A couple weeks ago, I realized that I really needed to commit to a powerlifting meet, so I pulled the trigger on a competition out in York, PA for April 18th and 19th.
This meant that I needed to organize my training for the next 6-7 weeks and ramp up to peak performance for single repetition maximum effort (hereafter 1RM). Since I’ve never really done this before, I figured it might be a good idea to check the Googles for some information on how to do this. For my first powerlifting competition last year, I did a 3-4 week cram for my preparation. It wasn’t optimal for several reasons: I was just coming off of several medications that affected me adversely; 3-4 weeks is nowhere near enough time to adequately prepare when you’ve been unable to lift more than once a week for the last several months; I had no idea how my body would respond to any kind of training in the wake of the ankylosing spondylitis flares, medication issues, wacky weight gain, etc.
I wanted to prepare much more carefully this time around. I have been able to train very consistently for about a year now, so a peaking program would be pretty ideal. After poking around on Google for a little while, I settled on a program by Jonnie Candito, a very accomplished collegiate powerlifter. You can find the free training program on his site. I punched in my numbers, got my plan, and put it into practice last week.
For two days.
And I was wrecked. Totally wrecked. I had to recover for the rest of the week, and just got back to training today. The volume was much higher than I am accustomed to, and since I’m only a month and a half away from the meet, the prescribed percentages were already at 80% of my 1RM. This is not Candito’s fault, of course. It just isn’t the right program for me at this time. I think I’d need a much higher volume 12 week program to utilize Candito’s program effectively. So I may use this again another time. Maybe later this year.
Which brings me to how I should have just followed my instincts rather than program hopping. The 5/3/1 and SSPT training were working really well. They just weren’t lining up very well with my time frame for the meet. But I shouldn’t have let that distract me. I should have just moved back in the SSPT sequence for the squat, bench press, and deadlift and let it take me right into the peak for the meet.
So that’s what I’m doing now. The low volume but high intensity approach seems to work well for me. I make good progress and can recover in a reasonable time. I think they call this old guy training. Maybe not. All I know is that I will be adding a significant amount of weight to my total over last year’s performance. Sometimes, you just really have to listen to your instincts.