Powerlifting

Bastardized Block Periodization


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Everyone has heard of block periodization but how many of you can actually lay out a plan and impliment it correctly? Im going to guess most of you, I cant even do it myself without some research before hand. So that being said, I made a simplified version that practically anyone can use or program for any purpose. My guinea pig was my own girlfriend Caitlyn which I got to train from square one. When she finally started coming to the gym with me, she could only squat about 80 to 90lbs, bench around 55 to 60 and a 135 deadlift made me hurt inside. Now? 18 months later she is a mid 3 squatter, 150lb bencher and a high 3’s deadlifter without ever changing weight classes. Here is how…

Basics:

For most clients, I will assses weak points to plan out their lifts other than the competition lifts, those always stay the same. For the competition lifts, i prefer a high number of sets in the 2-3 rep range during the volume and transition phase but I perfer lower sets and higher reps on the 2nd or 3rd lifts done. The 2nd and 3rd lifts done are based on weak spots that need brought up. I prefer lower sets and higher reps here to pack on more muscle where it really counts. I also include 3-4 sets of lats and abs every single training day after the main movements. Why? Show me someone who has enough lat and ab strength.

In 18 months, this programming has taken Caitlyn Trout from complete novice, to being on the verge of breaking a World Record in the squat!
In 18 months, this programming has taken Caitlyn Trout from complete novice, to being on the verge of breaking a World Record in the squat!

I also devote the fourth day of training to upper body assistance work like military press, inch above the chest pauses and stability work like bamboo bar bench or hanging weight bench press. I do this to up the volume more while hitting the secondary muscles used in the bench. If i was to program flat benching with this much volume twice a week, many overuse injuries would start to pop up.

Volume Phase

Im going to start by saying this phase is not easy. You will hate it at first but after one or two cycles you wont mind it as much. This is where the work is done, this is where the strength base is built. Lifts do not have to be competition lifts, variants are ok here since we are not close to competition or testing. Volume phases should be ran back to back until there is a competition selected.

Guidelines:

4 days a week, 1 squat day, 1 deadlift day, 1 bench day, 1 upper body assistance day

75 barbell reps spread accross 3 major exercises

Start at 70% and add weight slowly but gradually

No knee wraps, limited belt usage.

Set up the first exercise as a competition lift or close variant such as a 3/4in deficit deadlift.

Deload on the fourth week

Transition Phase

The transition phase is reserved only when getting ready for competition or a planned test day. The volume is reduced and the weights are increased, this is a primer for the peaking phase. The lifts get more specific to the competitive needs so there are less variants of competition lifts.

Guidelines:

4 days a week, 1 squat day, 1 deadlift day, 1 bench day, 1 upper body assistance day

50 barbell reps spread accross 3 major exercises

Start at 80% and add weight each week

First lifts are competition lifts, not variants.

Add light knee wraps

Deload on 4th week

Peaking Phase

The peaking phase is next; this is where the base built by the volume phases is polished and prepared for show. This phase gets the central nervous system firing at full capacity by decreasing volume and increasing intensities. Many lifts during this phase are based off of projected meet attempts; overloads with boards for bench, reverse bands for squat and blocks for deadlift are also used.

4 days a week, 1 squat day, 1 deadlift day, 1 bench day, 1 upper body assistance day

Tight Wraps

One lift per session

Week 4: last warm up 2×3

Week 3: last warm up x3, 1st attempt x2

Week 2:  last warm up, 1st attempt, 2nd attempt, 3rd attempt from block/board/rev band

Week 1: last warm up, 1st attempt , 2nd attempt from block/board/rev band

Meet Week – Deload

Hopefully this helps you piece together your own block style training system. This is my variation of it that took many months to work the kinks out of. I encourage you to try something like this if you are a newer lifter to build muscle and get alot of work with the competition lifts or someone that lifts alone as a spotter isnt required until the later weeks of the program.

Corey Hayes is an up and comer to the strength and conditioning world. He is currenty a student at Eastern Kentucky University and a Professional level powerlifter. His best meet lifts are 725/425/675 at 220 raw and 880/640/680 at 242 geared. He has future plans of taking over the world and making a living doing what he enjoys, the iron game.
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