Push-Pull Meet Prep: 8 Weeks Out

Push-Pull Meet Prep: 8 Weeks Out

By Jordan Feigenbaum MS, CSCS, HFS, USAW Club Coach

This article is our first foray into prepping for a powerlifting meet. I wrote this up for my brother who is competing in a push-pull meet, which consists of the deadlift and bench press only. The goals for a specific prep like this are to increase strength (obviously), peak for the meet, and allow for weight loss/maintenance throughout the prep.

For the unacquainted, there are multiple weight classes that require the athlete to either be under weight or 0.9lbs over. So for a 181lb class lifter, his weight would be anywhere between 167lbs and 181.9. In general, a lifter should aim to be at the top of their weight class as being a full 181 allows for more potential strength than being 167lbs. On the other hand, it is usually not advantageous to be right at the weight class limit, but rather 3-5lbs over it. One of the top Olympic coaches, Ivan Abadjiev, has been said to tell his lifters to stay 2-3kg above their weight classes until near the meet. The reasoning behind this is most likely that you can develop more strength at a higher body weight and it is easier to recover from intense training when not in a caloric deficit. That being said, we do need to account for a couple pounds of weight loss, the timing of the weigh-ins, and what to eat on meet day.

Training

I like to plan my meet prep in reverse, starting with the meet day and going from there. This particular meet is on a Saturday so here’s how I would set up the 2 weeks preceding the meet:

  • Saturday- Meet
  • Tuesday- 80% of openers (no pulling)
  • Saturday (1 week out)- Opener’s only
  • Thursday- Recovery Workout
  • Tuesday- Last Volume Workout
  • Saturday (2 weeks out)- Mock Meet (last intensity day)

So the 2 weeks preceding the meet I switch to a 3-day a week training template, where Saturday’s are the heavy days, Thursdays are the recovery workouts, and Tuesdays are the volume-based workouts. The preceding 6 weeks would be a 4-day a week training template that I like to use to decrease training time, improve recovery, and prevent injury from having long, grueling workouts. Here is the 4-day template for the first 6 weeks:

  • Monday- Bench Press Volume + assistance exercises
  • Tuesday- Deadlift volume + assistance exercises
  • Thursday- Bench Press Intensity + assistance exercises
  • Friday- Deadlift Intensity + assistance exercises

For this particular application the squat is not a contested lift and thus, it need not be emphasized. However, the squat does develop leg, back, and trunk strength so there still will be squats in the program, don’t worry! I’m basing the following sample six-week setup on the following training maxes:

  • Deadlift: 405 x 3
  • Bench Press: 275 x 5, 308 x 1* (paused)
  • Squat: 315 x 1

Week 1

  1. Monday- Upper Body Volume
    1. Bench Press x 5 x 5 sets @ 215 lbs
    2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 3 reps x 5 sets @ 295lbs
    3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
    4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets
  2. Tuesday- Lower Body Volume
    1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 185lbs                                    i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Move the weight as fast as possible each rep, if it slows down you’re doing it wrong.
  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 275

i.     Another DE exercise, move the weight fast, stay tight, kill it.

  1. Romanian Deadlifts x 12-15 reps x 3 sets
  2. Abs
  3. Thursday- Upper Body Intensity
    1. Paused Competition Style Bench Press x 1 x 5 sets @ 290lbs
    2. Seated DB Press x 12-15 x 3 sets
    3. Pull-Ups x 10 x 5 sets
    4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets
  4. Friday- Lower Body Intensity
    1. Deadlift x 1 x 5 sets @ 405 lbs
    2. Squat x 1 x 3 sets @ 300lbs, x 15 @225lbs x 2 sets
    3. Abs

*Useful ab movements include GH situps, leg raises, turkish get ups, Palloff presses, and similar.

Week 2

  1. Monday- Upper Body Volume
    1. Bench Press x 5 x 5 sets @ 220 lbs
    2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 3 reps x 5 sets @ 300lbs
    3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
    4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets
  2. Tuesday- Lower Body Volume
    1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 185lbs                                      i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Keep the weight the same but try and move it faster.
  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 280

i.     Another DE exercise, don’t slow down.

  1. Romanian Deadlifts x 12-15 reps x 3 sets
  2. Abs
  3. Thursday- Upper Body Intensity
    1. Paused Competition Style Bench Press x 1 x 5 sets @ 295lbs
    2. Press x 12-15 x 3 sets (strict)
    3. Pull-Ups x 10 x 5 sets
    4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets
  4. Friday- Lower Body Intensity
    1. Deadlift x 1 x 5 sets @ 410 lbs
    2. Squat x 1 x 3 sets @ 305lbs, x 15 @225lbs x 2 sets
    3. Abs

Week 3

  1. Monday- Upper Body Volume
    1. Bench Press x 5 x 5 sets @ 225 lbs
    2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 3 reps x 5 sets @ 305lbs
    3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
    4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

10. Tuesday- Lower Body Volume

  1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 185lbs

i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Even faster this week.

  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 285

i.     If it slows down, lighten it up.

  1. Romanian Deadlifts x 12-15 reps x 3 sets
  2. Abs

11. Thursday- Upper Body Intensity

  1. Paused Competition Style Bench Press x 1 x 5 sets @ 300lbs
  2. Seated DB Press x 12-15 x 3 sets
  3. Pull-Ups x 10 x 5 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

12. Friday- Lower Body Intensity

  1. Deadlift x 1 x 5 sets @ 415 lbs
  2. Squat x 1 x 3 sets @ 310lbs, x 15 @225lbs x 2 sets
  3. Abs

Week 4

13. Monday- Upper Body Volume

  1. Bench Press x 5 x 5 sets @ 230 lbs
  2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 3 reps x 5 sets @ 310lbs
  3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

14. Tuesday- Lower Body Volume

  1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 195lbs

i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Don’t slow down.

