After each competition I have a list of things that each athlete needs to work on. These are mostly technical errors within the lifts, but sometimes it is psychological. In this article, I am going to point the finger at myself and list the things that went well and also the things that I need to improve upon.
A lot of the responsibility for things not being better falls upon the coach. For one, no one in my group is tearing it up on the bench press.
This 100% falls upon me.
The athletes have done everything asked of them and their technique is not the issue. The weights being too heavy is the issue.
Nick and Danielle hit small meet PRs at Nationals, and Dave and Kerry matched their meet bests. This is not what I expected. We planned for Nationals to be where we put forth our best lifts and performances.
Upon analyzing their programs, I have decided that we could use a little less bench volume and increase the intensity a bit. Average intensity of the lifts will remain the same, but we will begin to use heavier top sets more frequently.
The high volume training obviously worked at fixing technical errors. A judge even commented on Dave’s technique during his bench press at Nationals.
However, this is not gymnastics as you do not get points for technique.
Now it is time to challenge technique with heavier weights.
Squats during this meet block went extremely well. Everyone hit PRs in a short amount of time. Kerry put 10 pounds on her squat in 8 weeks and Danielle put 20 pounds on her squat in 12 weeks. Nick and Dave also hit PRs during this time period.
The difference with this block compared to others was there were more days where we lifted heavier. We built technique with repetitions in previous blocks and then stepped on the gas as this big meet approached. I think I will keep some aspects of these higher intensity days moving forward.
Maybe twice per 4 week block we will push it a bit.
For example, when we attempt doubles at 85% or triples at 80% I will begin to use my RPE chart and allow them to work up to a heavy double or triple.
A double at 85% with my RPE chart should be an RPE 8.
An example of the change with look like this 4 sets of 2 85% RPE 9. This will allow them to push the intensity a bit if things feel good. This will not be the case all of the time. There will be times that they will just follow the percentages. This will allow the lifter to recover and take their ability to hinder this away. I will use this with the bench press as well.
In terms of the deadlift I feel we need to do more. There were 3 meet PRs out of 4 lifters which is great. However, technically this is our worst lift as a team. It also happens to be the lift we do the least amount of volume in. My thinking is that it is hardest to recover from so we need to be careful with the deadlift volume.
Squats and bench were practiced more and are much more technically sound. I think we need to do the same things with the deadlift. I need to be smart with how I increase this volume, but overall I believe it will help fix some of the glaring technical errors. If we push squat intensity a bit more, we can pickup the lost volume in the deadlift.
I also need to get better at attempt selection.
3 of the 4 missed lifts were missed because the weight was too heavy on that day. Those misses are on me. I have to do a better job on taking what is there on a given day. I also need to do a better job of knowing where my lifters are at mentally at those times. This is an easy fix and I was even able to improve upon this during the competition.
If it wasn’t for Nick’s missed 3rd squat attempt, I may never have dropped Danielle’s to a number less than what was on the sheet. I had a 3rd written down at 336 pounds or 341 pounds based upon her 345 pound test. After the second moved slower than expected I dropped it to 330 pound and decided to save it for the bigger pull.
She went 9/9 and hit that bigger pull. If Nick hits that squat, I put 336 pounds in for Danielle and maybe she gets it, but maybe she doesn’t.
Hopefully we make these changes and started to see even greater progress than what we already are seeing. All in all this was a very successful training year for my competitors. We won a Regional Championship, a runner up at the Regional Championships, and a top 15 finish at Nationals.
Danielle, Kerry, and Dave all hit 10kg total PRs at Nationals and Nick had his best career performance 8 weeks prior at Regionals. Kerry even qualified for the Arnold which was not even on our radar until well after her 3rd attempt deadlift. With that said there are bigger things to come and more in the process of joining these 4 on the big stage.
Written by: Kevin Cann
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