Welcome Breaking Muscle readers! My name is Ryan Seaver, and I am here to share my training as a novice powerlifter. To start off, I'll tell you a bit about myself and how I found powerlifting.

 

My fitness journey has been a long one. It started in high school when I learned at the doctor’s office that I had reached 238lbs (At 5’8" - sheesh!). I never exercised, ate poorly, and was overweight. It was time to fix that. 

 

I quickly improved my poor diet and started lifting weights religiously. Not every Sunday - every day. I loved everything associated with resistance training. Beyond the weight loss, there was the added confidence, the gains, the highs, and the blood, sweat, and tears. Needless to say, I was bit by the exercise bug.

 

Over the next year I lost 98lbs, but I was the dreaded skinny fat, and I was always physically and mentally tired. That’s when powerlifting came into my life. I had always loved lifting heavy weights, but never had a goal to work towards, so I decided it was time to compete. I had to re-teach myself the Big Three (squat, bench, and deadlift) as form is everything in competition. That means I had to check my ego at the door and greatly decrease my loads in order to achieve proper form (easier said than done). I put on a healthy twenty pounds and decided to put my lifts to the test. 

 

 

My First Meet

My first competition sparked a fire inside of me I never knew existed. The high I got from competing was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Seeing the absurd amount of weights my peers were lifting opened my eyes, and that’s when I realized I had so much more to work towards. I loved, and love, everything there is about powerlifting: the atmosphere, performing in front of your peers and under the scrutiny of referees, having something to work hard for, and course, seeing all of that hard work pay off. 

 

I’m here to tell you about my training philosophies (including nutrition and recovery), some reasons to at least try a powerlifting meet, and how to prepare for your first meet.  I’ve competed three times this year in the 165lb class as an amateur, and I can see my powerlifting journey spanning across the next few decades. I hope to become a professional in my not-so-near future. I have so much to tell you guys over the course of my athlete journal, so let’s dive into it.

 

This Week's Training

As I write this, I am two weeks out from my next competition. At this point, I’ve dropped all accessory lifts, and in a sense I am peaking before my deload/taper week. That means I’m training twice per week and practicing a few times in between. My typical training week involves separate days for deadlifting, squatting, benching, power cleaning, and overhead pressing.

 

I always bench lightly on my heavy squat days and squat lightly on my heavy bench days, because I love practice (sorry, Allen Iverson). During my last three weeks of training, I cut my power cleaning and overhead pressing (on top of my accessory lifts), and instead focus on the big three during every workout. 

 

I’ll include my training log on a weekly basis, where I work up to three to five working sets. I have also listed my warm up sets, although I’m a quarter, plate, quarter, plate type of guy. I always end my heavy day of squatting or benching by overloading my lifts using isometric holds, allowing me to work with more weight than my one-rep-max (1RM). This will prime my body to know what the weight feels like when it’s game time.

 

Let’s get into the meat and potatoes:
 

Monday - Practice

Squat

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Bench

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Deadlift

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Tuesday

Squat

  • Bar x 10 (2 sets)
  • 95 x 5
  • 135 x 5 (2 sets)
  • 185 x 3
  • 225 x 1
  • 245 x 3 (3 working sets)
  • Overload 295 x 10 seconds (3 sets)

 

Bench

  • Bar x 10 (2 sets)
  • 95 x 5
  • 135 x 5
  • 165 x 2 (5 working sets)

 

Deadlift

  • 135 x 5 (2 sets)
  • 185 x 5
  • 225 x 3 (2 sets)
  • 290 x 5 (5 working sets)

 

Wednesday

Yoga

 

Thursday - Practice

Squat

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Bench

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Deadlift

135 x 10 (3 sets)

 

Friday – Practice (Light)

Squat

95 x 10 (5 sets)

 

Bench

95 x 10 (5 sets)

 

Deadlift

135 x 10 (5 sets)

 

Saturday

Bench

  • Bar x 10 (2 sets)
  • 95 x 5
  • 135 x 5 (2 sets)
  • 185 x 2
  • 200 x 2 (3 working sets)
  • Overload 235 x 10 seconds (3 sets)

 

Squat

  • Bar x 10 (2 sets)
  • 95 x 5
  • 135 x 5 (2 sets)
  • 185 x 2
  • 205 x 2 (5 working sets)

 

Deadlift

  • 135 x 5 (2 sets)
  • 185 x 5
  • 225 x 3 (2 sets)
  • 275 x 2
  • 315 x 1
  • 365 x 1 (3 working sets)

 

Sunday

Rest

 

Next Week's Plan

Next week I will begin my deload/taper, which for me is a week I go crazy. When lifting heavy is your passion, it’s hard to stay away, but I will get to practice once or twice before the final meet (even though it won’t be heavy). 

 

This upcoming week I will pick out my opening attempts, as well as where I want to go with my second and third attempts. I always plan out several third attempts based on how the second lift goes. I am ecstatic to share my journey, and I welcome and encourage all feedback!

 

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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