  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 285

i.     Faster this week.

  1. Romanian Deadlifts x 12-15 reps x 3 sets
  2. Abs

15. Thursday- Upper Body Intensity

  1. Paused Competition Style Bench Press x 1 x 5 sets @ 305lbs
  2. Press x 12-15 x 3 sets (strict)
  3. Pull-Ups x 10 x 5 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

16. Friday- Lower Body Intensity

  1. Deadlift x 1 x 5 sets @ 425 lbs
  2. Squat x 1 x 3 sets @ 320lbs, x 15 @225lbs x 2 sets
  3. Abs

Week 5

17. Monday- Upper Body Volume

  1. Bench Press x 5 x 4 sets @ 240 lbs
  2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 2 reps x 6 sets @ 315lbs
  3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

18. Tuesday- Lower Body Volume

  1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 195lbs

i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Faster this week.

  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 295

i.     Keep the speed up.

  1. Paused Good Mornings (against safety pins) x 5 x 3sets (relatively heavy)
  2. Abs

19. Thursday- Upper Body Intensity

  1. Paused Competition Style Bench Press x 1 x 5 sets @ 310lbs
  2. Seated DB Press x 12-15 x 3 sets
  3. Pull-Ups x 10 x 5 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

20. Friday- Lower Body Intensity

  1. Deadlift x 1 x 3 sets @ 430 lbs
  2. Paused Squat x 2 x 3sets @ 275 (dead stop at the bottom)
  3. Squat x 12 x 3 sets @ 235lbs
  4. Abs

Week 6

21. Monday- Upper Body Volume

  1. Bench Press x 5 x 4 sets @ 245 lbs
  2. Pin Press (for lockout strength) x 2 reps x 6 sets @ 320lbs
  3. Chin Ups x max reps x 3 sets
  4. Curls x 12-15 x 2 sets

22. Wednesday- Lower Body Volume

  1. Squat x 2 reps x 10 sets on a minute clock @ 205lbs

i.     Dynamic Effort (DE) exercise. Stay fast.

  1. Speed Deadlifts x 1 x 15 sets on 30 second clock @ 305

i.     Keep the speed up.

  1. Paused Good Mornings (against safety pins) x 5 x 3sets (relatively heavy)
  2. Abs

23. Saturday- Mock Meet + Squat

  1. Bench Press x 1-1-1

i.     Projected opener: 300-310- Base this on feel, commit to it then pick your         next two attempts. Don’t blow your head off trying to hit crazy PR’s, just get a feel for where you’re at with your training.

  1. Deadlift x 1-1-1

i.     Projected opener:  430-440. Same thing as bench-press on these attempts.

  1. Squat x 1-1-1

i.     Hit 3 heavy squats at 315 + just to get some heavy squatting in.

Week 7

24. Tuesday- Last Volume Workout

  1. Bench Press x 5 x 3 sets @ 250lbs
  2. Deadlift x 5 reps @ 405lbs
  3. Squat x 5 x 3 sets @ 275lbs

25. Thursday- Recovery Workout

  1. Bench Press x 5 x 3 @ 200lbs
  2. Deadlift x 5 reps @ 315lbs
  3. Squat x 5 x 3 sets @ 225lbs

26. Saturday- Mock Meet- Openers Only

  1. Bench Press x 1
  2. Deadlift x 1
  3. Squat x 1 (90%)

Week 8

27. Tuesday- Opener’s -80% (no pulling)

  1. Bench Press x 1 (80% of Saturday)
  2. Squat x 1 (80% of Saturday)

28. Saturday- MEET DAY!!!!

Now I will say that with the exception of week 1, all of these weights are estimates. You will have to use your best judgment as far as weight increases go. Don’t go crazy and try to add 10lbs to every lift every week, it won’t get your very far. However the 5×5’s and DE sets are completely individual to the person so you may need to tweak the weights after week 1.

Food Dude

Everybody knows that food quality influences training and prepping for a meet should motivate you to step up your food game. I like to play with the macronutrients and calorie totals based on the type of workout scheduled for the day. We will have what I call priority-training days, where the lift or lifts being performed might require a bit of extra energy. Pick your poison as far as either upper or lower body movements being a priority, but start out with 2 days per week of the priority-eating template where these days are separated by at least 3 days (i.e a Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday split).  The other days just follow the standard nutrition template. Here are both of those:

Priority Template:

Protein- 200g

Carbohydrates- 380g

Fat- 40g

Standard Template:

Protein- 225g

Carbohydrates- 200g

Fat-50g

The bulk of the carbohydrates should be consumed around the training session (30-40% of total carbohydrates) and these meals should also be skinny on the fats. Before adding in any cardio training see where your weight is after two weeks on this plan. If you need to shed some pounds add a bit of light walking or similar on your off days.

On the day of the meet you’ll need to bring food that won’t perish and also requires no prep. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to stick to foods you’ve been eating so you don’t risk getting sick on meet day. Lastly, we need sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes along with carbohydrates in the foods.

And that’s a wrap, folks! Eight weeks to get you ready to crush some PR’s and get your competitive juices flowing. This template can be modified for a full meet as well by also prioritizing the squat on intensity days. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!

 

-thefitcoach

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