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KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

So this is less of an article and more of a rant.

Over the last 12 or 18 months, with the emergence of more coaches, to a varying degree of qualification, and the ever-growing popularity of powerlifting and strength sports, there has been a rise in Instagram lifting also. Variation is key to progress but ultimately, that variation must have an objective. As a coach, it is our responsibility to achieve that objective through the most effective means possible.

Training seems to go in phases on Instagram where all will be well for a period of time. Then, every other new-to-intermediate lifter that has a coach is doing triple pause squats on the descent versus doubled mini-bands to a box.

WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THAT?

Ask yourself before you do that exercise why are you doing that? If you can’t work it out, ask your coach.

Squatting is a fairly simple movement, providing you have all prerequisite mobility and stability. So throwing a billion factors into the lift to achieve an objective does 2 things.

Firstly, it will increase the overall complexity of the lift when you could most probably achieve the same effect from a much simpler variation.

Secondly, it will also increase the amount of time it will take for the variation to actually carry over. Going from a much more complex variation to it’s base variation takes times and the more a lift becomes complicated, either the less it will carry over or the more time it will take to carry over.

There’s nothing wrong with the basics. Here is a few we implement and why.

 

  • Tempo Squats – correct technical deficiencies
  • Safety Bar Squats – load the quads and upper back more (depending on handle position) and work against falling forward
  • Pause Deadlifts – correct technical deficiencies or build.maintain tension at a point in the lift
  • Deficit Deadlifts – tax the posterior chain more
  • Tempo Bench Press – correct technical deficiencies
  • Feet Out Bench Press – tax the pressing complex more and force greater level of stability

 

Remember, if you are unsure, ask why the hell am I doing this? Could I do this easier?

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Oh What A Spectacular Christmas – Competition Write-Up

DISCLAIMER – THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG ONE!

Before you get into the meat and potatoes of this write up, this is a full write up for all competitors BAR Kieran Perry, as I am sure he will have his own words to put together for yesterday’s antics.

Now down to business…

Over the day (excluding our very own Mr. Perry), we had 7 competitors across multiple classes, all with some or no competition experience. For some, it was their first real competition and other’s, it would be their second or third competition.

THE LIFTERS

First up, we have Bryony Brogden. Bryony had had a brilliant training cycle, having corrected a hip shift in the squat and really got her teeth stuck into some hard bench training. For a number of weeks, some back pain was displaying itself after doing deadlifts and squats. Upon investigation by a chiropractor, SI joint inflammation and a rotation of the pelvis was causing the issue, so we adapted. Bench only it is. It would be a crying shame to go this far and not compete.

Next, Leanne Barcock. Leanne came under my guidance recently and has had some significant technical changes with rough ideas and some technical tweaks to the deadlift, we went from strength to strength with an obnoxious string of weeks of PB’s! 

Meg Healey, who also only recently came under my guidance, having recently competed at the Arnolds in Europe for Bikini. With more attention focussed on a linear progression and on correct execution of the compounds, Meg rapidly gained strength.

Beth Park, who having had some time off with a fun summer, came back to the platform. Some scares and some great PB’s in the gym all came at the right and wrong time for this one.

A year to the day from her first competition, Frankie has managed to get herself down a weight class, from u72 to u63. Having had a fantastic prep with no little niggles and having had a major life overhaul, transitioning from insane hours per week to a regular work-life balance, she still managed to come out with a PB training cycle

Alison had an amazing prep coming into this comp with complete technical revision  since August. Having paid extra care to the details, Alison has majorly turned her lifts around now and there’s a lot more to come

Helen, having done a club competition and loved it, (Props to NW Powerlifting for this – brilliant idea), fancied herself doing a proper competition now. 6 weeks of training actually lead her to some solid PB’s in the gym.

Max, had a brief but quick turn around after having been on holiday and become ill, had to take a run at this comp to just to see where we were up to.

SQUATS

Leanne – came out to open her previous comp best of 65kg and using her new narrow stance, she smoked it. Up to 72.5kg for her second and it flew. Third, we played it safe and built the total with 75kg! 10kg PB!

