Training Week (18 Feb to 22 Feb)
Welcome to the official first post of my training blog! I am really excited to be starting this as I feel it will allow me to more clearly note down my training thoughts and reflections.
It’s the first week back into training and I completely forgot what it was like training after a meet. Needless to say, I overestimated myself and set intensities that were too high for a Week 1 program.
Training was not completely bad as I adjusted the intensities down throughout the sessions in the week. It is important to be very objective with this as digging too big of an intensity hole in Week 1 means your room for progression will be VERY small.
My training structure for the main lifts are as follows:
Day 1 – squat and bench
Day 2 – bench and deadlift
Day 3 – squat and bench
Day 4 – bench and deadlift
Day 5 – squat and bench
As you can see, my frequency is generally pretty high, with Squat at 3 times, Bench at 5 times and Deadlift at 2 times a week.
I had originally planned day 1 Squats at 255kg for a top single. Although I was able to complete it, it went horribly bad. The weight felt like it was crushing my body into pieces. Usually after a competition, my body is not so responsive in the first week back to training and previously manageable weights often feel heavier than they should.
Right after the first top single, I immediately dropped the working set weights from 220kg to 210kg, and things started to click into place. The feeling for training on week 1 should be like a ship cruising on a calm sea. RPE should be less than a 7.
Right after day 1 squats, I made some adjustments to the rest of the training days and made sure the numbers prescribed would be comfortable in terms of the mental and physical aspects of training. It is very important to know when to push and when to drop back in order to maximize the benefits from training.
After the adjustments, Day 2 squats went pretty well. I made some adjustment to my squat descent, working on the tempo and finding my balance to not place so much stress on my hips flexors as these areas are historically prone to injury for me. It went really well and I am looking forward to practising is more.
Just like squats, I had planned day 1 to be too heavy. The strange thing was, I had more confidence in executing my bench than my squats. I dropped my weight for the working sets, but they were still relatively heavy.
I find that programming for the bench press requires that you work at higher intensities. The range should be high enough to challenge your upper body to be conditioned in working with the higher numbers. For me, this is within the 77.5% to 90% range.
The traditional model would be to wave down to lower intensities and ‘build’ back up, but given that my musculature for my weight class is fairly maxed out already, I need to work on slowly conditioning myself to the higher intensity ranges.
By day 2 of the benchpress training, I could already feel that my body was adapting to the training program, and that things are going almost back to pre-competition levels. This provided me with a sense of relief. I know that so long as I stay smart and program accordingly, I will be able to make progress.
For bench press this week, I wanted to change the set up to get the legs and buttocks into a better position. I adjusted my set up to set my legs first and so far it looks promising. Definitely will need to give it some time through the cycle to decide if it is a good enough to maintain.
Right after my squats on day 1, I knew I have to drop the intensity for the top single deadlifts as well. I ended up with a 270kg top single with 260kg as my back offs, which turned out to be just the right weight for me.
As evidenced by my slipping grip at the Thailand Open a couple of weeks back, my hook grip is the main concern for this training phase leading up to worlds. I want to build all the confidence I need to get a good grip as I need a big pull to stay at the top spot. Day 1 had no grip slips, and only the usual discomfort and abrasions on my thumb. I am hoping this is a good sign. Every rep that I set up for, I focus intensely on setting my grip the exact same way. The finer details really make a huge difference when you are trying to squeeze every kilo at the top level of competition!
By the second session of deadlifts, I was building up my confidence in the hook grip. Now all I need to do is to put that grip to test as I move the weights up!
So far this week, the biggest takeaway is to remind myself not to overestimate my abilities and to be smart in my planning of the weights. I also established the specific training goals and directions for each of the lifts. This allows me to head into each training session with a focus and objective.
Do let me know if you guys have comments or questions! Thank you for supporting Atlas Training Protocols!