T Nation

Training Cycle - Advice Sought

…I’m throwing my thoughts on my next training cycle down here for two reasons.

  1. To get it clear in my own head
  2. Hopefully some people might have some suggestions on things I missed

First up is my bench training. It’ll be done on Sunday (top end and shirt work) and Wednesday (raw and chest work)

Sunday
-ME exercise (3-5 reps above 90% -> press w/ bands, bench off rubber mat, floor press, board press)
-Shirt Work (mostly 3x2’s with 190-210kg working on groove and touching)
-3 Board Press (3x3-5 2.5kg jumps per week, starting with 152.5kg 3x5 this week and dropping reps/sets as neccessary)
-Rolling Dumbbell Extenstions 3x12

Wednesday
-Bench(5x5 starting with 110, then 115 and adding 2.5kg per week thereafter. I’ll go to 3x5, 5x3, 3x3 and 1x3 as neccessary)
-Incline Bench (3x10 - I suck at these, good enough reason to do em)
-Dumbbell Bench (3x12 and sink them in deep)
-Chest Supported Rows[/U] or Face Pulls

The explanation:

Workload on Sunday isn’t too high volume wise, but it will be high intensity. I haven’t barbell benched in a long time, so I need to get good with my groove there again with national champs in 8/9 weeks.

Shirted bench is obviously the number one priority here right now. I think I’ve got the basic groove down, but I now I need to get more comfortable with the front of the shirt pulled down.

My top end has been a bit neglected recently, tho it has gotten stronger with DC. So board presses are in. Ddi 150 2x5 this week comfortably, so will persist with 3x5 til I hit 160kg.

I wrote a post the other day on an Irish forum about bench training and how to get it up (ie small consistent jumps and hard work). And i was gobsmacked at how I hadn’t applied it to my own raw bench training. So I’m starting 5x5’s and will progress to 3x5, 5x3, 3x3 and 1x3 as the weeks progress on Wednesdays. I’m doing the IDFPA champs on April 19th equipped and the IPO’s in May raw, so i’ll need a respectable raw bench. Anything under 155kg will be a miserable failure.

I’m hoping all the extra sets will help with my groove too.

Then there’s just a sh!t load of volume for my chest because it’s ridiculously weak still.

Some upper back and that’s the bases covered there I think.

Squat/Deadlift coming later, but first I’ve got to go buy some chain so I can tie more weight onto the cable stacks in the gym (seriously!).

Don’t know if I have advice, but I do have questions.

First, I’m interested in what you are doing through all of this in terms of grip. Is everything standard width, or do you vary it? What grip do you use raw vs shirted vs. off boards est.?

I’m also wondering if you count your deads as upper back work or if you do some upper back volume somewhere in the other workouts or if you kick the crap out of your back in the 1 exercise a week? (sorry for the run on sentence)

Last, I don’t see any shoulder work. Does that go in a non-bench workout or do you just not do any or not list it? I always in include some light delt, rotator cuff work just from an injury prevention standpoint.

Saturday
-Squats
–beltless and wide stance (up to a heavy 5 reps)
–knee wraps (gonna do a couple of heavier reps this week to get some weight on my back)
–Suit and wraps (this will come in in about 2 weeks and the previous 2 will be dropped - 3 sets w/ top weight)
-Pulls against bands (probably something like 3x6 with moderate weight)
-Rack Pulls (2-3 inchs below knees) (2-3 x5 moving up in weight each week)
-Pulldown Abs (pushing for PR’s in the 8-12 rep range)

Tuesday
-Speed pulls (8x2 with about 55-65% of my goal for the comp)
-Front Squats (3x5 - moderate, but still pushing)
-GM’s (3x8 - started this week and will move up 5kg per week)
-Kroc Rows (20-30 rep range, started with 42.5kg 'bells this week and will move up each week til I get to 50 and then go for max reps from there probably)
-Shrugs (max set of 12 double over hand and strapless, then straps on and 3x8-12)
Pulldown Abs (pushing for PR on weights for 2x12)

K… so theory behind it.

