3 years of training volume and frequency...

tl;dr I don't really lift weights that often but I keep track of some things and I've been consistently active for the past 7 years. I guess if I was more serious about this powerlifting thing, I'd make use of more detailed metrics and analysis (like what's offered by www.mystrengthbook.com) but for what time I can put into it, my little spreadsheet log still helps me plan things.



I've been logging my training on a spreadsheet for the past 7 years but for the last three (2014, 2015, 2016), I've also been keeping a separate tally of main lift workouts.  As a rule, I only count sets and reps with weight that is at least 50% of a 1 RM.  What I've used as a 1 RM has typically been my all-time competition 1 RM--the only exception is the deadlift where I've used my "masters career" 1 RM since my all-time 1 RM is higher (292.5 kg vs 285 kg).

Going into 2014, my competition bests from 2013 were 490/341/628  (lbs, squat/bench/deadlift).

Squat workouts:         91
Total Work Reps:      2144
Total Volume:          739,091 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  23.6  Avg work weight:  345 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  70.4%

Bench workouts:       107
Total Work Reps:      2903
Total Volume:          731,276 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  27.1  Avg work weight:  252 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  73.9%

Deadlift workouts:       67
Total Work Reps:       1353
Total Volume:          511,574 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  20.2  Avg work weight:  378 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  60.2%


Going into 2015, my competition bests from 2014 were 496/341/617  (lbs, squat/bench/deadlift).
Squat was up slightly from prior year, bench was the same and deadlift down slightly.

Squat workouts:         66
Total Work Reps:      1794
Total Volume:          605,190 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  27.2  Avg work weight:  337 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  68.0%

Bench workouts:       82
Total Work Reps:      2442
Total Volume:          615,105 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  29.8  Avg work weight:  252 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  73.9%

Deadlift workouts:       48
Total Work Reps:       1025
Total Volume:          415,120 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  21.4  Avg work weight:  405 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  65.6%


Going into 2016, my competition bests from 2015 were 485/341/562  (lbs, squat/bench/deadlift).
Squat was down from prior year, bench was the same and deadlift was down significantly.

Squat workouts:         52
Total Work Reps:      1166
Total Volume:          396,521 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  22.4  Avg work weight: 340 lbs
% of previous year competition best: 70.1%

Bench workouts:       67
Total Work Reps:      1731
Total Volume:          435,646 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  25.8  Avg work weight:  252 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  73.8%

Deadlift workouts:       43
Total Work Reps:        999
Total Volume:          401,265 lbs

Avg work reps per workout:  23.2  Avg work weight:  402 lbs

% of previous year competition best:  71.5%


Going into 2017, my competition best from 2016 (technically 2017 since the meet was on Jan 8 but it is reflective of 2016's training were 501/330/606 (lbs, squat/bench/deadlift).
Squat was up, bench was down (330 moved very well though so not a RPE 10 lift), deadlift was up significantly.


There are some confounders in those three years but I think it tells me that regardless of training frequency, I need to make sure my average intensity (as a % of previous competition bests) needs to be 70% or higher.  This isn't a huge revelation since it's pretty commonly believed that expression of maximal strength is best achieved with training intensities in the 70-95% zone with the bulk of training volume in the 70-85% zone.

Although my 2016 training frequency and overall volume in the main lifts was the lowest of the past three years, I also managed to hit a lifetime PR in the squat and total.  Maybe not coincidentally, average training intensities for all three lifts were over 70% of previous year competition bests.

One of the confounders in the past three years include a period where I had a "dead back", not a specific injury but a fatigue that took a long time to shake and really limited my 1 RM strength.  Another issue that affected development of my competition 1 RM was my ongoing process of trying to drop bodyweight.  While it would have been more time efficient to drop all the way down to a lean bodyweight and then slowly build muscle and strength to a maintainable bodyweight, that's not what I've been doing.  Over the past three years, my bodyweight has slowly stepped down from about 250 lbs to my current walking around weight of 228 (with a brief period in the past year where I got down to 215).  While I have managed to get a little stronger while losing weight, results aren't great since it is not ideal to try to ride two horses with one ass.

There is also probably a small effect from the use of variations of the main lifts in place of competition style squats, bench presses, or deadlifts.  For exercises like deficit deadlifts, close grip bench presses, or SSB squats, if the weights used exceed 50% of my competition 1 RM, I include the work in my running totals even though the actual intensity in terms of my 1 RM in that particular variation is much higher.

In any case, virtually no one's training over a 3 year period is going to be smooth sailing so it would be unrealistic to expect the next three years will offer no systemic obstacles to my routine.  I'm going to keep on the 2x/week schedule until the gains stop and will re-evaluate at that point.  Now that I've maintained the current bodyweight settling point of 228 lbs for 3 months, I'm going to embark on another slow cut down to a settling point of 210-215 lbs.  At that point, I'll either decide to lose a few more pounds so I can compete as a 93 kg (205 lb) lifter or allow myself to add a bit of weight to compete closer to the 105 kg (231 lb) limit.





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