T Nation

Q for Powerlifting Ladies

Hey PL ladies,
I’ve been training my fiance for about a year now but didn’t have her start lifting more towards PL until about august or so. Right now her DL is ~200 (185x3 PR last night), squat is ~165, but her upper body is lagging pretty hard. Probably around 75 or 80. Most of her upper body lifts are lagging and I’ve ran her through 5/3/1 and started her on westside recently. I’ve had her doing other things before that too. Anyways, I wanted to ask two questions.

First, how does her squat and DL numbers stack up? She never played sports and just started lifting, literally first time in a weight room, about a year ago.

Second, does anyone have any suggestions on how to progress her upper body more? Plenty of pulling to balance out the pressing so thats not the issue. Everything is somewhat stagnant. She’ll get 65 on bench for 8, then go 70 and get 1 or 2. So big drop off. I’m thinking its a coordination thing possibly.

Third, in regards to the big drop off (as stated 65 for 8 then 70 for 1 which also happens on her lower stuff), did yall start out like this and then get more linear (65 for 8, 70 for 6, etc…)? and what did you do to combat this?

She’s progressing on lower fairly well but upper is taking much longer. She says she’s pushing just as hard (I do the programming for her but she is in school somewhere else so I don’t lift with her except on weekends) on upper. Any suggestions and experiences would be great.

I WOULD SAY SHE’S doing well for a year in but you don’t give her height and weight do its hard to say. By lagging do you just mean strength or do you mean aesthetically? If its aesthetically I would get her on a bodybuilding split for UB. You can run it as accessory after her main lifts OHP and BP. If its strength IDK it is harder for women to progress on strength but some progress should be happening. I run what i think is a great ub accessory program its push pull you can jack it from my log.

I have no all encompassing answer, however I think it helps to remember that five pounds is not much when you are a male benching 300lbs, but it can be a rough jump for someone who has max bench of 70. Just be patient. I think it varys greatly from person to person, but my bench moves like molasses compared to squat/DL. Also, if I have learned anything from the women here, less is more on accessory work if looking for strength gains.

I’ve found that my upper body made great gains with I kept the reps low and upped the weight, whereas the opposite happened for my lower body.

Here’s something I found worked well for upping my bench:

do one set of 4 reps, then 3, then 2

at gradually increasing weights until you hit nearly the max. So for her, 55,60,65

three minutes between each set

then do it again, but using weights 60,65,and 70

the next week start at 60,65, and 70 and bump it up to 65,70,and 75

and so on

I mainly mean by strength. Since she has came up with me, my focus is almost purely on strength so hers is about the same. Her height is 5’8 and weight ~135. I’m going to push her towards more of a push,pull,lower split like I do. I’ve thought about it a couple times but for some reason I haven’t thought about it recently.

And yeah I know 5 lbs is a bigger jump from 65 to 70 compared to 300-305 but its like that with her deadlift and squat too. With her hitting 185 for 3, it wouldn’t surprise me for her to hit 190 for 1 that day (she has hit 195 a while back) but its just something that happens often.

I wasn’t sure if there was a right answer as far as work on coordination with DE stuff or work on more reps and ingraining the movement pattern or working on coordination with heavier weight (which we have tried before with more singles and doubles).

What’s her diet like on training days? Is she just not eating enough to fuel her body for the lifts?

As far as progressing, I think each person is different in what their body likes. Oleena likes low reps and upping the weight. I’ve found that the more volume I put in, the stronger I get. Going from 65x8 to 70x1 might indicate a form issue of some kind. Not sure.