T Nation

Thinking of Getting Into Powerlifting

Hello all,

I am currently thinking about getting into doing powerlifting. I have had only about 1 year of legitimate weightlifting experience behind me, but I am eager to get much stronger and larger than I am now.

Brief Stats and History:
4 years High School Swimming
1 year College Rowing (lifting experience mainly from this)
6’3", ~200lbs, ~12-14% BF, almost 19 yrs old
Bench: 195, Squat: 225, Deadlift: 315

I have gained a total of 20 lbs from the time that I stopped swimming (nearly all of it muscle), mainly by doing squats/deads.

This summer I wanted to put my focus on getting as strong as possible by focusing on the main lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Rows, & Pull-ups) while correcting my minor imbalances (shoulders, slightly winged scapulae, and weak knees).

My diet focuses mainly around large quantities of poultry/fish/beef, fruits, veggies, whole grains, eggs, and nuts (right now at about 4000-5000 kcal a day). Unlike the typical college kid, I don’t drink, so that won’t be a problem.

Any advice or handy tips from experienced members would be greatly appreciated.

thephantom

Pick a weightclass when the meet gets closer. AND MAKE IT. Get a good group of guys/women who also want to compete. You can get each other prepped into between attempts. Now may be the time to recruit. Don’t be afraid to screw up. Just about everyone did a lot wrong at their first meet. Wear the required clothing. READ THE RULEBOOK. Learn all of the signals for during the lifts by heart. Any specific questions? When the meets gets closer check out the strength sports section and ask. There are a lot of experienced guys in there.

Rippetoes.

No one else said it, but we’re all thinking it.

thanks for the responses so far

@zephead - thanks for the advice, but i was not planning on competing this summer, rather using the summer as a re-focus from crew to lifting strength. when i do find a meet, i’ll definitely use those tips though.

@Otep - i was actually planning on doing something like this:
Day 1: Squat, Bench Press, Row
Day 2: Deadlift, Pull-up, Dip (if i get rings these will be done with them)
Day 3: Squat, Overhead Press, Row/Pull-up

and a 5x5/8x3 Rep scheme or something similar. does that sound like a good route to go?

It looks good. i would add glute ham raises. And think about box squats on day 3? I usually have 1 normal bench press day. And another day for dynamic/repetition/lockout or whatever kind of work I think needs to be done. A lot of us have found we can’t train a competition lift heavy more then once a week. If this is the case for you I’d do:

Monday:
Bench press
Military press
DB rows
chins

Tuesday:
Squat
light pull variation (oly lift, speed deads, etc)
GHR
calves

Thursday:
deadlift
abs
calves

Friday:
Special bench press variation (de/re/floor press etc)
jerk/push press
barbell rows
triceps

This is similar to what I do, except I have olympic lifting in it.

read everything int he powerlifting section on www.elitefts.com

the ghr sounds like a good idea, i’ll just need to be a bit creative in the setup. my gym that i go to doesn’t have a plethora of good equipment but a lot of machines(mostly geared for middle-aged suburbanites, but it’s free). i have access to a power rack, bench, cable station, and dumbbells up to 110 lbs.

i was planning to do the routine that I posted above with extra assistance work as needed (upper back, abs, grip, calves, etc), and just used it as long as i could before i stalled. the routine you suggested sounds like a good idea for afterwards.

and i have read the majority of training articles on both Elitefts, westside barbell, and T-Nation. It’s what i do when i’m supposed to be studying lol.

[quote]thephantom wrote:
the ghr sounds like a good idea, i’ll just need to be a bit creative in the setup. my gym that i go to doesn’t have a plethora of good equipment but a lot of machines(mostly geared for middle-aged suburbanites, but it’s free). i have access to a power rack, bench, cable station, and dumbbells up to 110 lbs.

i was planning to do the routine that I posted above with extra assistance work as needed (upper back, abs, grip, calves, etc), and just used it as long as i could before i stalled. the routine you suggested sounds like a good idea for afterwards.

and i have read the majority of training articles on both Elitefts, westside barbell, and T-Nation. It’s what i do when i’m supposed to be studying lol.[/quote]

In regards to the lack of equipment, myself and some friends of mine who post here have the similar problem.

For the GHR’s, we have to improvise. There isn’t a GHR machine in our gym. What we do is put a barbell inside the squat rack (on the bottom, not on any pins. We usually load it up to 225lbs, also using a 25lb plate on each side as a stopper so the bar won’t budge. Then just hook our feet under the bar and start our workout.

That’s just my two cents. Try it man, it works.

