Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

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Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:11 pm

Hi, writing this to help anybody wishing to get into powerlifitng, generally interested in powerlifting, or for anybody that reads my log and doesn't understand the terminology etc. I have tried to explain the best I can and have linked a fair few of my videos to show you, also some others off youtube.co.uk and off 2 good friends of mine.

Hope you enjoy....

Bands [regular set up]

Using regular set up for bands on squat, you slip knot the band around the bottom of the power rack and stretching the band up to the loaded barbell and looping it over. It is done the same for the bench press also. This basically makes the weight on the barbell more at the top and less in the hole. So using 140kg on the bar + blue bands would mean when you walk it out it or un rack it on the bench , it would be 165kg, and in the hole/chest it would be close to 140kg, possibly 145kgish. This forces you to explode out of the hole/off the chest really fast, otherwise as the band stretches you will fail the lift.
When you then go back to normal lifts without bands, you find you are a lot more explosive in that area and thus stronger.

Here is a video of my training partner Dan Hillman using bands on the bench:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMKt3TSliDY


Bands: [reverse style]

For deadlift and bench press you can use reverse style bands. This is where the bands are looped over the top of a power rack and stretched down to the bar. This in effect makes the feeling similar to normal style, except you don't have the band pulling you down. So for example 140kg on the bar for a bench press with black bands in reverse style. This would make the weight at lockout 140kg, and on the chest, depending height of power rack around 70-80kg. So you could really blast this weight off your chest hopefully getting enough speed and power behind the bar to power it through the harder part as it becomes heavier. This technique is especially good for shirted bench assistance as the shirt will make it feel lighter to a degree when on your chest, although your joints still feel the full weight.
For deadlift an example would be 300kg on the floor with black bands in reverse style. This means on the floor it is 300-75kgish, so 225, you get the speed off the floor to drive it all the way until it is 300kg at lockout...

The idea behind reverse style bands is that you get super fast off the floor/off the chest so that you can drive these big ass weights until lockout.


The resistance for bands is as follows:
pink -15-20kg
blue -25-30kg
green 40-55kg
black 60-75kg

Chains:

Chains are a little older invention than bands but still do similar. They are a group of chains on the floor and then looped onto the barbell, when you are at full extension they are almost off the floor or even totally, then when you lower the weight [in to hole for squat or onto chest for bench] they sit on the floor, so in effect you have to drive really fast to be able to lock them out as more links come off the floor making the barbell heavier.

Me using chains, the one and ONLY time lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT4Di7cacLg


Boards:

Boards are used on the bench press only. They are usually 1.5 inches thick although can vary, the ones I use are quite thick maybe near 2 inches. Most common set ups are 1,2,3,4 & sometimes 5 board presses. As you can imagine it shortens the ROM and thus engaging pretty much only the triceps, and lats for bringing it down.
This is used to strengthen the part of the lift that matters most in a bench shirt. As the bench shirt helps you off your chest [providing your fast enough] all you have left to do is lock this weight out, so depending how fast you are it can be from a 1 board level up wards, or even a 4 board level, just depends where you stick. So by working all 5 levels now and again you become strong at any part. I am currently working on 4-5 board presses, this way I can handle really big weights and get my wrists and joints used to holding this kind of weight!

Video of me using a 2 board whilst wearing my shirt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9W-r60ctMU

Dynamic Effort [DE] work:

Often reffered to as 'speed work' it is a high number of sets done with minimal reps [usually 1-3] and with very short rest times. Here you work specifically on speed.
A common scheme used is that from Westside :

week 1 50% of 1rm 12 sets of 3
week 2 55% of 1rm 10 sets of 2
week 3 60% of 1rm 8 sets of 1

Then back to week 1, your muscles get used to speed very quickly so the idea is that to keep changing it will get you faster and faster. Rest time here is normally 30 seconds. Although I like to sometimes use shorter than that.


