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Old 08-29-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
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Default Doing It All Wrong - My First Powerlifting Meet

The following was my approach for my first powerlifting meet. I am not trying to stir up arguments, or claim that my random non-planning is better than anything else any of you are doing. I'm not an idiot, nor would I insult you. I wanted to write this to stress the value of 2 principles:

1) Listening to your body.
2) Hard work.

DOING IT ALL WRONG

It preparation for my first powerlifting meet I did everything wrong and succeeded wildly. Let me tell you about my “mistakes”.

I ate for crap.

Literally, I ate a lot of crap. I would spend the day drinking nothing but coffee and whey protein and wouldn’t eat solid food until after 5pm. My nights were usually one whole food meal with a lot of beef and cheese and butter.

After dinner I ate like a slob, including a lot of junk food. Cheetos. Snack cakes. Ice cream. Cheez Its. Pop Tarts. Many nights I would stay up until midnight gorging on whatever unclean foods I had near.

I slept for crap.

Sleep was hit and miss. I work 60-70 hours a week. Many nights I slept only 6 hours, most nights 7 hours. Some nights 8, and rarely 9. Undereating during the day helps me feel awake, so I rarely felt tired and sluggish.

I did sit on my butt a lot during the weekends, but I also stayed up much later as well. Sleep was usually poor on the weekends.

I didn’t have defined training days.

For the last year I trained on the days I felt like training, and sat on my ass during the days I felt like sitting on my ass.

There were no squat days or deadlift days or bench days. There were no rep schemes, set structures or periodization. I listened to my body and did what I could do, when I felt like I could do it.

I used wrist straps while deadlifting.

For 18 straight months I performed deadlifts using Versa Gripps. During this time my 1RM moved up nearly 100 pounds. The result...I ripped 622.75 off the ground with no grip issues whatsoever.

I didn’t work my weak areas.

Yes, blasphemy, I know. I rarely did any hamstring work. In fact, I rarely did anything other than the big lifts, a few other random compounds and some weighted situps.

I avoided typical speed work.

Instead of speed work, I decided to use Olympic lift variations such as high pulls, power cleans, and power snatches. Might as well add power shrugs to this mix since they are cheating.

I spent 6 months training high rep.

Low reps build strength right? I spent a huge portion of this last year working 20 rep deadlifts. I really didn’t start to work with heavy deadlifts until 4-6 weeks prior to the meet. Then it was PR-a-palooza.

Squats…pretty much the same thing. In fact, I rarely did much work over 75% this past year. Despite this, I set a 505 box squat PR 2 weeks out from the meet and it felt insanely light.

No bands or chains.

I train in my basement by myself. I don’t have bands or chains. Nothing against them. I just don’t have them.

SO WHAT?

So what’s my point? To prove that I’m some sort of self-absorbed narcissistic rebel who wants to go against the grain and shout screw you? No, not at all.

I’m a recreational lifter. I train for pleasure. I have nothing to prove. I’ve been lifting for 25 years and I’ve seen more OCD behavior than you can imagine. I simply have no taste for it. It’s not fun for me.

My point is this…hard work pays off. Listening to your body pays off. This has been the most productive, injury free year of training in my life. And I did it without a plan or structure.

Don’t underestimate these 2 factors. All the planning and OCD behavior in the world won’t matter if you do these 2 things wrong.

Perhaps I may have done better if everything on this list been perfect and by the book. Perhaps. I don't really care though. My deadlift max went up 57 pounds in the last 6 months and my squats jumped up as well.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
The following was my approach for my first powerlifting meet. I am not trying to stir up arguments, or claim that my random non-planning is better than anything else any of you are doing. I'm not an idiot, nor would I insult you. I wanted to write this to stress the value of 2 principles:

1) Listening to your body.
2) Hard work.

DOING IT ALL WRONG

It preparation for my first powerlifting meet I did everything wrong and succeeded wildly. Let me tell you about my “mistakes”.

I ate for crap.

Literally, I ate a lot of crap. I would spend the day drinking nothing but coffee and whey protein and wouldn’t eat solid food until after 5pm. My nights were usually one whole food meal with a lot of beef and cheese and butter.

After dinner I ate like a slob, including a lot of junk food. Cheetos. Snack cakes. Ice cream. Cheez Its. Pop Tarts. Many nights I would stay up until midnight gorging on whatever unclean foods I had near.

I slept for crap.

Sleep was hit and miss. I work 60-70 hours a week. Many nights I slept only 6 hours, most nights 7 hours. Some nights 8, and rarely 9. Undereating during the day helps me feel awake, so I rarely felt tired and sluggish.

