Crunch time! This was my last week of training, and the focus was on hitting my commands and picking out my attempts.

 

Practicing your commands is huge. How would you like to hit a personal record on a squat with proper depth, only to find out you racked the weight before hearing your command? Red lights! The load and technique are the hardest part of the lift, so be sure to follow the easy commands to ensure you get three bright and sparkly white lights (from the three referees, although I like to imagine they are from the lifting gods).

 

 

Squat

Breaking Muscle Shop

We’ll start with the squat. Your name gets called and you have a minute to unrack the weight and show you have complete control of it with your legs locked. The set up is important. My lats are tight and pulled back, I’m squeezing the bar with all my might, and I’m pulling the bar down into the ground. The referee will say, “Start,” which is your cue to squat to proper depth (hip crease below highest point of the knee) and explode up. Don't move! Lock the legs once more and wait for the referee to say, “Rack,” before racking the weights. Then it’s time to look for the lights.

 

Bench Press

After some resting, relaxing, and eating, it’s time for the bench press. Slap yourself around a bit, do whatever it takes to psych yourself up, just be ready. Your name will get called again and it’s time to set up. Get super tight, squeeze the lats and the bar (sound familiar?), and lift the bar off the rack – or get a hand off. I like getting a hand off because it conserves energy. Might as well make the lift as easy as possible. 

 

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You’ll then hear the “Start” command. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest, or wherever you prefer pressing from – I prefer going to the top of the abs. From there, you will have to show the referees that you have brought the bar to a complete stop. The bar has to lie motionless on you. The more control you have bringing the bar down, the faster and easier it is to reach this point.

 

"If you have a weak lockout, this may be a problem. That’s why you have to train the whole movement."

You’ll then get the “Press” command, and you press the bar. Crazy, right? Don't move! Wait for the “Rack” command, and finish the lift strong. If you have a weak lockout, this may be a problem. That’s why you have to train the whole movement. White lights?

 

Deadlift

More resting, relaxing, and eating. Except this time around, I take a ton of preworkouts and get real amped up. A lot of people say the meet doesn’t even start until the bar hits the floor. Might as well be jacked up on stimulants, right? As far as following your commands, the deadlift is a piece of cake. Easy-peasy lemon for-sheezie. Bathe in chalk and get ready for your name to be called.

 

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Once you hear your name, walk up to the bar and get tight. Squeeze the glutes and squeeze the lats - all the cool kids are doing it. Then, grab the bar and rip it off the ground as fast as humanly possible. Form is important, but essentially you're just bringing the bar from the ground to your crotch. Once you lockout, the referee will say, “Down.” Lather, rinse, and repeat three times and you’re all done for the day!

 

Choosing My Attempts

Those are the commands in a nutshell. This week I practiced these commands time and time again. They have forever been engraved in my memory, and I will never fail a lift by ignoring a command.

 

Then it was time to pick my first two attempts. I always go super light on my openers, as the only purpose they serve is to calm my nerves and hone my technique. Below are my first two attempts and I‘ll leave the third attempts up to my imagination. I tend to go balls to the walls on my third attempt, and they are all a matter of feel on meet day.

 

Squat

  • 1st attempt: 281 lbs
  • 2nd attempt: 314 lbs

 

Bench

  • 1st attempt: 203 lbs
  • 2nd attempt: 225 lbs

 

Deadlift

  • 1st attempt: 314 lbs
  • 2nd attempt: 369 lbs

 

Those are my attempts. Meat and taters time:

 

Monday

Squat - Heavy

Bar x 10 (2 sets)

135 x 5

185 x 3

265x 3 (5 working sets @ 5 lb increase)

285 x 1 (training max for the day)

 

Bench - Maintenance

95 x 5

135 x 5

175 x 2 (5 working sets @ 80%)

205 x 1

215 x 1 (training max for the day)

 

Deadlifts – Technique/Speed

135 x 5 (2 warm-up sets)

265 x 1 (6 working sets @ 75%)

 

Tuesday

Bench

95 x 5

135 x 5

195 x 3 (3 working sets @ 85%)

205 x 1 (training max for the day)

 

Squat (2 second pause in the hole)

Bar x 10 (2 sets)

135 x 5 (2 sets)

185 x 5 (3 working sets @ 65%)

 

Dumbbell Row

40 x 5

65 x 5

85 x 2 (2 sets)

105 x 5 (5 working sets)

 

Wednesday

Yoga

 

Thursday

Squat - Training

Bar x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 2

245 x 2

275 x 1

285 x 1

295 x 1

305 x 1 (training max for the day)

225 x 2 (4 back off sets)

 

Bench - Training

95 x 5

135 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 3

195 x 2

205 x 2

210 x 1

215 x 1 (training max for the day)

185 x 2 (4 back off sets)

 

Abs

Hanging Leg Raise x 10 (5 sets)

Planks (15 second holds)

 

Friday

Squat - Training

Bar x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 2

245 x 2

275 x 1

285 x 1

295 x 1

305 x 1

310 x 1 (training max for the day)

225 x 2 (4 back off sets)

 

Bench - Training

95 x 5

135 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 3

195 x 2

205 x 2

210 x 1

215 x 1

220 x 1 (training max for the day)

185 x 2 (4 back off sets)

 

Saturday

Squat – Training up to opener

Bar x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 2

245 x 2

275 x 1

285 x 1 (3 sets)

225 x 2 (3 back off sets)

 

Bench to opener

95 x 5

135 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 3

195 x 2

205 x 1 (3 sets)

185 x 2 (3 back off sets)

 

Deadlift to opener

135 x 5 (2 warm-up sets)

225 x 3 (2 sets)

275 x 2

315 x 1 (3 working sets)

 

Sunday

Squat – Training up to opener

Bar x 5

135 x 5

185 x 5

225 x 2

245 x 2

275 x 1

285 x 1 (3 sets)

225 x 3 (3 back off sets)

 

Bench to opener

95 x 5

135 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 3

195 x 2

205 x 1 (3 sets)

185 x 2 (3 back off sets)

 

Deadlift to opener

135 x 5 (2 warm-up sets)

225 x 3 (2 sets)

275 x 2

315 x 1 (3 working sets)

 

So I basically trained a lot this week. My week was structured differently, as I wanted to focus on my openers and form rather than hitting a training max every day. I worked up to my openers on Saturday and Sunday, and they felt great. I’m ready for this. Stay active!

 

Ryan Seaver is a novice powerlifter who found his love for the sport after six years of going to the gym religiously. Follow Ryan's journals to learn how to get started as a competitive lifter.

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