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Swindon Barbell at the GBPF British Equipped Powerlifting Championships 2016

Swindon Barbell had 4 entrants to this year’s British championships; Yasmina Couty in the -63k seniors, Helen Toms in the -84k Masters category, Charlie Shotton-Gale and Christie Civetta lifting in the -84k seniors.

Powerlifting involves 3 lifts; squat, bench press and deadlift.  Each lifter has 3 attempts to get the highest weight lifted for each movement.  The best attempt of each lift is added together to give a total, those with the biggest total win.

Yasmina preparing for her final Deadlift to secore Silver Medal overall

Yasmina preparing for her final Deadlift to secore Silver Medal overall

Yasmina was entering this competition as a practice run for some technical changes she has been making in training and ended up, unexpectedly, winning silver medal! Yas achieved a massive 5k personal best on her squat and 2.5k on her deadlift giving her the second highest total in the 63k ladies class and silver!

 

 

Helen Toms squatting 140k in the Masters 2 age category

Helen Toms squatting 140k in the Masters 2 age category

This was Helen’s second competition in full Powerlifting equipment (which involves a lifter wearing tight clothing to remove joint weakness and give more emphasis on the muscle strength).  The nerves showed a little as she missed her opening 2 squats but achieving a successful lift in the 3rd attempt gave Helen a good base to move on to bench in which she got a 5k personal best and the same for the deadlift giving her a result of 140k squat, 75k bench and 155k deadlift and silver medal in the masters 2 (50-59 years old), second to the current world silver medallist I might add!

Christie Civetta pulling 172.5k Deadlift to secure her overall Bronze Medal

Christie Civetta pulling 172.5k Deadlift to secure her overall Bronze Medal

Christie, who is studying her Masters at Bristol University, is originally from USA and only turned a senior this year so this competition hit her with many firsts.  Nevertheless, the competitive American turned her nerves into determination and missed none of her 9 attempts achieving a 190k squat, 107.5k bench and 172.5k deadlift.  Christie managed to pull her last deadlift not only to add 25k to her personal best total but also for the bronze medal!

 

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Charlie Shotton-Gale benching 137.5k for new British Record

Charlie Shotton-Gale, who is an old hand at British championships, this being her 9th competition, was entering with a mind-set of hopefully breaking a couple of her existing British records.  Never did she think she would have such a successful day as she did.  Charlie hit a smooth 215k squat, adding 2.5k to her British record, she then went on to add 5k to her British Bench record, increasing it to 137.5k, and 2.5k to her deadlift record to 202.5k.  This meant she increased her personal best total and thus the British record by 15k, to 555k, giving Charlie a total of 4 out of 4 British Records in the 84k female senior’s (23-39 years old) category.  This was down to her achieving successful lifts on 9 out of the 9 she attempted getting only 1 red light the entire competition. 

Charlie Shotton-Gale squatting 215k for a new British Record at -84k body weight

Charlie Shotton-Gale squatting 215k for a new British Record at -84k body weight

Swindon Barbell have a busy calendar in the coming months taking members to the British Masters championships, the South West Championships as well as Charlie Shotton-Gale gearing up for the European Championships in May.

If you would like to know more about Swindon Barbell you can find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/swindonbarbell/ or by contacting head coach Charlie on charlie@sg-fitness.co.uk.


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Programming for Powerlifting

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Charlie Shotton-Gale, Multiple British Champion, World ranked 6

There have been a lot of programs popularised in the media from a simple linear progressive program to the 5/3/1 (8) and Eastern European programs.

If you are training for your first ever competition, or indeed if you are just entering in to a pure strength training program, you will want to keep it simple and consistent.

Focusing on the ‘big 3’, which includes the back squat, the bench press and the deadlift, is key, as  would be starting light and working on your technique before you begin to add load in the form of weight to the bar.      

Developing a good technique is the most important aspect to a beginners lifting career, and this may take up most of their initial few weeks of training before they can add loads (weights) (1, 2). Working solely with a wooden or plastic technique pole developing movement patterns so that the neuromuscular system can familiarise itself has been shown to have immense amounts of benefits to novice lifters when they start to add load to their movements (1).

