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.
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.
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…
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…
Singles for Assistance Work — Why?
By Mike Tuchscherer, August 8, 2017
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…
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…
Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones
By: Thomas Kaminski
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…
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…
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…