|Relaxing before the 12 week prep...|
I mentioned briefly at the end of the Road to the Mr Philly entry that I would be competing in a powerlifting show for the first time in my life. I figured this would be a newchallenge for me as I was attempting to go from a ripped contest condition (and the very draining prep) into a strong powerlifting condition in just 12 weeks. Would I be able to PR?
It did not start well. During the pre-contest I suffered a hamstring tendon injury, specifically known biceps femois tendinopathy. This injury came from overuse and extremely low bodyfat. During prep for the show, the goal is to retain muscle and lose bodyfat. Lifting heavy will keep your hard earned muscle through the prep. BUT with the bodyfat dropping so low, the joints and tendons get exposed like Mill Vinilli singing live. This injury nagged me during the entire powerlifting prep. Ice became my best friend. It originated behind the knee, but it was so painful at times that it spread to the side of the knee! I was able to squat and deadlift without issue, but assistance moves such as glute-ham raise were out of the question. Injuries are part of the game, so I had train around it without aggravating it. You should have seen me limping on the cruise!
One goal during contest prep is to retain strength as this will help you retain muscle while on a caloric deficit. And even if you do everything right, your strength will FADE some as the calories are lower. By the time the pre contest was over, I could barely pull 385 (Pathetic). I was spent. This turned the prep into more than just getting stronger. I needed to gain back the strength I lost during pre contest, get stronger than I was, and recover all within 12 weeks! The hill was getting steeper. But I approach challenges how a lion approaches it prey...with ferocity and stern intent
|Chase your challenges down with ferocity. If not you don't succeed and or eat.|
The prep for the show started May 14 after a beautiful Bahama vacation (a much needed 12 days away from the iron, Thank God). I decided I would be competing in 181lb weight class. I was 162 at Mr. Philly, so setting a high weight gain goal would be a challenge also. But getting to that higher weight would help me fill out my frame and add more upper body strength. Nutrition wise this would require a high carb/high protein/moderate fat diet at about 3300-3600 calories daily. The training protocol I used for the prep was Jim Wendler's 5/3/1. Now I am no accomplished or seasoned powerlifter, but I am a former sprinter. Therefore knowing how to peak was not uncommon for me. For the first 6 weeks I focused on the main movements and had moderate assistance work. For the final 6 weeks I focused on the main movement with less volume and limited assistance work. No one wants to show up to a meet feeling spent and flaccid.
Final max effort deadlift day before the KSG...
As you see in the above video, I pulled 405x6 at a bodyweight of about 175-177. This was a PR! I am looking to pull 405 for 8-12 reps by 2013. This was the final true max effort day before the meet. I still had days where I worked up to a heavy, fast single (425) but the goal was to keep the CNS as fresh as possible. Max effort/high rep deadlifts are the fastest way to burn out the CNS into oblivion, so I backed off volume for the final 4 weeks for obvious reasons.
The meet was a push/pull meet, meaning there would only be bench press and deadlift. For the bench press I followed a similar plan, focusing on benching with the true pause that the powerlifting show requires. I tyipcally bench in a controllled, non chest bounce fashion, but the PL bench has a 1-2 second pause. GAME CHANGER! Below are the 2 final lifts at the Keystone Games...would I get the PR's or would I fold under the pressure?
Bench Press attempt at 255lbs:
Time to press...
Deadlift attempt at 455lbs:
Going for the big gusto...
So what were the end results? I won my weight class. I set personal records in both movements. I felt I could have performed better had I been able to stomach breakfast (bad nerves at all big athletic events). I arrived about 6lb under the weight limit, but with frequent trips to my office (aka stall) I feel I pulled at about 173-174. The powerlifting prep/meet was fun and I look forward to doing it again next year. There will be 3 max out attempts in full squat/bench/deadlift in December right before the bodybuilding prep begins, so stay tuned for those results.