I obviously need to get some weight on my back for the squats with the comp coming up. I’ve had good success doing sets of 5 wide stance and beltless before as part of my work up, and the equipped work needs to come in now. Traditionally with the suit on and straps down I work with weights 40-50kg above my best wrapped 5 for sets of 3-5. So all things being equal, and considering my core should be strong enough to handle it, that means 260-270kg, which is a bit of a jump from the weights I have been working with.

The pulls against bands are there to get my deadlift moving up hopefully. My training partner swears by them and speed pulls, and he’s pulled 3.5x bw so is worth listening to!

Rack Pulls have to be done on Saturday as I have no where to do em during the week. I don’t intend on pushing these to the max initially, just gradually building volume and strength to about 2-3 weeks out when I hopefully hit some PR’s.

Core work is the key to a big suited squat in my opinion, so that continues to be pushed.

Speed Pulls on Tuesday are obviously there too improve my speed. I’ve pushed deadlifting hard for the last 3 months ending up with a PR of about 17.5kg on my 5rm. I’m feeling a bit beat from it now so hopefully with a bit of a back down and build up again I’ll get close to 240x5.

Front squats to get some more squat volume in and cos i’m convinced they help with my deadlift.

GM’s cos any time I do them my DL goes up and I haven’t done them in a while!! I’ve gone as high as 120kg 2x8 on them before, so I guess the goal this time should be to hit 130-140kg x8.

Kroc Rows and Shrugs are there primarily for upper back and grip. I can’t really train too well strapless in TF cos the bars are too slick, and any time I do the two mentioned exercises my grip gets stronger. My grip can never be too strong anyway, so they won’t hurt!

Again, thoughts appreciated!

Of course the other option is to run Coan-Phillipi for my deadlift…

Personally I cant give any advice or comments on your geared lifting beings as do not know the first thing with adequately utilizing them. Overall your workout does seem really REALLY complicated at first but when I broke it down I realized your just using logic. You seem to know exactly what works for you and your body and thats key.

With your DL your doing kinda low rack pulls with speedwork and pulls against bands. Is that cause you stall out on the top of your lfit? Also how you explain adding increments of weight each week, do yo have it set to peak for the comp on the 19th?

[quote]Pipes06 wrote:
Personally I cant give any advice or comments on your geared lifting beings as do not know the first thing with adequately utilizing them. Overall your workout does seem really REALLY complicated at first but when I broke it down I realized your just using logic. You seem to know exactly what works for you and your body and thats key.[/quote]

Haha it’s like that great Bruce Lee quote;

“Before I learned martial arts, a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. When I studied martial arts, a punch was no longer just a punch and a kick was no longer just a kick. Now I understand martial arts, and a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick”

With the DLs they generally get to just below my knees. I’m not a fan of working AT the sticking point, I like to work below (theory being you only get stuck at the point cos you were weak right below it). The banded pulls let me work off the floor and get some top end work too.

I’ve pushed my DL’s hard for the last 3 months, so right now there’s not a lot more to take from the floor, so I’ve just go to settle back and buiild everything else up for 6 weeks before pulling heavy for a coupl eof weeks before the comp.

I’ll take the weight additions as I can. For my raw bench there’s 12 or 13 weeks left until I have to test that, so like 5kg for two weeks and 2.5kg for 10 = +25-35kg over that period. Starting low (110kg) and building up should let me hit about 145kg x3 all going to plan (previous best = 140 x2).

The shirted bench weights are taken as they come. The main focus is touching the lightest weight possible with the shirt as jacked as possible. Keep in mind that could be 95-100% tho!

For most everything else I’m just gonna build up slowly and steady. 2.5-5kg potentially leaves me +40kg on everything, tho realistically that won’t happen.

Current GM best is 120 2x8 and rack pulls is 240 x5, so I should build up to arund 135-140 and 255-260 respectively if all goes to plan.

My squat peak is a bit more complciated. It’s based off training I’ve done before. So a 5rm in wraps = 66-68%, which is approx 320-330kg. I won’t know if I’ll get close to that until I get into my squat suit in a week or two.

