By Greg Nuckols
Cardiovascular training has been much maligned in the powerlifting community. By that, I am referring to purely aerobic work. You’ll find people touting the benefits of sled work, sprints, or barbell complexes, but steady state aerobic work? Never! We’ve been told it’ll make us small and weak so many times we’ve taken the bait. The real story is a little more nuanced than that. Let’s dive in. Read more…
Training the High School Powerlifter
By Chad McMullin, MS, CSCS
Having been head coach of the Warren Central powerlifting team for almost ten years, I can tell you that without hesitation that training teenagers has be one of the most frustrating and at the same time rewarding jobs of my life. Many of the guys I have coached came into our weight room as freshmen having never even seen a weight, only to leave after their four years having won district, region, and some even state titles. The frustration comes from seeing some guys having great talent, but end up a memory simply because they could not handle the expectations of our program. In the following article, I will discuss the way we set up our training and my philosophy of training. Read more…
GPP Considerations for Strength Sports
By Mike Tuchscherer
General Physical Preparedness (or “GPP”) has become somewhat of a catch phrase for Powerlifters in the last decade or so. It is a term tossed around to describe a wide range of activity from mowing the lawn to dragging a sled. The truth is that we often misuse this term or apply it loosely. I’m not here to be the word-police, but today we’re going to learn some more about GPP – what it is and how it can benefit you.
GPP describes the body’s general ability to do work that it is not specifically trained to do. Simply break the word down – How prepared is your physical body in general terms? Do you tire easily or can you work all day and still have energy left at the end? For powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other gym-rats – can you go outside and play a pickup game of basketball or football and at least look coordinated? GPP is more than just work capacity – it is a general measure of the other physical fitness traits that are not assessed evenly by your given sport of choice. For example, Powerlifting focuses on the development of absolute strength. So things like flexibility, aerobic fitness, etc would fall under the category of GPP.
But why should you care about GPP at all? As a strength athlete under normal conditions, improving aerobic fitness won’t improve your squat and flexibility won’t make you snatch more. Or will it? Read more…
By Mike Tuchscherer
If you don’t know what TRAC is, you should definitely check out the information on it here.This article will focus on how to execute the required tests to get your TRAC score.
TRAC consists of three tests: The Orthostatic Test, the Reaction Time test, and the Tap Test.All tests are performed in that order first thing when you wake up in the morning. The first test we’ll discuss is the Orthostatic Test. This test seems to be the most difficult, but it’s really not hard once you get the hang of it. There are two versions of the test; the test for those with a heart rate monitor and a test for those without a heart rate monitor. Read more…
Understanding Your TRAC Score
By Mike Tuchscherer
We live in a smart age. Smart phones. Smart bombs. Even smart cars (yuck!). It’s about time our training system got smart too. When you think about it, this is really the mission of TRAC – smart training.
And boy, is it ever smart! When you perform your tests in the morning, it takes somewhere between 7 and 10 minutes to complete it. Using that data, TRAC can figure out how several systems in your body are functioning and it spits it out on a nice, smart report! Your TRAC Report is really what gives you insight on how you can react to your body. But when you’ve got smart tests, smart systems, and a smart report, do you have to be smart too? Well, maybe a little, but by the end of this article, you should be smart enough to get the bulk of your TRAC report.
Just to reiterate, it can take a few days before your report is populated and several days after that before TRAC “gets to know you” well enough for your report to be reliable. But just the same, the more you use it, the better it works. Read more…
The Biorhythm Diet
by Borge Fagerli
More muscle and less fat by doing the complete opposite
If you look at a typical Western meal pattern, it’s carb-loaded cereals and breads as the first meals of the day, while later meals for supper are calorie-dense fat-heavy meals. This is also prevalent in fitness and bodybuilding culture, we eat carbs early in the day to fuel up for our workouts, then drop carbs and add fats for our later meals. Recent research has shown that not only light and dark cycles regulate our circadian and biological clock – it is also controlled by nutrients. I’m going to show you how the typical Western eating pattern can actually be one of the factors which predispose us to obesity, and that you should, in fact, do the complete opposite!