The Squat:


Form

As we are talking powerlifting we will assume you will take a wide stance. If you want to squat big weights you must work on your form as much as you can. It has taken me a year from when I first changed it, following James Copping's style. I find pointing toes out quite far is really good at keep your knees at the same distance throughout the movement. Bar placement should be low, on your rear delts with your traps above it. May feel awkard at first though, and a wide grip will stop any elbow pain you may get.
Keeping your knees directly above you feet without letting them push forward is the key. This is done by shoving your ass back more whilst still maintaining your back roundness and tightness with your head up. Always take a deep breath at the top of each rep, then descend holding this breath only letting out on the way up. This keeps your core nice and tight for big weights and stability. Squat down nice and slowly with control until you break parallel, try to put most of your weight onto your heals, then fire up as fast as possible making sure your knees are maintaining position the whole time.

To summarize: bar on rear delts, toes out, drive through heals,knees above feet with shins vertical, deep breath nice and tight, head up with back arched, break // then DRIVE.

Here is a video of my form, although a bit blurry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yepwMiYv-O8

Here is a video of excellent form by James Copping: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2Sty1nI9dg


Explosiveness & speed

To build strength in any of the 3 lifts, speed needs to be practices regularly.

Building speed on the squat can be done in a few different ways. First of all the hardest and slowest part of the squat is when you are in the hole and you decide to fire up. The main 3 ways of building speed out of hole are bands, box squats/pin squats & Dynamic effort [DE] squats.

As I have explained about bands already we will go onto box squats.

Box squats

Box squats are basically a squat down to a box at a certain level/depth, relax you hip flexors for a second, then explode up. The hole is the slowest/hardest part of the lift, so by stopping and relaxing your hips in that part of the lift you are making it a lot harder to drive up. You can also use Pin Squats, this is similar except you squat down in the rack until the bar rests on the pins, wait a second then explode up. Only difference being you do not relax your hips on those as obviously you are still holding the full amount of weight.
For box squats you can sit really far back, as you do not have to worry about falling over because the box is there. So they are an excellent form builder, you can watch your shins and make sure they stay upright as well. A lot of people do parellel box squats although I think it is best to use your usual depth or even deeper. This builds speed from the place you need it most.

A video of some good form box squats:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kkAMRZO0rw

I have explained about Dynamic Effort [DE] already so all you do is use that technique with the squat. Many prefer to use box squats for their DE squats. As you kill 2 birds with one stone in effect.

Assistance:

Squat assistance is found in the form of hamstring work, glute/hip work, quad work, ab work & some calves.

Hamstring & glute/hip work is the most important as the powerlifting squat relies on the hips and hamstrings a lot. Hamstring assistance usually involves straight legged deadlifts, glute - ham raises, leg curls or extra wide box/regular squats. I choose one and cycle them, I am currently using glute ham raises, and also some extra wide box squats, although they are to help my form as well. Quad work is normally close stance ATG squats, leg press full ROM or leg extensions.
Abs can be anything, I like kneeling cable curls. Calves also doesn't really matter, seated calve raise etc.


The Bench press:

Form

First of all with the powerlifting bench press you want the shortest ROM possible. So you want to be holding the bar quite wide, the widest allowed in competition is fore fingers on the rings on an Olympic bar. Second you want to arch your back, this makes it even shorter. Bringing the back of your neck closer to your ass means your back lifts and arches more and more, make sure it is comfortable though. You also want to put your feet in a good place, usually kicked back to keep your arch in place works well. Some federations ask for flat feet, so just get your arch set then flatten them out. Stick your chest right out and squeeze your shoulder blades together along with your traps, this makes you very stable and tight.
Take the bar off the rack, now if you were to lower straight down body builder style, you would be touching just below your pecs. So lower it about 1-2 inches below that, at the same time tucking your elbows right in. That is the key, to keep elbows right in as much as you can, this recruits more triceps and make it a lot stronger.
Wrists, keep the bar on the lower part of your palms, and always grip the bar full, no thumb-less grip! This makes your wrist stay in-line with your forearms witch is safer for your wrists and a lot stronger when done properly.
When you have lowered the bar to your upper abs/ lower chest pause for a brief second then explode back up to the starting position.
1 last tip to push heavy weights is to lower the weight with your lats, yes your lats! As you are lowering the bar really tuck those elbows in and concentrate on your lats taking the weight. This is why lat assistance is so important! Also saves your triceps for the pressing part!