Keeping to a simple linear progression can be the most effective manner of allowing the body to adapt successfully when increasing load over time. This can be in the form of a 12 week structured load progression and volume (sets x reps)  reduction, such as 4 weeks of 5 sets of 5 repetitions (REPS) on each exercise, separating the week in to a squat day, bench day and deadlift day. This would be reduced to 3 sets of 3 reps per exercise for 4 weeks and completed by 3 sets of 2/1 for 3 weeks.

linear program

This last 3 weeks is termed ‘tapering’ and is used when loads of near maximum are being lifted to ensure recovery is optimal for the muscles, the neuromuscular system and the central nervous system. (3, 4).

During a tapering phase, you will also start removing any auxiliary, or assistance, work you were doing to enhance the movement and ensure the body receives the recovery it  needs.

Once the tapering phase is complete, a rest period of between 2-5 days is necessary before competing. This will ensure that any small aches and pains receive time to heal, and will allow your body to regenerate in time for maximum effort (4).

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Dean Bowring, GB Powerlifting, World Champion 2010

On competition day, a minimum amount of work is required to ensure the balance of muscular readiness is achieved but fatigue levels are not detrimentally increased.

Proficient coaches will ensure their athletes are warmed up thoroughly but not fatiguing, and are physiologically and psychologically ready to perform at their maximum.

Strength athletes that have been training and/or competing for at least 1 year may find they need to start altering their basic progression and begin another effective yet simple program such as the 5/3/1 (8). This program bases its progressions over 4 weeks i.e. 1 week of 3 sets of 5 reps (3×5) on each exercise, followed by 1 week of 3×3 then a week of 1 x 5/3/1. This is followed by a lighter ‘de load’ week of 3×5. The entire program is based on percentages and is easy for intermediate lifters to follow.

This program also finishes with a tapering week before competitions, as do all programs to ensure there is ample rest and recovery before you attempt to lift the maximum your body can.

Eastern European programs have become very popular for elite and long standing lifters because they consist of high volume multi lift structures that train each exercise several times a week. Such programs include Smolov (7), Sheiko (6) and the Bulgarian weightlifting program that has been adapted for powerlifting.

These programs follow an undulating progressive nature, training each exercise every training  session under various loads and volumes often utilising high volume low weight technique work alongside low volume high load force development before the program alters in exercises used after 3-6 weeks, depending on the program.

These programs are only recommended for those who have been regularly training and competing for over 2 years as the strain on the muscles and neuromuscular system is immense.

For lifters who have been training and/or competing for under a year focusing on simple progressive programs that develop good technique is the most recommended protocol. Once a lifter has developed their techniques and ability, moving on to a still simple but more varied program can enhance the progress the lifters achieve in their competition weights.

Finally, for very experienced lifters it is recommended that high volume varied lifting programs are adopted, such as the Eastern European powerlifting programs (6, 7.) or Western European programs such as the Norweigan Powerlifting Program and Synthesised Training System.

If you would like to download this article, please click on the link below:

Programming for Powerlifting

REFERENCES

  1. Baechle, T.R., Earle, R.W., & Wathen, D. (2008). Resistance training. In T.R. Baechle & R.W. Earle (Ed.), Essentials of Strength & Conditioning (3rd ed.). (pp. 381412). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  2. Häkkinen K. Neuromuscular and hormonal adaptations during strength and power training. A review. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1989 Mar;29(1) 9-26. PubMed PMID: 2671501.
  3. Israetel, M (2014). Peaking for Powerlifting. Found at: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/08/12/peaking-powerlifting
  4. Pyne, D., Mujika, I. & Reilly, T. (2009).  Peaking for optimal performance: Research limitations and future directions. Journal of Sports Sciences.  Volume 27, Issue 3, 2009, pages 195- 202. DOI: 10.1080/02640410802509136
  5. Rippetoe, M., Kilgore, L. & Pendlay, G. (2008). Practical Programming for Strength Training. Found at: http://www.richard-pye.talktalk.net/practicalprogramming.pdf
  6. Sheiko, B. (2014). Found at: http://sheiko-program.ru/forum/index.php?topic=313.0
  7. Smolov, S.  Found at: http://stronglifts.com/how-to-add-100-pounds-to-your-squat-smolov/
  8. Wendler, J.  (2009).  Found at: http://www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness

Technique

Strength

Power