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…
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…
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?
First Meet: Getting Ready for your Opener
by Eduardo Chile
Congratulations, you have taken the first step in becoming a powerlifter and want to compete! Now, what do you do? Step one is find a meet to compete in. With so many federations out there with different rule sets this could be a daunting task. The only advice I can give is to pick a federation that is in line with your standards of competition. If you like to compete in single ply, triple ply or raw it’s your decision. If you feel the judging is questionable to your standards then find another federation. Location-wise, you should find your first meet within 100 miles if at all possible. Here is a great resource for finding meets. You should perform a search based on location and date, and please give yourself at least 10 weeks until the meet. Once you have narrowed it down to a few meets research the federation for each one.
Once you have chosen your meet you will need to make plans for it. You will likely need a membership card to compete in the federation. Most federations allow you to sign up the day of the meet, but please check with the meet director to make sure. Most meet directors are very approachable and don’t mind answering questions for you. Next, you will need to send in the registration form. There is quite a bit of information on this form, so if there is anything that is confusing, contact the meet director to get some clarification. Even if you don’t have problems, contact the meet director anyway and introduce yourself. Inform them it is your first meet. My experience is they will be helpful in ensuring you have all of your paperwork in order. Read more…
How I Became a Powerlifting Coach
By Josh Rohr
I had never really considered the possibility of personal training and helping people as a profession. I grew up on a dairy farm in a small town in Northeast Ohio, working in the barns before school in -10 degree weather during the winters. I guess I always just figured that I would be a farmer when I got older.
My freshmen year of high school I really got interested in football, mostly because I saw the guys in the weight room working out and noticed how big and strong they were. My sophomore year, I decided to play football for the first time. I was way behind the learning curve but I loved it. I learned a lot about the game and myself. I also learned a lot about weight training and I started learning some of the things I had been doing wrong. Read more…
AMRAPS in Training
By Bryce Lewis
The AMRAP or AMAP set is a training concept meaning simply to perform as many reps as possible with a given training load, taken from the acronym for “as many as possible”, or “as many reps as possible”. Bryan Mann, a researcher from Missouri State links the origins of this idea to 1945 and military surgeon Captain Thomas DeLorme, who used a basic increase in load from session to session and a set to failure after three sets of ten repetitions for post-surgery soldiers healing from bone and joint repairs. From there, Mel Siff proposed the idea again in Supertraining, called it the APRE (autoregulated progressive resistance exercise) method. It was Bryan Mann who did the research on APRE in comparison to linear and block models of periodization.
Since then, it has experienced a resurgence of popularity in the last year or two, and many athletes are interested in how to make use of this training tool. This brief article will serve to illustrate some concepts of the AMRAP set and cover some psychological, programming, and strength benefits, and some potential pitfalls. Read more…
Treat the Issues, Not the Tissues
By Dr. Rori Alter, PT, DPT
In a world that’s becoming more digitalized by the minute, it makes sense that information is more accessible than ever before. Just a few years ago there was (and continues to be) an upward trend of people “self-diagnosing,” incorrectly treating, and worrying themselves because they saw “Dr. Webernet.”
Web-MD, Wikepidia, and MayoClinic.com, among many other sites, became go-to places where the general population first looked for answers because it was quick and convenient, saved them a trip to the doctors’ office and a dent in their wallet from ever-increasing co-pays.
The endless wealth of information on the internet definitely has its benefits. Accessibility to information has allowed businesses to expand, entrepreneurs to set out on successful journeys, and people to expand their knowledge at quick and affordable rates. BUT! Like the hazards of Web-MD and self-diagnostics, people often times misinterpret and incorrectly apply information to their individual circumstances.
With the increasing popularity of barbell sports such as CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, and powerlifting, the online market for coaches, gurus, bloggers, and mobility devices has skyrocketed in the last few years. We see Mobility WOD, ROMWOD, body tempering, hip circles and 100s of mobility and programming templates available at minimal cost or even free to the public. But out of the bottomless pit of information out there, how do we know what’s just right for us or what’s really going to harm us? And do we really know if what we are looking at or considering applying to our own body is exactly what we need given our individual circumstances? Read more…
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…
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…
An Experience Report: Eccentric Training to Rehab Tendinopathy
By Bernhard Klinger
I was pushing my training hard for an upcoming competition and about three weeks out I started to feel a slight twinge in my right hamstring during heavy deadlifts – nothing too bad, just a minor uncomfortable sensation.
The competition went very well and afterwards I thought I’d just take it easy for a few weeks to let things heal up – but I was wrong. Even though I only had slight discomfort performing my lifts at the competition and I took some time off afterwards the hamstring started feeling worse and worse and what once was a little twinge had turned into a sharp, stabbing pain at the origin of my hamstring. In less than 2 weeks my injury became so bad that it was causing pain during everyday activities – so I knew I had to seek out professional help.