So to summarize: plant feet nice and secure, arch back, squeeze traps/shoulder blades together stick chest out. Wide grip, lower with lats keeping elbows tucked right IN. Pause, then DRIVE!

A video of excellent form: http://uk.youtube.com/user/powerm500

Here is a video of my form in a shirt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKOwbO1f8tA

Speed/explosiveness

For speed on the bench, you can use bands, DE work, chains & reverse bands.

DE work combined with bands I find works very well. Heavy reverse style bands is good for heavy days. I do not use chains.


Grip

Varying your grip on the bench can help a lot! For example on heavy days going 1 finger in from competition grip, and on speed days 3 fingers in. Then 4 weeks later changing that around can be very good. Some people do not train with their competition grip ever only on the day itself. Although I prefer to use it int he gym a fair bit.


Assistance

For bench press I would say there is 3 major things that need training specifically for the bench press. Lats, triceps & chest. For lats using a similar movement to the bench works well, so any variation of bent over row/ yates row followed by some heavy pull ups or pull downs. I do 3 for upper back, usually a bent over row variation, wide grip pull ups for some lat width and finally a close grip movement for lower lats. For triceps I think heavy board presses are good, so taking it that we use the heavy board presses for the triceps we don't really need to do much more on them that day. So we come to chest, heavy db presses work well or possibly flyes. I prefer db presses, I cycle them do flat db press for 3 weeks, incline for 3 weeks and work it like that working up to a pb on the 3rd week.
Some light shoulder work is included but is not vital, I choose side lateral raises as they make you look good as well as make your shoulders strong.


The Deadlift

Form:

I will give tips on good form for conventional deadlifting only.
Get nice and tight before you pull, this way you don't jolt it off the floor and you avoid injury. Also you get better spring. Try driving it back, so as you pull it off the floor drive the bar up your legs trying to pull it backwards. Hard to describe but thats the only way I can see it said lol. Sit back into it as well before you drive it off the floor, this sets your back up nice and straight ready to be strong.
Always keep your head up this keeps your back nice and tightly arched. If you feel it stopping don't bend your legs and hitch it like many do, try to keep your legs straight and use your hammies to drive it out.

Video of good technique: [me again @ the welsh April 2008 lol]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdHjntf9O84

Assistance:

Deadlift assistance blends into squat assistance. Rack pulls /block pulls, Hammies, hips & glutes, erectors, calves, grip work, traps & abs.
Rack pulls or block pulls are a deadlift from a higher place, so you have shorter ROM, this works specifically on the lockout part, and also the part that the suit helps you to.
Trap assistance is there as traps play big part in the deadlift especially locking it out.
The hammies and glutes and hips are the main muscles used but these are trained on assistance day for squats so we don't need to do them twice. Same goes for calves & abs.
Erectors can be done with hyper extensions or RDL.


Using bands for deadlift is not common, although using a band to make the lockout part really hard is quite good. Some prefer reverse bands, either way it will make you fast off the floor, and a strong lockout, witch when in a suit, or even raw is what you need!

Speed:

Speed for deadlift is very important. Every deadlift you pull should be fast, very fast, with no slow down motion just drop it under control. Always keeping good form though, this is the key point on any lift, speed WITH excellent form.

