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Routine Review and Future Plans

By Gary F. Zeolla

The following messages were posted in the Weight Trainers United forum and on my MySpace blog.

I finished up my 12 week “Alternate Weeks” routine on Monday, June 14, 2010. And I must say I was very pleased with it. Once I figured out what I was doing, everything went well and according to plan, with barely a missed rep. My injuries are much improved, although I’m not ready to declare them totally healed, so I still have to be careful. But I am pleased that I am back to handling somewhat reasonably heavy weights, although my lifts are still down considerably from my previous bests. Impending my progress is I am still struggling to get a good night’s sleep and with my other health problems.

When my problems worsened at the beginning of the year, I said that most likely I would not enter a contest this year. But that really depressed me as it would be the first time in several years my name would not be on the various ranking lists. But now that I am feeling somewhat better, I am thinking of maybe entering a contest before the end of the year. There are several possibilities in November or December. However, the contests all differ in regards to gear: some are raw, some are single-ply, and some are multi-ply, while some have more than one option.

As such, what I am going to try doing is something I actually warn against in my powerlifting book, training for both raw and equipped lifting at once. My basic plan is to follow the “Off-Season/ In-Season” routine I detail in my book (pp. 118-119). The idea is to have two distinct “seasons” each lasting 8-12 weeks. For the off-season, major assistance exercises are done *instead of* the actual powerlifts. Then for the in-season, the powerlifts are done almost exclusively.

I will combine this with an alternate weeks plan, as I’ve been doing and as described on pages 117-118. For the off-season, for Week A I will do bottom-end exercises to prepare for raw lifting, while in Week B I will do top end exercises to prepare for equipped lifting.

For the in-season, for Week A I will do the powerlifts raw and for Week B, the powerlifts equipped. An interesting article on Critical Bench’s Web site suggested this very pattern for training for both raw and equipped benching. That article was: 20 Tips For Getting The Most Of Your Bench Press Shirt.

It would be best for each “season” to last about an equal amount of time. So I will need to decide when I am planning on competing by a couple of months into this routine so I know when to transition from “off” to “in” season training.

As for gear, I can hold off on deciding on raw vs. equipped until well into the in-season portion as there are contests in November and December with each option. I figure I will see which is going best and compete that way. Or maybe I will try entering two contests close together, one raw and one equipped.

But to give me more options, I am planning on starting with single-ply gear. That way, I could enter contests that only allow single-ply and contests that allow multi-ply. However, I didn’t have any single-ply gear anymore, so I needed to order some new stuff. I figured it was best to start now, at the beginning of the summer, so I can get all of the hassles of finding the right size and getting it altered before I need to start using the gear in September.

For the bench shirt, I got APT’s new Apex shirt. Follow the link for my short initial reviews of it. I am still working on getting a squat suit and maybe a separate DL suit.. I’ll post details when I get it all figured out.

Finally, if I do compete again, I am thinking I might have no choice but to move up from 114s to 123s. I’m weighing about the same as I have before when I cut to 114s, but I am carrying less body fat, so that would make it harder to cut weight. In college when I competed at 123s, my training weight was 125-128. It might be an idea to just plan on moving up and start working now on gaining up to that level over the next few months.

For my initial off-season training, see Full Workout Logs: Starting 6/16/2010 - Off-Season Training - Weeks 1-6 of 12.

Top 20 Masters Chart

The day after I posted the above message, I received the June 2010 issue of Powerlifting USA, containing the Top 20 Masters (over 40) chart. My placement for 114s was as follows:

Lift Weight Rank
Squat 295 #4
Bench 180 #6
Deadlift 400 #1
Total 865 #2

These lifts were all from my only contest in 2009, on June 13. I am not happy with my placements for squats and benches. But that is because I was lifting unequipped, wearing just a belt, wrist wraps, and knee sleeves while the lifters above me are probably competing equipped. I also had a very bad day on squats, getting just my second attempt, and a so-so day on benches, going 2/3. But my #1 placement on DLs reflects that I had a great day, going 4/4, and of course that gear makes little difference on DLs.

If I had the day I had hoped, I probably would have been #2 on squats and #5 on benches. And if I had competed equipped, I might have been #1 in all four categories. Knowing this would probably be the case is why, as discussed in the above message, I am in the process of getting new gear and hoping to enter an equipped contest before the end of this year for placement on next year's list.

Routine Review and Future Plans. Copyright 2010 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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