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Principles vs Programming

Hey everyone! For the past year i have been in a plateau regarding the big 3. In May i will be heading to Mexico so, i do not feel like starting a whole new structured program because i will be cutting. To keep things fun but efficient, i was debating on using strength principles every workout just in a less structured format. Furthermore, i would incorporate a lot of new movements to get a feeling of a PR i have not felt in forever while still pushing my body. Have any of you guys tried this idea of simply just going into the gym and if u feel like focusing on movements that are not the big 3 (but sound for strength)? If so let me know! This is really open to any advice, tips or potential programs you think would refuel my fire before i head out on vacation.

If you don’t compete in powerlifting, then do whatever floats your boat.

This is the POWERLIFTING forum, not the GYM BRO forum.

Sounds like what most people do the first time they go to a gym.

Focus on the other big 3 : front squat, military press and good morning

But you’re being pretty vague about how you’re training now, how about a few details?

It’s not an entirely bad idea IF you know your weaknesses and what’s holding you back in the big 3. Also, you need a plan of progression. I would pick a small handful of movements to target your weaknesses and stick with a movement, until you stall.

Conjugate training involves constantly switching out highly-specific accessory movements, but that is planned and deliberate and not what you’re talking about. And they also squat, bench, and deadlift religiously obviously.

I have run many powerlifting programs ranging from extremely traditional linear progression to conjugated programs. The program i have run recently is a standard linear progression program for Squat, Bench and Deadlift by Russian Coach Surovetsky. My issue at the moment is not finding a practical program. The task at hand here is training WITHOUT a structured program for once (because Mexico is approaching) but, i wanted to make my workouts still effective and efficient. This is what i poorly asked the T-nation power lifting community about in my question above.

I feel it should be pointed out that programming (even if it’s unstructured) aligns to principles, they are not two separate things you choose between.

Hey man, it sounds like westside would be a good fit for where your head is at right now. it’s loose and structured at the same time and there’s nothing set in stone. You can choose a different exercise for max effort and you can basically almost wing it, then bodybuild for weaknesses, and you’re done.

I’ve been doing it since october and I love it, I’ve used the max effort workouts to really bring up my GM’s and the upper body workouts to really bring up my triceps, it’s been fun just to focus on weaknesses for a while and not worry about my strengths.

I’m pretty good at setting up bands in a power rack now and I have a hand scale that you can get for 20 bucks to measure band tension.

Listen to the westside podcasts, they’re really cool and helpful if you’re going to run it and you’ll get a lot out of listening to them either way.

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Joe DeFranco has the Westside For Skinny Bastards template. It’s got “slots” for “big” lifts and “assistance lifts” and you plug in exercises you like. It’s cool because you can do what feels right, but you have an effective structure laid out to keep you on track. It’s set up to get started right away.

Trying out new stuff is fun. Sometimes you need a little new-ness and excitement. Every once in awhile you find a great lift. Or you do a lift that you really suck at, that Reveals some weakness, you have. Or some element that is lacking in your training.

The problem I have is just getting lost in the weeds. Way the hell out there, doing God knows what, for who knows what reason.

That’s why a template can be useful. Westside is really awesome. But it’s a lot to dive into.

I do have to co-sign beartrap. The Westside barbell podcasts are worth listening to. Episode 5, The Deadlift for Sprinting is a cool place to start.

Figure out how many weeks you have, until you go to Mexico and go from there. Think about your sticking points and weaknesses and what lifts might be best to target them. You still need, somewhat a structured plan of progression. Run each lift for a 3 week cycle or so. I’ll throw out a few of my fave progression schemes and maybe it will help you come up with some ideas.

  1. Work up to a 5rm in week 1, a 3rm in week 2 and finally a 1rm in week 3.

  2. Work up to a 5rm weekly or until you stall for one particular. Whichever comes first.

  3. Choose 3 or so close variations for a movement, work up to a 5rm in one variation each week and after 3 weeks, repeat the variation trying to set a PR.

  4. Progressive ROM for a 5rm.

It would also probably be a good idea to include some speed/technical work after the variation or on a separate day. If you are left with a week or two after your mesocycles it would be a good opportunity to really push the volume and intentionally overreach a little, focusing on hypertrophy or deload a week and come back on the final week and test a rep max on the competition lifts.