Shirley Patterson, first official female powerlifter. The first contest she entered was a men's powerlifting meet because there wasn't a women's division at the time with the A.A.U. She gave up her chance to be on the American Olympic Weightlifting team by entering the men's powerlifting event. - Courtesy of Robert Zuver.
More on Shirley Patterson here, from J.V. Askem:
For more from Pete Vuono:
Being a teacher, this author is used to hearing the slogan, "back to basics." Parents and teachers alike concur that a student's academic program should be comprised of the basic principles which they themselves learned with. This back to basics philosophy should also, in my view. be applied to the powerlifter.The basic routines which were once popular in the 60's and early 70's are sometimes lost in the discussions of drugs and reinforced lifting garb.
Since women have started competing in large numbers only since1977, it is important to put them on the right track using the basic routines of the "founding fathers" of powerlifting.
This author has chosen the routines of the famous Westside Barbell Club of Culver City, California. Several of the basic concepts now used in powerlifting were popularized by Bill West and his friends. Bill based his training on two concepts: First, the lifter should perform the competitive lifts once per week with the utmost strictness. The second concept was to perform a close variation of the lift once per seek which was assisted by a device or cheat assist so as to increase the weight used markedly. This helped the lifter become used to a heavier weight than is used in competition.
Women should not feel that because these routines were first utilized by men that they are not for women. These routines will be just as effective for the woman powerlifter and it is hoped that the women will more closely adhere to the "back to basics" concept than the men have.
Each exercise will be explained in detail and a suggested schedule will be included following the description of the exercises.
Exercises for the Squat
1) The bench squat - The lifter should stand in front of a loaded bar on a squat stand. Behind her should be a bench 19 inches high. If the lifter is over six feet the bench should be raised to 20 inches. Walk backwards and straddle the bench. Sit down on the bench. Rock forward as if getting up out of a chair and stand. This exercise is performed once per week. As much as 50 pounds or more may be worked up to over one's squat poundage. One must always have two or more spotters present when performing this exercise.
2) The squat - once per week the full squat should be performed with competition strictness.
Exercises for the Bench Press
1) Pad bench presses - Place thick, heavy sponge rubber pads on the chest. These should be thick enough so that when lowered the bar is still 2-3 inches above the chest. Lie on the bench as in regular bench pressing. Take the bar out of the rack and allow it to come down to the chest with enough velocity so that there is a slight bounce. This bounce will help to propel a heavier than normal weight upward. The pad will protect the chest. If there is any discomfort, increase the thickness of the padding. Approximately 10-10 pounds over one's bench press poundage can be worked up to. This exercise is performed once per week and a spotter should be always present.
Here, under "Cheating with Pads":
2) The bench press - The bench press is performed once per week with competition strictness.
Exercises for the Deadlift
1) Deadlift with Touch Assist - The plates on the deadlift bar should be placed on blocks approximately 8 inches off the floor. A power rack may be also be used. The lifter grasps the bar normally as in the deadlift. Her partner places one hand on the lifter's sacrum and one hand on the lifter's sternum. As the lifter pulls on the bar the partner pulls back with the hand on the sternum and pushes forward on the hand on the sacrum. This "touch assist" will allow the lifter to work up to perhaps 50 pounds or more over the regular deadlift poundage. It is performed once per week.
2) Block (deficit) deadlifts - once per week competition strict deadlifts are performed with the lifter standing on blocks 4-6 inches in height. This will serve to develop the start of the deadlift. It also makes the lift more difficult so that when the competition lift is performed it will be easier.
If a lifter has a best performance on any lift of 135 for 3 repetitions, the sets should be as follows:
90 x 10
105 x 10
120 x 1
135 x 3
The lifter stays with this rep scheme until she can perform 135 x 4 on the last set. When 135 x 4 is achieved, the lifter stays with it until 135 x 5 has been achieved. When 135 x 5 is achieved, the lifter increases the 135 to 140 on the next workout and tries for 3 reps with this weight. This can be used for all lifts.
If a lifter is using a much lighter weight for her final set such as 100 x 3, then the first set of 10 may be discarded and a rep scheme such as the following can be used:
55 x 5
75 x 1
100 x 3
The following is a suggested schedule for performing the above-mentioned routine.
MONDAY - Bench Squat, Pad Bench Press
WEDNESDAY - Deadlift with Touch Assist
Squat - strict
Bench Press - strict
Deadlift on Blocks.
Enjoy Your Lifting!
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