But my training cycle will be based off percentages 317-325kg. Those percentages are based off the numbers I did in previous training cycles and the maxes they lead to. So it’s all quite individualised, and hopefully if past performance is a reliable future indicator, free from guess work and accurate!!

Do you do your board presses in your shirt? I’m suspecting no based on the weights listed and wondering why not?

Also what gear are you using for this meet?

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Do you do your board presses in your shirt? I’m suspecting no based on the weights listed and wondering why not?

Also what gear are you using for this meet?[/quote]

I don’t, mainly because I want to prevent myself doing TOO much. Trying to max every week on board presses in a shirt, on top of shirted work and ME work is something I see as a disaster waiting to happen!

The board presses are loaded more volume wise than intensity wise if that makes sense? Like I’m gonna build thme up progressively over the next 6 weeks or so rather than just maxing every week.

I’m gonna wear a 42 Titan Centurion NXG super+ squat suit, APT Convict knee wraps and a 44 Katana A/S.

From the little I have seen, too many guys just focus on top end shirt work. Yet it seems like at meets, people always have a hard time touching.

I think shirt work has to be done to the chest, or at least the majority of it. You have been training sheiko for a while, right? When was the last time you did a westside templete?

Monopoly

[quote]Monopoly19 wrote:
From the little I have seen, too many guys just focus on top end shirt work. Yet it seems like at meets, people always have a hard time touching.

I think shirt work has to be done to the chest, or at least the majority of it. You have been training sheiko for a while, right? When was the last time you did a westside templete?

Monopoly[/quote]

I haven’t gone near Sheiko since the summer of 2007!! Most of my training recently has been Doggcrapp style, and prior to that it has been westside orientated!

Yah Hanley. I’m going to give you advice. I know, I’ll call Steven Hawken and give him advice on physics. Hell man, you know more about PL than 99% of the people on this site.

The best I can do is copy your training load minus some weight.

Compare your upper body pushing volume to your upper body pulling volume.

Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups, and Chest Supported Rows have helped my bench tremendously.

They will also help with your grip.

Forgive me if I didn’t read this through meticulously, a few things:

  • You’re 8 weeks out now, rounded down. Personally I would be doing a 3 week macro, followed by a 5 week peaking macrocycle, is your plan similar?

  • Have you ever considered deadlifts with chain rather then bands? Several of my training partners have used them effectively for top end work.

  • Kroc rows. How does your version differ from a regular one-arm DB row?

  • 42 Centurion…must be a tight fit.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I don’t, mainly because I want to prevent myself doing TOO much. Trying to max every week on board presses in a shirt, on top of shirted work and ME work is something I see as a disaster waiting to happen!

The board presses are loaded more volume wise than intensity wise if that makes sense? Like I’m gonna build thme up progressively over the next 6 weeks or so rather than just maxing every week.

I’m gonna wear a 42 Titan Centurion NXG super+ squat suit, APT Convict knee wraps and a 44 Katana A/S.[/quote]

Have you ever touched in this Katana before? I’m thinking that you are going to have a very hard time touching 190-210kg with a shirt that tight (I’m assuming that at your weight a 44 is REALLY tight). But then you have more experience in it than me so you know what you can do.

I only asked about the boards because shirted board work is pretty much all I do to train my bench for a meet. I touch once just to make sure I can get my opener down. Otherwise it’s all board stuff, but not always maxing out.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Monopoly19 wrote:
From the little I have seen, too many guys just focus on top end shirt work. Yet it seems like at meets, people always have a hard time touching.

I think shirt work has to be done to the chest, or at least the majority of it. You have been training sheiko for a while, right? When was the last time you did a westside templete?

Monopoly

I haven’t gone near Sheiko since the summer of 2007!! Most of my training recently has been Doggcrapp style, and prior to that it has been westside orientated![/quote]

Sorry Hanley. Maybe just go back to westside for 8 weeks? All the speed work helped me a bunch, as well as benching twice per week.

