It’s easy to over complicate training plans for our clients. I’m a total program design dork, let’s get into the weeds! kind of strength coach.
But, for many applications, nothing works better than your traditional linear periodization for great progress. Turns out, there is a reason why this method is taught in every single certification manual that has ever been produced.
I’m working with an athlete currently who wants to train for and compete in his first powerlifting meet. He is a novice lifter, does not have very good hip mobility, and needs massive improvement in ability to brace (core strength).
While it can be tempting to fast track him to an advanced program of undulating periodization or any of the other incredible program design methods, he really just needs to gain some muscle mass, practice the movements of the big 3, and learn how to brace.
Roughly, this is my approach over the next 14-weeks:
Weeks 1-3: Hypertrophy. We need to get some muscle growth via time-under-tension. Conveniently, he also needs to spend a lot of time practicing perfect form with all three lifts. It works well at this point, to have him do a traditional high volume hypertrophy plan. Plenty of reps to practice burning in the proper bar path and spur muscle growth.
Weeks 4-8: Strength. We’ll stay in a very typical strength building rep range for all primary exercises, then keep with hypertrophy building on the accessories. *week 8 is a deload
Weeks 9-12: Maximum strength. After 8-weeks focused on building muscle and strength, this powerlifter should be well primed to get under some heavy weight. *week 12 is a deload
Week 13: Work up to some heavy doubles and singles
Week 14: Competition!
The goal in the first meet is to ALWAYS go 3 for 3 on every lift. The first meet is all about building confidence and love for the sport.