Noob Powerlifting 101

September 30, 2017

Noob Powerlifting 101

So, you’re pretty new to powerlifting, and pretty new to lifting in general? Ha. Noob.

Just kidding. You’re in luck, because this is, without a doubt, the easiest time for you to make INSANE progress on your big 3. When you’re new to lifting, and especially training very specifically, the stimulus is so new to your body, the supercompensation effect (Fancy word for stimulating nervous system/muscles, recovering, and then being better the next time you train) produces some massive results.

So, what’s the issue? You’re going to get sooooo strong and soooo juicy (jacked). You’re destined to be the best lifter of all time.

Well, if you do things wrong, it’ll bite you in the ass down the road. You see, as a beginner, you can make progress practically day to day. But here’s why: the weights you are lifting are heavy enough to create enough stimulus to drive progression - but they’re not heavy enough to cause any real, serious damage to your nervous system/muscular system. Squatting 225 for 3 sets of 5 reps may be enough to get you up to 230 in 2-3 days, but once those weights start to climb up, it’s going to cause more damage each time, and recovery will be longer each time.


Now… Another problem arises; you’re a noob. You have an idea of what you’re doing - but don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Maybe your feet aren’t as connected to the floor as they should be. Maybe your heels are coming off the ground when you squat. Maybe your core isn’t braced on deadlifts. Maybe your elbows are flaring too much on bench. Maybe my dad left because I was an annoying baby. Who knows, right?

My point is this: without any guidance, you can frick yourself up. But it probably won’t happen right away. You have faulty movement patterns, and 225 doesn’t damage your back on deadlifts, and you’re making progress, so who cares? You will when 225 turns to 405 and suddenly your lower back starts to bother you. Do your research on technique, be a perfectionist, and don’t chase weight just because you can sit down and stand up with it. Longevity is the key, and 20lbs off your squat today to work on form will better suit you 1 year from now, when your technique is crisp, and you’re an efficient machine.

So, now you want to do a competition?

Getting confident, huh? I like it.

Remember, you make progress literally session to session. So, why change everything up so drastically towards your meet? My biggest piece advice to a noob: Don’t mimic the big guys and what they do. Their progress is slow, and it takes a lot to progress. They need to periodize their training so precisely to ensure they’re ready for meet day. You don’t. Trust me. Instead, as you get toward the meet (4-6 weeks out), maybe you start taking some heavier top sets before your normal volume work. Those top sets will help get you used to those big weights, and help decide what your attempts should (roughly) be.

One of my clients, who’s name is Garrett, is a perfect example of this. Garrett had only been seriously lifting for a few months. We kept his exercise selection fairly low, doing mostly tempo, paused, and competition based exercises, and had him work mainly in the 4-6 rep range for around 12 weeks. The last 4 weeks, I added in some moderately heavy sets of 1-3 reps, and had him do his back off work as normal. I dropped his volume (aka amount of sets he was doing) around 1 week out, and I had him squat, bench, and deadlift some very light singles 2 days out from his competition.

Garrett ended up hitting some pretty substantial PRs, biggest one being his deadlift. His best pull prior to competition was a 325 that frankly, would’ve gotten 3 red lights in competition. Garrett ended up pulling 336 on his 3rd attempt, with an accidentally unlatched belt, with about 30lbs left in the tank. He then proceeded to go to the warm up room, and pull 365 about 3 minutes later.

Keep it simple, treat every session like you’re practicing your craft, and be very analytical (or have someone else do it for you).

 




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