Meg – opening on her 1 rep max from 6 weeks ago, smashed 72.5kg out the park. For some unknown reason, her second at 85kg was just a sit down. Back for redemption on the third, Meg then proceeded to lift 85kg and far easier than her opener!

Beth – opening on 105kg, she cruised through that and then onto securing a really solid 112.5kg for her second. However, the third was just that little too much to ask.

Frankie – opening at 105kg, a 2.5kg PB, absolutely BURIED it but unfortunately, due to the nervous return of the kamikaze descent, it was her downfall on the day with 112.5kg being just that bit too heavy to finish.

Alison – opening at 100kg, previous competition best, made VERY light work of it and then went onto hitting 110kg! However, a shift of the bar up the back causing it to roll up the back meant that 115kg was just that bit too much. 10kg PB ultimately!

Helen – opening 95kg, smoked it! Second was 102.5kg matching her competition best from the club comp and making it look MUCH easier. Last attempt was 110kg and it was comfortable! More to come here!

Max – opening at 140kg, flew up and then second at 150kg was perfect. Having a crack at a PB but alas, it wasn’t to be and 160kg just wouldn’t budge. Next time!

BENCH

Bryony – lifting bench only, opened with a speedy 42.5kg – tying her competition best. Next up, we took 47.5kg and it flew. Unfortunately, 50kg eluded us today but it will happen and soon. 

Leanne – opening on a 2.5kg PB with a 42.5kg bench. Next up, 47.5kg it went! Just like before, 50kg eluded us today but it will be there!

Meg  – opening on 40kg and it was super easy. Second was 45kg and it flew. Ending on a PB of 47.5kg!

Beth – opening on 42.5kg and made super light work of it. Next up a PB of 47.5kg but a kamikaze descent on her third, unfortunately meant that 50kg was just out of reach today. (I’m starting to think that 50kg was cursed for these girls today!)

Frankie –  I quote “loves the bench”, opened with her previous best of 70kg and then moved onto another easy lift of 75kg. However, ambition got the best of us today and 80kg hit the chest and stayed there. Next time. For definite.

Alison – having battled with bench for some time now BUT with some technical improvements actually made some major subjective gains here, making 35kg and 37.5kg look VERY easy. Unfortunate miss on the third of 42.5kg.

Helen – came out opening at 50kg (not so cursed apparently) and smashed it. Second attempt at 55kg was exactly where we wanted it and it was a PB! Third was a stab at 57.5kg but today was not the day.

Max – opening on 95kg and smoked it and ended on a competition PB of 102.5kg with 105kg just being that little much today. Once he gets his weight back on and gets back in rhythm, more will go.

DEADLIFT

Leanne – opening on 95kg and keeping those shins vertical, meant that her opener rocketed up. Backed up by tying her best with 102.5kg and then continuining to build that total with a super easy 107.5kg. Sumo is all about PATIENCE. Don’t rush it. Leanne executed this perfectly.

Meg – opening on 100kg and made it look like a feather. Next up 112.5kg and then as that was so easy, we went for a PB of 125kg! Smashed it!!

Beth – opening on a comp PB of 110kg, we took even jumps and ended on an all out PB of 130kg with some room to spare. Beth has a trying time with deadlifts in training having historically strained her QL badly a long while ago.

Frankie – opening with 105kg, she made light work of it, taking a big jump to 120kg and then smashed it! Finally, we went for a nice round 135kg (300lbs ish) and it went! A good comeback as her last heavy pull did NOT go her way!

Alison – opening at 105kg with the new technique, it barely was able to stay on the floor. Next up 117.5kg to tie her competition best – same again. Lastly, a PB of 125kg! It was solid all the way through and even when Ali hit the hard point in the lift, determination saw her through!

Helen – opening with 105kg also, it didn’t want to stay on the floor and followed up with 120kg that was certainly not going to stay down and lastly going for a 130kg deadlift to round off some big improvements technically.

Max – opening with a comfortable 170kg and then moving to 190kg and it moved perfectly. However, wanting to secure a competition PB and also beat out his gym “rival,” he opted for 207.5kg but it was not to be unfortunately and it was a miss.

