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Alex.V
07-16-2003, 01:14 PM
Just a quick question here to test the waters...

Does anybody here feel that assistance lifts (or the diproportionate focus on these lifts) can engender bad habits in relatively inexperienced or aspiriing PLers?

I'm talking about partials creating strength imbalances, box squats altering you descent speed, and the like. While I realize these are just that, assistance exercises, I would feel that, since technique is so paramount, less experienced lifters should spend a lot more time practicing the actual lifts to be performed, and far less time on assistance/auxiliary lifts.

Thoughts?

ElPietro
07-16-2003, 01:20 PM
If you are new to plifting, as I am, you don't even know what your weaknesses are in the three lifts, to be focusing on with assistance exercises.

I'd say focus more on the three, and once you have realized where your limitations are within the ROM of each one, then you can more intelligently prescribe exercises to focus on overcoming these sticking points.

Edit: You may know what your sticking points have been in the past, but I guess if you finally learn the proper form and depth, and pause and whatever else, that is required for powerlifting competitions, this could unveil all new problems with strength, so better to get the form bang on first.

benchmonster
07-16-2003, 02:03 PM
I am with El P on this one.

I had been a gym rat for about 9 years or so before I took up powerlifting 2 years or so ago. For the first 18-20 months I did nothing but box squats. No free squats at all. Then recently, when considering entering a full meet, I began doing some free squats, and realized that I may have made a horrible mistake by never doing free squats for that long.

I got up to a 675 box squat in just breifs, but found out once the box was removed that my hips were so jacked up that I could not get 135 to parallel. Worked up from 135 to over 700 2 weeks in a row, and got locked up a few inches over parallel due to a hip problem on every single attempt. The weight on the bar did not matter, nor did the amount of equipment, or lack thereof. I can't help but think that if I had been free squatting, at least part of the time, I could have avoided this situation.

By the way, I am still re-habbing my hips to overcome this situation 2 months after discovering it. Better not to get hurt in the first place than to try and recover from injury.

All that being said, I think the accessory stuff is good, even great to do, but I think full range movements in full equipment on a fairly regular basis is paramount. Otherwise, you are going to either lose the feel of the movement, or worse yet, never get the feel for it in the first place.

B.

Paul Stagg
07-16-2003, 02:21 PM
Agree. IMO you have to learn the lifts before doing variations of them exclusively.

it's hard to unlearn bad habits, and good form is a function of repetition.

I would suggest any beginner do lots of sets of relatively few reps of the 3 powerlifts.

I also think taking a heavy squat, bench, or dead as you would in a meet is a good idea, and fairly frequently (every 6-12 weeks or so, maybe)

ElPietro
07-16-2003, 02:27 PM
I guess just to add to things, for me, my biggest issue is explosiveness. This is probably the single most important factor in the sport, considering generally the sore point for most is off the chest on bench, especially when you have to pause, and out of the hole on squats.

Consider that one single pound of extra effort, could result in 40lbs more to your total in a meet, and it becomes a huge factor. Say you open with 300 on bench, and do it easy. Then your second is 340, but you miss it by just a fraction, like I said, that one pound extra, or bit more explosiveness at the bottom, then you are spent and fail on your third attempt, because you cannot put in a 3rd attempt lower than your previous attempt. Now because of a fraction of a pound, or being slightly less explosive to power through the sticking point, your total is 40lbs lower than what it probably should be. Just one pound.

Not sure how relevant that is to this thread, but the guy I train with was talking to me about that, and it made a lot of sense.

PowerManDL
07-16-2003, 02:31 PM
My thinking on it is that the lifts under competitive conditions should most certainly be included on a regular basis, and under meet-prep conditions they should be mainstays.

However, at other times of the year, I feel that less specific (think Westside) and even generalized preparation moves (bodybuilding lifts for example) should comprise the bulk of training.

Just using myself as an example, unless I decide to compete (heh), my competitive-style bench probably won't see action more than once or twice in any given 3-4 month period. There's no reason for it, especially given my current shoulder situation.

For me, overloaded partials and holds combined with dynamic and static-dynamic (paused) speed work will do the trick.

I'm weak as hell off the chest. However, experience has shown me in the past that I can pursue a workout routine like that for at least several weeks without losing my full-ROM groove.

Just anecdotally- Last time I trained as such w/ heavy lockouts, I was capable of pushing 285 from a deadstop 2" off my chest with a moderately close grip and competition arch. Without benching full-ROM for well over a month, I then tried to rep out 225. I got like ten I think, when my previous PR had been maybe 5 with that weight. Around that same time frame I also hit a close-grip triple with 245 or 250.