[quote]hoosegow wrote:
Yah Hanley. I’m going to give you advice. I know, I’ll call Steven Hawken and give him advice on physics. Hell man, you know more about PL than 99% of the people on this site.

The best I can do is copy your training load minus some weight.[/quote]

Haha I wouldn’t go that far. I’m just a guy trying to lift more weight.

[quote]tcsimon wrote:
Compare your upper body pushing volume to your upper body pulling volume.

Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups, and Chest Supported Rows have helped my bench tremendously.

They will also help with your grip.
[/quote]

I guess it’s hard for others to give me advice without knowing my training history, so allow me to clarify.

Ever since I first started training for powerlifting I’ve subscribed to the lats/upper back for the bench mantra. As a result I’ve a really strong back, good triceps and no chest/shoulder strength.

Like at 110kg I’ve done 15 chins (with my palms facing like), pendlay rowed 120kg x12 too.

The net result is really big carryover from a bench shirt (in the region of 60-80kg) but a sh!t raw bench.

I seriously have NO chest strength. Never had. And pretty much the ONLY thing I haven’t done tried is high volume chest work believe it or not!! Hence the reason for that being there…

Does that make sense?

[quote]Power GnP wrote:
Forgive me if I didn’t read this through meticulously, a few things:

  • You’re 8 weeks out now, rounded down. Personally I would be doing a 3 week macro, followed by a 5 week peaking macrocycle, is your plan similar?
    [/quote]

What in the what now?? :slight_smile:

I’m gonna work my raw squat for another 3 weeks or so hard, add in gear next week after it progressively build it up from around 80% to 92% (so yeah, peaking!!)

[quote]- Have you ever considered deadlifts with chain rather then bands? Several of my training partners have used them effectively for top end work.
[/quote]

Nope!! Don’t have enough chain t do it with. I’ve never used bands for my conventional pull anyway so hopefully I’ll get some good out of them for the 4-5 weeks I use em for. Again the weight will be built up over that time.

More reps basically!!

It is! I haven’t got into my tight one yet.

I have 2 42’s. One’s seen 3 comps and a lot of training cycles, the other’s seen 2 comps at < 99kg and 2 training cycles. So when I do squeeze in, there should be some nice carryover!

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

Have you ever touched in this Katana before? I’m thinking that you are going to have a very hard time touching 190-210kg with a shirt that tight (I’m assuming that at your weight a 44 is REALLY tight). But then you have more experience in it than me so you know what you can do.[/quote]

I’ve touched 175kg in that shirt at 100kg believe it or not. Now at 110kg, it takes at least 200. Maybe with a bit more work and the collar around my ears i’ll touch 190-195.

But yes, it’s very tight. Tho it is super comfortable to wear. I love that shirt for it!

That’s fair enough dude… all roads lead to Rome and all that! it’s something I’ve never even considerd, but will in all likelihood do down the road!

what sort of increase have you seen in your shirted bench over the course of say 6, 12 and 18 months doing it?

[quote]Hanley wrote:
I’ve touched 175kg in that shirt at 100kg believe it or not. Now at 110kg, it takes at least 200. Maybe with a bit more work and the collar around my ears i’ll touch 190-195.

But yes, it’s very tight. Tho it is super comfortable to wear. I love that shirt for it![/quote]

Wow, that’s awesome. Do you do anything special with it? Everyone at my gym has a bitch of a time with Katanas unless they’re 3 sizes too big. Ryan can’t even figure it out and he’s benched 639 single ply at 220.

Tough to say at the moment because like I said I don’t do much full range stuff in the shirt, and I haven’t been powerlifting competitively nearly as long as you (just lots and lots of training). At my meet in August I hit 451 pretty easy after a long layoff due to injury, but that was a bench only meet and I probably could have done 460. Before that meet I hit 495 for a single on a 4 board.

This go round I hit 565 on 4 boards yesterday but probably had a 585 in me. I’m also doing my board presses with a narrower grip now, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison. So I’m thinking I’ll be good for a 520-535 press at the next meet (2/28), but it’s a full meet this time (my first one of those) so we’ll see how it shakes out.