RTS for Bodybuilding

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RTS for Bodybuilding
Mike Tuchsherer

Bodybuilders and Powerlifters have not historically gotten along very well. Although the relationship strain seems to be mostly limited to internet forums, it’s interesting nonetheless. The thing is we can learn a lot from each other just by looking.

Getting Along
I like to think of myself as observant of trends in iron sports. Training in general is fascinating to me, so it’s always enjoyable for me to watch how things develop and evolve over time. Whether it be the way Olympic lifting ebbs and flows in and out of favor for training athletes, or the way that foam rolling first gained popularity and is now becoming almost cliché, it’s interesting to watch. One trend I’ve noticed lately is that bodybuilders are beginning to train more like powerlifters and are showing good results because of it. Additionally, powerlifters are beginning to have a more balanced approach (similar to bodybuilders), and also seem to be benefitting from it. This simply highlights the fact that we can learn from one another. Read more…

Mental Cues for the Squat

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Mental Cues for the Squat
By Mike Tuchscherer

I’m a very cognitive person. I think through everything – even when I lift I like to stay very mentally engaged. Lots of guys shout and yell before a big attempt. Not me. I even prefer silence as it lets me focus better.
One thing I’ve struggled with in the past is the depth of my squats in training. This has only rarely been a problem in a contest, especially in recent years, but it makes me wonder how much better of a competitive squatter I could be if I simply trained how I compete.
It took a lot more than this simple realization to make a difference in my training. At least for me, it wasn’t just “squat deeper” and voila. A whole array of technique cues needed to be lined up for me to squat well. I broke the lift up into a few phases and I developed a mental checklist that I think to myself as I execute each rep. That checklist helped my consistency immensely and that’s what I’d like to share with you today.

Read more…

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…

First Meet: Getting Ready for your Opener

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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…

AMRAPS in Training

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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

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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

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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…

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…

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…

Benching from the Bottom

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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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