Monday, July 13, 2015

Powerlift Training - Ken Leistner (1980)





Ken Leistner, Joe Weider, Fred Hatfield



Most Powerlifting USA readers are familiar with my approach to squatting and deadlifting. If one were to construct a routine to use over a lifetime, in order to accrue the benefits that weight training is supposed to offer, my suggested approach is the way to go, I feel. However, with only slight modification to the so-called and aforementioned pre-meet period, one could maintain and in fact, increase his muscular strength and cardiorespiratory capabilities for the rest of his training days. (Note, I said training days, not competitive days, although they could be one and the same.). If the proper foundation is built, the pre-meet changes are all that would be necessary to hone in for top contest performance. Let me elaborate.

I really enjoy Olympic lifting. It's a lot more interesting to watch than powerlifting and more aesthetically pleasing. The factors that make this so also cause me to view Olympic lifting in a jaundiced light. The procurement of the intricate skills needed to Snatch, Clean, and Jerk properly are not really applicable to much past the two Olympic lifts. True, many coaches will tell you that the lifts have a direct carryover to the football field, for example, but that same quality for football can be built without taking the time and effort needed to learn the lifts (and remember, to do the lifts properly, i.e., safely, one must put a lot of time into technique work). This always disturbed me. I felt that training for the lifts was somehow extant from the reality of life and in a great sense, the reality of other branches of athletics. Little cardiovascular benefits were to be had if one adhered to the usually suggested regimens proposed by the many "experts" in the field. Man, I'd do some power snatches and really wonder just what the hell I was doing them for. "Well, in order to Snatch better." That, of course, is fine and dandy for the Olympic lifter, but for one involved in track, football, street fights, and lots of running, as I said, I often felt lost in space.

Powerlifters, if they train as most recommend, are a bit closer to athletic reality, but also ten to be severely limited in application. The skill and technique necessary to perfect the powerlifts is considerable, but not to the extent of the biathlon. The raw power built can be immediately applied to other athletic pursuits. This is not to say that the strength built with squat cleans can't be applied as well, but if time is a factor, there will be a lot less time to make that application by the time you get done learning your cleans properly. Of course, if you adhere to a schedule of triples and singles, your heart and lungs will receive limited stimulation and again, my whole trip in training is to maintain the body, the entire body. Hey, once a body freak, always a body freak. How many guys watch a woman walk down the street and say, "Yeah, she's got a nice ass, but she also has good proportion between femur length and tibia length. Ankle shows good symmetry to the knee. I ought to hit her up for a date." This is my trip and any with a similar passion will understand. You know that one system (simply speaking), in this case the muscular strength system, holds no superiority to the cardio-respiratory system. They all count and my training covers all of those bases. I honestly feel that proper training can allow you to have your cake and eat it -- you can be strong enough to be a top powerlifter and still have all of the other attributes of a top athlete -- speed, coordination, muscular and vascular endurance, a paucity of excess body fat, good, coordinated, graceful movement.

My plan for Memphis on March 2nd was to follow my usual two days a week of training (two days of lifting, anyway. Every day is a "training" day), and then use an altered pre-contest preparation phase. Unfortunately, the efficacy of this approach will not be demonstrated too quickly as I didn't train for over eight weeks. To be totally accurate, I took two workouts and gave two lifting demonstrations (as part of an overall clinic on proper training and rehabilitation of injuries). As mentioned in last month's PLUSA, problems with my legs (sever enough to send me to the hospital for evaluation - the last place you could ever get me short of any police station in this country), an inability to walk for days at a time, did not allow me to train at all since the last week in November. The anguish the entire family went through in relation to my son's problems, two moves of the entire household in a six week period, and the usual round of exams, lectures, etc., added little to my plight.

Training days are Monday and Friday. Traditionally, Monday and Thursday have always been my days, mainly because Friday evening would find my cousin Tommy, my wife, and me meandering down to Chinatown or Little Italy after work to load up on all the food we could stuff down and generally run amok on the Lower East Side. As native New Yorkers know, a walking trip from 6th Avenue and Houston Street down to Chinatown via Forsythe or the Bowery is always good for any number of exciting incidents. Anyway, Monday and Friday is the same as Monday and Thursday (really, just write it out on paper), so it doesn't really matter.