CONCLUSION

Out of the 7 lifters above, we all had a great but exhausting day! 

Well done to everyone who competed and thank you to all the spotters, loaders and referees. Special mention has to go to Kim Cowell who, not only organised the whole thing but competed and coached as well!

Thank you as well goes to all Casson Strength members who turned up to support on the day – We’re more than just a club after all.

Casson Strength will be back in force again in 2019 with MANY competitions planned!

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CURLS FOR KILOS

CURLS FOR KILOS – Why Training Your Arms Will Save and Boost Your Total

In an age of minimalist training in powerlifting, I choose a different path. Train muscular function, train the body as it moves as a whole and get strong in the process.

Nowadays, the popular squat, bench, deadlift sessions involve doing singles and back off work and maybe some back work and if you’re feeling adventurous. You might even throw in some face pulls to counteract the inevitable “question mark” posture of someone moving in limited planes of motion.

Years ago, I neglected training my arms as I felt it was unnecessary as I just needed to get stronger on squat, bench and deadlift and only the big movements and their close variations were worth my time.

Oh how wrong I was.

Competition preps rife with elbow pain, shaky elbows when benching and a general lack of “jacked-ness” was where I ended up.

Then I met Dr. Jordan Shallow. He showed me how crucial it was to train your arms and more specifically your biceps in order to stay healthy and injury free.

When you look at the big three, the bicep is involved in someway – passively or actively – for example, depressing the humerus into the shoulder joint when benching.

The bicep doesn’t just bend the arm, it turns the wrist up primarily to the ceiling in an action called supination, flexes the shoulder forward and also stabilises the shoulder blade when under heavy load.

So then, shouldn’t you be curling?

Yes. Yes you should. But how? Don’t just grab the nearest pair of dumbbells and fling them round till you get a pump. Train these muscle functions to preserve your elbow health, prevent nagging elbow pain, stabilise bigger loads when you bench and look better too!

My Perfect Curl:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Start with the arm behind you, palm turned away from the body to fully stretch the bicep.
  • Initiate the movement by flexing the arm and turning the wrist up to the ceiling over a 2 count
  • As you flex the arm, bring the elbow across the body and in front, flexing the shoulder.
  • Squeeze the bicep as hard as you can, aiming to get the little finger outside of the arm, taking it to it’s end range of supination.
  • Squeeze up a count of 2, pause for 1, and then lower for a 2 count.

Keep doing this with a weight that allows you move appropriately in the 6-12 rep range under control and stop when you can no longer get all muscular functions hit.

This is just one way to curl and there are more but here is your best place to start for injury prevention, bigger lifts AND getting bigger, better biceps!

 

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BEING BETTER, EVERY DAMN DAY… Vol. 2

BEING BETTER, EVERY DAMN DAY… Vol.2

BIG BACK, BIG BUTT, BIG TOTAL

With the lessons from last weekend learned, I took some time to plan my attack.

I’ve picked a competition and how I plan on getting into it and qualifying.

The competition is exactly 24 weeks away after my rest up. That gives me three eight-week phases to get better. But how do you get better at squatting, benching and deadlifting without doing the same thing day in day out.

VARIATION.

Variation is the cornerstone of progress. You can only keep giving your body the same stimulus for so long before you eventually have to give it a break so it is fresh for next time.

 

So in this off-season, I will be hammering conventional deficit deadlifts, high bar squats and bench pressing with a flatter back and close grip. Using higher reps, 8’s to begin with for my top set, I will push these to hit a goal of 180-190 for 8 on the squat, 230 for 6 on the deficit and 110 for 8 on the bench press. I’ve got a good idea where that would put me in terms of my core lifts.

If you look at all the great powerlifters, tested and non-tested, there is one thing in common. They all have monstrous upper backs and an ass that follows them like a trailer.

So how do you train these attributes. You put a heavy emphasis in training your whole posterior chain, from your traps and down.

Every day I am prioritising bent over rows or dumbbell rows for increasing weight over time and increasing repetitions performed with chins. Something that needed work on.

