atmosphere again, both for myself and for the other members of a team. I have been to meets where I was the only person there (a one man team so to speak) and while you can do it it is not nearly as fun, at least for me.

When it comes to setting up training, you have already gotten some good advice. On heavy stuff you can go up to about 5 people or so but on assistance stuff any more than 3 really drags out, break bigger groups into several smaller groups (3 groups of 2 or something for example). Use the rounds system so start with the weakest lifter and they go first, then the next, etc for 1 set, then repeat. Try to have warm-ups be the same weight whenever possible to save time. It make take some yelling but you can definitely get each person to do their set in 30-60 seconds even with a lot of weight. Know who the spotter is, who the loader is, who the lifter is and kind of set up a rotating system where each person moves to the next station to keep it effecient. If you don’t expect everybody to train at the same time then this will be less of a problem. Also you may want to get an “assistant” coach that helps run the session, or runs another session, or will just help you out. You may find personally that if you are “in charge” of 5-10 lifters, especially newbies, it may be hard to channel your own energy toward your own workout. Definitely try to break up the groups so there are some similar strength people, if you have 15 lifters you could have an A group of 5, a B group of 5, and a C group of 5 (advanced, intermediate, beginners, etc) and then you can assistance groups like A-1, A-2, etc which is just 2 or 3 people so they can go faster. If you have a lot of equipment you can have everybody do the same thing at the same time (like 4 or 5 people doing DB lateral raises at all once). Once you start to get a decent sized group be prepared for people to say they are interested and then skip sessions, not train that hard, have little injuries, and most common of course is to back out of a meet at the last moment. How you will deal with that is up to you but be prepared for it. If you have a lot of beginners you might want to have a few meetings on form (like a squat meeting where you teach everybody how to properly squat) and then something on meet prep so they can know what to expect, how the day will go, etc.

Sorry if this was too long, I was just kind of thinking off the top of my head. Like I said, email me if you want more specific or personal info. Good luck with it,
Tim

Mark Bell’s new magazine’s premier issue has a “How to start a PL gym” in it.

www.supertraininggym.com/powermag.html

Training groups of 5 are pretty good. One lifter, one person to run a mono/hold a board, and three spotters. Shakes has it right with trying to keep your group with relatively close strength levels. There’s nothing worse than having to load/unload more than 2 or 3 plates inbetween sets. It also increases workout times more than you’d think.

WOW! I didn’t realize some of the things to consider. Very good information and I appreciate the responses I have received. Tim, your information has been saved and be ready with a laundry list of questions later on after I put the word out.

Good stuff from everyone. I appreciate the advise.

and you need one of those big white dry-erase boards to post everbody’s PRs

Well you could have one group of people do one workout that day on the same time, and another group of people do a diffrent lift, shit Ive seen groups of 8 squatting at the same time, with one full time spotter, on right after another with pretty much the same weight every time.

I remember a few times when I was lifting with my team we had around 8 people, and we just set up 2 benches and it worked out fine.

You could also have a captain for maybe an A and a B team to run workouts, A team does a workout in the morning if it works better for them to lift in the morning, and B does the same workout at night. Or do the same thing with equipped and raw lifters…

[quote]brauny96 wrote:
Well you could have one group of people do one workout that day on the same time, and another group of people do a diffrent lift, shit Ive seen groups of 8 squatting at the same time, with one full time spotter, on right after another with pretty much the same weight every time.

I remember a few times when I was lifting with my team we had around 8 people, and we just set up 2 benches and it worked out fine.

You could also have a captain for maybe an A and a B team to run workouts, A team does a workout in the morning if it works better for them to lift in the morning, and B does the same workout at night. Or do the same thing with equipped and raw lifters…[/quote]

x2

Run them through circuits…kidding.

No do like the poster above said, and like they do at most PL Gyms. They figure out the workout for the day, say Dynamic Bench: speed bench 8x3 60%, 4 board press 60%x3 65%x3 75%x3, and assessories, then run them through the first bench exercise. Then the second, then after everyone is done you break off and do your own things.

i’d suggest you divide into groups of 4 trying to match up guys of similar weight, height , experience and strength level.
each group train one of the core lifts along with any assistance work on apposing days.
in six months time you guys can hold a meet, team with lowest total body weight wins.