T Nation

The Week After Your Meet

So you had a meet, now what?

Get back in the gym Monday and crush some weights? Hold on now slick.

For most purposes the week after your meet should be very light activity, walking, light sled work, maybe some band pump work.

Okay so it’s been a week, now I get to smash the weights again right? Well… probably not the way you’re thinking.

Post meet for 2-4 weeks you probably need to address some mobility, gpp, and imbalance issues. While you should always try to keep these in check sometimes during meet prep things pop up, now’s the perfect time to focus on directly fixing these so that the maintenance is much easier.

You could get back under a barbell for parts of this, but we’re going to want some very light loads. Focus on Repetition Method, Speed-Strength and speed. You can do lots of single limb movements paired with sled, prowler,stair mill, jumps, etc. I won’t go into the specifics of programming it because that’s not my forte, but aim for more reps and longer time frame on movements each week.

This is also a great time to drop some body fat if you need to.

Alright now we get to start squatting super heavy again right? No panda, no.

Now’s a great time to add some muscle mass for 4-8 weeks depending on your long term goals ( you have those right? )

So we’re going to do some hypertrophy ( can you pronounce this correctly? it takes me a few times ). Yes we get to lift weights, but we’re shooting for muscle growth not pure strength, so let’s focus again on repetition method, power, speed-strength.

If you’re wanting to stick to a conjugate style simply swap out ME with RE. I personally like a nice john meadows program for 4-6 weeks then back over into conjugate hypertrophy before starting meet prep.

Now that you’re about 10-12 weeks post meet you can start planning your next meet prep.

Some other thoughts, don’t go crazy the week after a meet with a ton of food, have a day or two of eating what ever you want then tighten it back up and eat for your goals, it’ll make things easier in the long run.

Don’t go crazy with your sudden free time and start doing all kinds of random fitness things, have a plan, have a goal, make sure what you’re doing is working for your goals.

Try something different. Yeah I said it, maybe instead of a hypertrophy phase you want to give crossfit or strongman a go. That’s totally fine. Just don’t expect your powerlifting to directly benefit if that’s what you’re wanting to happen.

Don’t just live for the next meet, make a plan and set some long term goals. Do you want to be doing this in 10 years? If so, make sure what you’re doing works for that plan. If you just want to hit a certain total, devote everything to that and be done.


I think its a case by case thing, I guess. I just had my meet yesterday, but I’m going to wait till at least Weds or Thurs, maybe longer.

I started back up 3 days after my last meet doing pump shit - basically as many sets as possible in 10 minutes for squat and bench and 3x8 on deadlifts at a light weight. I’ll probably be doing the same, but my next meet is Sept so I gotta be

Likely going to be doing 4th and 5th attempts at my next meet, so need to add in lots of conditioning.

1 Like

Largely in part yes, but most people would do well not constantly being in a meet prep.

Yeah definitely agreed. I meant as in when I’d get back in the gym. It seems consistent from last time tho

I remember my 2nd meet, I weighed in at 170s for a USAPL Meet, and did nothing but machines and dumbbells for like 2 or 3 months after (mostly because I was tired of barbell work), mostly on 8x8. I hit 190 that summer FAST

1 Like

I don’t think you need to be too conservative unless you are injured or just burnt out from training in general. I take most of the week off, and around Thursday-Friday I would do some light, easy stuff. I got the idea from Chad Wesley Smith to do some high rep pump stuff just to get the blood flowing and such, after the last couple meets I did that. Like this time on Thursday I did some pushups, dips, and chin ups, that was done in under 15 minutes. Then Friday I did some light squats for sets of 10 and some good mornings, took about 20 minutes.

I was going to sign up for a meet out of town at the end of July but I can’t get the time off work, but now I get the feeling that it’s better this way. Since my training was very low volume and just focused on intensity the last couple months, it feels like my work capacity was really down at first. Especially lower body, my first squat day I only did like 2/3 of what I had planned and I thought it was pretty conservative anyway. If I was training for another meet right now I doubt I would end up with any big PRs, unless I was trying to win something or already at an elite level it doesn’t make sense in terms of long term progress.

So right now I’m taking a break from the competition lifts. My main bench day I’m using a wider grip, I’m doing SSB and Hatfield squats, deficit deadlifts, close grip floor press for my 2nd bench day. I’m doing some heavier sets of 5-6 but also higher reps, which I haven’t done in a while. I’m looking for a meet in the fall, I would switch to meet prep mode at about 3-4 months out but for now I’m going to keep pushing variations of the main lifts, get stronger in some higher rep ranges and try to keep bodyweight the same because I don’t need to get any fatter.

1 Like

I take the full week off. Mostly for mental benefits. Then the next week I do two or three easy sessions, mostly so when I start hypertrophy sessions I am not destroyed by DOMS.