For glutes, my compounds for this next 8 weeks are high bar squats, 1” deficit deadlifts, front squats and 3” deficit stiff leg deadlifts. Now, on both lower body days, I am hitting 1-2 further lower exercises with the aim to strengthen that posterior chain – split squats, reverse lunges, hip thrusts and reverse hypers.

 

Keep an eye out for some training videos in the near future on Youtube!

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BEING BETTER, EVERY DAMN DAY…

BEING BETTER, EVERY DAMN DAY…

MY JOURNEY TO NATIONALS 2019

This weekend just gone, I competed at PowerPalooza 2 at Liverpool Barbell.

It was a brilliantly run meet – smooth, timely and fun.

I went to PowerPalooza 2 with a mind to redeem myself, in my own eyes solely, from my sub-par performance in August. I had been coming off two significant muscle strains and totalled less than 600kg. Something I hadn’t done since before I took time away from competing.

With renewed vigour, I had trained hard and hit some speed bumps but with some words from Kieran and some sage words from Andrezj resonating with me, I was coming for some big lifts.

 

It wasn’t meant to be in its entirety. Lessons were learned. I had a fantastic competition where I learned a lot about myself and also, discovered I had cracked my squat training.

My best in August was a 210kg squat. This lift left a bitter taste in my mouth. I pushed hard on the squat, hitting rep PBs here or there. I opened on a 215kg squat. My heaviest opener to date.

It moved well. Happy, I moved it up to 230kg – a 2.5kg improvement from my competition in April. I didn’t do so well here. Belt in the wrong place, couldn’t breathe or brace properly, I still squatted it, making a bit of a meal of it in the process.

Confident I could not throw this third lift down the chute, I chose 240kg for my third. A 10kg all time PB and a weight I hadn’t touched in training. I walked up to the bar reciting the words of Kirk Karwoski – the legendary IPF Multiple-World Champion and squat legend – in my head.

I went down and came back up, easier than the 230kg. On a high, despite my telling off for some over-excited profanities, I semi-switched off having claimed what I came for. A big squat.

Moving into the rest of the comp, I missed ALL THREE of my benches due to pull in my neck, that referred issues into my trap, lat and tricep. I had unfortunately just missed the call for changes to openers, but still gave it all I had.

Deadlift, also, did not go to plan. My legs were gassed from the 240kg squat so I immediately dropped my opener from 235kg to 200kg (God knows what the table were thinking) and I switched stance and performed a single warm up at 180kg.

Having not practiced conventional since August, I pulled a 250kg deadlift out the hat and went home a very happy lifter.

 

There would have been no point sulking about this performance as a freak incident with my right arm/upper back had left me scuppered, but I walked away content with my squat performance and renewed confidence that I still had some totals in me.

 

This week gives me just shy of 6 months to get my act together and build for the Cumbria Championships in 2019.

My first phase of training will be building the competition lifts with some variations for a break from the competition lifts and chance for developing the potential for some bigger lifts.

This will be my blog to get me there, updated weekly with the ultimate goal to qualify and then lift at Senior Nationals 2019. That will be my first competition at a National level with myself competing.

 

I’m coming.

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LADIES, WE GOT THIS.

Most of you reading this will most certainly know that when it comes to powerlifting, us girls certainly do have this, but for the girls out there that are unsure when it comes to lifting heavy weight; please spare some time and give my story a read.

 

3 years ago I stepped into a gym for the first time, to start working out regularly. I had no idea what I was doing, how everything worked or what a good workout even was. I spent 2 of those years learning from my partner, friends & people online getting to know the basics of a cardio/weight workout. I mainly first started the gym to improve the way I look, get a little toned etc. In the 2 years I spent doing basic workouts, I didn’t see much change and the gym started to become more of a chore. Not having a goal or anything to work towards became highly unmotivating and draining. I would often have breaks off from the gym to see if that would help, but it just made it harder to come back each time.

This past year of 2018 is my third year at the gym. This year has completely changed not only my workouts, but myself as a person- for the better!

