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Training Routine Format for Three Times per Week Lifting

by Gary F. Zeolla

I used the Training Routine Format for Raw Lifting - 2 to prepare for my contest April 8, 2006 (WNPF Western PA Championships in Beaver Falls, PA). My training went okay but not great. So I decided it is time to make some changes.

Changes

First, at my most recent contest I competed raw (no suit or shirt but with a belt and wraps). However, I ran into a few problems training and competing raw. In the weeks leading up to the contest, I injured my right groin/ adductor area, my right hip, and my left pec.

None of the injuries were that serious, more nuisance pains than anything. So I was able to continue to train and to compete. At the contest, the pec bothered me some warming up but not during my bench attempts. My hip did not bother me during the contest, but it did afterwards. However, these pains might be a "warning" that competing raw is not really a good idea, especially for someone like me in his mid-40s. So I might go back to competing with double-ply gear. But the routine format below will work for either raw or equipped competition, with the few needed differences as noted.

Second, I've found that if I go a while without doing heavy singles, when I do them, I get really tired out. And going too long before the contest without doing a heavy squat caused me to miss my third attempt. So I think it is best to do a heavy but sub-maximal single for most workouts. This keeps the body conditioned to doing heavy singles. So I will be incorporating singles regularly into my workout plan, except for the off-season.

Third, I decided to add some "speed work" to my training. I'll be incorporating it after my regular PL work rather than on a separate day.

Fourth, I'm adding some rotator cuff work using light DBs or weight plates. I'll rotate the weights a different angle each week. These were the type of exercises I did for my shoulder after my bicycle accident almost seven years ago. So I'm familiar with them but haven't done them in a long time. But it is wise to do them to protect the rotator cuff. See the following sites for pics of the types of exercises I am referring to: http://familydoctor.org/265.xml - http://www.bodyresults.com/E2RotatorCuff.asp.

Below is an outline of my yearly powerlifting training program.


General Background

Workouts:
Lift three times a week, alternating through four different workouts, so each training week lasts 9-10 days.

Day One: Bench Assistance, Upper Back, Forearms, Abs.
Day Two: Squat, Obliques
Day Three: Bench, Upper Back, Biceps, Abs.
Day Four: Deadlift, Calves, Obliques.

Workout Length:
Total workout time includes set-up, warm-up, lifting, stretching, and clean-up.
Keep total workout time to about 1:30 (actual lifting time about one hour).

Rest periods between work sets:
Squats and deadlifts and major assistance: 4-6 minutes.
Benches and major bench assistance: 3-5 minutes.
Remaining exercises: 1-3 minutes.
Warm-up sets: about half of above times.
Speed Work: <1 minute.

Cardio:
Do cardio work on three off days.
Lift: M, W, F / Cardio: Tu, Th, Sa.
Take Sundays off.

Note: I decided to go back to stretching after my workouts rather than on off days. As I feared, too often I just didn’t find the time to stretch on off days.


In-Season Training

Alternate Training Weeks:
First week: Powerlifts with gear that will be used in competition (except as noted).
Second week: Chain/ band/ reverse band PL equivalents, 1 major assistance, speed work with chains or bands

Assistance Exercises:
Change assistance exercises so each is done three times:
Done every other week: change every six weeks.
Done every week: change every three weeks.

Sets and Reps:
Powerlifts: 4 x 5-1.
Increase weights, decrease reps each set.
Benches: Increase 10 pounds each set.
Squats & DLs: Increase by 20 pounds each set.

Major assistance exercises: 3 x 5,3,1 or 2 x 5-3 (DBs: 2 x 8-5)
Speed work: 3 x 5
Upper back: 2 x 6-4 (DBs: 2 x 8-5)
Arms: 2 x 6-8
Rotator Cuff: 2 x 12-15
Calves and Abs: 2 x 8-12

Warm-ups:
Four warm-up sets for first exercise: 15,10,6,3 reps.
First set with just the bar. Last set with 10-15% less than first work set.
Second and third sets spaced evenly in-between first and last sets.
Add squat/ DL shoes and suit or shirt for third set if using in contest. Add belt and wraps for last set.
One or two warm-up sets for rest of exercises as needed.

