Written by Corey Hayes
Ive had the luxury during my lifting career of training with, talking to and even training/assisting some of the best lifters in the world. Im naturally an observant person but I turn it up a notch while around people I can learn from. I do this because it is without a doubt the best way to gain knowledge in a sport that is more of an art than science. In my mind I compare great lifters after watching them to other lifters, picking out the comparisons and making logical sense out of things.
Here is what I have found to be the key:
Stapling down as many variables as possible.
The one thing that is almost universal across the board (of champions) is the fact that from meet to meet, 95% of their training, diets and supplements stay the same. This is called consistency. Through consistency, big changes can be made with slight adjustment.
1. (of a person, behavior, or process) unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time
Going to the gym day in and day out is consistency but consistency without a plan is a quick path to no where but consistency with a plan is the start of a path to success.
Training should not be comparable to a game of leap frog. The number one mistake by new lifters is program jumping, I myself am horribly guilty of this. With the creation of training methods by every lifter that has ever worked out and read a few online articles, this disaster is happening more and more.
The key: Stick to a program and make it work for you
Don’t give up if a program didn’t work the first 10,12,15 week cycle. Look back in the detailed notes you should be taking and find what went wrong, what was missing or what was just too much. From here, make a few simple adjustments and try again. If you continue this process for months and even years, you will develop a system that you can 100% rely on to make you strong every meet without missing your peak or over-doing it and destroying yourself. World record holders like Dan Green, Eric Lilliebridge, Caitlyn Trout, and of course the cube man B. Lilly all have training cycles that they stick with from meet to meet.
Fine tuning the training-
If you are going into your workout without your assistance work planned, most people will do whatever is comfortable, they will do what someone else is doing or just skip it all together. By doing this, you
A) Don’t keep track of your weights
– How do you add weights or reps if you dont know what you did?
B) Constantly change exercises
-You don’t adapt or get use to an exercise in a week or two, the real gains come after weeks and weeks when you are nuerologically adapted to the exercise meaning you can use the muscles much more efficiently every rep. More efficient reps = more work done.
C) Avoid what really needs work
– By doing whats comfortable which is normally what people do when they train “instinctively”, people tend to work what they are good at and skip what they suck at.
D) Don’t know what helped.
-If you do something differently weekly or change every few weeks, how do you pin point what really worked at the end of your training cycle and what didn’t work? With clients I work with for multiple meets in a row, sometimes the only changes from meet to meet will be 1-2 assistance exercises and the weights being used. Its that simple.
Next comes the nutrition and drugs. Ill lump this together as they can be explained similarly. Yes, some powerlifters take drugs, its ok… The lifters that keep their dieting styles consistent over the years of training cycles learn to fine tune their eating habits to shed excess bodyfat and grow. World class lifters that use drugs successfully also tend to stick to the same protocol each meet, only adding some when the former dose is no longer providing the support they need to push past their genetic limits. (Im in no way endorsing steroid use, I am only telling it like it is.)
Today is your wake up call, stop jumping from program to program and get some real work in. Start a training log and write every thing you do down nutrition, workout, cardio and rest wise. Find the patterns that emerge over time. Keep the good and throw away the bad. Add in this level of consistency with a little time and you’ll be farther ahead than you ever thought you could be.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. Facebook, YouTube