At the start of the year I was introduced to a powerlifting team- Casson Strength. Little did I know at the time that these people were about to have a huge impact on my life. My partner Kieran had always been into powerlifting and when we met the group he became very interested, very fast. He started to talk to me about joining the team and start powerlifting. The first time he mentioned it to me I actually laughed.. I was so shocked that he even thought about me lifting heavy I thought he was joking!

I then started to regularly go and train with the group just to get a feel for what it’s like, what they actually do etc. I started to enjoy myself a lot! Soon enough I was given a program to follow (I asked for this just to see what it was going to be like) I ended up loving it and I knew I had started to get my motivation back, due to having proper structure within my workouts.

A month or so went past and both Kieran and coach Dan Casson both asked me about maybe doing a competition a few months away. I said no straight away.

You are probably thinking why did I say no if I was enjoying it so much? I panicked so much at the thought of stepping on a platform in front of lots of people and lifting heavy. I convinced myself I wasn’t good enough at all yet to go and do that. Within a few weeks, I changed my mind. I was starting to see progression with my training and one night I just sat and thought about all of it properly & said to myself that I want to do this competition. Not to beat anyone else, but to go and beat myself and my recent numbers.

I signed up and it was all systems go from then on. Most people I told, friends & family etc were extremely shocked that I was going for this. Normally, whenever I tell someone that I do compete in powerlifting, their reactions are priceless! I am typically seen as a skinny, small, shy girl.. Little do they know! Anyway, comp day finally came around.

The nerves were REAL. I felt sick, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.

There was a big crowd who came to watch, including pretty much the whole team! Which was great to have them there on the day. As soon as I stepped on the platform for my first squat, I completed zoned out and my entire focus was to nail this lift, and I did exactly that. I had just done my first lift and I came off over the moon. I knew then that this was only going to be the start. The comp finished and I ended up with 8/9 lifts which I thought was brilliant for my first one. I remember turning to Kieran afterwards and saying.. I want to do another one. The buzz and excitement was unreal. I had no idea what the comp was going to be like. Everyone, even the people who have never even met you before is so so supportive of you and gets behind you no matter what. The atmosphere is just buzzing and overall it’s just a great sport to get in to.

 

I am now coming to the end of my first year of powerlifting. I will be stepping on the platform again in December to finish off a great year – & to beat my total of course!

I would like to mention that along my journey, I have met some incredibly strong girls. I don’t think people realise that us girls can be very strong, at a competitive level.. Just the same as the guys can. It is truly inspiring that our team Casson Strength, is made up of pretty much half and half of girls and guys.

Not only is our group a powerlifting team who support each during training and at comps, we are also a big friendship group, which is great.

 

Powerlifting has not only given me a great hobby that I hope to continue for a long time, it has made me a lot stronger as a person – yes, in both ways! I am more confident, I feel that I can take on challenges now (I was always scared to ever challenge myself) and I am also happy with the way I look. For the girls out there that are afraid “lifting weights will make me look bulky and manly” you couldn’t be more wrong. Lifting weights has made me feel confident in the way I look, slightly toned (which is what I was always wanting) and my body has gained a shape that I never thought i’d have, instead of just being slim. There are a lot of benefits to powerlifting, physically and mentally.

 

So ladies, it’s time to show them what we are made of.

 

Leanne Barcock

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EQUIPPED, BRUISED AND TIRED WEEK 2

Equipped, Bruised and Tired Week 2

Weekly blog of my first equipped Prep Wk 2/8

So week 2 is completed and I haven’t killed myself yet. I actually had quite a positive week of training, achieving what I went out to achieve. I am going to keep the same programming style as last week as I was able to recover from each session so it didn’t affect the next.

Following on from last week, I am gonna try and drop some equipped information in each week of these blogs so that hopefully something can be learnt from a theoretical standpoint as well as learning from my training logs.

 

So how in hell does equipped lifting even work? How are athletes able to put on sometimes over 100 Kg on a single lift? Elastic Potential Energy. Those of you who have done some sort of physics will have come across this phrase. This scientific principle is where an object is deformed (in our case stretched) which causes the object to create elastic potential energy which allows the object to return to its original state once the deforming load has been removed. The more an object is deformed (stretched) the more energy is created.

