Deloading Effectively

by Mike Tuchscherer, 20 December  2017

Deloading is taking an easy week every third or fourth week, right? Well… That’s a caricature of what effective deloading looks like.  In most standard cases, deload training is intended to reduce accumulated fatigue and facilitate adaptation to future training cycles.

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What is “Squishing” in Powerlifting?

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By Mike Tuchscherer, 14 November 2017

 

One of the general movement deficiencies I identify in the powerlifts is “squishing”, but a lot of people don’t know what I mean by this term.  In powerlifting, you need to be solid and stable to effectively transmit force into the barbell without any leakage with maximum safety.  “Squishing” is basically a failure to do that.  It can look different in each lift, so let me explain in a bit more detail.

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Correcting Max-Effort Technical Deviations

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Correcting Max-Effort Technical Deviations
By Mike Tuchscherer, 10 September 2017

I’ve written before about why I think including assistance work is a good idea.  And I do mean *assistance* work, not just supplemental work.  And the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that this is the best way to develop strength over the long term.

Quick aside on exercise classification before we get started…

Competition Exercise:  The exercise as it’s performed in competition. If you squat low-bar in competition, then high bar squats are not a competition exercise.  If you wear a belt in competition, beltless work is not a competition exercise.

Assistance Exercise:  Exercises that are very closely related to the competition exercise, but contain 1-2 small changes to give the lift a certain emphasis.  Things like pause squats, deadlifts with chains, or board presses all fall into this category.

Supplemental Exercise:  Exercises that train the same muscles, but not the same movements.  Usually trained for higher reps as well.  Exercises like lunges, military press, and good mornings fit into this category.

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Using Block Reviews

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Using Block Reviews
By Mike Tuchscherer, 12 September 2017

In my estimation, there is only one good reason to keep a training log – to help you make better training decisions.  That’s it.  Lots of people keep a log just to write down what they did, but never make use of the information.  What’s the point?

Our training log is a free application that ANYONE can use.  And we’re building new tools all the time to help you make better training choices.  One feature that I really love is called the Block Review.

Purpose of the Block Review

We all know that people respond differently to training.  It’s training law – the law of individual differences.  It’s trivially obvious to observe.  So once you’re past the beginning stages the question becomes how can you optimize your training so that it’s producing the best progress it can – FOR YOU.  Unfortunately no one can tell you what it is.  There is no test you can take.  There’s no system that will find it for you.  You need to find it for yourself.  And figuring this out is where the block review proves highly valuable. Read more…

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Personality Types and Training: Help us Figure it Out

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Personality types and Training:  Help us Figure it Out
By Mike Tuchscherer, 12 September 2017

Attention Powerlifters: Help me start to answer how personality affects training. There is a survey linked below. It will take about 20min to complete. In it you’ll find out about your personality as well as help us gain some knowledge about the training you find most effective. Read more…

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Singles for Assistance Work — Why?

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Singles for Assistance Work — Why?
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 8, 2017

Summary points

  • All exercises should be placed in a program for a reason.
  • If the reason is enhanced by high intensity work (i.e. singles), then it’s worth considering.
  • High intensity work will cause your volume to dip, but don’t let it get out of balance. Find the sweet spot.
  • There are many reasons not to do singles. Some are contingent on the exercise.  Some are contingent on the lifter.  Be smart.
  • Not all tools are appropriate for all times.

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Wrong but Useful: Central/Peripheral Models

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Wrong but Useful: Central/Peripheral Models
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 1, 2017

Go back and read articles from the early to mid 2000’s about powerlifting training.  Especially if the author is attempting to explain his thinking at a physiological level, you’re likely to come across the term “CNS” – or “Central Nervous System”.  And often it was in the context of “CNS Fatigue” or “CNS burnout”.

Fast forward to the 2010-2013 timeframe and “CNS” more or less left the lexicon of popular programming articles.  And that’s not without it’s reasons.  As the idea of “CNS fatigue” proliferated, too many people took it to be an absolute or factual description of what was going on.  That left many of us, me included, speaking against the abuse of the concept.  Every bad training day is not because “your CNS is fried, bro”. Read more…

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Performance Downturns

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Performance Downturns
By Mike Tuchscherer

Have you ever had this situation? You’re training, improving, and everything is going great. Then, you come into the gym one day and your strength is down by a lot – something like 5-10%. If it were just a bad day, then you’d expect the next session to be back to normal. But the next session isn’t back to normal. At best, it’s just a marginal improvement. You don’t think it’s fatigue because you feel fine – you even feel normal. Subjective indicators of fatigue, even objective ones like HRV, aren’t showing an accumulation of training stress. Read more…

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Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones

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Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones
By: Thomas Kaminski

Introduction:

With the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships approaching, I thought it would be useful to write an article explaining how the human circadian systems work and how athletes can adjust their body clocks to the new time zone so that they can lift at their best. Ensuring that your body clock is adjusted for the time of the competition is essential for performing optimally. This is because athletic performance can vary greatly depending on your internal circadian time (Teo et al., 2011; Dijk, 1992). Contrary to the opinions of some, your muscles will not work optimally by simply setting an early alarm and just giving them some time to ‘wake up’ before the competition. The fact is, if they are at a point in their circadian cycle where they are not meant to be working, then they simply cannot work at their maximum capacity. To illustrate this point, when you have jet lag induced insomnia the reason you can’t sleep is because your circadian system is telling your brain that it is not time to sleep, and just as trying harder to sleep cannot fix this problem, trying to get your muscles working when they aren’t supposed to be isn’t going to work either! For this reason, it is extremely important to adjust your circadian clock so that your body is ready for the competition.

In this article, I give a brief overview of some of the relevant human circadian systems 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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