My interest in the topic came about when I looked into research showing that eating carbs at night would inhibit fat loss on a deficit or increase fat gains on a surplus – it was not only a myth, it was flat out wrong! Read more…
Evening Carbs Will Not Make You Fat
by Borge Fagerli
The source of this misunderstanding that permeates both the nutrition literature and the fitness community probably originates from a study conducted in 1997 (1). Here, they compared two groups of women on a moderate diet with exercise, where one group had 70% of the carbs early in the day (AM) while the other group had 70% of the carbs later in the day (PM). After 6 weeks they decided to change groups. The result was that the AM group, dropped the most in WEIGHT – and here it seems that most people stopped to read – because if you read further you can see that of this weight loss over 30% involved muscle! In the PM group weight loss was almost as high BUT here the muscle loss was only 7%! I think most people realize that FAT loss was a lot higher when the high-carb meals were eaten in the evening, even though total loss of weight was higher in the morning group. Read more…
By Bob Wanamaker
Not only do we have to consider intensity in developing a program, but we have to consider volume as well. While the two are interrelated in getting from Point A to Point B, a good way to look at it is that intensity determines the training effect, and volume determines the magnitude of that training effect. So, as a coach, I prescribe less reps per set with more intensity to develop strength in an athlete, and more reps per set with less intensity to develop (say) hypertrophy.
This important to note: for intermediate and advanced athletes, the rep range is always prescribed by programming, when the coach develops the training cycle. Different rep ranges target different systems; doing an all out set of 3 reps is not the same as doing an all out set of 10 reps.
This approach differs greatly from a well-known 5×5 program, used by many beginners. In this program, which will remain unnamed, the lifter is supposed to do five sets of five reps with a target weight that increases each week. Typically, there will come a time when the lifter can do the first set or two quite easily, but has trouble after that. S/he might hit the third set, and gets four reps, the fourth set two or three reps, the fifth set two or three reps. Read more…
Hammer Thrower Turned Powerlifter
by Josh Rohr
Michelle Stark was an All-American Hammer and Weight Thrower for Ashland University under the watchful eye of her coach, 4x Olympian Jud Logan. She graduated in 2009 and decided to give powerlifting a try. In only her 4th powerlifting meet ever, she became the 2010 IPF Junior World Silver Medalist in the 90kg class, barely missing her 3rd deadlift of 512.6 lbs for the win.
Michelle came to me after she graduated college and said she wanted to give powerlifting a try. She had experience with the squat, bench and deadlift because they were performed frequently in Coach Logan’s program at A.U. She was already really strong but her technique was not optimal for a powerlifter and we would eventually modify all three. When she came to me about powerlifting, it was only about 6 weeks away from the meet so our preparation time was limited and changing too many things was not a good idea. The first meet she wanted to do was the 2009 USAPL Georgia and Southern States. Her initial goal when she came in was to go to Women’s Nationals and try and make the Junior World Team. Because of this, we decided to basically train though the meet because she was strong enough coming in to hit the qualifying total without getting in gear.
The training template for this meet was high frequency, medium volume, low intensity because we needed to spend a lot of time performing the lifts to IPF standards. This allowed her to Squat/Bench and Deadlift frequently without overtraining. This also allowed her to put her focus on doing certain things right like pushing the knees out, sitting back, driving her legs in the bench etc. without having to get too focused on the heavy weight. This paid off in a big way, not in the short term but down the road, especially once we got in gear. At the meet, she went 8/9, only missing her 3rd bench press of 198 lbs while qualifying for women’s nationals @ 181, only weighing 176. Read more…
Getting Over Overtraining
By Mike Tuchscherer
If you read interviews with top athletes, especially powerlifters and bodybuilders, a favorite question to ask them seems to be if they made any mistakes in their early training. And most of them will say that they spent too much time early in their careers overtraining. Many of these athletes feel that if they hadn’t, they could have reached their current levels faster or maybe could have been even better than they already are.
Overtraining is a result of training stress, plus the rest of life’s stress, exceeding an athlete’s ability to recover. This results in stagnation, or even injury. At a minimum, it is inefficient – meaning that the athlete won’t improve at their optimal rate.
If overtraining is so bad, and it’s easy enough to fall into that even top athletes sometimes mess it up, what can you do about it? Well, I’m glad you asked! Below are five practical tips that you can use to prevent and/or treat overtraining. They are not in a particular order, nor are they all-inclusive. However, they are effective. So without further delay, let’s jump right in. Read more…