Most single ply ( Single Layer of material) squat/deadlift suits and bench shirts are made of a polyester fabric but can also be made out of denim and canvas. The latter are mainly found in multiply lifting (Multiple layers of material). These materials in general are very tough and durable pieces of fabric which will only stretch under heavy load. This is why you will see equipped lifters struggling to touch the chest or hit depth with lighter warm up weights. This is because the load is not great enough to stretch the material.  In a squat suit, the zone which is stretched is mainly the crotch and waist of the suit. In the bench shirt, the chest plate is the area which is stretched. A deadlift suit does not stretch as much as the other two and therefore provides less of a benefit to the lifter but does help keep a strong midsection from the straps with the small stretch in the hips.

So these shirts and suits always offer the most benefit at the bottom of the lifts where they are fully stretched. When the lifter starts the concentric portion of the lift, the elastic potential energy is released helping the lifter. Throughout the rep, the equipment offers less and less benefit as it is becoming less stretched until it offers no help at all. For example at the bottom of the squat and when the bar is on the chest in a bench press, the equipment will help the most. This is why you will see equipped lifters emphasising the top portion of a lift whether that’s the squat, bench or deadlift. This is because they need to be able to carry on and finish the lift once the equipment has done its job.

Day 1 (Heavy Squat): Why is it whenever I train equipped with Dan, I always end up doing sketchy shit? Decided to put the smaller suit on with the aim of finding a rep to depth. I had about 230Kg in mind. Warm ups going great, suit goes on at 170Kg, still feeling for depth. Get to 230Kg, wraps go on… I don’t think I even got two thirds of the way down. This meant 250Kg got loaded. Didn’t really expect to be loading that on the day but needs must to try and find where the opener would sit. Literally just a fraction above depth and it moved really well bearing in mind that it’s 25% above my raw 1rm. I still need to appreciate that it is 50Kg more than I have ever had on my back before that day. Just need to get the confidence with that sort of weight on my back and being in the hole with it, which I hope the reverse band work will do! Also first time using the Inzer gripper wraps. Quite cast like when you get them tight enough but still give a good pop. Only problem is taking them off as, like they say in the name, they just keep gripping to your leg when you just want to get it off. Finished off with some SSB Pin Squats as well as some leg and core accessory work… Boring.

Day 2 (Heavy Bench): Back in the shirt a week later. Giving myself a week to mull over where I went wrong last week and how I was gonna correct it. Set myself the goal of finding my opener which I thought would be around the 140 mark. Warm ups moved okay got to the 140 and fucked it again… Fuming. Shit line and could not transfer onto the triceps… the goal for the day was to find an opener so I dropped the weight to 130 to see if i could get that to touch. I also had an experiment and did not use the belt which in turn would help get the touch. Low and behold, two reps at 130 and both touched the chest. Quite a big deal bearing in mind I haven’t actually been able to complete a full rep let alone two in one session. The plan going forward is to use the reverse bands to help work on the load increase throughout a rep with added benefit of feeling heavier loads in the hands. I am also thinking of dropping the belt until I get to a point where I am starting to struggle off the chest, in a shirt, to help with locking the rep out. Finished off with illegal grip bench and heavy high pin tricep work.

Day 3 (Deadlift Day): So as always, on Thursday we deadlift. This is still actually quite boring and uninteresting as the deadlifts are just ticking over leading up to the peak I’ll be running into comp. Some simple 5×5 @ 190 this week followed up with paused squats 3×5 @ 150 to keep that bottom end strength up. Went over to fortitude fitness to train with @Alexmeighanfitness. Great session, lots of lifting talk and hard training which was nice. Also nice to have a change in scenery but I do always miss my Eleiko and calibrated plates when I train away from home. Turning into such a kit snob. 

Day 4 (Dynamic Day): Same as last week really with nothing substantial to write about. Close grip floor press 4×5 @ 92.5 and Deadlifts 4×3 @ 180. Trying to work on powering through the lift making it move as quick as possible. Think I have one more week of close grip floor press before I then change to banded bench for the run into comp.

