Something so many people seem to get wrong is not getting the best out of themselves on meet day when it matters most, remember what you’ve done in the gym means jack shit if it doesn’t translate to the platform!
Here are some of the strategies we use with our powerlifters to help them peak effectively.
1.Not doing true 1 rep max’s in the gym on a competition lift before a meet.
We always save our best lifts for the platform, typically we take around 95% of our previous max as our final heavy lift of a training cycle. Sometimes we take a new pb but only in a case were we’ve had a really great training cycle and a new pb wouldn’t have you at your absolute limit.
Hitting an absolute max, a true grinder on a competition lift can put a limit of your capabilities in your mind. Something I heard Benedikt Magnusson say a long time ago that stuck with me was “your better off not knowing how strong you are than to know exactly how weak you are”. Putting that into context if you pull a 200kg grinder in the gym 2 weeks before a meet you might mentally limit yourself to that on the day, but if you pulled a easy and fast 190kg you may not limit yourself as you don’t know where that limit is, topped with competition day adrenaline who knows what you might lift!
2. Using overloads such as heavy walkouts, slingshot bench, block press and reverse band deadlift.
We’ve all been there were you unrack a squat bar and it feels like a ton on your back or on a bench where the weight feel ridiculously heavy in your hands. Using overload methods are a great way to get the body use to feeling more weight than its expected to lift at the meet. For example; if your aiming to bench 105kg at a meet and have pressed 115kg with a slingshot 105kg will more than likely not feel as heavy in your hands giving you confidence in the descend with the weight after unracking it. Confidence and belief is everything!
Its also very taxing on the central nervous system so must be used wisely, we typically on use heavy walkouts and reverse band deadlifts once in a training cycle and the slingshot 2-3 times, the reason we use the slingshot a bit more often is that using it isn’t as taxing as the other 2 overload methods mentioned.
3. Getting the timing right!
Taking your last heavy lifts to far or close to the competition can have a negative impact on your peak. Below I will lay out an example of how we time some of our peaks depending on the individual.
Squat @ 95% + heavy walkout(+10% of max squat) 10-12 days out
Bench @ 95% + Max Slingshot/Block press 10-8 days out
Deadlift @ 95% + Max reverse band deadlift 14-16 days out
Squat @ 95% + heavy walkout(+10% of max squat) 14-12 days out
Bench @ 95% + Max Slingshot/Block press 10-12 days out
Deadlift @ 95% + Max reverse band deadlift 21-19 days out
This a general guideline which can differ slightly depending on the individual. I typically like to work at the range furthest away from competition if possible. These guidelines give enough time for a lifter to recover from the heavy workload of a training cycle as long as they taper correctly after this heavy period of training.
Author: Matty Costello
Part 2 How to taper for a peak here