T Nation

Strength During Contest Prep


#1

Through your contest preps, how has your strength maintained throughout? Did it just shoot down at some point or was it a steady digression?


#2

Never lost strength. I may have had points in my day where I felt tired, or even a little lagging between sets, but my gym weights never dropped.

S


#3

I maintained pretty well until the last push where i noticed maybe a 10 to 20 percent dropp off on squats and some presses. As soon as the contest was over my deadlift was in the shitter for months and months on end, i remember post show 315 felt sooo hard. Remember that i reverse dieted waaaay top hard and was within 2 lbs of my stage weight months sfter the show though ( not smart )


#4

as a slight aside to this: do you guys adjust how you train? You always hear the recommendation that you need to do low rep, strength stuff so your body hangs on to the muscle but that never made much sense to me.


#5

S, not even a single pound you don’t think? Even perceived strength wasn’t down? That’s insane/incredible to me lol


#6

[quote]Yogi wrote:
as a slight aside to this: do you guys adjust how you train? You always hear the recommendation that you need to do low rep, strength stuff so your body hangs on to the muscle but that never made much sense to me.[/quote]

I’m curious about this as well. Contrarily, I’ve heard the bro-notion that you should do lighter weight just so no injuries occur but you could hold on to the muscle but that’s asinine to me, IMO.


#7

[quote]Yogi wrote:
as a slight aside to this: do you guys adjust how you train? You always hear the recommendation that you need to do low rep, strength stuff so your body hangs on to the muscle but that never made much sense to me.[/quote]

I stopped deadlifting at the 14 day out mark, it just didnt feel safe as i had NO fat left on my lower back. I still squatted up until the 7 day out mark though. at around the 4 week out mark where you should be pretty close ready you need to train smart and intense. I think guys who do the longer pre contest diets ALA 30-40 week preps have an easier time with this as the body doesnt go thru any holy shit changes like it does within a 16 week prep.


#8

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:
as a slight aside to this: do you guys adjust how you train? You always hear the recommendation that you need to do low rep, strength stuff so your body hangs on to the muscle but that never made much sense to me.[/quote]

I stopped deadlifting at the 14 day out mark, it just didnt feel safe as i had NO fat left on my lower back. I still squatted up until the 7 day out mark though. at around the 4 week out mark where you should be pretty close ready you need to train smart and intense.[/quote]

^This. Obviously as you get progressively leaner, you may lose a bit of stability around wonky, or previously injured joints. When I started competing in bodybuilding, I noticed a lower back issue that I had suffered years before in a strongman contest would resurface when I got close to show date levels of leanness. My brother (Dpt) and myself reasoned that as I lost the extra ‘meat’ around the area, I became more succeptable to losing some of the stability I usually had when doing Stiff Leg Deads or other more stressful movements.

So while your strength shouldn’t plummet if you’re doing everything intelligently, you also have to constantly look at the big picture. If you do something stupid at the end, you can ruin what would have otherwise been a great prep.

S


#9

depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc.


#10

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:
depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc. [/quote]

Why would underhand bb rows be dangerous?


#11

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:
depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc. [/quote]

Why would underhand bb rows be dangerous?
[/quote]

puts the biceps in a compromised state.

just ask dorian yates :wink:


#12

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:
depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc. [/quote]

Why would underhand bb rows be dangerous?
[/quote]

puts the biceps in a compromised state.

just ask dorian yates ;)[/quote]

Not sure if srs.


#13

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:
as a slight aside to this: do you guys adjust how you train? You always hear the recommendation that you need to do low rep, strength stuff so your body hangs on to the muscle but that never made much sense to me.[/quote]

I stopped deadlifting at the 14 day out mark, it just didnt feel safe as i had NO fat left on my lower back. I still squatted up until the 7 day out mark though. at around the 4 week out mark where you should be pretty close ready you need to train smart and intense.[/quote]

^This. Obviously as you get progressively leaner, you may lose a bit of stability around wonky, or previously injured joints. When I started competing in bodybuilding, I noticed a lower back issue that I had suffered years before in a strongman contest would resurface when I got close to show date levels of leanness. My brother (Dpt) and myself reasoned that as I lost the extra ‘meat’ around the area, I became more succeptable to losing some of the stability I usually had when doing Stiff Leg Deads or other more stressful movements.

So while your strength shouldn’t plummet if you’re doing everything intelligently, you also have to constantly look at the big picture. If you do something stupid at the end, you can ruin what would have otherwise been a great prep.

S[/quote]

I agree with training intelligently. I feel as though you should still push yourself but not to the point where reps of anything, especially the big three, become grinders week in and week out.


#14

[quote]anthonykim421 wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:
depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc. [/quote]

Why would underhand bb rows be dangerous?
[/quote]

puts the biceps in a compromised state.

just ask dorian yates ;)[/quote]

Not sure if srs.
[/quote]

Yates tore a bicep performing that movement. 455Lbs


#15

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:

[quote]anthonykim421 wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:

[quote]eatliftsleep wrote:

[quote]Mr. Walkway wrote:
depends on a number of factors including whether or not you’re natural, and how long you are dieting for (the harder you diet, the more strength lost, etc.)

as for training… I try to go as heavy as possible with good form in the 6-8 rep range… avoiding dangerous lifts like upright rows, flat bench, mixed grip deadlifts, underhand bb rows, etc. [/quote]

Why would underhand bb rows be dangerous?
[/quote]

puts the biceps in a compromised state.

just ask dorian yates ;)[/quote]

Not sure if srs.
[/quote]

Yates tore a bicep performing that movement. 455Lbs
[/quote]

I have only seen one video of an IFBB pro doing underhand bb rows since then (Heath)…I guess Morel does a sort-of underhand t-bar row… but he’s an injury waiting to happen lol

everyone else seems to do them overhand now


#16

I’ve seen them do underhand lat pulldowns and underhand row machines. Personally i like them but don’t do them too often


#17

I’m still a big fan of underhand rowing, but if you can’t focus on your back, and your bis come into play too much, you’re just asking for potential problems. I still credit a lot of my back muscles MMC from when I had some forearm issues years ago, but still tried to train around them. Once I started thinking of doing rows as a sort of bent over shrug movement (completely eliminating any elbow flexion), something just clicked for me.

Dorian was strong as hell, but even he has admited that he probably didn’t need to use so much weight.

S


#18

Do you guys decrease overall training volume when cutting? I.e. if you’re lifting primarily heavy (say in the 6-8 rep range) do you focus on the big lifts and go home, with less pump/isolation work? Or do you use about the same amount of total volume and exercises as when lifting to build muscle?


#19

underhand BB rows in the smith are a great exercise all about form/MMC/volume

dont see the point in general of doing rows with a huge weight that involves humping the bar


#20

interesting stuff guys, thanks.

I train pretty much the exact same way when I’m cutting, but then I don’t deadlift anyway!