October 16, 2017 in Programming

Following powerlifting competitions athletes can feel lost and not know how to transition into the next block of training.

Athletes jump back into training heavy weight too fast, feel beat up or injured, or feel unmotivated post-competition. I like to refer to this as “post-competition blues.” We put all our effort into training as hard as we can for months leading into a competition and then it feels like it’s over within the blink of an eye. This can be both mentally and physically exhausting and most of the time we don’t give ourselves the rest and recovery our bodies need.

Post-competition training should be a time to:
  • Recover and rebuild
  • Increase secondary movements, and variations generally that complement the main lifts
  • Return intensities to a moderate level
  • Set new goals to keep motivation high

A common misconception is that an athlete won’t make any progression by not specifically training the main lifts or reducing the intensity of training. However, returning to the same methods, volumes, or intensities you used pre-competition right after competing can quickly lead to injury or strength plateaus.

Powerlifting training should include periods of re-building, which is a natural process in setting up your training cycles. Rebuilding includes giving your body a chance to unload and recover from the high intensities of the pre-competition block, work on weak points within your movement patterns, and drive strength across a variety of rep ranges.

A post-competition training program should be the bridge that allows you to recover before building new levels of strength leading into your next meet.

Steve Cascioli’s Post-Competition Blues Training Cycle

I teamed up with MyStrengthBook and designed a training cycle that is specifically designed for post-competition. The training cycle is two 4-week programs that offer athletes a new training stimulus through a variety of rep ranges, undulating volumes and intensities, and various non-specific powerlifting movements. Don’t worry, this training cycles still ensures growth in your main competition lifts too. The goal here is to keep you motivated as you gear up for your next heavy training cycle

Week 1-4:

Each training day starts with a powerlifting variation using a higher rep range. Following the first exercise, you’ll be challenged through a series of supersets that target specific muscle groups. Exercises are loaded through both percentages of your 1 rep max or using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) principles.

Week 5-8:

While still building strength through several secondary and accessory exercises, you will now begin to reintroduce specific competition barbell movements. By the end of the 8th week of training, you’ll be in prime shape to begin competition prep again. Just like the first four weeks, loading will be achieved through a combination of percentages and RPE protocols.

Training Metrics

The training metrics above show the breakdown of the number of lifts across each of the powerlifting movements – squat (purple), bench press (blue), deadlift (orange). Overall, about 35% of your total volume comes from squat exercises, 35% from bench press exercises, and 30% from deadlift exercises. The first 3 weeks of the training cycle have relatively higher volumes and lower intensities, with weeks 4-7 having relatively lower volumes and increasingly higher intensities. On week 8, intensities are at it’s highest throughout the training cycle where you’ll have the opportunity to lift at 90%. However, on the final week the volumes are at it’s lowest since the goal is to recover and transition into a competition peaking program. There are several competition peaking programs that you can find on MyStrengthBook.

Weekly Training Organization:
  • Day 1: Squat
  • Day 2: Bench / Deadlift
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Squat / Bench
  • Day 5: Off
  • Day 6: Deadlift
  • Day 7: Off
Exercises Performed:
  • Squat
  • Front Squat
  • High Bar Pause Squat
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • High Bar Squat
  • Single Leg Box Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Bench Floor Press
  • Narrow Grip Bench Press
  • 3-Stop Bench Press
  • Spoto Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Deadlift
  • Deficit Deadlift
  • Pause Deadlift
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
  • Barbell Good Morning
  • Hyper Back Extension
  • Chin-Up
  • Planks
  • Dumbbell Chest Supported Row
  • Cable Face Pulls
  • Tricep Rope Pushdown
  • Dips
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Wide Grip Calbe Row
  • Barbell Bicep Curls
  • Barbell Bentover Row
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Raises
  • Conclusion

If you want to be excited about training, stay healthy, maintain pre-competition strength but without overtraining or feeling fatigued, take a week off after competing and then start my Post-Comp Blues training cycle.

To access my programs, you’ll need to sign-up for a MyStrengthBook account and join the premium membership. Most athletes pay over $150-200 for online coaching, but my programs are available on MyStrengthBook for only $29/month. You’ll also get the benefit of being able to track her programs on the MyStrengthBook platform, which will give you all the data and analytics to understand what you do in the gym. To get started either log-in or sign-up for a FREE TRIAL. Go to the Program Library, find my post-competition blues training cycle, and load it into your calendar.

Looking for training advice or have questions about any of the training programs available on MyStrengthBook? Please book a time to chat with us HERE and one our coaches will set you up for success!

About the Author

Steve Cascioli is 66kg IPF Powerlifter from Canada.  He is a 2-time IPF World Medalist, winning bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017.  He is also the former 66kg World Record holder in the squat.  His best lifts are:  squat 248.0kg, bench 155kg, and deadlift 257.5kg.  He trains in Vancouver, BC and is a full-time strength and conditioning coach.

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