Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Intensification + peaking (full PR mode!)

Last time I talked about programming I was in the middle of the accumulation mesocycle, wondering if I would go through a traditional intensification one, and then do a traditional taper before taking maxes again (and pretty sure I would get an improvement of 15-20 kg in my powerlifting total), or I'd adjust to an almost forced week out (travel to see family around Xmas) and go for those PR's right off the bat after accumulation, with minimal intensification and almost no taper.

Turns out I'm already doing the latter. Last week I did a single microcycle of 3's (so that's all the intensification I'm getting) of which I'm pretty proud, specially if I compare it with what I was doing (and struggling with) in April this same year (feels like a million years ago, but actually it's only 8 months):

                                 April 2014                                     December 2014
Bench Press              2 x 3 x 95 kg                                 6 + 5 x 3 x 105 kg
Squat                        5 x 3 x 132.5 kg                            8 + 6 x 3 x 145 kg
Deadlift                     2 x 2 x 175 kg                               3 x 200 kg (although this one almost kills me)

So I'm pretty confident I'm quite stronger now than I was back then, so although it may have been nice to milk the intensification phase for one or two weeks more, I started peaking right away, with a session of singles in each main lift, seeing again a nice improvement in the weights used since March (I didn't do a week of singles in April, but jumped right into the fake meet to make the date coincident with Spain's powerlifting Championship):

                                March 2014                                     December 2014
Bench Press              3 x 1 x 105 kg                               6 x 1 x 115 kg
Squat                        7 x 1 x 142.5 kg                            6 x 1 x 155 kg
Deadlift                     2 x 1 x 190 kg                               (*)

(*) Haven't yet trained the DL for singles, planning to do it later today, but I do not think I'll go for a high number of relatively intense singles (my original planning was doing 4-5 singles w 205 or 200, depending on how it felt), as my lower back got really trashed last session, when I barely got the triple w 200, and I still don't feel it has fully recovered (it still aches most of the day, and is pretty stiff when I wake up in the morning), so I'm planning on doing some lighter speed deads, focusing on flawless technique, applying as much force as possible to the bar, accelerating it crazily, keeping very short resting periods and moving a reasonable weight (most likely 150 kg would do the trick, around 65% of the 220 I've set my sights on for the next max session). I'll probably do 'em E1/2MOT1/2M (every half minute on the half minute), which really doesn't allow for much recovery, and after the first five minutes is extremely demanding, both from a strength (its devastating for the grip and the erectors, but in the end just everything feels demolished: quads, hammies, glutes, lats...) and from an endurance perspective, trying to get to 20 reps in 10 minutes.

If after that I still can breathe, I may try some really heavy rack pulls, to gain some extra confidence, and no more heavy training until the 30th of 31st, when I'll take maxes and see how productive the year has been strength wise (and use the input to plan 2015 accordingly). I'll keep everybody posted.

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