Why Percentage Programs Should Still Track RPE

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Why Percentage Programs Should Still Track RPE
By Mike Tuchscherer

Theme:  RPE should be considered a core metric in your training, even if you’re not basing your training off RPE.

I’ve been fortunate to travel the world giving seminars about Powerlifting and I’ve been doing so for kind of a long time – since 2008 or so.  When I first began, most powerlifters were not familiar with the concept of RPE, so I would teach it from scratch.  Since then, it’s become increasingly popular in the Powerlifting community and, to some extent, the wider strength-training world.  How I go about teaching RPE has changed since the beginning.  I think anytime you teach a subjective technique in the face of a changing surrounding context, that has to happen.

I used to teach RPE something like this…  Read more…

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Case Studies in Powerlifting — Tim Thomas

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Case Studies in Powerlifting — Tim Thomas
by Brady Stewart

Tim Thomas
Age: 53
Occupation: Sales/Recruiter
Sport: Powerlifting – Bench Press Specialist
Hometown: Belleville, IL
Training Location: The Belleville Weightlifting Club (BWC) (Belleville, IL)
Competing in powerlifting since 1998 in the USAPL and non-sanctioned events, but is currently a Bench Press Specialist
Best Competition Total: 1590 (2004 Ozark Open)
Best Competition Bench Press: 450 (2009 Bluegrass Open)
Past Injuries: 2005 Torn Tendon in right shoulder and right hip injury
Goals: To bench over 500 pounds in 2010 and try to rank in top 20 nationally in 275 Open Bench
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Concurrent Training

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Concurrent Training
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…

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Training the High School Powerlifter

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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…

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The Biorhythm Diet

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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…

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Evening Carbs Will Not Make You Fat

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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…

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Auto-Regulating Volume

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Auto-Regulation Volume
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…

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Hammer Thrower Turned Powerlifter

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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…

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Gauging RPE

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Gauging RPE
By Bob Wanamaker

“How does an athlete know what an RPE of 8 feels like?” Which is the same as the question “How does an athlete know when s/he has 2 reps left in the tank?”
The first thing to note about gauging RPE is that there are training-specific variables which impact the intensity of which an athlete is capable. Number of reps in the set, volume of work, amount of rest between sets – all of these will impact the intensity an athlete can bring to the bar for a given working set. So, out of the gate, those variables need to be controlled to an appropriate degree. Read more…

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Auto-Regulating Intensity

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Auto-Regulating Intensity

By Bob Wanamaker

Quick review: autoregulation is a strategy to control the intensity and volume of training so as to maximize training effect while accounting for changes in the individual. Changes which impact training can include stress, illness, and injury. Of note is that “stress is stress.” Whether stress originates from training volume, from relationship problems, from money problems – there’s only one mechanism in the body for coping. So if that mechanism is busy coping with external stressors, the last thing we want to do increase stress from training.

A tactic that can be employed is RPE. RPE quite intuitively provides a means to regulate intensity on-the-fly: the basic concept employed is that of “difficulty in moving the weight.” As the athlete adds weight to the bar for the back squat, the move becomes progressively more difficult, and the athlete works with more intensity, up to maximum possible intensity: the one-rep max (1RM). Intensity determines training effect.
So why not just use the 1RM, and Prilepin’s table, and develop training blocks based on that?
Read more…

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