Gym Toys for Powerlifters

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Gym Toys for Powerlifters
By Mark Robb

In the previous article, we discussed equipment used in raw (classic) competition, namely a belt and shoes. Next, we will discuss the how and why of using some of the other most common pieces of equipment that a raw lifter will likely find to be useful tools in his or her toolbox. I will again limit discussion to those tools used in the RTS method, as this would otherwise turn into a novel that only addresses bar variations. Other than the obvious straight barbell, power rack, and regulation sized bench, equipment we use will fall into one of three general categories: 1. Address range of motion weaknesses 2. Superload a movement 3. Special bars and racks The purpose of additional equipment is to illicit a specific training effect with the ultimate goal of increasing absolute strength in the competition lifts. These assistance movements should be implemented at the appropriate time in a lifters training plan, as well as in the right proportion. In this article we’ll focus on the tools used to address range of motion weaknesses. Read more…

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To Belt, Or Not To Belt: An Equipment Primer for Raw Lifters

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To Belt, Or Not To Belt: An Equipment Primer for Raw Lifters
By Mark Robb

When should you use a belt? This, and many other equipment questions, keep periodically coming up among lifters new to RTS. This article is meant to help those unfamiliar with RTS training techniques and / or with raw lifting with their understanding of some of the equipment used in both training and competition. This first article will deal primarily with the use of a belt, and to a lesser extent shoes.

By definition, raw lifting uses minimal equipment, making it even more important that you understand how to get the most out of what little you are using. At the very least, your equipment should not hinder you! I will be addressing equipment allowed in USAPL/IPF “Classic” competition as that is what I am familiar with. I do not consider the use of knee wraps to be “raw” lifting, but rather, an overload technique. Use of knee wraps as such will be addressed later on in this article series.

The most important pieces of equipment used in raw competition are a lifting belt and your shoes. All else is pretty much inconsequential to the generation of strength. Read more…

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The Driving Analogy

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The Driving Analogy

By Mike Tuchscherer

I’m going to use a little different analogy to describe what RTS does for you.

Think of your strength like a place. It doesn’t matter which place – you are where you are right now. That might be 700 Totalville. It might be 2000 Totalville. Then your goals are another place somewhere else. Perhaps that’s Word’sStrongestMan City. Or even WorldRecordstown. So how do you get to your goals? You use a car (training).
Read more…

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The Russian Classification Chart

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The Russian Classification Chart
By Mike Tuchscherer

What is your experience level as a Powerlifter? Kind of a hard question to answer, huh? Some will answer with how many years they’ve been competing. Others will tell you their total. Still others might give a vague “not much” or “been around a while”.
What if I told you we have a tool that allows us to approximate a lifter’s experience level? Well, there are many charts out there for classifying lifters, but the one I have had the most success with is the Russian Classification Chart.
The Russian Classification Chart matches a lifter’s raw total against his weight class to give an experience classification. Read more…

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Benching from the Bottom

ASP_1848Benching from the Bottom
By Mike Tuchscherer

If you’re a raw lifter, odds are that you have much more trouble with the bottom of your bench than any other part. When I say “the bottom”, I mean anywhere from chest level to 2 inches off the chest. I myself am not known for my benching power. I’d rather deadlift any day. I could give you the line about how that makes my advice more useful because I had to fight tooth-and-nail for what I know. And to some extent that’s true, but everyone works hard for knowledge. To me, it’s a lot more valuable if it translates to the real world in other people. While I’m not a great bencher myself (yet), I’ve coached several very good benchers – even an IPF world record holder. And these recommendations have helped lifters at all levels improve. That doesn’t mean it’s a magic bullet — just that this is worth paying attention to. So if you’re giving your spotter a trap workout anytime you take a heavy single, then here is some advice on how to get things back on track: Read more…

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Workload Efficiency

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Workload Efficiency
By Mike Tuchscherer

Each time I sit down to write something, I try to think of what people need to hear. Not always what they want to hear, but what knowledge is needed to move us forward in our training? Lately, I keep coming back to efficiency. Maybe I haven’t done a good job of describing its importance in the past. Maybe a few of you guys still don’t get it. I’m not totally sure, but I do know that there must be a reason why I keep coming back to this topic.
Efficiency in training can mean a lot of things. We could be talking about efficiency of movement where no energy is wasted. We could be talking about energy efficiency, where your energy systems produce ATP in an efficient and reliable manner. We could be talking about training economy, or one of several other specific topics. But the efficiency I’m referring to is workload efficiency. Read more…

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Using RTS on a Sheiko Base Program

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Using RTS on a Sheiko Base Program
By Mike Tuchscherer

I talk quite a bit about long term planning because in my mind there are so many ways to do it right. As far as training goes, most of us understand that it is both art and science. We’re after producing effects for the athlete and that’s what matters. If you get good effects, then you did it right. If you don’t, then you did it wrong. Read more…

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You DON’T Have “Plenty of Time”

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You DON’T Have “Plenty of Time”
By Mike Tuchscherer

I’ll never forget my first 800-lbs deadlift in competition. I was still relatively unknown in the powerlifting world. I’d won a Jr. World championship, but I’d bombed out of four (4!) other national level meets. It was well before Facebook (at least for me) and unless you were paying attention, I was easy not to notice. It was 2007. I had recently left the collegiate ranks and I was looking for a meet. I found one in Hemet, California. Read more…

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A Resurgent Emphasis on Exercise Selection

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A Resurgent Emphasis on Exercise Selection
By Mike Tuchscherer

When a lifter is first introduced to weight training, or physical activity in general, it is usually best to have wide and varied exercises to teach useful and efficient movement patterns. As they settle into a late-beginner or early-intermediate status, the exercise selection usually is reduced to the contest lifts with a few others. But then as the lifter progresses and specific problems arise, exercise selection again becomes key to continued development.
There is a problem, though. Many lifters don’t understand exercise selection enough to pick the appropriate exercise for their current training status. That is to say, if a lifter is in the beginning stages of a training cycle, oftentimes they do not understand the goal of the training block and therefore don’t understand which exercises are best suited to meet their needs. So proper exercise selection depends on understanding the style of training you are using, what the goals and objectives are, etc.
Including a large section on how to know the goals and objectives of your training cycle is beyond the scope of this article, but there are a few general points to be made, as you will see shortly. Read more…

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Choosing Sets-n-Reps; A Guide to Protocol Selection

DSC01145Choosing Sets-n-Reps; A Guide to Protocol Selection

By Mike Tuchscherer

For those familiar with the Reactive Training Manual, you have surely noticed the multiple times in the book that selecting protocols is mentioned, but in terms of guidance, you are given two lists. Choose from list one during your volume block and list two during your intensity block. Beyond that, you’re told to choose randomly. Read more…

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