Back in March I started my journey into powerlifting by competing in the NASA Kansas State Meet. I only found out about it 2 months prior to the meet but I went for it anyway. I ended up with a 957 total (341 Squat, 220 Bench, 396 DL) at a body weight of 200.
The following months I bought and followed the Juggernaut Training Manual from Elitefts.com. It’s a 16 week program that’s geared towards powerlifting. Chad wrote a hell of a book and the program is great. I really had to take a step back and evaluate where I really was with my lifting strength. I ended up finishing the program 4 weeks prior to the meet I competed in this last weekend.
Throughout the Jugg Method program I utilized a Modified Warrior Diet and was able to really grow into my body weight versus dropping a bunch of weight or gaining a bunch. My recovery was great, I got stronger, added muscle and didn’t move my body weight 1 pound. I didn’t weigh and measure any of my food so my macro’s were always changing. The one thing that stayed consistent was that my lifting days were higher carb, off days were very low carb, and my underfeeding meals were kept very small and spaced 3-4 hours apart.
The last 4 weeks prior to the meet I added creatine monohydrate to my workouts (5g pre/5g post) and just 5g on off days. As for my training the last few weeks I subbed some fat bar chain lockouts for military pressing. I didn’t work off of any percentages or anything I just went by feel. All of my sets were kept to 5 reps and under for the lockouts, squats, bench, and deadlift. To be honest I only deadlifted twice in those weeks because of a hectic travel schedule. The week prior to the meet I set my openers and did minimal assistance work, a little cardio, and rested. The Monday prior to the meet I did some easy benching and squatting and that was it.
The end result was a 991 total (347 squat, 231 bench, 413 deadlift). Those are 10-15# PR’s on each lift so I’m pretty happy. I’ll be doing another cycle of the Jugg Method this winter and possibly competing again in March.
There are two things that I did not mention that I believe helped greatly. The first is that I dropped caffeine two weeks prior to the meet. I was developing some cortisol and dependency issues that I needed to address. Aside from a little green and black tea I had zero caffeine. Needless to say what I was setting my openers that week they felt heavy as hell. To help get the ship back to an even keel when I dropped the caffeine I added in 500 mg of ALCAR first thing in the morning and before lunch for both weeks. In retrospect I should have went with a higher dose but even that low dose helped. If I had it to do over again I would have went for about 1-2 grams at each dose. The reason for the ALCAR is because it helps to balance out cortisol levels. If they are low and should be up (such as in the morning), ACLAR will bring them up. If they are high and need to come down (afternoon/evening) ALCAR will bring them down. Since it interacts with the brain and elevates acetyl choline production it can have a mild stimulatory effect so don’t take it right before bed.
The second thing I did was to add in a Neural Charge workout the 5 days prior to the meet. I picked up the Neural Charge stuff from Christian Thibaudeau over at T-Nation. To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the T-Nation in the past and I still make this recommendation with a few caveats. The content they’ve been putting out has been much better but it’s still loaded with ads for their BioTest products which I don’t believe to be bad products, just over priced. I have not, however, actually used any of their stuff so take what I say with a grain of salt. Now, the premise of the Neural Charge training is to excite and stimulate the nervous system early in the day, or at least preworkout, in order to enhance performance. The workouts are short and focus on explosive exercises like jumps, med ball throws, and med ball slams. This isn’t a workout you perform for tons of reps and work until you are worn out. Once your performance begins to decrease you either drop reps or drop the exercise. You should feel better at the end of the workout than you did at the beginning. Here are what my workouts looked like:
Elevated Plyo Push Ups x 5
Med Ball Slams x 5
Broad Jump x 5
I did a few rounds and dropped reps when I felt I couldn’t perform the next rep as well as the previous. Between these workouts, the extra rest, and the ALCAR I felt great Saturday morning.
Meet day I took this prior to warm ups for each lift:
5g Creatine Mono
Sipped on Sugar Free Monster
See you guys in 2012.