In bodybuilding, there are many approaches
to the acquisition of Super Human Strength. One of the best ways
I know of to develop deep-rooted strength is to plan your training
around an upcoming powerlifting competition. You will not only gain
tremendous strength from such a plan, but by demonstrating it as
a competitor in a powerlifting meet, you will gain the attention
of the spectators and they will realize that a bodybuilders
physique isnt necessarily just show (cosmetic physique).
For those of you bodybuilders who would like
to dedicate your training to perhaps one powerlifting competition
a year, I would like to share with you a very workable strength-training
program which represents the most efficient use of actual elapsed
training time and maximum recovery between workouts.
Strength and Power-Training Program
Conventional Deadlifts 1 x 10 (50%)
Rest 4 to 5 minutes 1 x 8 (70%)
between sets. Concentrate 1 x 3 (80%)
on form and pull and squeeze 1 x 3 (90%)
the shoulder blades back and 3 x 3 (80%)
together throughout the entire motion
of each rep.
Barbell High Pulls 3 x 6 (60%)
Rest 3 minutes between sets; explode on the pull, to belt-high position,
rather slowly in negative fashion.
Vertical Dips on Parallel Bars 1 x 10 (30%)
Rest 3 to 4 minutes between sets. 1 x 6 (50%)
Explode from the low dead stop 3 x 3 (80%)
Bodyweight Only Bar Dips 1 x Failure
(20 to 30 minutes) Do assorted midsection and
neck work, your choice. Hanging Knee Ups, Lying Leg Thrusts, Crunches
for the abs. For the neck, harness work, partner resistance exercises,
and various bridges.
*Power style Squats (to parallel)
Use the same set, rep, and percentage schedule as described for
the Deadlift exercise.
Squat Jumps with Bodyweight 1 set to Failure
Barbell Curls (slight cheat) 5 x 5
Rest 2 minutes between all sets.
Supine Barbell Bench Press
Again use the same set, rep, and percentage schedule as described
for the Deadlift and Power style Squat (to parallel)
Use the same set, rep, and percentage schedule as suggested for
Vertical Dips on the Parallel Bars. On this exercise movement, use
a fairly narrow grip. Do these with a curl grip (palms facing you)
one workout, then with the hands pronated (palms facing away) the
Saturday and Sunday:
Every third week, do your 1 x 3 (90%) training slot for the Deadlift,
Power style Squat (to parallel), and Supine Barbell
Press in this manner: Do 1 set of 3 reps at 90% limit, then 1 set
of 2 reps with 95% limit, then do 4 single attempts, resting 5 to
7 minutes between attempts, increasing the weight whenever possible
by 5 pounds. Do this entire procedure only every third week!
Three weeks before the powerlifting competition, do only 2 sets
of the Barbell High Pulls with 60%, 3 sets of 6 reps in the Power
style Squats (to parallel) with 50%. Continue doing
the Squat Jumps with bodyweight only for 2 sets to failure. On the
Barbell Curls (slight cheat), do 3 sets of 7 reps. On the Chinups/Pullups,
do them for 4 sets of 6 reps. Also at this point (3 weeks before
the contest), do your Deadlift, High Bar Back Squat and Supine Bench
Press sequence (note the different from the one suggested every
third week above) in this manner:
1 set 20 reps (30%)
Rest 2 minutes
1 set 10 reps (50%)
Rest 2 minutes
1 set 8 reps (60%)
Rest 3 minutes
1 set 3 reps (70%)
Rest 5 minutes
1 set 3 reps (90%)
Rest 5 minutes
1 set 1 rep (95%)
Now do 3 more single attempts in 5-pound increments,
with 5 minutes of rest between each of the attempts (hold 2 ½
pound barbell/dumbbell plates in each hand and heft
them to show yourself that the additional weight is very light before
adding them to the barbell for each single attempt; if you have
an abundance of energy, do 1 to 3 more single attempts this way
to break your record).
Rest 5 minutes
1 set 15 reps (15%)
Two days prior to the powerlifting competition,
dont do anything with the weights, and if your body weight
is well within the class limit you plan to lift in, then eat quite
a lot of potatoes (baked well-done, preferably) for a very high
level of carbohydrate energy and increased potassium mineral content;
this is a secret that the Russians use frequently.
Comments and Notations
Note: 50% of something is half, so when I say
50% of your current maximum single effort, and your best single
is 500 pounds, 50% is 250 pounds, etc. Percentages are easy to compute
in 100 and 10 pound increments: i.e., 80% is 8 of the 10 pounds,
or 80 of 100 pounds, etc., and for proper warming up, and progressive
neuro-muscular preparation, use a weight that corresponds to these
percentages to avoid over-training in this sequence. You should
want desperately to do more lifts after your workout is done...but
dont, since this reserve of energy at contest time, along
with the adrenaline flow caused by competition, will allow you to
express much more strength in your lifts!
On all the exercises within the regular Strength
and Power Training Program, try to add 10 pounds per workout to
each set but if this is simply not possible, dont settle
for less than 5-pound increases. This complete training cycle can
be followed 10 to 12 weeks prior to an upcoming powerlifting competition.
*Note: In the Power style Squats
(to parallel) Wednesday workout, there are 4 points to keep in mind:
1. Bar rests low across shoulders.
2. Torso is bent forward.
3. Feet are shoulder-width apart (or wider).
4. During the descent, buttocks go back and knees stay directly
over ankles; lower leg remains perpendicular to floor.
Maximum strength gains from this brief but
brutal program will be realized in 8-12 weeks prior to an upcoming
powerlifting competition. When I used the above program my best
lifts at a bodyweight of 212 pounds was as follows: Power "style"
Squats (way below parallel) 500 pounds, Supine Barbell Bench Press;
300 pounds, and Conventional Deadlifts; 575 pounds. Each of these
lifts were done for 3 sets of 3 reps, using 80% of a maximum single
effort and most importantly with no lifting gear (suit, elbow or
knee wrapes etc.). Stay flexed!!!