My training program will focus on each of the three lifts: Squat, Bench press and Deadlift with associated powerlifting-specific accessory and conditioning work. It is based on the book Powerlifting over 50 by Richard Schuller. Each lift will be trained hard one day each week as follows: Monday - Squat, Tuesday - Bench press, Wednesday - Rest day, Thursday - Light day (all lifts), Friday - Deadlift, Saturday and Sunday - Rest days. Each day will also include conditioning work. I will address each lift and the conditioning work in separate blog posts.
There are 5 cycles for each lift. The first is a Foundation cycle lasting for 8 weeks. It is based on 5 sets of 5 reps, with the weights lifted calculated as a percentage of my one rep maximum (1RM). I have set my 1RMs as follows: Squat - 120 kg, Bench press - 100 kg, Deadlift - 150 kg. I reckon I could deadlift a bit more than this, but it is better to start light and progress, rather than starting too heavy and stalling. The aim is to increase the weights lifted over the course of the cycle.
I am now focused on competition standard lifts (for every rep, whether it be light or heavy), I have had to alter the way I do things. Clearly I was not doing these lifts properly before and when that is the case you are just risking injury and will not be able to lift to your full potential. The idea of using correct form is to do it safely and to achieve the best possible mechanics for lifting the heaviest weights that you can. I am by no means suggesting that I am now an expert in these lifts, but I understand the reasons why they need to be done properly and the theory of how to do them. I just need to practice now and get some pointers from more experienced people to make sure I am doing things correctly. It is easy to see when others are not doing things right, but not so easy to watch yourself during a lift, even when you do it in front of a mirror. In this regard, I would like to thank Lee Moran of Freedom Strength and Andy Lavery of Apocalypse Training Systems, who are often in the gym at the same time that I am and who have both kindly offered to keep an eye on how I am doing things (clicking the logos below will take you to their websites).
Of course, nutrition and sleep are the other two main ingredients to any successful training program. I try and get at least 8 hours sleep a night, waking up at around 5.30 to eat and then start training at 7am (though this is not always easy with a wife and two young daughters). I will continue with my current nutritional plan and if that seems to work I will explain it in more detail in a later post. If not, I will tweak it until it does. I will be keeping a diary (starting next Monday) so I can track my weight and training progress in relation to sleep (which I will be monitoring and scoring on a scale of 1 - Crap to 5 - Slept like a baby) and nutrition.
So, I hope this gives a flavour of what is to come. Thanks for reading!