Gear if competing with full gear:
Crain: power belt on all three lifts, squat shoes and wrist wraps on squats.
Frantz: double-ply polyester: squat suit, bench shirt, and deadlift suit/ double or single-ply briefs (for competition only).
Titan: THP 2.0 meter knee wraps for training, 2.5 meter knee wraps for competition
Inzer: wrist wraps on benches.
Tommy Kono: TK Knee Bands on DLs.
Drug store wrist wraps on deadlifts.
Nike wrestling shoes for deadlifts.

See Powerlifting Gear Update for details on the above gear.

Gear if competing raw:
Crain: power belt on all three lifts, squat shoes and wrist wraps on squats.
Titan: THP 2.0 meter knee wraps for both training and competition.
Inzer: wrist wraps on benches.
Tommy Kono: TK Knee Bands on DLs.
Drug store wrist wraps and pull-up type knee wraps on deadlifts.
Nike wrestling shoes for deadlifts.

Pressing Movements:
If competing with a shirt:
Shirted benches and chain/ band / reverse band benches done with a pause.
All other pressing movements done touch 'n go.

If competing raw:
Pause all pressing movements.


In-Season Workouts

Day One:
1)  1st Bench assistance
Rotate: BB Declines, BB Inclines
2)  2nd Bench assistance
Rotate: DB Inclines, Alternating Arms DB Inclines, DB Declines, Alternating Arms DB Declines
3)  1 Upper Back
Rotate: DB Rows (elbows in, elbows out), Curl Bar Rows.
4)  Rotator Cuff (different angle each week).
5) 1 Triceps
Triceps Press: Rotate: Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs.
6)  Reverse Curls
Rotate: Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs.
7)  1 Abs
Choose from: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.

Day Two:
Squat
Alternate with:
Chain/ Band/ Reverse Band Squat
Speed Squat (using same chain or band set-up as for above exercise).
1 Major Assistance: Rotate: Box Squat, Manta Ray Squat.

Every week:
1 Obliques.
Choose from: Bicycle Abs, Crunch/ Side Bend Combo, Wall Rotating Sit-ups, Weighted One-sided Crunch, Twisting versions of: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises.

Day Three:
Bench

Alternate with:
Chain/ Band/ Reverse Band Bench
Speed Bench (using same chain or band set-up as for above exercise).

1 Major Assistance: Rotate: Rack Bench, Board Bench, Close Grip Bench.
OR
1 Standing Press: Rotate: BB, Db, alternating Arms DB.

Every week:
1 Upper Back
BB Rows - Rotate: close grip (DL grip), medium grip (bench grip), wide grip (squat grip).
1 Biceps
Rotate: Barbell Curls, Curl Bar Curls, Rotating DB Curls, Hammer Curls, DB Rotations.
1 Abs
Choose from: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.

Day Four:
Deadlift
Alternate with:
Chain/ Band/ Reverse Band DL (all done with my new conventional stance).
Speed Deadlift (using same chain or band set-up as for above exercise).
1 Major Assistance: Rotate: Platform DLs, SLDLs (legs straight or legs bent), Good Mornings (legs straight or legs bent).

Every week:
Standing Calves (Alternate: BB, DB).
1 Obliques.
Choose from: Side Bends, Crunch/ Side Bend Combo, Wall Rotating Sit-ups, Weighted One-sided Crunch, Twisting versions of: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.


Off Season Training

Yearly Plan:
Take a week off after a contest.
Contest on Saturday or Sunday, first workout (bench assistance day) Friday or Saturday, then squat day on Monday, etc..
Off-season training period lasts 3-4 training weeks.
Schedule: One off-season period, one or two in-season rotations, repeat.
No more than two in-season rotations without an off-season period in-between.