Video of me doing some speed work on deadlifts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbQqne7YCFI



The routine I am use is similar to Westside, I have used it since September 2007 with slight alterations here and there since then. Here it is:

Monday:
Heavy bench [4-5 board press at the moment with bands]1-4 reps
incline db press 4-10 reps
yates row 4-12 reps
wide grip pull ups almost until failure
lat pull down 6-15 reps


Tuesday:
Heavy squats [working on speed at the moment with lighter stuff like Andy Bolton]
Heavy deadlifts [same as squats]
Heavy leg press [working upto pbs in rep ranges 5-15 using heavy weight and close stance]
calves 8-20 reps


Thursday:
Speed bench
Db shoulder press 5-12 reps
side laterals 8-20 reps
rear laterals 8-20 reps
Light triceps [cables or similar] 5-20 reps
Biceps [whateva doesn't really matter] 5-2 reps

Friday:
Speed squats [using extra wide boxs at moment]
Glute ham raises [bw x almost failure using band to aid]
leg extensions 10-20 reps
pull throughs 10-20 reps
calves 10-20 reps
abs 20 reps

Rep schemes on heavy days on the 3 big lifts vary.. could be 5s, 4s,3s,2s,1s or a combination... never failure though. I prefer to work on the speed rather than add more weight on the bar.

My warm ups are something like:

RAW BENCH barx10,60kgx6,80kgx4,100kgx2 then working sets.
RAW SQUAT barx10,60kgx6,100kgx4,wraps on lose,140kgx2, then working sets.
DEADLIFT 60kgx6,120kgx4,160kgx2, then working sets.

for suited work...

bench: 60kgx4,80kgx4, shirt on, 140kgx4 [boards] and so on..
squat briefs or/and suit on then.. 60kgx4,140kgx4,180kgx4, then working sets.

I do not do speed deadlifts as I can pull 160kg+ just as fast as 60kg, so I just work on speed on heavy days.


Main points: Always keep form on every lift, don't put weight over form ever. Everything should be explosive on all 3 lifts. Never go to failure on any lift.. it will not build strength.


Thanks for reading , and hope it has helped Curt
Last edited by curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby simon m on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm

Curt

That was brilliant mate.

Thanks very much for all the hard work you put into this, I'm sure everyone else will appreciate what you've done.

Cheers

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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Marks1972 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:24 pm

Thanks for taking the time to put that together curt.. great stuff, very well written.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby upright on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:28 pm

nice post curt. been interested in this power stuff for a while although I like going for reps, this style is definatley a good ego boost and the results on paper can't be argued with, whereas with bodybuilding, a lot comes down to asthetics and is influenced by opinion. I think it's worthy to have a mixtue of both and this post answers many questions for anyone wanting an insight into some of the equipment and methods.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:34 pm

upright wrote:nice post curt. been interested in this power stuff for a while although I like going for reps, this style is definatley a good ego boost and the results on paper can't be argued with, whereas with bodybuilding, a lot comes down to asthetics and is influenced by opinion. I think it's worthy to have a mixtue of both and this post answers many questions for anyone wanting an insight into some of the equipment and methods.


I was going to add an equipment section but thought that it takes away from the strength part. As these techniques although excellent for equipment carry over will also get the raw lifter very strong!

Thanks all..
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Resurrected on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:34 pm

Curt,

a great post mate. Well done on getting it all together. I'm sure it will be of great help to forum members :).
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby upright on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:35 pm

On the heavy days, is it pactice to go for a PB everytime, what is your warmup protocol, is there a desired number of reps, and once you hit a PB, do you fall back for reps or knock it in the head or does it come dome to how you feel at the time.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:43 pm

upright wrote:On the heavy days, is it pactice to go for a PB everytime, what is your warmup protocol, is there a desired number of reps, and once you hit a PB, do you fall back for reps or knock it in the head or does it come dome to how you feel at the time.

Defo not pb every workout no, Just low reps heavy weights, if I'm feeling strong then yes why not go for a pb.. but I never do a weight I know I could fail.. well.. obv I could, but I am 80% sure usually.

After I have hit a top set I leave it.. no drop sets after.

warm up protocol for raw bench is
barx10,60x6,80x4,100x2 or 4 depending on if I'm going for doubles or 4s.

Heavy board presses:
boards added - 60x4,100x4,140x2 then heavy sets..

Squats: raw, barxx10,60x6,100x4, wraps on lose, 140, then working sets.

