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Becoming a powerlifter - peaking sucks

Dying

Human noodle

Too much hench....



And that's basically your update for my powerlifting meet progress!!

But lets back it up a bit.

Last time I updated I was dealing with some back issues, which really put a dampner on my progress. Well things are looking up.

Firstly I took a visit to Lucie Spraggon, who is an amazing local soft tissue therapist. She did some poking around and came to the conclusion that I had - I had tweaked a muscle in part of my mid back, and in order to "give itself some space" it was drawing in everything around it. Lucie did some kind of magic which separated out the dodgy bit, allowing the rest to work properly again. Then she did some acupuncture for good measure.

Immediate relief. I was back training deadlifts (just trap bar to start with and not too heavy) the next day. For a week or so I could still feel the original tight muscle, but it wasn't interfering with anything else.

Lucie also suggested I should work on activating my glutes to make sure my posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and back) was firing in good balance, so I've been working on that, and doing some accessory work that relies more heavily on my glutes in squat and deadlift. I've had a few weeks out from my programme, where I have programmed my own training in a similar format, focusing on the training I can do, and building muscle in isolation.

Now we are back in, and it's peaking phase. This is the heaviest part of my training, which means that my main sets of my primary lifts are being done right on the brink of my maximum capability. 1-3 reps for 5 sets. And it's stupid and rude and exhausting. I have learned from speaking to other lifters that this is normal. It's why athletes don't stay competition ready all year around. Good training programmes are designed to get the most out of you a short while before competition, then you rest (or "taper") and come into the meet well trained and fresh.

I'm loving my training, it's really rewarding and I'm really pleased with where my numbers are going, but it also takes a lot out of me.

Lifting at the limits of your ability puts quite a stress on the nervous system (which is something I have to be aware of, lifting with fibromyalgia), as well as the muscles, and depletes blood glucose quickly. I started to notice that I was light headed or shakey between sets, so I've introduced intraworkout carbohydrates. Which is a really posh way of saying I eat a jelly baby between sets. That's really helped with my energy levels and means I can keep the weight heavy through the volume. And there is serious volume. In this phase I do a total of 12 sets of my primary lifts - 3 warm up, 5 working sets, 4 accessory sets (a variation at lower weight, like a close grip bench or a pause squat), then some other accessory work.

I have renamed Bench day "so you think you had triceps" because my programme includes: plyo push ups, bench, pause bench and dips.

Recovery is also more important than ever. My recovery days are quieter than usual, I'm trying to be super strict on bedtime and I'm napping.

All in all, I'm feeling like things are back on track. My deadlift last week was 5kg below where it was pre-injury, but my squats are 5kg up is my bench. Next week will be my last week of heavy training (and the volume is slightly lower now) then I have a week to rest before competition!

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