T Nation

Powerlifting Questions

On Monday I will be starting my PL program. I will get my new program from my buddy on Sunday. I’m actually really excited about this. I’m still trying to get a better understanding on how to do powerlifting. I’ve been reading articles here and at EliteFTS. I have a few questions I’m hoping you guys can help me with:

Do powerlifters do isolation exercises like calf raises, bicep curls, lateral raises?

What about overhead pressing?

How many sets do most powerlifters do per exercise? How many of these are warm up sets? Looking at other lifters logs, they seem to start low and slowly pyramid up.

There are no answers to your questions because everyone is different.

I don’t know anyone that does calf work, but I do know of plenty that do some biceps and shoulder work. I do overhead myself, but a lot don’t.

We do as many sets as it takes to accomplish what we are trying to do.

Where in Florida are you located?

I have been at both extremes on the accessory work matter-here’s what I have observed.

Light shoulder work to keep the rotator cuff healthy is good preventative medicine- stuff like face pulls, band pull-aparts, bentover raises.

I don’t think heavy overhead pressing does a lot for a shirted bench. But I still do it because it makes makes the shoulders big and strong which makes you look like a big strong freak and I think that’s reason enough to keep the militaries, OH DB pressing, etc.

Curls won’t signifcantly contribute to the big three, but they seem to halp with bicep tendon pain. Also, big arms are cool and they make you bench shirt fight tighter.

I do calf raises some. I think they might help my deadlift some, but who knows. However, walking out heavy squats probbaly does more for calf strength/size and ankle stability then raises ever would.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks guys!

One more…

I’m use to not wearing a belt. Should a belt be worn when PL?

By the way, I live just outside Tampa, FL.

I would echo the same sentiments as Pinto and Wray.

I actually perform both in front and (GASP) behind the neck pressing pretty regularly but with very moderate weight as a means to condition and maintain muscle mass. We also do tons of band and face pulls, lateral extensions, bent raises, etc.

I think by virtue of internet proliferation of advanced lifters training logs being posted, and people who don’t know any better trying to train like these guys when what they really need to do is get stronger all over, a lot of beginning and intermediate lifters have gotten the impression that if a muscle group does not contribute directly to “moving heavy weight” then it is OK to basically ignore it.

The bottom line is muscle imbalances have a negative impact on performance and can lead to injury so you are better off with a program that provides appropriate emphasis on all muscle groups.

Key word, appropriate.

IRT reps and sets, that’s all over the map. I recently did 3 progressive 6 week cycles squatting and pulling 3x8. Everybody thought I was insane. I would not prepare for a meet in this fashion but truth be told the pulls put a ton of thickness on my upper and lower back and my conditioning and work capacity for my squats has increased significantly. I accomplished exactly what I was trying to do at that point in time.

The biggest thing I will caution you against is not sticking with a training style long enough to determine if it is working. The best thing you can do as a PL is build predictability into your cycle which takes time and consistency.

[quote]LarryJr wrote:
Thanks guys!

One more…

I’m use to not wearing a belt. Should a belt be worn when PL?

By the way, I live just outside Tampa, FL.[/quote]

I just recently started wearing a belt. My first meet was in July and I trained and competed entirely without a belt.

Now, I’ve began incorporating a belt into my training, but I don’t put it on until I reach loads in the 90% range.

Bottom line: you don’t need a belt for every set. Use it on your last two sets or really heavy sets. I think it’s important to expose your back and abs to a good amount of volume belt-free.

[quote]LarryJr wrote:
On Monday I will be starting my PL program. I will get my new program from my buddy on Sunday. I’m actually really excited about this. I’m still trying to get a better understanding on how to do powerlifting. I’ve been reading articles here and at EliteFTS. I have a few questions I’m hoping you guys can help me with:

Do powerlifters do isolation exercises like calf raises, bicep curls, lateral raises?

These articles should help with these questions.

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/in_the_beginning_by_BobY.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/9week-training-program.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/bobyoungs-sampleworkout.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/ws4sb/WS4SB.pdf

This can also be useful if you train in a commercial gym:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/adapting_for_commercial_gym.htm

What about overhead pressing?

Overhead pressing can be used as a secondary exercise for reps to help build shoulder strength and strength off the bottom in the bench.

How many sets do most powerlifters do per exercise? How many of these are warm up sets? Looking at other lifters logs, they seem to start low and slowly pyramid up.[/quote]

This varies, but the advice that I got when I started was never go more than 50 lbs between sets. This article should help as well:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/beginner_mistakes_jimw.htm

Also, be wary of a program given to you by a buddy. You need something that will address YOUR particular weaknesses. These will become apparent over time, so keep an open mind and don’t always just blindly follow a set program. Good luck and welcome to Powerlifting!

[quote]ultimatethor wrote:
LarryJr wrote:
On Monday I will be starting my PL program. I will get my new program from my buddy on Sunday. I’m actually really excited about this. I’m still trying to get a better understanding on how to do powerlifting. I’ve been reading articles here and at EliteFTS. I have a few questions I’m hoping you guys can help me with:

Do powerlifters do isolation exercises like calf raises, bicep curls, lateral raises?

These articles should help with these questions.

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/in_the_beginning_by_BobY.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/9week-training-program.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/bobyoungs-sampleworkout.htm

http://www.elitefts.com/ws4sb/WS4SB.pdf

This can also be useful if you train in a commercial gym:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/adapting_for_commercial_gym.htm

What about overhead pressing?

Overhead pressing can be used as a secondary exercise for reps to help build shoulder strength and strength off the bottom in the bench.

How many sets do most powerlifters do per exercise? How many of these are warm up sets? Looking at other lifters logs, they seem to start low and slowly pyramid up.

This varies, but the advice that I got when I started was never go more than 50 lbs between sets. This article should help as well:

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/beginner_mistakes_jimw.htm

Also, be wary of a program given to you by a buddy. You need something that will address YOUR particular weaknesses. These will become apparent over time, so keep an open mind and don’t always just blindly follow a set program. Good luck and welcome to Powerlifting![/quote]

Thanks! My buddy said the same thing. He’s not just going to give me a program, but train me how to do the lifts properly and help me along the way.

The other day he showed me how to properly squat powerlifting style. I’m use to shoulder width deep squats. I did lots of sets to get the form down. My legs haven’t been this sore in a long time. The inside of my legs and glutes are killing me!

I’m really excited about being trained by him. Back in his day he was an elite lifter and took the world title in the 90’s. He is old school though. I’m not sure he’ll train me the same way lifters are training today.

I’m sure I’ll get all my questions answered by him soon enough. I just want to get a better understanding before hand. I’m coming from a BB background.

Thanks for the links!