Deads: 60x6,120x4,160x2 then working sets...
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Craig on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:53 pm

Killer post
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby upright on Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:39 pm

Cheers mate, that's kinda similar to how I do the big 3 and then the rest I either go 5*5 or 3*10. You should stick that bit in the original post and then I think it would merit a sticky.

I see it is already a sticky. Well done mate - immortalised ;)
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:44 pm

upright wrote:Cheers mate, that's kinda similar to how I do the big 3 and then the rest I either go 5*5 or 3*10. You should stick that bit in the original post and then I think it would merit a sticky.


It is mate, says about not failure, you mean the warm up scheme?

I think it is a sticky?
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby upright on Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:47 pm

curtis wrote:
It is mate, says about not failure, you mean the warm up scheme?

I think it is a sticky?


Yeah the warmup scheme and variations of and example rep ranges and sets(maybe from your journal or from your lead up to the comp). Edited my post - it is a sticky.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Alex on Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:31 pm

Excellent post Curt, very informative.

I'll be using your Bench technique to learn to arch properly and use my lats more.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Flash Sketcha on Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:21 pm

great post curt, would be perfect for people looking to get into powerlifting reading that. Nice work!!!!
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:40 pm

Thanks and good luck Alex.

Ash you like? ;)
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby health4ni on Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:48 pm

Nice post :D
Well read again in more detail later.

curtis wrote:Me using chains, the one and ONLY time lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT4Di7cacLg
not a good use of chains imo. The ROM was almost non-existent, thus negating the use of the chains. Take a 20kg plate off either side and do some for reps on a slow eccentric ;)
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Flash Sketcha on Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:50 pm

health4ni wrote:Nice post :D
Well read again in more detail later.

curtis wrote:Me using chains, the one and ONLY time lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT4Di7cacLg
not a good use of chains imo. The ROM was almost non-existent, thus negating the use of the chains. Take a 20kg plate off either side and do some for reps on a slow eccentric ;)


I use chains with boards sometimes, nothing wrong with it.

Only thing wrong in that particular video is the chains are shiite. Prob why curt nearly always uses bands.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:58 pm

health4ni wrote:Nice post :D
Well read again in more detail later.

curtis wrote:Me using chains, the one and ONLY time lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT4Di7cacLg
not a good use of chains imo. The ROM was almost non-existent, thus negating the use of the chains. Take a 20kg plate off either side and do some for reps on a slow eccentric ;)


Not a good example I know, really got my triceps going though, and only chain video I could find.. suppose I could link another one from the tube..
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby Rab on Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:49 am

Just the kind of easy to read info i have been looking for. Explained allot.

Making up informative posts like that up just goes to show the depth of your knowledge. You are also particularly good at explaining things in a way non pslifters can understand.

Cheers
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:48 pm

Rab wrote:Just the kind of easy to read info i have been looking for. Explained allot.

Making up informative posts like that up just goes to show the depth of your knowledge. You are also particularly good at explaining things in a way non pslifters can understand.

Cheers


Thanks mate. 8-)
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby burningnun on Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:44 pm

When you do speed deadlifts I noticed you put the weight down immediately without pausing at the top or anything. What is the reason for this?
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:58 pm

burningnun wrote:When you do speed deadlifts I noticed you put the weight down immediately without pausing at the top or anything. What is the reason for this?


Yes I used to mate, I now do not as in the Welsh I did it accidentally with 190 and failed obviously. I now pause at the top like in comp... and sometimes make it more obvious as well.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby JohnC on Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:32 pm

curtis wrote:Yes I used to mate, I now do not as in the Welsh I did it accidentally with 190 and failed obviously.
You gotta admit, looking back on it, that was pretty comical :D

Good work, btw.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby curtis on Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:35 pm

JohnC wrote:
curtis wrote:Yes I used to mate, I now do not as in the Welsh I did it accidentally with 190 and failed obviously.
You gotta admit, looking back on it, that was pretty comical :D

Good work, btw.


It was extremely... but not at the time.
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Re: Powerlifting,bands,boards,speed & more....

Postby ollie on Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:59 pm

That's a really good, concise summary Curt. Nice one :)
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