T Nation

HS Senior Getting into Powerlifting

Hey guys I do a lot of lurking here but not much posting. Anyways let me tell you what I’ve been thinking about lately.

I’m a 17 year old senior in highschool and my football career just ended last friday. It was a heartbreaking loss in the quarter finals, but its time I move on with my life.

I’m 5’8" and about 185 pounds and have been playing defensive end for the last few years, so obviously I’m not going to make it as a defensive linemen in college. However, I don’t want my athletic career to stop completely.

I started looking at the USPF website and I’m interested in getting into powerlifting. My lifts right now are far from amazing, but I’m sure I could bost them way up if I give it a couple years.

I live in southern California and will most likely be attending a college next year not too far away. Does anyone have any advice for a young powerlifter? Sorry for asking such a general question, but maybe someone could help point me in the right direction.

Eat a lot and lift heavy with the basics first (no need for bands or chains yet) and most of all have fun.

A general answer to a general question!

I highly recommend following the Westside method. Go read Dave Tate’s articles on the site. There is a sample workout in the Periodization Bible Part 2. Or, go over to elitefts.com and read some of the articles and Q&A.

I have been utilizing Westside for the past two months, and I’m extremely happy with the results. I love the fact that I’m getting bigger and stronger each week. Conjugate periodization is definitely the way to go!

Prior to Westside, I made up my own strength programs based on CW’s recommendations. Before that, I was following many of CW’s programs. They all helped me get stronger and gain some mass, but I really love Westside the most since there is plenty of variation.

I was waiting for the standard, “Westside Recommendation Response.” In fact I was just about to post it myself to get it over with. Looks like I don’t have to now. I am not certain this is the best way for you to start.

We train High School and Junior level lifters. All of them compete or have competed. My thoughts are as follows:

  1. Find some powerlifters in your area and head out to train with them. Almost without exception, most guys your age have alot of room for improvement with regards to their technique on the core lifts. If you are going to get started, get proper form down first.

I remember that there is a HS meet in Kern County. I think it was a USPF event. You mention having been on the USPF site. I assume you mean California’s site. (www.powerliftingca.com) Steve Denison would be a good point of contact for you. His email is on the USPF site.

Check out www.usapl-ca.org as well. Lance Slaughter, the state chair may be able to hook you up with some lifters in your area, as well.

  1. Often times, when a lifter is relatively inexperienced in the core lifts, conjugated periodization does not provide enough time under the core lifts, particularly on the DL, and can hamper progress if not managed. In other words, at this point in your training the core lifts should be emphasized, IMHO.

We typically like to see a new lifter get at least 3-5 meets under their belt using linear periodization focusing on progression of the core lifts.

Then, based on where they are at we make decisions relative to speed work and contrast. IMHO, speed work doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have consistent form and a reasonable level of base strength. Initially, you are almost always better off being strong and slow than weak and fast. Strong and fast is another story.

  1. Follow TTewells advice. Progressively heavier compound movements and utilize the “See Food diet.”

  2. Pick a meet and start training for it. You will make much better progress training for a specific event. At your stage, you should probably try to do 3 meets a year.

  3. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are not strong enough to compete. We have taken lifters with less than 3 months training experience into meets, and it is a source of great pride for them looking back at where they started and where they are now. Gym lifts mean nothing. Powerlifting is about taking it to a meet.

Feel free to PM me with questions.