Powerlifting progress 2010: week fifteen

I am serious about wanting to qualify and compete at powerlifting.  When I started out on this series there were several key problems, such as poor hip mobility.  Having had some reasonable successes at the end of 2009, fixing the remaining problems while also driving up the strength numbers are now the priorities of the program.  

I’m recording my progress in this series: powerlifting progress.  It is serving as a journal and makes me a bit more accountable to my goals. 

This week

A tough week.  Due to various other activities in my life, I had to bulk three of my four workouts together onto consecutive days.  Strangely, though, it was the final workout that was freestanding and followed on from such a strong lower body workout last week, that proved to be the most problematic.

Strongman events

I cut the max effort dumbbell overhead press this week, since this workout fell on the middle day between two upper body workouts.  However there was another astounding performance on my farmer’s walks where I added 8kg, increasing the weight to 48kg, and still got out 4.5 of my 5 reps (a rep is two laps, so I got round one lap the last time).  I would be a true misery to not be pleased with such an improvement.

Farmer's walks success!

I also added another 2.5kg to my sandbag, increasing it to 47.5kg, and successfully got all my reps out.  An interesting effort since it is suddenly less than my farmer’s walks.  Definitely something to work on since you would imagine that I should be able to lift more in my sandbag carries than on farmer’s walks.

I’m really enjoying these workouts.  We’ve been lucky with the weather so far and it makes such a difference to be working outdoors at last.  It’s also nice to workout in a chilled manner enjoying myself rather than bashing out the same sets and reps in the same environment every workout, as happens during the winter when every workout is a hard slog in the garage.


Action plan

  • Maintain – technique
  • Develop – lat and shoulder strength

 Progress this week

My thoracic mobility is stiffening up a bit.  As a result my military presses are suffering since starting to press it up causes my lower back to arch in order to move my head out of the way.  There’s a need to do some rolling and loosening up, and until I’ve dealt with I’ve shifted to doing bench press for a few weeks.  Despite having said I wasn’t going to do bench for a while. 

The first workout with bench press seemed to go reasonably well with consistent and good form, but I’ll see what happens with time.  Something I am trying to do is change my foot position so that I no longer put my feet on a raised platform (build with a stack of two bricks).  Mostly because, although I accept that our bench is a bit higher than a competition bench, I don’t think you get the chance to put your feet on blocks in a competition either.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve dropped the added weight on my pull ups and increased the number of reps in an effort to resolve the problem that I was starting to have with my traps taking over from my lats.  I’m pleased to record that it worked and three reps was enough to mean that my lats had to do the work again so I’ll keep it going for now.


Action plan

  • Maintain – leg strength and ab strength
  • Develop – hip mobility and lower back strength

Progress this week

Rubbish!  I couldn’t connect with my abs.  I would lock them out and find they just weren’t holding.  Whether it was the diet I’m on at the moment, the late night I had the previous evening (though I did still get 8 hours of sleep) or the couple of stressful days I had at work, I don’t know.  But I couldn’t hold tight for more than one rep at 60kg without feeling my lower back start to bow.  As soon as it started bowing I lost the connection with my glutes and the rest of my posterior chain and my ability to drive out of the hole disappeared.

I did a couple of single reps at 60kg, a few of singles at 55kg and then knocked out three reps at 50kg.  Hopefully I did enough to get some workout benefits (between the anger and the tears), but it was a stark reminder not to get too cocky about my performance in the gym.


Action plan

  • Maintain – leg strength and ab strength
  • Develop – hip mobility and lower back strength

Progress this week

After my dismal performance on my squats just before my deadlift effort and the poor performance I had on my sumo deadlift a fortnight ago I wasn’t expecting a great workout on this.  However, I went in with some grit and determination. 

The pay-back was a repeat of the 80kg performance from a fortnight earlier with better form on my first rep than that previous time.  It still wasn’t a good enough performance to increase the weight since my lumbar region was struggling to hold firm and was bowing, but I was satisfied to at least equal my previous performance.


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