Step 1: Programming for Powerlifting

I have just more than 4 weeks until the meet. First things first: get my programming right. I’ve had such great success using Candito’s 6 week strength template, that I would be stupid to change things up now, particularly since the programming is set up to peak you for a meet- the sixth week is either max testing or a deload week. Because I started this wave juuuust a couple of days too late, I’ll need to do a little squidging around near the end, but I think everything is going to be ok.

I chose to skip week 6 (an optional week, on the 6 week template, go figure- you have the option to test maxes, deload, or use calculated maxes from the previous week and begin again at week 1) and start right back up at week 1 in the interest of time. Holy hell, my maxes though… calculated from the previous week’s lifts… I can’t even. How is this possible! I was lifting like a freaking beast! My bench increase was slight- just about 2.5 pounds, but, progress is progress, but my squat jumped up TEN pounds to 235, and my deadlift, which I have been putting al ot of focus on these past two rounds, increased a full TWENTY FREAKING POUNDS, up to 305!!! Again, this is calculated maxes, but I’m 100% confident that these numbers are accurate. I’ve been feeling absolutely unstoppable when I lift these past few weeks, thank you newly added calories!


Peaking for a powerlifting meet is much, much different than peaking for a bodybuilding competition! I’ve been reading reading reading, two solid weeks now, and I’m still just swimming in information. I’ve learned new words like “supercompensation,” “overreaching,” and about properly tapering my training leading up to the meet. I’ve started paying closer attention to the specifics of training volume, that is, total weight moved in a session- (weight x reps x sets) in order to measure and account for progress. I have to continually tell myself that my accessory work right now should be focused on specificity of movements, not on aesthetics. I’ve also learned why Candito’s 6 weeks strength template is set up as it is as as result of the aforementioned reading (see links, welcome to my rabbit hole) , and why that is so effective, so yay science!

This meme never gets old.

I hadn’t intended on taking a deload leading up- I’ve never felt like I’ve benefited from them, but now having learned how to properly utilize them, I’ve factored that in to my training. This means my Candito cycle will not be “to the letter,” as I’ve been following it, but I’m confident that things will still go well with the small adjustments I’ve had to make.




I suppose this is why other people hire coaches, but, true to form, I’m too fucking stubborn to do that. Always give a first try on my own, see what I can accomplish, then perfect and tweak from there. This is probably not the method most people use. Look how many fucks I give. I’mma do me, ok?




Notebook is bae, though ❤

It turns out that whenever I’m trying to science, I enjoy going through the proper protocol of it, and creating a lab notebook, for my n=1 experiment. During figure contest prep, my notebook literally ran my life. All macros, lifts, feelings (was I gassy after lunch? Did I feel sad when I was squatting? Did I have DOMS?), supplements, every last detail was written in my little Steno pad. This prep I’ve adopted a similar method. Actually in the same notebook, just with a little sticky note indicating where this contest prep started and the other ended. I love my notebook. To me, this notebook is the most important part of the whole process. With it, I can learn. I can reflect back on what I did that worked, pinpoint where maybe things went awry, see what changed and what the effects were. It’s an objective look at every piece, and while I may not see patterns emerge immediately, I do, once a week, take a moment to reflect on the wee prior. have I made progress according to the indicators I’ve chosen (body fat, weight, strength, overall training volume, etc.)? Did I change something this week that had deleterious or beneficial effects? What happened when I added this supplement this week? Am I using too much preworkout? How was my dietary adherence? All of these things add up, cumulatively, to my ultimate success or failure. There is zero chance I could remember all of these things objectively and be able to make connections between things- like when I figured out I dropped my fats too low pre-show and it fucked up my mood and hormones- without my notebook. SCIENCE!


So now that I have my programming all set up, and my deload factored in pre-meet, I can get started setting up my nutrition! That’s my favorite part- I’m so excited!


3 thoughts on “Step 1: Programming for Powerlifting

  1. I sooo could relate to this – great to know there are others who treat life and lifting as one big scientific experience ;)… With my powerlifting I trust my coach as I don’t have any experience in designing powerlifting programs but I’m trying to read and absorb as much information as possible and learn more. Good luck to your meet!


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