Written by Corey Hayes
Coming freshly off of a 65lb competition squat PR in the December North of the Border meet, it was time to go back to the drawing board to create a plan to take over the world….er, I mean world record.
To start, I needed to get her re-adjusted to the high volume that is placed on her during the off-season. We also took this time to bring up some weak points by training completely raw, as in no belt, no wraps, no nothing’.
As you see, we kept the weight the same for the entire training month, only lowering for the deload. The work comes from increasing the sets and/or reps each week which in-turn increases the total tonnage lifted each week.
Next came the normal off-season volume phases which are quite vanilla and not very flashy but are what really increase Caitlyns lifts like no other. The total number of daily lifts stay at a flat rate (around 75) and we adjust the total weight weekly, striving to add 10lbs a week or about 3 percent. All the lifts stay the same, although she is strong as shit, she isn’t an “advanced” lifter as she has only been training for a year and a half. I see no need to vary her training lifts weekly. During this phase, we re-introduce the belt only on regular squats, no belt worn for anything else.
Two months of the volume phase was ran, the only difference being ever increasing weights. In month two of the volume phase, we increased the difficulty of her assistance work as well.
Next starts the fun part, the off-season work is now done and its time to transition into competition prep. Phase 3 of the plan is the transition phase as its a stepping stone between the insane volume of the off-season and the incredible weights of the peaking phase.
In the transition phase, we lower the total amount of reps done per workout to around 50 and continue increasing the weights on everything but good mornings. The goal of good mornings change at this point from a builder to a “maintainer”. ALL FOCUS IS NOW ON THE SQUAT. Again, the same exercises are used each week. During this phase is when we introduce knee wraps. I have Caitlyn wrap her own knee’s during this phase to make sure they aren’t super tight or more than needed.
And finally, the peaking phase. The volume drops again, now dropping slightly every week while weights keep increasing. We also introduce reverse band work done with doubled micro-mini bands which reduce the weight by about 30lbs at the bottom and zero at the top. This is enough to have her handle some heavier weights, build confidence and prime the central nervous system without killing herself. I’m a big believer in “saving it for the platform” so I never have her take more than a few pounds over an opener without the reverse bands.
During this phase, knees are wrapped as tight as possible and good mornings are completely dropped. Volume on the assistance lifts are also slightly decreased for recovery’s sake.
So you see, hard work and proper planning is abundant. Proper planning is a per-curser to success so why are you still going to the gym without a plan? As Mike T says, “months and years, not days and weeks.”
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.