Saturday, February 22, 2020

Keep It Simple, Stupid - Mike Reed 
For lovers of Takashi Miike's films, indeed. 
"It's bizarre and very unwholesome.
But weirdly inspired." 

Keep it simple, stupid! This is a time proven ingredient to success in anything, including powerlifting. To do only a few things but to do them well is the key to achievement. 

Too often we get deeply involved in exotic systems and methods and techniques and we get away from the basics of powerlifting, i.e., squatting, benching, and deadlifting. 

How many guys do you know who go on a new workout binge every time they see a new routine? Of course, we all need to be able to incorporate some new ideas to help us keep improving, but these should be minor adjustments and not major overhauls in workout programs we have devised over years of training. 

We should not fall into the trap of looking to a new program to help us when we may subconsciously be trying to find a substitute for HARD WORK. 

At the YMCA where I train we perform the 3 powerlifts in our workouts with the only variations being what I call "look-alike" lifts. For example, we do regular squats along with high bar and/or close stance squats and pause squats. We work normal benches, close grip benches and half benches (where you simply let the bar descend to that sticking point just off the chest - and blast it back up). For the deadlift we do our regular competitive technique along with stiff legged deadlifts, coke box deads, rack deads and wide grip deadlifts to lengthen the pull. 

Added to these basic exercises we usually do some curls to maintain muscular balance with the triceps development achieved from benching, and of course, we proceed each workout with at least 10 minutes of flexibility work which we continue throughout our workout between sets. 

We use a basic heavy-light system on a Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule. We squat and bench heavy on Tuesday and do deadlift warm ups. On Thursday we deadlift heavy and do squat and bench warm ups. And Saturdays we do light to medium squats and benches along with deadlift warm ups. Sets vary from 4-6 after warm ups. Throw in the flexibility work and a few curls and that's it. 

We don't have to spend all day in the gym. 

Our usual cycle is a 12 week schedule with weeks numbers 1-4 at 7-8 reps (using "look alike" lifts on our light to medium work days on weeks numbers 1-8). 

Weeks 5-8 we go to sets of 4-5 reps and the last 4 weeks we do 3's and 2's to prepare for meet singles. 

Very basic, plenty of rest, and the key ingredient called Sweat. 

Repetition of the basic lifts adn the "look alike" lifts develop the nerve pathways used in that lift - and we want our nerve pathways to be well traveled roads, creating an automatic response under pressure, i.e., a successful lift in competition. 

There is one occasion when we will use the machines, dumbbells, pulleys, etc., and that is if we are training around an injury and need to do something to maintain the muscle tone of a general area while at the same time alleviating the pressure put on that area by heavy lifting in the basic lifts. 

Of course, some successful lifters do a myriad of other stuff that seems to work for them, but I suspect that a more basic approach would be just as successful. In our training group we have three master lifters working on elite, two class I lifters who will hit masters this year, and two beginning lifters who will achieve class I this year. 

Also, while we may not be bodybuilders, we still get some looks at the pool without adding extra exercises to our routines. 

So just think about it - 
you don't have to do that much thinking, just
Keep It Simple, Stupid. 

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