Check out:
Westside For Skinny Bastards http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=311west2

Westside For Skinny Viking Bastards (I actually prefer this one)

Also, you might want to do a basic 5x5:
geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm

Whatever you do, I wouldn’t bother with any specific lockout work, dynamic work, or fancy lifts like box squats. box squats and board presses are great, but I think for now its probably better to focus on the main lifts, and train the hell out of them. Just do the basics (Squat, Bench, deadlift, OHP, pullups, dips) with some assistance work added in sparingly. Keep things simple, and you will grow. Remember that the articels at Elitefts are written by guys who are already lifting a shitload of weight, so they need to be very creative and use special exercises to get stronger. I don’t think you have reached that point yet.

For the GHR - if your gym has a 45 degree hyperextension, you can use that. Just set the pad as low as possible (with your knees digging into it), and focus on flexing your hams and glutes on the way up, especially at the top. Look up some vids of ‘ghetto ghr’ on youtube for other ideas.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
Check out:
Westside For Skinny Bastards http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=311west2

Westside For Skinny Viking Bastards (I actually prefer this one)

Also, you might want to do a basic 5x5:
geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm

Whatever you do, I wouldn’t bother with any specific lockout work, dynamic work, or fancy lifts like box squats. box squats and board presses are great, but I think for now its probably better to focus on the main lifts, and train the hell out of them. Just do the basics (Squat, Bench, deadlift, OHP, pullups, dips) with some assistance work added in sparingly. Keep things simple, and you will grow. Remember that the articels at Elitefts are written by guys who are already lifting a shitload of weight, so they need to be very creative and use special exercises to get stronger. I don’t think you have reached that point yet.

For the GHR - if your gym has a 45 degree hyperextension, you can use that. Just set the pad as low as possible (with your knees digging into it), and focus on flexing your hams and glutes on the way up, especially at the top. Look up some vids of ‘ghetto ghr’ on youtube for other ideas.[/quote]

I agree with all of this but the box squat comment. Box squats, done correctly, simply rock.

edit: I had followed a near identical format to the wsfvb, but never knew there was a writeup on it.

[quote]thephantom wrote:
Hello all,

I am currently thinking about getting into doing powerlifting. I have had only about 1 year of legitimate weightlifting experience behind me, but I am eager to get much stronger and larger than I am now.

Brief Stats and History:
4 years High School Swimming
1 year College Rowing (lifting experience mainly from this)
6’3", ~200lbs, ~12-14% BF, almost 19 yrs old
Bench: 195, Squat: 225, Deadlift: 315

I have gained a total of 20 lbs from the time that I stopped swimming (nearly all of it muscle), mainly by doing squats/deads.

This summer I wanted to put my focus on getting as strong as possible by focusing on the main lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Rows, & Pull-ups) while correcting my minor imbalances (shoulders, slightly winged scapulae, and weak knees).

My diet focuses mainly around large quantities of poultry/fish/beef, fruits, veggies, whole grains, eggs, and nuts (right now at about 4000-5000 kcal a day). Unlike the typical college kid, I don’t drink, so that won’t be a problem.

Any advice or handy tips from experienced members would be greatly appreciated.

thephantom[/quote]

Damn, I could have made this thread. Your lifts are all within pounds of mine. Another member suggested Rippetoe’s - I’ll be starting it later this month/early June. We could start it the same time and be motivation and competition for eachother.

Bench 190
Squat 235
Deadlift 300

Down?

westside for viking bastards

A variation of this routine worked very well for me, and will probably work very well for you guys too. Seriously, try it out.

What part of Cali do you live in? I would try to find a group of experienced lifters and train with them.

that westside for skinny viking bastards looks good - thanks der candy. i think it may be my program for the summer.

and BHCS, that sounds like a good idea. we can compare numbers and progress - a little competition never hurt.

matt - i go to school in southern california, but i live in Norcal. i have met some powerlifters at my school, and they seem pretty approachable (they do primarily push/pull meets) as well as pretty strong (the guy i talked to had a 673 deadlift). i haven’t met any serious lifters like that at home though.

How to find a powerlifting gym:

http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/node/4420

[quote]thephantom wrote:
and BHCS, that sounds like a good idea. we can compare numbers and progress - a little competition never hurt.
[/quote]

Damn right. On a side note I’ll be turning 19 in June and have 2 years competitive swimming experience, so we’re pretty much perfectly matched. Minus the part about me being 5’8".
My last finals are on the 21st and I’ll be going back home then, so the next monday seems like a good time to start. How’s the 26th sound to you?

that sounds like a good starting point. that is when crew ends for me (we have our last race that weekend), and I’ll still have a couple more weeks of school left, but I’m down on starting on the 26th.

and 4est, thanks for the link. it turns out there is a powerlifting gym in my area. I will have to check that out when I get home.

[quote]thephantom wrote:
and 4est, thanks for the link. it turns out there is a powerlifting gym in my area. I will have to check that out when I get home. [/quote]

Make sure you do that. Training in a real gym and with like-minded partners will do more for your training than anything else you do.