I was shocked, frankly, but it goes to show that work like that can have a pretty high carryover when applied intelligently.

Same goes for the dead and squat, though I haven't been quite as religious in cataloging my good vs. bad routines.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that less-specific and general strength training methods are very useful when you're not specifically prepping for a meet. If you're 10 weeks out from a competition or less, the lifts, under competitive conditions, should definitely take precedence. But in the off-season? Its practically pointless to *center* your training around the competitive lifts and competitive conditions.

I emphasize center because competitive technique and conditions should still come into play in ALL phases of training. Just that they don't always require emphasis.

So I stand by what I told you before. I think if you really want to start seeing major gains from where you are now, you're going to have to re-think the paradigm. What works for an intermediate to advanced lifter won't work for an advanced to elite, and I think you're rapidly entering that territory. Focusing on the specific lifts under competitive conditions isn't going to yield the best results for you anymore, IMO.

ElPietro
07-16-2003, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by PowerManDL
I'm weak as hell off the chest. However, experience has shown me in the past that I can pursue a workout routine like that for at least several weeks without losing my full-ROM groove.

Just anecdotally- Last time I trained as such w/ heavy lockouts, I was capable of pushing 285 from a deadstop 2" off my chest with a moderately close grip and competition arch. Without benching full-ROM for well over a month, I then tried to rep out 225. I got like ten I think, when my previous PR had been maybe 5 with that weight. Around that same time frame I also hit a close-grip triple with 245 or 250.

Maybe I misinterpreted here, but how do lockouts help you off the chest? Also, close-grip would emphasize the triceps more than anything else. So this training method is focusing on the ROM that you are not experiencing a weakness in, using the muscles that are not responsible for that weakness, since off the chest would be more chest and shoulders, tris aren't until 3/4 of the way through. :confused:

I guess if this gets too involved we should start another thread though, but it seems like you were avoiding your weakness, not overcoming it.

PowerManDL
07-16-2003, 02:40 PM
Also, I think I should qualify some of that.

For an absolute newbie, first year or two, I do think its paramount to learn the form and execution of the lift. Lots of technique work, but not under competitive conditions.

I was really directing most of that towards someone out of that newbie phase, who had learned the lifts, and been able to experiment with the individual mechanics and figure out more or less what works good and what doesn't.

PowerManDL
07-16-2003, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by ElPietro
Maybe I misinterpreted here, but how do lockouts help you off the chest? Also, close-grip would emphasize the triceps more than anything else. So this training method is focusing on the ROM that you are not experiencing a weakness in, using the muscles that are not responsible for that weakness, since off the chest would be more chest and shoulders, tris aren't until 3/4 of the way through. :confused:

I guess if this gets too involved we should start another thread though, but it seems like you were avoiding your weakness, not overcoming it.

They may not seem to do anything for that part of the ROM, but it does work, so that means finding a reason for it.

In the Supertraining chapter on isometric tension, Mel notes that isometric contractions can have a strength carryover to other parts of the ROM, and that this carryover is most pronounced when the muscles trained are in a lengthened state. Two inches off the chest is most assuredly lengthened, even if not to the specific part of the ROM.

Biomechanically speaking, there's not enough difference in the joint angles to make a major distinction in terms of developing force from the start position (as in the paused or deadstop bench).

Additionally, related to the above point, is the sheer level of overload that can be imposed. This for the reasons listed can have a greater training effect on the full ROM than full ROM training can.

Factor in an additional session for speed-oriented training, which would also function to keeping the full-ROM groove, and you've got yourself a program.

Saturday Fever
07-16-2003, 06:04 PM
Supertraining. Word.

Maki Riddington
07-16-2003, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by Belial
Just a quick question here to test the waters...

Does anybody here feel that assistance lifts (or the diproportionate focus on these lifts) can engender bad habits in relatively inexperienced or aspiriing PLers?

I'm talking about partials creating strength imbalances, box squats altering you descent speed, and the like. While I realize these are just that, assistance exercises, I would feel that, since technique is so paramount, less experienced lifters should spend a lot more time practicing the actual lifts to be performed, and far less time on assistance/auxiliary lifts.

Thoughts?

*** Technique and form should be the foucs of a routine when any newbie is beginning the 3 lifts. This is not a rule but it's something I follow quite religously. How can one build a base if there is no base to build from?
Learn these leifts inside and out, then integrate the lift and the technique and form you use so that it matches your biomechanics.