 

Looking back at that week, if I can get my opening lifts and a decent deadlift in then, I should be looking at a 650 total roughly which I won’t be turning my nose up at with it being my first comp equipped. As I’ve said before, equipment does not produce miracles on the first go. To be honest I’ll be happy not to bomb out and achieve British qualifying total which to be honest isn’t that substantial in the equipped category at the moment but that doesn’t bother me.

 

As always, any questions that you have whether it be about equipped/raw powerlifting or training in general, don’t be afraid to give us a shout in the comments below or by email at kieran@cassonstrength.co.uk

Kieran Perry

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EQUIPPED, BRUISED AND TIRED

Equipped, Bruised and Tired

Weekly Blog of my first week of equipped prep. Wk 1/8

Equipped ain’t dead yet. Right?

As some have you may have seen on my instagram (@Sliimstrong) , I am giving this equipped lifting a good go. I am dedicating 8 weeks to a full equipped prep for a meet in December. Equipped lifting has always interested me and I have always wanted to give it a proper go but never felt like I was in a place to due to access to kit etc. So over the last 6 months or so, I’ve been investing in kit, a piece at a time so eventually I would be in a position that I would have the equipment needed. I’ve got to this position now.

Some of you may be wondering what equipped lifting is. The concept of the competition stays the same. 3 Squats, 3 Benches, 3 Deadlifts but as you have probably guessed, you can use equipment to supplement your lift. Some see this as cheating due to the popularity of raw lifting. Oh you fools, some say equipped lifting was around before raw lifting. More research is needed to delve deeper to competitions back in the 60’s to figure out if this is a thing.

Where powerlifting was derived from weightlifting in the 1960’s, knee wraps/ bandage wraps had always been a thing. Roll on the 70/80’s though, manufacturers such as Titan and Inzer started making suits and shirts to aid and support the lifter. This was the time that we saw equipment becoming massive in powerlifting in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Starting from the late 2000’s, interest in equipped lifting started to wane and a new era of powerlifting started to become more popular. Welcome “Raw/Classic” Powerlifting. This type of lifting prohibited the use of supportive equipment such as knee wraps, squat suits, deadlift suits and bench shirts. Classic lifting only allows wrist wraps, a belt and knee sleeves whereas full raw only allowed use of a belt.

Anyway, less about the origins of powerlifting. Perhaps I will go into this another time.

I am going to use this weekly blog to show how my training is going, as well as informing others about equipped lifting and maybe sparking some people’s interests to try it.

 

Day 1 (Heavy/Equipped Squat): This was the best day of the week and exactly went to plan. Set out to squat 3 x 1 x 200Kg in a suit and sleeves which I did. This was just to get the feel for being back in a suit. I have squatted in equipment before this prep so this was just a feeler session to see how 200 would go. Didn’t get to depth in any of the singles but was very close in all three. This shows that i am probably looking at roughly 220 to get my ass down for an opener haha.  Next week’s session, I’m going to give the smaller suit a go and work the weight up until I can get to depth.

Day 2 (Heavy/Equipped Bench): This session, I was lucky enough to meet up with Dean Bowring, a former equipped world champion and legend in British Powerlifting. He took time out of his day to come coach and talk me through some shirted bench. I have struggled to get to grips with the shirt due to guesswork on the set up and how best to use it effectively. In the past, I have pulled the sleeves up too far therefore not getting the most out of the shirt. I have since learnt this is wrong. To help with this, I also need to take in the sleeves on the shirt so that they don’t slide around. Equipment can be altered to fit the user better as long as the alteration falls in line with the federation’s rules.  I’ve always struggled with the transition onto the triceps in the shirt, always failing half way up. This is because my technique is awful haha. My pressing line is too straight meaning I’m not pressing back towards my face enough. This is in inefficient as it will be harder to engage the triceps whilst still over the upper core. As well as this, by not pressing back to my face, I’m reducing the musculature available. Going forward, I have some tech work and tricep strengthening work to do which will hopefully iron that out.

