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Programming for your Powerlifting goals



Jun 17, 2013
This is good stuff, appreciate the opinions/arguments. I pretty much was hoping a discussion like this would emerge.

Maybe a good distinction to make for people who consider themselves competitive powerlifters is there are three states of training: an off-season, an in-season, and peaking.
  • The off-season is where one could spend time on learning new exercises, alternating competition lifts with other lift variations (SLDLs, RDLs, Floor Pressing) for a training cycle, bodybuilding/hypertrophy style lifting, and other high-rep programs.
  • The in-season is where one would want to focus their training on the competition lifts and follow a periodization/RPE protocol that allows for sufficient volume and weight that is optimal for big PRs on the platform.
  • The peaking/meet preparation period seems to have an established paradigm of winnowing volume, but as PoB pointed out - may not hold for all powerlifters (I don't think it necessarily does for me).
And so instead of wondering if elements of a person's programming is optimal for a competitive lifter, maybe a better thing to wonder is whether his or her program is more of an off-season training program versus an in-season one?
porky little keg

porky little keg

May 21, 2011
There are different stages of powerlifting competition...... when you first start training you need a lot more general strength. After a year or two it should just be work on the main movements and accessory work focussed on the weak points...... at the 5+ year mark of competition seems to be right before most lifters see their first bigger injuries and that;s the point when you really need to focus on bulletproofing everything. I neglected that for a decade and never did more than a single for main movements. Accessory work was low reps too.... now, I have more power than I can always put to the bar without getting hurt so a large part of training has shifted to injury recovery and prevention. Main movements are still heavy singles and doubles, but I've had to add a lot more accessory work in the 20-30 rep range to build up all the little weaknesses and tweaks. Credit where credit is due, I learned this from Matt Minuth who clearly knows a lot about staying on top of the game for years.
Jared macneill

Jared macneill

Nov 9, 2019
Yeah, I tried to make the distinction that anyone who does one set of 10 reps regularly is doing something that will make him or her stronger, but it's not going to help his or her competition lift more than just doing more sets with fewer reps.

And non-competing gym rat who does 10 sets of singles as working sets is doing something that may get him or her stront, but as compared to doing sets with multiple reps, but it would have an advantage to a competitor for potentially several purposes (technique work, emphasis on particular part of the pull, etc.).

Yeah, that's one of the differences I mentioned. I'm trying to convince a PL gym rat that I know to compete, but I get the feeling he won't enjoy the taper part at all. Sometimes it takes experiencing a meet as a competitor first, before you learn to prepare for a meet as a competitor.

I do three sets of 15 . Unless maxing out its 10 light / 5 med/1 /1 and so on till I hit my limit

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