Off-Season Format:
Powerlifts every week, followed by one major assistance exercise and speed work.
Do somewhat higher reps.
No supportive gear, not even a belt.
No chains or bands.

Sets and Reps:
PLs and major assistance: 2 x 5-6
Speed Work: 3 x 5-6
Upper Back/ Presses: 2 x 5-8
Arms: 2 x 6-8
Rotator Cuff: 2 x 12-15
Calves and Abs: 2 x 8-12

For this off-season training, on the powerlifts and major assistance exercises I will be doing somewhat higher reps (5-6) and not using any gear, not even a belt. I was going to go even higher with the reps, but I really feel like doing so is a waste of time.

My experience has been that when I do 8-10 reps after a period of doing 1-5 reps, I end up very exhausted, and it takes several workouts just to get used to the higher reps. Then when I drop down to 5 or less reps, I get very exhausted from them, and again it takes a long time to get used to them again. It also takes weeks to get my weights back up after the period of higher reps and the resultant lower weights.

There simply is little carryover from doing sets of 8-10 to heavy singles. So my philosophy for my “off-season” is this period is simply to get my strength and weights back up after the normal post-contest drop in strength. But I also want a break from doing really heavy weights and using gear. So I figure 5-6 reps will be about right. Low enough to handle some decent weights, but high enough that it’s safe to lift without any gear.


Off-Season Workouts

Day One:
1)  1st Bench assistance
Rotate: BB Declines, BB Inclines.
2)  2nd Bench assistance
Rotate: Press, Dips.
3)  1 Upper Back
Rotate: DB Rows (elbows in, elbows out, underhand grip), Curl Bar Rows.
4)  Rotator Cuff (different angle each bench workout).
5) 1 Triceps
6)  Reverse Curls
Rotate: Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs.
7)  1 Abs
Choose from: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.

Day Two:
1)  Squat
2)  Major Assistance: Sting Ray (front) squats.
3)  Speed Work: Jump Squats.
4)  Standing Calves (Alternate: BB, DB).
5)  1 Obliques
Choose from: Bicycle Abs, Crunch/ Side Bend Combo, Wall Rotating Sit-ups, Weighted One-sided Crunch, Twisting versions of: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises.

Day Three:
1)  Bench
2)  Major Assistance:
Rotate: DB Bench, Alternating Arms DB Bench.
3)  Speed Work:
Alternate: Explosive ("Clap") Push-ups, Alternating One-Arm ("Rocky") Push-ups.
4)  1 Upper Back
Rotate: BB Rows (close grip [DL grip], medium grip [bench grip], wide grip [squat grip]).
5)  Rotator Cuff (different angle each week).
6)  1 Biceps
Rotate: Barbell Curls, Curl Bar Curls, Rotating DB Curls, Hammer Curls, DB Rotations.
7)  1 Abs
Choose from: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.

Day Four:
1)  Deadlift
2)  Major Assistance:
Rotate: SLDLs (legs straight or legs bent), Good Mornings (legs straight or legs bent).
3)  Speed Work: 
Choose from: Jump Deadlifts, Clean-Shrugs, Power Cleans.
4)  Sitting Calves (Alternate BB, DB).
5)  1 Obliques.
Choose from: Side Bends, Crunch/ Side Bend Combo, Wall Rotating Sit-ups, Weighted, One-sided Crunch, Twisting versions of: Crunches, Decline Crunches, Sit-ups, Decline Sit-ups, Reverse Crunches, Dip Bar Reverse Crunches, Leg Raises, Dip Bar Leg Raises.


Full Workout Logs

The above describes my training format. For my first workout log using this new format, see Full Workout Log, Starting 4/17/06, Off-Season Training.

Training Routine Format. Copyright 2006 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above article was posted on this site April 12, 2006.
It was last updated June 25, 2006.

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