Day 3 (Equipped/Heavy Deadlift): Well this was… Interesting. Never used to deadlift before and this definitely is the hardest equipped discipline. Just getting to the bar from a standing position is a mission in itself! I thought I was bad in a bench shirt. I am even worse when deadlifting in a suit. Getting a good position is crucial otherwise you will fail the lift at lockout. The most I got to in the suit was 200Kg. That’s 60Kg under my best raw deadlift. This will need a lot of work over time. Going into the comp, I am going to deadlift raw just to make sure I can qualify for the equipped nationals early next year. Where I wasn’t getting into a good enough starting position, my hips were shooting up and legs locking too early leaving me to stiff leg the weight to lock out. Not a good idea. It is crazy how the suit that probably gives you less on top of your raw lift, is the hardest to bloody use. Finished the session with some pause squats to help keep the strength in the bottom of the squat.

Day 4 (Speed/Dynamic Day): The final day of the week will always be nice and light focusing on speed and power. Close grip floor press and deadlifts were on the agenda along with some shoulder and knee health. Nothing that interesting is going to happen on this day.

 

All in all, it’s not been a total disaster this first week, lots of work to be done and hopefully progress to be made! LET’S SEE WHAT I CAN DO!

Massive thanks to Dean Bowring for taking the time to coach me and sharing his vast knowledge of powerlifting that I can hopefully put to good use. Anyone in the South Midlands division or anyone who comes across Dean, listen and learn.

Any questions that you have, whether it be about equipped, raw powerlifting or training in general, don’t be afraid to give us a shout and let us know if you’d be interested in more equipped content in the in the comments below or by emailing kieran@cassonstrength.co.uk.

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NO MORE PIPE DREAM TOTALS

NO MORE PIPE DREAM TOTALS

Plan Your Competitions And Cycles In Advance

The Adage Strikes Back

We’ve all heard it. “Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail”, or perhaps “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

Either way, it’s all true. If you have a goal in mind but you don’t make a plan on how to get there, you’re just hoping for the result to drop into your lap.

It’s either arrogance, idiocy, naivety or a combination of those.

Plan Your Year Ahead

Whether you are Regional level, National level or International level, you should have a plan of what competitions you’re going to do 12 months in advance. With the release of the 2019 calendar, now’s as good a time as any to pick your comps.

The Russians have a great method for competition selection – a method I have adopted myself for my athletes.

Pick 3 comps;

One will be your Championship – Regional, National or International

One will be your Qualifier – A local or National competition

One will be a groove comp.

With the first two of these competitions, you want to be going all out and the third will be your “groove” comp and also a bit of fun.

This third  “groove” comp is where you go and hit your 90% lifts and see how they move and how they feel. It’s a way to identify where you’re up to, what needs work and any corrective work that needs to be administered before your prep starts getting serious for National/International Championships.

Set Your Goals

Clients fall into two categories; the underachievers and the overachievers. They might not be what you initially think…

Once upon a time, I was an underachiever. I told myself 6 months from now I want to squat 227.5kg when I’d just done 180kg. I was fresh faced and hadn’t got a taste for the process yet.

Underachievers set really lofty goals and fall short.

Overachievers set ridiculously tame goals and end up surpassing them pretty quickly.

 

Neither camp is right, UA’s need to rein it in and OA’s need a kick up the ass and realise they’re capable of a lot more.

 

Don’t give yourself a defined number but perhaps a range to work in.

I, myself am currently doing this. So I’m going to put my goals out there.

I am currently just under a week out from my final competition of the year where I would like to squat 235-240kg, bench 145kg and deadlift 265kg.
I will do no less than these.

 

Given this, in 12 months, I would like to see a 250-255kg squat, a 152.5-157.5kg bench and a 280kg deadlift. All these are realistic to me and I have done the latter before. It’s a matter of consistency and trusting the process.

 

However you train, be it Conjugate, High Frequency, Linear, Block, trust the process, set your goals and smash them. Give yourself landmark PBs in regard to both reps and weight to hit and your motivation will stay high. Come out swinging every day.

As a reminder, go check out the store to snag your pre-order “Accountability is King” t-shirt or hoodie. This is a limited run.