Today is January 21st and it is at this point that the pre-contest phase begins. I intend to carry through on it, if I am able. Without the laying of the groundwork, the effects of this phase will be obviously limited, although the potential for injury will be increased. For the sake of reader interest, however, I'l lay it out day-by-day so that others will have a better idea of how I go about things. 


January 21

Squat - x 2
Bench - 225 x 1
SLD - x 6
Press Lockout - x 3
Upright Row - x 12, x 6
Abs

Squats are done with a warmup of 12 reps and then doubles, but only 3 or 4 of them to a top weight. Benches are done to see if I can in fact bench. My torn pec is not improving, despite pulling out all the rehabilitative stops, so I decided to ease into the bench to monitor my progress, but building benching strength off of overhead work. "SLD" stands for Stiff Legged Deadlift on a high block, doing a set of 12 and then an all out set of 6. Two sets, that's it and is more than enough (believe me) as long as you go all out on it. Press lockouts involve standing in a power rack and locking out the bar the last 3 inches of the overhead press. Only 3 sets here. "Abs" means heavy sidebends, one set of 30 reps, and one set of weighted situps, reps to vary from 15 to 50.


January 25 

Squat - x 8
Press - 3 sets, 5 reps
DL in Rack - x 4
Triceps Pressdown - x 12, x 6
Curl - x 12, x 6
Abs

Pretty self-explanatory. Only 3 sets of squat. For example, 205 x8, 315 x 8, 405 x 8. Deadlift in Rack is from bottom of patella and only 3 or 4 sets total. Only 2 sets on curls and the like. If each set is all out (or to "failure" as they say), it will be enough.


January 28

Squat - x 1
Press - x 2
Light DL from Floor - x 4
Low Press - x 3
Upright Row - x 12, x 6
Abs

Single in squat with wraps. Press is only 3 sets. Low Press is in rack, done from start to eye level.


February 1

Squat - x 7
Bench - 235-240 x 1
SLD - x 6
Triceps Extension - x 12, x 6
Curls - x 8, x 4
Abs


February 4

Squat - 430 x 2
Press - 3 x 5 reps
DL - x 3
Dips - x 12, x 6
Upright Row - x 8, x 4
Abs


February 8

Squat - x 9
Bench - 250 x 1
Shrug - x 8
Press Lockout - x 4
Curls - x 8, x 4
Abs


February 11

Squat - 440 x 1
Press - x 4
DL in Rack - x 4
Dips - x 12, x 6
Upright Row - x 8, x 4
Abs


February 15

Squat - x 6
Bench - 260 x 1
SLD - x 6
Low Press - x 2
Curl - x 8, x 4
Abs 


February 18 

Squat - 440 x 2
Press - 3 x 5 reps
DL - x 1
Press Lockout - x 4
Upright Row - x 12, x 6
Abs


February 22

Squat - 460 x 1
Bench - 270 x 1
Shrug - x 10
Low Press - x 3
Curl - x 12, x 6
Abs


February 25

Squat - 430 x 4
Press - x 2
SLD - x 6
Dips - x 8, x 4
Upright Row - x 8, x 4
Abs

March 3 - Meet


I think the key points is that bench pressing strength is being built without benching. The singles are done only to give me a feel as to where my torn pec is on the continuum of efficiency. I made the statement that I would probably open my bench with 250 and if I didn't tear, go to 300. If I didn't tear on that, I'd finish with 330 to 350. Sounds absurd but if I don't tear, it'll go. If I do tear, it could go out at 250 as soon as it will 350 so why not shoot the wad?

Curls and uprights are done only for injury prevention, primarily that long bicep tendon. Ab work is done because I believe that the abs play a major role in stabilizing the torso in the two big lifts and it's necessary to keep some semblance of balance between flexion and extension strength in all muscle groups. In comparison to other squatting routines, note that there are no 15 or 30 rep days. Again, this is one of the pre-meet adjustments. It is expected that one should already have a firm base because he will have done the higher rep work in the preceding months. Obviously, I'm not suggesting that anyone do what I plan to -- lay off for two months after training for only four weeks, try to train for five weeks and then go all out. It is fairly insane and that's being done under the assumption that this training, as limited as it is -- in time, not in scope, you don't need MORE than this -- will be possible. As much as it will upset my wife and cousin, I've been known to compete without ANY preparation!

I hope this gives you a clearer look as to how Leistner gears up for the madness of a meet. I think that John Kuc made the statement that too many meets a year are counterproductive because they disrupt the training cycle. Amen to that.  









 

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