Meet was May 4th. Just did my first hypertrophy session yesterday.

I am trying to burn fat, so I am mostly just doing high rep work with the powerlifting movements and assistance movements. I suppose I will not lose as much strength with this method, but it is brutal.

1 Like

Burn fat through diet.

That said still keeping in some heavy movements will help keep strength up. Plus added muscle will allow greater potential for strength.

Agree. Diet is the hard part, especially when the strength takes a hit. I am hoping that by doing lots of volume with short rest on the big movements, I don’t get weaker while dropping fat.

I’ve dropped 40lbs and added 50 lbs to my total before. It was over the course of 6 months. So It can happen just have to take the long route.

Read Lyle McDonald’s review of the recent study on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Long story short, lots of volume with short rest will cause your muscles to fill with fluid instead of the actual muscle fibres growing and will not help you to get stronger. Either do mostly hard sets with a significant weight (like 70-80%) or you could do cluster sets, but again 70%+. Keeping some heavier work is a good idea too, as @corstijeir mentioned. Otherwise you risk getting much weaker, because cutting weight is already a risk for that.

I’m thinking of doubles and triples on squats and deadlifts, then doing an easy movement like dumbbell presses for 5s, and getting in as many sets as possible for like 15 minutes. Working weight will be between 50 and 70 percent.

Why not 5’s instead of doubles and triples?

Sounds kind of like what they did in that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy study. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is also called “non-functional” hypertrophy because you don’t do anything to increase strength potential.

Again, too light. Even Mike Israetel, who is on the high volume side of things, gave a presentation in the online PL summit a year and a half ago where he said that around 70% was the minimum for hypertrophy work for powerlifting. Lighter than that and you’re training for endurance rather than strength, and as this recent study confirmed it will mostly lead to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Unless you are doing speed work with bands and chains then this is not a good plan.

1 Like

I actually work with a coach, so at this point I am not sure how long I’ll be doing this. Might be for like a month to build GPP.

2-3 reps is being used so that form stays tight with all the sets. It is feasible that I’ll do 15 sets in 15 minutes.

This method seems like it would certainly be better for fat loss / muscle maintenance than traditional cardio though?

I lift all my weights as if they are speed work, but I don’t always use bands or chains.

Don’t many high level powerlifters do much of their hypertrophy work at lower than 70%? I think the stronger you get, the lower the percentages become for high reps. I am not high level in PL, just making a point.

I think that’s a misconception that’s seen from taking things out of context.

Guys will see someone like Kai Green curling 20s, but dude didn’t get his arms that big curling 20s. It may also be at the end of 38 work sets of arms or simply pump work for blood flow that day.

I’ll use myself as an example, if I’m doing sets of 15 on leg press after a heavy day chances are I’m not using a lot of weight maybe 315-405, but that’s because I just squatted 650+ and did 3 working sets of good mornings.

Now if it was when I was fresh you might see me doing 5-6+ plates per side.

I kind of like this chart

1 Like

I will say that I might have downplayed how easy the work is. It is a lot of volume, and some of the exercises are above 70 percent, just not squats and deadlifts. Pullups and military press will be higher. I’m definitely in the off season atm. I should ask my coach his intentions with the programming. Might be somewhat mental too. Lifting big on sbd for a prep, can burn one out. Maybe he is having me progress different lifts just for a bit?

For the record I’m not questioning your coach, he probably has a plan and reasoning.

Just make sure it’s the right plan and reasoning.

1 Like

We shall see how it works out I guess. I don’t see any major issues with it as a whole. I would eventually like your results (losing 40 lbs, and gaining 50 lbs on the total). I would likely be looking like a BBer at that point. A bad BBer I guess.

Hamburger Train/Mike Hedelski(?) talked about getting as many sets of 2 in the squat as possible in 20 minutes, then increasing sets to progress. He called it a “lactic acid wave” and used it to increase work capacity/conditioning before getting into heavier training.

I don’t know how it will work for muscle mass, but it Definetly improves conditioning.

My goal is maintenance of muscle while dropping body fat. His protocol seems very much like what I am prescribed, except I am doing it for 15 minutes, and superset it with DB overhead presses (5 reps). On deadlift day, it is 15 minutes of sets of 2, superset with sets of 5 of BB rows.

Haven’t done it yet. It seems like it will be brutal just with 315.


@mnben87 btw
December - April 218 - 180

Then 180-184 4 weeks later

My squat went up like 5 lbs, bench was up about 5, deadlift increased the most with around 25.

I don’t fully recall what the entire training cycle was like for 220-180 but there was a lot of volume in the 90%+ range on heavy days, and a lot of mid range volume too.

Lots of 3x2, etc on heavy days.

Then 180-184 was the john meadows t-nation indigo program ran without rest days.