I did sit on my butt a lot during the weekends, but I also stayed up much later as well. Sleep was usually poor on the weekends.

I didn’t have defined training days.

For the last year I trained on the days I felt like training, and sat on my ass during the days I felt like sitting on my ass.

There were no squat days or deadlift days or bench days. There were no rep schemes, set structures or periodization. I listened to my body and did what I could do, when I felt like I could do it.

I used wrist straps while deadlifting.

For 18 straight months I performed deadlifts using Versa Gripps. During this time my 1RM moved up nearly 100 pounds. The result...I ripped 622.75 off the ground with no grip issues whatsoever.

I didn’t work my weak areas.

Yes, blasphemy, I know. I rarely did any hamstring work. In fact, I rarely did anything other than the big lifts, a few other random compounds and some weighted situps.

I avoided typical speed work.

Instead of speed work, I decided to use Olympic lift variations such as high pulls, power cleans, and power snatches. Might as well add power shrugs to this mix since they are cheating.

I spent 6 months training high rep.

Low reps build strength right? I spent a huge portion of this last year working 20 rep deadlifts. I really didn’t start to work with heavy deadlifts until 4-6 weeks prior to the meet. Then it was PR-a-palooza.

Squats…pretty much the same thing. In fact, I rarely did much work over 75% this past year. Despite this, I set a 505 box squat PR 2 weeks out from the meet and it felt insanely light.

No bands or chains.

I train in my basement by myself. I don’t have bands or chains. Nothing against them. I just don’t have them.

SO WHAT?

So what’s my point? To prove that I’m some sort of self-absorbed narcissistic rebel who wants to go against the grain and shout screw you? No, not at all.

I’m a recreational lifter. I train for pleasure. I have nothing to prove. I’ve been lifting for 25 years and I’ve seen more OCD behavior than you can imagine. I simply have no taste for it. It’s not fun for me.

My point is this…hard work pays off. Listening to your body pays off. This has been the most productive, injury free year of training in my life. And I did it without a plan or structure.

Don’t underestimate these 2 factors. All the planning and OCD behavior in the world won’t matter if you do these 2 things wrong.

Perhaps I may have done better if everything on this list been perfect and by the book. Perhaps. I don't really care though. My deadlift max went up 57 pounds in the last 6 months and my squats jumped up as well.
Regarding eating for crap, you're giving me an excuse to eat chocolate muffins and cheese Doritos.
In all seriousness, in terms of sleep, everyone is different. If I get 6 hours uninterrupted sleep (key word is uninterrupted), I am absolutely flying for the day. My ex-flatmate needs at least 8 or he is sluggish all day. 8 hours sleep actually makes me a bit sluggish which is odd!
The fact you have gained 57 pounds on your DL after training all these years is inspirational. I had this daft idea that 29 was too late to get moving. Maybe it's just the right time.

You rebel you
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:55 PM   #3
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Train so you love to train is my philosophy, \congrats on your success.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kuytrider View Post
The fact you have gained 57 pounds on your DL after training all these years is inspirational. I had this daft idea that 29 was too late to get moving. Maybe it's just the right time.

You rebel you
Not at all. You're just getting into your peak strength years if you ask me.

Regarding the food...it's not so much the junk as the quantity. Obviously it's not the healthiest way to live day in and out. I strayed from Paleo to gain weight for the meet. But the strength gains were incredible.

Did I gain too much weight? Yes. Can I lose it? Yes. Would I have been able to boost my PR by that much without all the food? No.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:01 PM   #5
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Hahaha...sounds very much the same as my own training.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:24 PM   #6
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I had this daft idea that 29 was too late to get moving. Maybe it's just the right time.
I am stronger at 29 than I ever was at 19. I plan to have an elite total when I am 39. With knowledge and experience, I get better every year.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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Somewhere around the age of 30 I started to get real strong for no reason what so ever. It was like I woke up one day and transformed from boy to man.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:26 PM   #8
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Good read Steve. Some make a bit too much out of the food issue.

Here is an interesting article on clean vs dirty eating.

The Dirt on Clean Eating | Wannabebig
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:28 PM   #9
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Good read Steve. Some make a bit too much out of the food issue.

Here is an interesting article on clean vs dirty eating.

The Dirt on Clean Eating | Wannabebig
Thanks Bam. Giving it a read right now.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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That's a good post Steve. I think I've made it pretty clear how I feel about weak point training and higher reps.

As is typical in most endeavours people can lose the overall priorities (and their minds) by focusing in on details.

However to play Devil's Advocate and this is mainly aimed at your diet and sleep points, getting to truly elite levels of strength requires a certain level of specialisation. An elite level lifter would answer by saying his dedication is another person's obsession.
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